30 Aug Signed up for my 300-hour Yoga Teacher Training
I hadn’t really thought that doing a Yoga Alliance registered 500-hour teacher training was that important in the scheme of being a great yoga teacher. My point of view has been: Learn to teach; continue to practice; study and refine; and teach, teach, teach.
But, it turns out to be quite difficult to land a teaching gig (and thus “teach, teach, teach”) in Los Angeles without the credentials to get your foot in the studio door.
Besides, there is and will always be room for my teaching practice to improve.
So, four years after my first 200-hour yoga teacher training, I’ve signed up for the YogaWorks bridge and 300-hour professional training program. Although I’ve been through a few unofficial (but incredibly well-taught and thorough) trainings in those four years, upon completing this one I will become a registered 500-hour yoga teacher (RYT-500).
In the past couple of months, I’ve done loads of research on what my professional next-steps should be. The choice came down to pursuing yoga therapy (a multi-year and multi-thousand dollar process towards a career in a profession currently in its infancy) and teacher training (work I’m already doing, under $5k). For many factors, I’ve decided that the time is right for more teacher training.
Here are a few things I’m hoping to get out the next 11 months:
Hone my ability to teach large, mixed-level classes.
In the past few years I’ve mainly taught private clients one-on-one, or small group classes with three to eight students max. I love teaching this way, mainly because I feel as if the class sequence can easily be modified to suit the students in the class, and I enjoy giving a lot of individualized attention.
Since I began practicing yoga at YogaWorks in Los Angeles, I’ve seen how this same individualized attention can be given to students in large classes. There are a number of incredible teachers at my studio that are able to seamlessly guide a class of twenty plus people while weaving in specific cues for everybody in the room. I’ve got a friend that teaches at The Bar Method and I remember that this type of individual cueing was an important part of her Bar teacher training, as well.
Since I’m currently shit at remembering names, I’ve got a clear step-one in front of me. I’ve got to carve out a special place in my brain. I vow to get better at remembering and using people’s names.
Eliminate the tongue-tie.
I’ve got so many teaching cues and body parts and imagery swimming around my brain at all times. The cues change and shift constantly depending on the body and the practice I’m teaching. When teaching one-on-one, I can do okay by-passing the cues by using touch and adjustment to help my students find the alignment and sensations I’m teaching. I think this is cheating on my part, and I can definitely learn to use my words more and better. Use my words more better. Yep.
As a student myself, the process of listening and following the teacher’s instruction is just as important as getting a hands-on assist, possibly even more so in the grand scheme of life and listening skills. Also, allowing my own brain to cue my nervous system and therefore my muscles helps me develop movement patterns that make their way into my posture and dynamic alignment off the mat as well as on. I want to share this ear-brain-nerve-muscle magic with my classes through my words.
In short, I need more practice verbalizing a lot of information calmly, clearly, and smoothly. Out of my mouth, into your ear-brain-nerve-muscle-practice.
Let’s be honest, getting a class in Los Angeles has not come easily to me. It hasn’t come at all. This isn’t helped by my relative immobility in this city (we currently share a car which is used as a daily commuter from 8:30 in the morning until 8:00 at night every weekday.) As mentioned above, my paltry 200-hour certification doesn’t wow the hiring managers of the one and only studio within walking distance (YogaWorks), and biking in West Hollywood has proven a bit too anxiety-causing to be a truly viable means of transportation for me.
Okay, I’m making excuses.
One way to stop explaining why and just solve the problem: involve myself deeper in the yoga community in my neighborhood. Get more training at one of the studios I want to teach my classes at. Become a better teacher in the process. Get regular classes on the schedule. Share my practice. Teach.
I love teaching yoga. I love teaching movement. I L-O-V-E teaching people to stop, relax and let go. I love yoga. I live yoga. It’s the thing that I do, whether we are talking about in my free time, as a means of employment, as my service to the world, as the thing that I’m best at, as what I most want to spend my time learning about, practicing, and sharing.
I need to teach. And not just one-off people (lovely, incredible people) who I wind up chatting with about yoga who are interested in showing up with me, one-on-one, and practicing (this can be daunting, no?) I crave the classroom, to apply my nerdy love of anatomy and imagery and help people unlock their own inner connections, open their awareness, and connect to their practice.
I’ve done a lot of research on what the next steps are in my career. Is it physical therapy? No. Acupuncture? No. Yoga therapy? Not yet. Is it teaching, teaching, teaching? Yes, yes, yes.
Group classes are the ground from which my future grows. As for now, my future is but a materializing vision that involves linking the allopathic, western healthcare practice and complementary therapies (massage, acupuncture, yoga, energy work, etc.)
Starting from the ground up…300-hour teacher training it is!
I start the bridge program on September 8, and it carries through the following 5 weekends. My 300-hour program runs February through July next year. I’m super stoked.