Yoga Teacher Training

by Sarah Spear

If someone had said to me three years ago that I wouldn’t just be working at RHY behind the desk, I would be teaching yoga myself one day, I would have thought them to be totally batty, passed them a coconut water with a benevolent smile and had a good inward chuckle to myself. However, here I am, nearly a year after completing my training, doing just that, teaching yoga and yoga teacher training has been one of the best things I have ever done.

About 2 years ago I started to seriously consider doing a Teacher training, I wasn’t sure if I would actually use it to teach, I just wanted to further my knowledge and understanding of Yoga. My own practice has its limitations like anybody’s. I am not naturally flexible and have to really work on getting the most from my practice, I have learnt though, it is ok to not have the perfect practice, it doesn’t matter if you can’t do flash arm balances, it’s not about what you can’t do, it’s about what you can do, we all have a practice, at whatever level.

After asking lots of questions, to all my yogi friends at the studio, about where and how they trained, with whom and what experiences they had had. I decided to take my 200hr TT with Jason Crandell, a San Francisco based teacher, running the course at Triyoga Soho, in vinyasa yoga, focusing on power, precision and mindfulness.

Jason had come very highly recommended by most of our teachers and I followed his classes on Yoga-glo, so it just felt like the right choice for me. It also made a difference to me that the teaching was in London, as much as I would have liked to have backpacked across the Himalayas to spend weeks in India to train, with a family it just wasn’t practical.

My course ran over August in 2014, with 6 o’clock starts to catch the train and getting home 13 hours later, 6 days a week for a month…and I now truly know the meaning of intense. I had spent two months prior to that getting in the best shape I could, to try and prepare myself and doing a 30 day challenge which finished 3 days before my training was a great help to improve my strength, stamina and flexibility for the endurance challenge which was to come.

The course involved 2 practices most days, most up to two hours long, training on anatomy, history, philosophy…and of course teaching, and teaching is so different to actually doing. Just because you know how to do the pose doesn’t mean you know how to teach the pose let alone a whole class. One of the biggest most obvious things to get used to in teaching, is the sound of your own voice, for 60,75 or 90 minutes generally no one says a word but you, that took a little getting used to, and I am a lot more appreciative of my vocal chords, than I ever thought I would be.

After qualifying and getting that certificate that said teacher was a very proud moment, but then what? Do you just walk into your own class the next day? Working in a yoga studio obviously has its benefits, but I had to earn my wings as a teacher to the studio the same as any new teacher asking for work would do. Preparing and teaching a demo class for Clarissa to start, and from there I was allowed to take a 10 minute section of fellow teachers classes, my patient and generous friends, allowing me to hi jack them or to just sit in on class and observe, take notes and learn, there is always more to learn with the subject of Yoga and having experienced mentors are an essential part of the learning experience. I was also given the advice by my teacher Jason to create my own class where I could. Investing in 12 yoga mats and blocks and straps and a couple of mobile bags to lug it around means I can teach anywhere.

Once qualified I sent out a CV to local gyms where I live in Hampshire, and straight away I was asked to cover a Yoga class, and I was really lucky, they liked it so much they gave me my own class. I have a lovely group of mixed ability yogis who come along every week, and there is nothing more humbling. Teaching them, and my own regular class on a Saturday evening at RHY, couldn’t make me happier. I love teaching, and want to learn more to become a better teacher, so much so I am doing my Yin teacher training in October and just cannot wait.

So if you are thinking about Teacher training, would I recommend it? Without a doubt it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made, and nearly a year after qualifying as a Yoga teacher, I haven’t looked back.

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