Hey friends!! I cannot believe I am already into week 2 of yoga teacher training. (Here is the follow-up of Week 1, in case you missed it.) These past two weeks have just flown by. I am officially at the halfway point! I cannot even believe it! On one hand, I totally don’t want this training to end, I am learning so much and I cannot wait to learn even more. I could honestly stay in this state forever, learning as much as I can about something I hold so dear to me. Of course, on the other hand, I cannot wait to for it to be over so I can get out into the world and start sharing all of this wonderful yoga knowledge with whoever wants to learn it.
This week, we had more lectures on anatomy, last week we talked in depth about muscles and connective tissue, we learned all about anatomical language, and we talked at great length about the spine and the core. This week we discussed the pelvis, the shoulders, wrists and hands, elbows, knees, feet and the other systems of the body – the nervous system, respiratory, circulatory and lymphatic.
Having had a mostly regular yoga practice for the last 7 years, really and truly understanding precisely how our bodies move in and benefit from asana – has been fascinating for me. Besides the movement and the obvious physical benefits, learning about the many ways the other systems of our bodies can also benefit from a regular yoga practice, it is both captivating and exciting for me, as I have truly made yoga part of my daily life and I want to be a very vocal advocate in sharing this with the rest of the world.
I have to say, I am honestly surprised just how much I am enjoying the anatomy part of the program. I was a bit afraid, as someone who never really excelled at science when I was in school, that I would have a very hard time learning and retaining this very linear, factual and information-based content. I think being able to learn it in the context of a yoga practice has truly made it so much easier for me to grasp. I am really proud of that.
Outside of the anatomy lessons and our daily morning practice, the philosophy and teaching methodology lectures and lessons have really been both educational and eye-opening, as well. As someone that admittedly used to doze off in many leacture-based classes in college – looking at the slowly ticking clock the whole time, I don’t even notice the minutes and hours melt away while I listen to someone I truly respect, teach me as much as he can about the entire experience of being a yoga teacher.
This week in our philosophy lessons we talked about the meaning of Om. For me, the chanting of “Om” in a yoga class was something I have always respected and loved about the practice, even if I didn’t know every little detail of why we do it and what it’s exact meaning is, what I did know was that it felt really good to me. For me, I always thought of it as an opportunity to become one with the entire world outside of me. I started yoga as timid, insecure, unsure of myself and where I fit in with the world. Chanting “Om”, for me, was one of the first moments I can honestly recall feeling like there was no solid division between my actual self and everything else in the universe. I clearly remember that moment when I felt that we are all one and that the possibilities of this lifetime were endless. There is just something so intense about the union of an entire room of yoga practitioners coming together, to melt their voices into one, to chant “Om”. It is always unlike any experience I have ever had with a group of strangers and it is something that has come to mean a great deal to me.
Having my teacher James take the time to really dig deep into “Om” and it’s meaning and share it with us, has been one of my favorite things about the training. Being a symbol of yoga on a very known level, I think it is something that should be more talked about and explained to students that want to know. For many it can be uncomfortable and confrontational. James wrote an incredible article about what he has learned about Om and surprisingl he taught us for well over an hour, on this concept. You can read a beautiful blog post from James, here, about the meaning of Om.
Outside of our in-depth look at Om, we also talked a lot more about the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, this week during our philosophy lessons. The Yoga Sutras have now become something I am really enthralled with. The incredible things that I have already taken from them in this short time has been life changing. I cannot wait to really dig deeper into them. I have learned so much and I feel like that is far more for me to know, yet. It is intense, though-provoking and at times, confusing. I think what has been most fascinating to me, is that many of the sutras, which are ancient texts, discussing what exactly the practice of yoga is and a map, of sorts for getting there, are the things that I have come to find already exist in my own practice and life, that I wasn’t necessarily completely aware of. They are things that have unknowingly and without major event presented themselves in my life through the efforts and focus of my practice. Some are changes that I have seen in myself over the years, some are things that I didn’t know existed until we took the time to really dig deep into it. Besides the few that are already present, I am excited as I continue on this journey to have this map that suggests not just asana and meditation, but also attitudes and behaviors—to help me create my own course to self-realization and contentment. I cannot even begin to scratch the surface of what I am learning about the yoga sutras in this short post, and I still myself have so much to learn and to understand, but I know this is something that is going to become a huge part of my own personal growth as a yogi and hopefully my growth as a yoga teacher.
Finally, with our teaching methodology lessons this week, we have spent a great deal talking about sequencing, creating good sequences, building to a peak pose, having a good and important reason for each pose in our sequences and lots, lots more. We talked about hands-on adjustments and we even starting working on our practicums for this upcoming week! If you can believe it, I will be teaching actual students in a real yoga studio in Santa Monica, this coming Wednesday. (We may be looking for students so keep an eye on my Facebook page for a call for students, if you are in the area.) I cannot believe it. I am so excited and of course, wildly nervous, as well. I hope all of this important knowledge comes out of me, the way it is supposed to, when I am in the moment!! Please hold some good thoughts for me this Wednesday 😉
I will of course check back in with you guys again next week, to let you know how teaching real students went and all that good stuff. I hope you guys have been enjoying the guest posts while I have been gone!