A few of you asked me to talk more about my yoga journey and my teaching.
And, of course, I'd love to, because out of all the things I am passionate about, this ranks very high on my list.
Beware, this post is very lengthy :)
I'm splitting it up, thought, into two posts. This will be about my training, and then I'll do a post about my teaching and how I got involved in yoga for special needs children.
My mom was always really big into yoga. I've been a hard-core athlete all my life, so when I was 10 my mom had me take some yoga classes to help me stretch. At the time, I couldn't understand why anyone would like an exercise that was so.... slow.
When I was 14 (I think) we took a trip to Costa Rica. We stayed at a resort that had an intense yoga program. I did yoga every morning on the beach. That's when I really fell in love with it. It was so peaceful and relaxing and left me totally calm. It was unlike any euphoria I had ever felt.
When I was 15, I saw a teacher training program at a local yoga studio. A graduate from my school had done it when she was 18, so I figured I could try! My grandpa had just died and I was looking for... something. I wasn't exactly sure what I was looking for at that point.
In June I started my training. It was a 200 hour summer intensive, meaning 8 hours a day, 4 or 5 days a week the entire summer. I was so excited. Honestly, I don't think I ever really thought I would become a teacher. The intensive was, well, hard. We started each morning off with a 90 minute yoga class. Mind you, this was after I had 6 AM swim practice, so at this point I was already exhausted.
Each day we would focus on different things. So in the morning, we might focus on asanas, followed by a break for lunch, and then finish off the remaining hours with breath work or meditation practices.
We learned each and every asana, their benefits, alternatives, and how to teach them. We learn anatomy, physiology, breathing exercises, meditation, chakras, and yogic philosophy.
We took tests every few weeks, and kept all of our info in thick binders. I read so many yoga books, some that I loved more then others.
Physically, it challenged me. I never thought that would be the part I had trouble on, but it was. Even though I'm extremely athletic and, i think, in shape, there is a huge difference between swimming 4 miles and bending your body into different shapes. But by the end of the training, I was flexible, lean, and had gained muscles. My times dropped in swimming and I lost weight. The benefits were outstanding.
Mentally and emotionally, it was also tougher then I thought. The breathing was fine for me, since I had a good lung capacity from swimming. Meditation was tricky. Since I had just lost my grandpa, the entire thing was hard. I had trouble focusing and often got impatient sitting there for so long. Eventually, the meditation got easier. My breathing got steady and I learned to stay calm.
I had always been a very type-A personality, but I think yoga helped calm me down and stay in the present. I no longer worry as much as I did before, and I attribute that to yoga. I'll probably end up adding a third part to this series.... one about my current journey of yoga :)
Anyway, I am so thankful for everything I learned in my training, but it wasn't the best. I worked very hard and studied a lot on my own, but I don't think we got in as many classroom hours as they say we did. One of my teachers was awesome, but the other wasn't very professional, which often took away from the learning. Overall though, I am so thankful I did the training. It truly has been an amazing blessing!
I'll post the other two parts of this post next week!
And, to add a little more yoga to the blog, who wants to see maybe a "yoga of the month" or "week" kind of thing. I can post a pose, meditation, or breath work and explain everything about it, then you can all do it at home? Or maybe a flow some months/ week? What do you think? xo