Becoming an Expert Yoga Teacher

I am in the fourth month of my yoga teacher training. Things are going well so far and I am trying to finish up some homework that’s due this weekend.

While browsing for some tips on wrist stretches, I accidentally came across this on YouTube. You may have heard of JP Sears; he is – in real live – an actual yoga teacher but has made his name as a comedian on YouTube. This video had me in stitches!!


November Update

Lots of life updates. Here we go ….

Yoga Teacher Training: I won’t write so much here. I tend to microblog important notes on Cody, since that’s where other people discuss anatomy and yoga with me. Otherwise, this is the third weekend and it’s going well. The studio director, L., spoke with me privately yesterday. She knows that I have been feeling going through an emotional rough patch (still dealing with my break-up), but at the end of the night, she told me that she’s very glad to have me in the program and in Waterloo. It was really sweet and it meant a lot to me.

Also, can you spot which one I am?

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Accepting compliments: I used to struggle with accepting compliments and brush them off / deny / deflect. Over the years, as I spotted this behaviour, I worked on it. I am better at receiving them, which includes simply looking at the person who said it, smiling and saying thank you.

As I’d mentioned above, the director gave me a HUGE compliment last night. Today, I also got several compliments. 1) The (same) yoga director said that she liked my pineapple tank top, which was nice on a cloudy and dreary day, 2) a classmate that I ate lunch with said that I was smart, attractive and charming and lastly, 3) another peer said that my teaching instructions were spot on and that I was a natural at it! Internally, I can still have difficulty accepting these as truths, but I want to embrace that this means I am valued and worthy, which isn’t a feeling that’s consistent when you are living in a new place and still trying to make new friends.

Occasional Teaching: Hard to believe but I’ve already hit the minimum 20 days I need to apply for the LTO list next year. So far, I’ve worked about 30 days. I took this week off as a much needed mental health break. I only worked a 0.5 on Thursday. And that’s fine. No need to shame myself for taking a break.

Career options: On Friday, I went to EdTalent, which is an annual job conference held in Toronto by Apply to Education. I got a chance to say hello to the Cree School Board and chat with my friend, E., who is now a vice-principal. We gabbed for 15 minutes and it was really nice just to say hi to a friend. But I still have wanderlust that will never ever die, and after sticking around Canada for 5 years – yes, I did travel during the holidays – I still want to go somewhere. I spoke with a few UK agencies. They will do anything as short as one month but I was considering a 2-month term.

Reading: One of the optional books to read for Yoga Teacher Training, is The Gifts of ImperfectionBe compassionate with yourself, according to Brene Brown. As I’d mention above, shaming myself for taking a mental health break is not productive. I used to do it but I don’t anymore. Over the past 4 years while working in the north, I took days if I wasn’t physically sick but was emotionally overwhelmed and needed a recharge.

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Employment Insurance: I need to apply for EI for Christmas! My classmate, N., tipped me off as she also works for the same school board. She said you can often get more money from EI than a summer job.

Financing my car: I paid off my car in 52 months, instead of 5 years! This is 8 months ahead of schedule as I threw several years of tax returns at the balance. I am feeling very proud about this! It helps too as I’m not making very much money right now.

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Meditations on the Mat

One of my favourite bedtime books is Meditations on the Mat, by Rolf Gates. It was gifted to me by Sarah last year. This passage really spoke to me recently, as I’ve been struggling to find a consistent yoga practice over the past couple of months. I’m coming back to it already, as the sun comes out more often and the weather is warming up.


Day 88

Each step forward in her practice is a step inward. To practice yoga is to draw ever closer to the truth. As we learn to relax into our truth, moment by moment, breath by breath, posture by posture, the need for pretense starts to fall away. We find out we are shedding the layers of armor we’ve created to protect the false self we present to the world. But as the armor falls away, we are confronted by the old fears that create the armor in the first place and that has held it in position for so long.

Chances are we will be unaware of the moment when we shed a layer of armor. We may simply wake up one day to find that an old fear has reared its head, or that it seems harder to get to our mat, and harder still to attend to the other aspects of our practice. Suddenly, chocolate chip cookies and Haagen-Dazs are on the menu, gossip fills an hour of the day, and an unhealthy relationship appears more attractive. At such times it’s important to understand that a resurgence of old behavior often accompanies growth, that such regressions are, in fact, signs that we are drawing near to the truth. We see this in the stories of Jesus and the Buddha. Both men were beset by their demons even as they moved unerringly towards their Dharma. And both were able to meet their challenges and move on. Their lives are universal examples of the human potential for growth. We all share this potential, and we awaken it each time we practice. Confronting the fears we encounter along the way is an aspect of the practice itself. As a darkness of our fears is dispelled, we become like the angel in Paulo Coelho’s tale. Our eyes are filled with the light of love, the love that is ever-present beneath all the temporal, earthly loves.

When we do feel lost or uncertain drifting away from our practice, blocked from our own truth, it helps to remember that darkness and confusion, too, are part of the path. The hero’s journey is a journey inward. Yoga is not a work out, it is a work in. In the Tao Te Ching, we read that the only real movement is return. And this is the point of spiritual practice: to make us teachable, to open our hearts and focus our awareness so that we can know what we already know, and be who we already are.