As promised, I attended the info session/workshop for the 200-Hour YogaWorks Teacher Training today. I entered the studio and was greeted by Kate, who led the first class I attended at YogaBalance back when it was located on the second floor of a small building on Second Street in Manchester, NH; now YogaBalance has a beautiful, light-filled studio on Hooksett Avenue with a separate lounge, a changing room, and awesome bathroom sinks. Kate seemed happy to see me and made me feel welcome. I assumed most of the other attendees would be students of YogaBalance but I was in the minority. This made me nervous. How did these people hear about the training here? They must be way more practiced than me and serious about becoming teachers. As I set up next to an older man who was going through a series of warm-up poses, I really started to get psyched out. What am I DOING? I am not a yoga TEACHER. These people were actually searching for a training like this; I only stumbled upon this because it was mentioned in the announcements at the end of my last class.
Kate started the workshop with an actual yoga class in the YogaWorks style. Since I have taken her non-beginner classes before, I am used to her style of teaching. There is not much time for rest unless you, as a student, choose to honor that for yourself. All the poses she guided us through were leading to a revolved half moon, which was the crescendo of the class. I am very confident in my standing poses and my balance; my downfall is anything that is wrist-heavy due to overuse of computers. (I am sure that I have carpal tunnel and already have the signs of arthritis. More reason to practice!)
There was a moment where I 100% decided that this wasn’t for me. I was like, there is no way I can teach this when I struggle to do it myself. With that, I set myself free to just enjoy the class as a class. I kept my mind on my own mat and turned to my breath. I focused on Kate’s cues and didn’t pay attention to what anyone else was doing. And when we finally reached revolved half moon, I could sense the bodies around me toppling over while I was fairly steady. I kept pushing on the heel of my lifted foot and feeling it raise higher and higher. I had evolved in my revolve.
After the class portion, Kate led a Q&A. Class is in session for the better part of a Saturday and Sunday every four weeks for twelve weekends total. There is also homework – about six hours worth a month. And then, of course, there is a test. Wisely, Kate had a current student attend the tail end of our workshop to vouch for her experience. She is already teaching a class to her co-workers at her full-time job, so I’ve learned that you don’t have to actually be certified in any way to actually teach yoga – something to watch out for. Eloise was adorable – young, effervescent – but what I appreciated most about her was that she didn’t have a tiny dancer body. She was real, like me. I’ve had instructors of all shapes & sizes and one of the largest instructors I had was actually capable of doing the most intense stand-on-your-head poses, which I still cannot do. But even with these great mentors, I was having trouble seeing myself take this training because I don’t “look” like a yoga instructor. Where does that come from?
By the end of the Q&A, I was re-engaged with the course. Kate broke us into pairs and had us do adjustments on each other. I was surprised to learn that my downward dog was “pretty darn good”. (I always imagine it to be a mess because my wrists wail so loudly when I do it.) I actually ended up asking the most questions during this part and I could tell that Kate appreciated how seriously I was taking the experience.
In the parking lot, I met a former marine that had actually signed up for the course. He was undergoing a life change and was training to be a coach (I’m not sure what kind – a life coach?) and he had newly discovered yoga. He started to go into a spiel about how underrated this type of training is; I just kept thinking that he was hanging in the wrong circles – he certainly didn’t need to convince ME. And maybe that’s the point. It’s not just about the information that you learn while taking a class like this – it’s about the community of people that you do it with. He was a bit of a showman, but maybe he’ll relax when he spends more time on the mat and realizes that no one is there to impress anyone else.
And me? It really is a hell of a commitment. I am worried that I will regret the time investment since my end goal isn’t to teach. But maybe sometimes you also have to revolve to evolve.