YTT: Session 1

I just remembered I hadn’t posted recently, but I have a good excuse. I’ve been incredibly busy for the last nine days with Yoga Teacher Training at Flex here in Wooster! But lets go from when ever I left off.

I believe I had just left Chicago for Columbus. Wait, did I even get that last week of my road trip in? Did I tell you about Chicago?

I did, thank goodness. Phew.

In Columbus, I met up with my friends from AYC, the ashtanga shala I go to there, and mostly just small scale socialized around food. Totally lovely, and practice was great! Taylor even got me to drop back and pop up without much trouble. “You have to just do it.” Basically. Its the advice you need at some point. It’s starting to work. Both my dynamic and static back bends are improving and feeling better. Finding more middle back bend and a scapular scoop under the heart.

On Wednesday morning, I continued north, towards Wooster. I stopped at the camp where I worked at on my arrival in Ohio for an hour to see people, catch up with them, and catch a chicken, before making it the rest of the way to Wooster. I spent the rest of the week meeting up with Wooster friends, visiting some old sights, trying some new ones, and preparing for the teacher training which started on Saturday. That has definitely been the main sink of physical and mental energies since.

This first session of the YTT was nine consecutive twelve hour days and was at least as physically and emotionally draining as that sounds. My typical day was to wake up between four and five in the morning, head down to the studio to practice – either asana, pranayama, or meditation – and make sure I was ready to teach any classes I needed to that day. On most days, the training would start at 6:30a, but on Monday and Wednesday we started with a 5:45a class that I got to teach. One of the things that made this training interesting was that many of our practices (we had two to three per day) were integrated with our normal studio classes. We wanted to try to break them a bit – you know, push them in their physical practice while we push them mentally and emotionally in the rest of our class time. It’s hard to do when you have to keep the classes accessible to everyone. There were plenty of challenging classes, but we could have thrown more at our trainees.

Each day started either with an asana practice or meditation and reflection and was shortly followed by the other. Large swaths of each day were spent breaking down the asanas (postures) of the Flex PVF sequence and practice teaching those postures in different settings – one on one, small groups, and larger groups, with and without someone else assisting. Through this practice, and reflective journalling and discussion, our aim is to help our teachers start to find or create their authentic teaching voice. This is a major aspect of the training which Emily and I believe is very important and can be missed by trainings. We want our students to be prepared to teach a whole class when they’re done with us. To help this we have assigned homework in their off weeks to spend time taking classes and reviewing the teachers, assisting classes, and teaching others.

In addition to asana practice AND asana teaching practice, we spent time reviewing and discussing yoga philosophy through a couple books and our experience. Plus, we’ll be spending even more time on them next weekend.

We would have lunch for about an hour sometime between 12 and 2, then get back to work in the afternoon before wrapping up at 6:30p (or 5:45p if we started earlier). It was really just an incredible more than a week. To see every student grow within themselves and grow within relation to the group was just astounding and beautiful. I know I learned a lot about them as we dove deeper everyday and I feel many of them learned even more. I’m so thankful our gentle facilitation of their journey has worked out as well as it has so far. I wish my training had taken more time for philosophy than it did. The practice there was amazing, the reflection and journal time was good, too, but not enough old philosophy, old knowledge. I am so excited for more.

Now, it is time to figure out where I can live, where I am going to take therapeutic massage courses, and find people to pay me to give them massages and teach them private classes.

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