The first seven days of my Yoga Teacher Training was an intensive introduction ending on the Saturday with each of us taking turns to teach three rounds of Sun A and Sun B in a 108 Sun Salutations ceremony.
We spent the week delving deeper into the principles and philosophy of yoga, starting to teach each other straight away. Jumping into the deep end immediately meant we had no time to worry or feel nervous.
During this time we did a powerful 'Who Am I?' meditation and exercise, looking at the labels and boxes that we allow ourselves to be put into as individuals. It all started to help build up pictures of the true self and help find our uniqueness and voice as teachers. Being authentic and true to yourself as a teacher is so imperative - realising that whatever is real for you will resonate with the students who are going to connect with you as a teacher.
We have all gone to classes where no matter how amazing a teacher's practice or cueing may be, you simply don't 'click' with them. It can be anything from their tone, their teaching style or their connection to the spiritual side of yoga not resonating with you.
For example, most of the time, I tend to gravitate towards teachers with a softer edge (who are quite playful) that interject their classes with powerful quotes, thoughts or insights into yoga philosophy, chakras etc., and I tend to shy away from the more 'stern' teachers who don't connect as much to the spiritual side of the practice.
From the beginning of the course finding my voice as a teacher has been something that I'm constantly thinking about. Ensuring I stay true to my own style and also developing my voice, tone and presence as a teacher.
A really lovely exercise we did was to create a short story (3 paragraphs) about our spirit animal. This was to show that we are all capable of being creative, articulate, engaging individuals. It's a case of remembering this and bringing it out in class. My story was about Bob the Bun (my spirit animal is a dude!) which I'll post here at a later date if anyone fancies a giggle or insight into my animal loving brain!
The 108 Sun Salutations ceremony was something that struck a mixture of excitement and fear within me. Fear in case I forgot the cues, excitement to actually teach a large class.
When the morning approached, we all had a nervous energy about us. It was reassuring to all be in the same boat. We put our names into a bowl and were chosen at random to lead the class.
My name was called early on which was a relief. Stepping to the front of the room was pretty special. It was invigorating to know that only seven days into the course we had the opportunity to teach a room of over 24 people. The experience was really enjoyable and I was just pleased to have remembered the cues and my left from right at that stage!
On that point of fear and nerves. I watched an interesting speech by Will Smith which really struck a chord with me that I wanted to share. He spoke of the fear he experienced leading up to skydiving from a plane. He explained his fear and worry in the lead up to the jump: questioning why the hell he ever signed up to it! Those few moments as he was hundreds of feet up in the air, the door of the plane open, realising he had never been on a plane where the door was open were terrifying - he stepped up to the door, they counted him in on 3, and on 2 they jumped.
In those moments of soaring through the sky he realised it was the most blissful experience of his life. There was zero fear. He realised that the point of maximum danger is the point of minimum fear. The lesson for him was, why was he scared in bed the night before? What did he need that fear for? He was nowhere near the plane. Every point up until stepping off that plane - there's no reason to be scared. It only just ruins your day.
As Saturday drew to a close for us at the studio, we each shared a gratitude note to each other saying something positive about the other person. We all came away with a jar filled with 24 notes, with two to be opened each day until we next had class. A really beautiful and touching idea. Opening the notes daily was truly lovely and brought me so many smiles.
The more hours we spend together in training the more I can see the pieces of the jigsaw coming together :)