Now that I've had several months to reflect on my experience of the Teacher Training program at the Simply Yoga School of Hatha Yoga, I feel better able to put into words the effect that this experience has had on me, both as a practitioner of yoga, and as a person. First, the personal aspect of the training program: I believe that, for me, the overall top quality that I took away from the 6-month program was a sense of quiet confidence in my knowledge and ability to learn and grow as a yoga teacher. I had recently retired from a successful 35-year career as a managing litigation attorney in a state Attorney General's office, and I did not lack confidence in my abilities to speak in front of an audience, to learn new and complex concepts, or to interact with students and peers. (I had also taught as an adjunct professor for 6 years at 2 law schools). But those work-honed skills were from another life, and I found myself with an immense dearth of confidence in my ability to learn and more importantly, to retain and to eventually teach, the asanas, the sequencing, and the principles of yogic history and philosophy which are at the heart of the science and art of yoga, and are so thoroughly covered in the TT program at SY.
Much of the material that was introduced in the first couple of months was vaguely familiar to me from my 9-year practice of various styles of yoga, but, and it's a big BUT, the depth of knowledge of the two lead instructors was awe-inspiring, and more than a little scary to me.
Let me emphasize that the emotional turmoil I felt at this time was in no way due to any interaction with any of the teachers, or with anything that happened at the school - it was entirely on me, from that little negative voice in my head that just got louder and louder.
"How am I ever going to live up to their level of knowledge and grace? What am I doing here anyway? What made me think that I could be a yoga teacher?" These and similar questions dogged me for the first two months, sapping my energy and confidence.
I was overwhelmed. I decided to drop out. Then, due to the persistence of Mindy and the two lead teachers, I was guided back, gently and slowly. I didn't have to take the program for credit, they said, just come and listen and watch. I didn't have to participate. I could be there, like taking an audit in a college class. What a gift!
The little negative voice in my head shut down, because there was nothing for it to criticize. I came back gradually, and the teachers could not have been more helpful, discreet, and accommodating. It took me longer to finish the program, but finish it, I did, and proudly.
On a purely personal note, my friends and family have noticed that I am so calm and relaxed, or 'serene' as my sister said. I have found that I am really ready to share some of the wonderful spirit and the gifts of practice that I have learned in the TT program. The confidence instilled in me is reinforced each time I "take" a yoga class at the local gym, the YMCA, and even at private studios here in Maryland where I live in the summer. Nothing and no one can prepare you better to be a teacher, in my opinion, than the program at SY.
On the topic of improvement/growth in my personal practice, both have been tremendously improved by the TT program. I took advantage of the included studio classes at SY, and tried different styles of yoga and new teachers at every opportunity. Even though I came to the program with a solid 9-year background of practice in styles including Kundalini, vinyasa, restorative, yin, and hatha, I was astounded to have my eyes opened so wide to the unique gifts offered by each individual teacher at SY, only because I was able to watch, listen, participate, and learn in the studio classes. I think that this 'bonus' feature of the SY program is arguably its most important. You can learn so very much by having that 'teacher training eye' in class, and you are learning by example every single day. If you are a teacher trainee student, or considering becoming one, I urge you to take as many classes as you can stuff into your schedule during the training time. I found that these classes were an invaluable part of the learning that I experienced during the program.
Maybe I will have the pleasure of meeting you one day at Simply Yoga. I hope so, and I hope that you will be pleased with your growth at the end of the TT program. It is an experience like no other, and so very worth every bit of effort you put into it!