My Yoga Journey: Deciding on Teacher Training
I'm not quite sure when or indeed why I began to first consider doing a yoga teacher training. Not least of all because I had, and indeed still have, zero plans to become a full time yoga teacher.
But I do know that the thought was firmly planted in my head after I got back from doing a week of yoga with the Bodhi Yoga Academy crew. Sam (@samseesworld), Tina (@tinabock), Dana (@nolatrees). [Side note: if you don't know these girls - go check them out. I mean, right now. Each has a strong practice, and an even strong message. Body positivity, the power of ashtanga, the bravery of making your own path in the world. These girls are living it every single day.]
I had been following these girls on insta for a while, and had also been looking for a week's yoga retreat in the summer of 2016 a as little 30th birthday present to myself. Up popped their week in Italy and a plan was formed.
Except that it wasn't simply a retreat. It was a 50hr yoga foundation course. Hmmm. I did a little research, and asked Sam a couple of blunt questions. All of which boiled down to this; if I don't like the philosophy lessons, I don't have to go. This was a holiday to celebrate my birthday after all right?!
Anyhoo, scroll forward and I had a blast. Philosophy included. But most importantly, I got to hear their experiences of taking, and of teaching, teacher trainings. How lots of people that took them had no plans to become teachers. How it could simply be to further your own practice, or to learn about the other limbs of yoga not just asana. And all of that sounded like a pretty good idea. Learning is always a good idea, no?
So I started to keep an eye out for a course that would suit. Which meant an intensive (committing to 6-18 months of weekends was never going to fit into my life), but one that was short enough that I could take the time off from work. So 3 weeks max.
But scheduling aside, what was I looking for from this? As I said at the top, I had/have zero plans to be a full time yoga teacher. I truly love my non-yoga career, even though it's something I don't discuss here. So going into this, the goal was to learn more about yoga and to further my own practice. Which meant I was looking for a teacher to learn from who had the following:
1. An inspiring personal practice
If I have one strong opinion about yoga teachers it is this. Everything you teach must come from yourself. It's not that you have to be able to do every pose, but you have to have put the work in on whatever your path is. I wanted to learn from someone who had put in the work. And who continues to put the work in. Particularly on the things I love: strong vinyasa, interesting sequences, arm-balances, inversions.
2. A proper appreciation of the non-yoga world
Clearly, I love yoga. But 95% of my life is lived far away from it. I work long intense hours in a corporate environment. I eat meat, I drink alcohol, refined sugar and I are best friends. I can be mean and get short tempered. I like to buy and own nice things. I could go on and on about how non-yogic my life is, but you get the picture. In short, I wasn't quite ready to throw myself into full hippy-dippy yoga land, and I wanted a teacher who would understand that.
3. A teaching style that spoke to me
The saying goes that there are many ways to skin a cat. While the thought of that horrifies me, the sentiment is a good one. There are many many ways to teach yoga. But for most people, there are only a few of those ways which will work each one of us to learn. And these past 2.5 years have taught me that while I like to be pushed, practice is not a punishment for me. I want to learn hard things in a fun way.
So I kept an eye out.
And a few months later up popped a post on (of course) Instagram. 200hr yoga teacher training. 19 days. In the Czech Republic (an easy flight from London, and weather this Brit can cope with). Tick, tick, tick on the practicality side.
But what about the teacher?
If you don't know who Dylan is, I would suggest you check out his Instagram, or better yet his flows/classes on Cody before reading on. Videos are worth a thousand words, no? And you'll soon see that the three criteria above instantly had big fat ticks next to them too.
So in October 2016 it was done. But I would have to wait until May 2017 to do it. Never have I been more grateful to get a 7 month wait for something I was so excited for before. Because there was A LOT I wanted to work on. And as it would turn out, a lot I had to get through first...