It has begun!
My formal yoga teacher training has started. The first of 16 modules over the next two years was this past weekend. What a whirlwind of information and excitement to begin. From mudras to chants to highlighting the first yoga asanas. Yes - there are three fundamental seated asanas. Who knew?!
Now I do!
Where to begin? What to say?
Here is a Coles notes summary of my take always:
1. Chanting. Say what? Yes, chanting. This was very new to me. It hasn't been part of my regular practice but I am aware and have listened to Krishna Das in the past. Incorporating sound in practice, beyond the a teachers' voice, was a soothing and calming part of practice. Almost felt like church, but not really. We started the workshop with the Teacher-Student Chant/Mantra, which was so lovely. It heightened the senses and really settled the mind. Totally new to me, as I said, but lucky that another teacher-to-be asked to go over it in more detail. We practiced together multiple times.... Needless to say, I will need more time with this!
2. History. I've been craving an explanation of history for a while now. Now this was no University level history class but it did fill in some of the gaps in my mind. Interestingly enough, yoga has Aryan roots from the Indus Valley Civilization. It didn't reach India until later (I had always thought that is where yoga began!) The modern practice of yoga comes from the Himalayas and has been passed down from sages to aspiring teachers.
To put in a sequential order for me, it goes from Vedic era to pre-classical to Classical to Modern (post 1893). Asana practice has only been over the past couple of hundred years!
3. Major Texts. One of the major texts of yoga is Hatha Yoga Pradipika. In this text, only 84 poses existed. Of those, three are seated poses. We covered Siddhasana (accomplished pose; sage pose), Simhasana (lion pose) and Badda Konasana (bound angle pose; cobblers pose). Funny enough, Simhasana was the one asana I volunteered to teach. Not many participants had done it before and since I had, I felt confident that I could explain it. It went well as my first try at teaching. I concentrated hard to keep my words succinct and calm, which is a bit different from teaching exercise classes. A great chance to try it!
4. We covered another handful or so of poses, mudras and pranayama. Much more than I can add into one blog post. But very important information to absorb and reflect back on (so much so that I purchased three books off Amazon the next day!)
My intention and hope is to continue to blog my highlights from all and every training I will be doing over the next couple years. Nothing like stopping and reflecting and writing about ones learning.
Anything I may get wrong, or you know about, PLEASE comment below!
I know I say this often but it is so true...so much more to learn!
No. My baby did not walk at 6 months. The baby steps are referring to me!
It happened that the Yoga Association of Alberta (YAA) was open when I was in the vicinity this week. I've longed to own my own yoga bolster and could never just ask for one for my birthday or Christmas. So, I thought, why not just buy one for myself today?
Turns out, I bought more than just that....
Its been pretty clear to the blog's readership that I want to be a yoga teacher. Uh, duh!?! The title of the blog makes it obvious. Yet, how well have I communicated it to the right people? The people who could actually make my journey complete by certifying me as a teacher.
NOT AT ALL.
When I actually said it out loud at the YAA office, it occurred to me that I'd never talked about it (seriously) with them. It was refreshing to announce my little known secret in their office. Almost like this journey is now official! This blog isn't promoted nor do I really share it far and wide. So putting it out there made me feel a little lighter.
Turns out, I bought a YAA membership and had a lengthy conversation about the teacher training program, learning that it might be advantageous to register now and slowly work on it. It takes a minimum of two years...what the heck have I been waiting for? My life currently works around diaper changes, naps and story times, so why not formalize the preparation I am doing anyway?
And so, I walked out with a new burgundy bolster, two foam blocks, two past issues of the YAA newsletter, a teacher training brochure, and a membership.
It was very fitting and aligned well with the message I received at my yoga class this week. Bonnie, my teacher, passed out these little cards, dropping one on each of our matts during savasana, which open like a pull tab lottery ticket. It was like receiving a yoga fortune cookie.
I might just be taking the next step...waiting to hear back from the certification coordinator. Is it the time to formalize my trainings?
Postscript: Finding time to write and practicing yoga are two separate entities. The former is not happening as much as I like but the latter is. So my journey will be documented but it may be just a bit slower during this time period!
As I search for my own practice and work towards sharing yoga with others, it is interesting to hear what the journey looks like.
This video is a sample of two teachers' perspectives on how to do it from their points of view.
Sounds like a commitment that I won't be able to make in my current life situation. But it does give pause to the purpose and mission of my blog - continued learning. I try to explore all angles of yoga and I know I don't exactly have it mastered by any means but each week I learn at least one new thing.
If anything, this video has shown me that I've got to explore the lineages more as I quite frankly know nothing about them. It sounds like there are many and finding the right fit takes some time and reflection.
One step at a time. Isn't it about the journey anyway,
This past weekend, I attended a conference, Alberta CSEP Perspectives in Exercise, Health and Fitness Conference, specifically for my exercise physiologist designation (CSEP-CEP). We discussed professionalism, becoming a licensed healthcare profession, and how the accreditation currently is the gold standard for qualified exercise professionals...among other things!
I started to think about
"what is the gold standard for yoga certification?"
The most common thing I've heard about yoga certification is that it is based on hours. From what I know, most certifications are either 200 or 500 hours. I'm unsure what the difference is other than the obvious time dedicated to becoming certified. Can anyone pipe in on this?
The other outstanding part of becoming certified, is who do I certify with?
Honestly, I'm a big supporter of quality education particularly because your knowledge translates into how well you can instruct others and quiet frankly, keep the public safe. The most obvious way to become certified is to look at the type of yoga I want to teach and then explore who is best suited to provide this education. It seems that most types of yoga have commonalities such as poses or asanas but there are also clear distinctions. The different types of yoga instruction is beyond this post (I guarantee it will be a post one day...it's on my checklist to find out about all forms of yoga!) but needless to say, knowing the difference is key to certification.
What I know now is....
The following organizations and/or business in Alberta and Edmonton offer some form of certification:
Yoga Association of Alberta
Mount Royal College
Lotus Soul Gym
Yoga for Today
AFLCA - Mind/Body designation
There is also the Yoga Alliance of North America which might be an international certification. As well as YogaFit, the fitness focused certification.
If I were to harbor a guess, my path to yoga teaching would start with a Hatha 200 hour certification then on to the 500 hour course. I'm very interested in the yoga therapy program at Mount Royal College as I it would complement my current work as an exercise physiologist. That's what I think for now...
If you know more, please send me your thoughts and expert opinions! Comments below are most welcomed!!!
I've got more research to do to find the gold standard! I'll keep you posted on what I find.
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.