Reflections From Yoga Teacher Training: What Did We Learn?

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If you visited The House of Yogi (THOY) in June, you may have noticed some changes in the schedule. If you arrived to your practice early, you might have seen a studio strewn with binders, bolsters, and people in various stages of contortion or introspection. This was THOY’s summer intensive yoga teacher training (YTT) in its raw form. To the students and THOY teachers that allowed us into your space to observe or assist, we are so grateful.  For those of you curious about what YTT was like, I can offer you a glimpse of the experience.

It has been said that the best way to learn something is to teach it, and yoga is no exception. Many of us undertook YTT to improve our personal practices, and the program delivered. Anatomy lectures and posture clinics enabled us to see the asanas in new ways. As cohort member, Emily Stewart, remarked, “I now know the difference between abducting and adducting – so important!”

We also learned about aspects of yoga that we don’t have time to discuss at length in our 60-75 minute classes. Lectures on the eight limbs of yoga, the subtle body, meditation, dharma, sequencing, theming, business, and history provided new angles of inquiry for us. Our understanding will grow more nuanced with time, but at present we can teach with confidence and competence. Through YTT some of us began to see teaching as an immediate possibility rather than a distant eventuality.

I did not anticipate that the trainees and leads would become so close in YTT. The training required vulnerability and trust, and the people that shared that space became family. Leads had the delicate work of cracking open our hearts to let in the light, and they did it in such a way that all of us came out stronger. I have never been in an environment where individuality and growth were fostered with such love and non-judgement.

In addition to physical and academic aspects of training, YTT nurtured myriads of personal revelations for us. Prior to training, I was not able to see others because I couldn’t see myself. Self-study (svadhyaya) is not selfish, as I once believed. It is an act of generosity to oneself and others, a key component of a well-rounded yoga practice, and one of the five niyamas. After training, I have continued to cultivate my capacity to listen to my mind, body, and intuition. Through self-reflection, I can be present for family, friends, and students in a way that wasn’t possible before my training.

“Practice, study, rinse, and repeat,” is no longer my formal schedule, but my desire to grow continues. The cohort’s metamorphosis is a testament to the quality of instruction that we received and a reflection of those who chose to embark on the journey. All of us look forward to applying what we have learned. We may even see you in class in the future.

Angelina Phebus is a freelance writer, a purveyor of stories, and a voracious reader.  She is looking forward to using what she has learned in YTT to help people realize their gifts through consistent yoga practice, whether that is in a class setting or through writing.  Connect with her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/angelina.phebus), or check out her blog (https://angelinaphebus.wordpress.com/).

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