Saturday, 31 January 2015

Yoga Teacher Training Week Four

Four weeks, 200 hours of classes, a lot of laughs, a crazy amount of yoga, three assessments, too many chaturangas, a few tears, two Bountys, 1,000 Oms, a truck load of veggie curry, 100 litres of ginger tea, a couple of bindis, 30 Indian sunsets, a group of beautiful new best friends later, and I can finally say that I'm a qualified yoga teacher!!! I am a qualified yoga teacher. WHAT?! How crazy is that? I think it's going to take a while to sink in!

This week has been a challenging one and I wouldn't have changed a single second of it. I've pushed myself in my practice, in my meditation, and in letting go of expectations (finally!), and it really has paid off. I've tried not to be as hard on myself and to accept where I am in both my practice and in life off of the mat, and by trying to do that just for a week I'm already feeling stronger, happier, and more ready for the next steps in life.

One of my final assessments this week was teaching an hour long Ashtanga based flow class to a group of my fellow teacher trainees. It was a pretty daunting prospect as they all knew exactly what each pose should look like, how it should be instructed, and how to pronounce the Sanskrit names for each pose (well, supposedly! We all struggled with this! Try saying Savasana and Svanasana and let me know how you get on...). The theme of my class was heart opening, and again this was pretty daunting as I was really opening up my own heart to share what's going on in there with my class - I felt pretty vulnerable, but it was me and I was honest so it felt like the right thing to do. We all suffer pain and heartache, and it can be so easy to close our hearts to life and love, but really what good does that do? An open heart can be filled with love and happiness, and in my experience the more you receive the more you can share with others, and sharing love and happiness with your fellow human beings is one of the most amazing feelings in the world. The class focused on poses which physically open the chest area such as wheel and camel, and I encouraged my students to work with their breath to inhale positivity and to exhale everything that no longer served them. I was really quite nervous delivering the class, but my students were amazing and gave incredible energy throughout the sequence. I closed the class with a restorative Savasana and a quote about perfect love from the Bible (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 for anyone who wants to take a look).

The feedback I got from the class blew my mind. Everyone was so encouraging and supportive; it was a truly humbling few minutes hearing what they all had to say. I also got some really amazing feedback from the assessing teacher - Magda - who is the most inspirational yoga teacher out there. She really knows her stuff, and so when you get praise from her it's a really great feeling. She said that she felt happy to relax and to just let me lead the class, and that she'd be really happy to come to one of my classes! It was incredible to hear. She also gave some really constructive feedback on things to work on which was super helpful, and I now feel confident enough to come home and to share my newfound knowledge!

We also had two written assessments - one in philosophy and one on anatomy and alignment. They were both challenging but I surprised myself and knew more than I thought I did! Philosophy was totally fine - if you read my last post you'll know that everything is Om so that's all we really had to know ;) And then somehow I managed to get 100% in anatomy and alignment, so anyone who practices with me can rest assured that you'll be 100% correctly aligned and I can fill you in on the muscles that are working in the poses!

So I passed all the assessments and have my certificate to say that I am qualified to teach Ashtanga and Vinyasa based flows (still can't believe it!), but it isn't necessarily all the "yoga" knowledge that I'll remember most about this whole experience. One of the most invaluable things I've learnt is how to spend time with myself, and through spending time with myself I've learnt that I really am stronger than I thought I was. As our teacher Upendra has told us time-after-time "you are the bliss" - bliss is inside of you, you just have to take some time to be with yourself to discover it. I think it's about acknowledging that happiness is a choice and that happiness really is in the hands of each individual.

Happiness is also easier to achieve when you're with happy people, and that's who I've been with for the last four weeks - the most happy, amazing, beautiful, encouraging, loving, inspirational people you could ever imagine. My fellow yogis and yoginis here at the Yoga Village have really made this whole experience more than I could ever have hoped it would be. Some of them are most definitely friends for life and I am confident that we'll continue to support and inspire one another in our lives and yoga careers for years to come. Thank you Kranti family, you are all beautiful and I am so blessed to have met you! You've also introduced some amazing new words into my vocabulary ;)

The only sad thing about becoming a yoga teacher is that it's now over, and tonight I'll be flying the nest! For the next two and a half weeks I'll be travelling around Southern India, but as soon as I'm back I'll be more than ready to begin sharing everything I've learnt here and I really can't wait to spread the love! So until then remember:

1. Open your heart to love and happiness - you never know what's around the corner...
2. You really are stronger than you think
3. You are the bliss and happiness is in your hands
4. Surround yourself with people who will support you and love you exactly for who you are

So I'm off on a little adventure (bring on the 14 hour train journey to Kerala tonight!) and won't be online much for the next few weeks - it's time for a tech detox! - but if you want to check out any photos from my course then follow my Instagram: lucyvictoriajackson. If you'd like to book in any yoga lessons with me when I return, or if you've got any questions about yoga, the course, or just want to say hi then please do drop me a message and I'll reply when I have a little internet session on my travels.

I've really enjoyed sharing this experience with you all, and hope that you've enjoyed reading the updates (sorry if I crossed a line with the "contract the anus" story from week three!), and this certainly isn't the end of the journey... I've got so much more to write about and will be continuing to write posts about yoga, health, fitness, lifestyle, well being, beauty etc when I return home. Thank you so much for all of your support, it really means so much - special thanks to my family and friends who have supported me unconditionally and lovingly on this journey. You make me who I am today and I am so blessed to have you in my lives.

So until next time, live the life you love, love the life you live. Namaste y'all!

Love Lucy x

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