I did it, guys!!! I am officially a Registered Yoga Teacher!
Friday was my final day in the 200-hour teacher training program at American Yoga School. I passed, got my diploma and I am officially a yoga teacher!! The 4th and final week is a bit of a blur to me, not only did we wrap up any remaining content that we needed to cover, but we also taught two public classes and reviewed a majority of content in preparation for the exams (philosophy and anatomy – both of which I aced, in case you were wondering. YAY!). There was lots of studying for the tests and prepping to teach our classes. We also worked together on creating a custom sequence, really breaking down the component parts of our peak pose and truly understanding what is needed to create a well-rounded class to physically prepare our students for whatever we are working them towards and to give them the best possible well-rounded experience. On top of these things, we also went over our personal Plan of Action, discussing at length what our next steps are as yoga teachers, towards our long term goals. It was a crazy but amazing final week!
Teaching Real Classes
Teaching two public classes in our final week at Naam Yoga Studio in Santa Monica, was an absolute dream come true for me and it truly made the entire experience feel that much more real. No words, no books and no lectures could ever prepare you for that feeling that you will get as a teacher, the first time you get in front of real students to teach! It is priceless! Though the classes were on the small side, I felt like it was an incredible gift to be able to stand in front of students that weren’t my fellow teacher trainees. This was one of the main things I was looking forward to experiencing in this program and was surprised to hear isn’t part of most yoga teacher training programs. On top of already feeling so fortunate to have the unique experience of teaching real students, I was so blessed to have two of my wonderful friends, Debbie and Nicola there for the first class, supporting me and my first time teaching publicly. What a gift to see familiar faces smiling back at me in support, during such an important day in my life! Debbie even made it out again, to the second class. What a friend!
With each class my nervousness lessened, I felt increasingly more at ease and I felt that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I love those moments of clarity in life, where everything falls into place in a way that makes you know you have chosen the correct path for yourself. For the first class we taught, I was so honored and excited to teach the final segment of the hour long sequence, which meant I led the students through the peak pose of the sequence toward calming counterposes and into savasana. For my first time teaching, it was an incredibly moving, meaningful and powerful experience. One that moved me to tears while I the words “namaste” passed through my lips as I bowed towards my students. It was a moment in my life I will never forget!
Since the training has ended, I am currently doing a ton of work on my own, prepping towards teaching at a studio or publicly any way I can, as soon as I can. I am eager to get back in front of students, whether it be one, two or twenty – to once again be able to teach this amazing practice.
A New Friend
Besides all of the obvious aforementioned amazing things that have already come of this yoga teacher training, I am also happy to have made a wonderful new friend in the process. Laura was enrolled in the entire teacher training program with me and I keep joking and saying that no one in the entire world knows or understands exactly what I just went through, as much as she does. But it is so true. We both just went through a huge, life-changing experience, and it was truly a dream come true, for both of us. We experienced the same wonderful moments of triumph and pride, we saw similar challenges and we struggled with many of the same things. We both came out of it all, not only with our yoga teacher certification, but I would like to think, also knowing ourselves and our personal strengths and weaknesses, better than ever before.
I adore Laura, her sweet spirit, her amazing teaching skills, incredible note-taking abilities and of course, her love of gluten-free pretzels dipped in Nutella, (one of the best things I have learned from her. Clearly an indication of what an amazing teacher she will soon be). I know Laura will be a life-long friend for whom I will always have a very special connection with.
There are so many possibilities swirling around in my head right now with where I precisely plan to go next. I don’t have any one firm set goal in mind for what I want exactly. There are many possibilities that would make me very happy. But, as I mentioned in my last post, one of the things I will forever be grateful to have learned from James, is setting a serious “Plan of Action” in place for the long term. Having large goals in mind has made looking ahead at the next steps not seem so daunting and overwhelming. I can see a path ahead and it all seems so attainable. I have some great ideas in mind for where I would like to see myself as a yoga teacher in the next 5 years and I am excited to have some important short-term steps to work on as I make my way towards the larger goal. I am taking this next month to continue working on my teaching skills, creating many custom sequences using the tools I have learned from James and digging deep into fully understanding as many of the postures and the foundational alignments of those postures, as I can, so I can truly be a well-informed and prepared teacher for my future students.
Additionally, I have been having some preliminary talks with James about getting involved with American Yoga School as a contributor of content and I cannot wait to share more with you about all of that as it develops.
Thank you so much to all of you that followed along with me in this amazing journey and to those that left encouraging comments about your own experiences with yoga. Though I may not have responded to every single one, I did read each and every comment and email and it meant the world to me to know I had so many people supporting me during my journey. You, my readers, are a huge inspiration to me to become a better person, to learn as much as I can about the things that make me happy and healthy, so I can continue to share my experiences and knowledge whoever will listen!
In case you missed the previous posts from my month-long Yoga Teacher Training, you can find those here: