Yoga Teacher Training- a Personal Story

Phew. Coursework in, exams passed and final essay submitted! As I sit down to write this I am finally done on the homework front (well, pending one more teacher report) and next week is our final retreat complete with closing ceremony!

It’s been one hell of a journey but I’ve loved every minute and I guess the first thing I should say is that if you’re reading this wondering whether or not to apply for the course – please do, it’s been genuinely life-changing and the best thing I ever did.

Back to the point though – Laura asked me this week if I’d write a blog post on my experience with BCY for the new website and so here I am with a little bit of insight into my journey…

I’d been practising yoga on and off since 2002 before I committed to my practice properly 4 or 5 years ago and it didn’t take long after this for me to decide I wanted to teach. Long story short (there’s plenty on this on my own blog if you’re interested), I changed up my entire life in the space of a couple of months – leaving my marriage and home – and started to question everything I’d ever known. Yoga was my saving grace really, it helped me find space to just be and was a literal calm amongst the storm that raged on for what felt like an eternity around me.

More than just this though, it was also central to my finding ‘me’ again…which made me think – if it could do this for me it could surely do it for all us people who somehow end up lost in the world. The desire to teach was borne.

My own teacher at the time actually recommended Laura and I duly went on retreat with her (very beautiful, in Dartmoor) to get to know her a bit better and, let’s face it, for her to establish whether or not she thought I would be a fit! After a blissful long weekend we decided yes and I returned home itching to get my application in. I still very clearly remember my excitement when I got the email to say I’d been accepted 🙂

The first weekend was an absolute whirlwind – new people, new environments and a tonne of new learning – but immediately I knew I was in the right place. I’ve said it so many times over the course of the year but it’s always felt like it was meant to be. Don’t get me wrong, it was a bit scary too the first weekend but I never looked back and right from the very first day have felt supported and inspired throughout.

It seems difficult now to separate out the various weekends but I know I always felt a small sense of sadness at having to leave on a Sunday evening and head off home – I think we all always just wanted a little bit longer in this wonderful yoga bubble we’d created! That said with dedicated whatsapp and Facebook groups we never felt far from each other – which became crucial as the assignments rolled in.

Ah yes, assignments. For most of us it’d had been a while since we’d had to tackle homework and it’s true that this can feel pretty daunting to begin with. But then you learn to go with the flow, realising that everything you need to do is as much focused on how the yoga teachings apply to you and your journey as anything else, with everyone finding their own individual way. Janie with her wonderful arm/elbow art, Ella with her pelvic floor demonstrations and Bronwyn with her anatomical foot socks are particular highlights from one anatomy weekend (I wish I had pictures…)!

Both practically and theoretically I’ve learnt an incredible amount in the last eight months and have read a massive long list of yoga books to boot. But not only do I know more, I’m a bigger and better person for it.
Plus, just by simple osmosis, most of the people around me know more about yoga now than ever before too! You could perhaps argue it’s more than they’d ever cared to know but a quick survey of them tells me it’s enhanced their lives too.

Finishing up then (I’m having to be strict – I could write reams about this experience) some little pieces of advice if you’re on/applying for the teacher training:

Be prepared to cry! Seriously – however little ‘stuff’ you think you’re carrying around with you, you are pretty much guaranteed to unearth it on one of the weekends. (And if this scares you just remember that it really is a very good thing and absolutely a part of the journey.)
Clear out any social engagements you had in mind over training weekends as your bedtime becomes akin to that of a toddler – this level of learning is exhilarating but also exhausting!
Know that most of your conversations both on and off the course are likely to start revolving around yoga – ask your family and friends to be patient (but secretly hope they get the bug too!).
Make space for adding some very special and like-minded people into your life.
Learn what it means to look after yourself – I’ve worked a full-time job alongside my training and though absolutely worth it, it does demand a lot of you.
Ummm….I mentioned being prepared to cry right? 😉

I’ve met people on this course who I’d love to think could be friends for life and I’ve learnt more than I ever thought I could learn. Most importantly though, I’m now (well almost!) a yoga teacher, and quite honestly (writing this is bringing tears to my eyes) that’s the best thing in the world.