“Why does doing yoga by myself suck so much? This is what I was asking myself in my head for years. The yoga teacher takes the seat as the guide for a potential transformation. How can this be done most effectively for others to have the most potent environment to experience whatever it is they need in the moment? I believe it comes down to the importance of a daily practice for the teacher to create that environment.” This is how Matthew, one of my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training students, opened his essay. Read the rest below.
I have been so blessed and grateful for the opportunity to be the lead instructor for a 200-hour yoga teacher training (YTT), and to create Choose2be yoga school. It has been amazing to spend eight weekends with these 12 beautiful beings, like Matthew, and also incredible to have 15 different instructors to come and lead part of the training. It has been a really rich and amazing journey in so many different ways. The Spring 2019 YTT was the second YTT that Choose2be offered, and it already improved so much from Spring 2018 YTT. Stay tuned for details about our next 200-hour YTT, coming soon!
I am so humbled and touched that I got to support these amazing beings on part of their journey, and I’m looking forward to witnessing how life unfolds for them.
The importance of daily practice for teachers, by Matthew
Why does doing yoga by myself suck so much? This is what I was asking myself in my head for years. The yoga teacher takes the seat as the guide for a potential transformation. How can this be done most effectively for others to have the most potent environment to experience whatever it is they need in the moment? I believe it comes down to the importance of a daily practice for the teacher to create that environment.
With years as a beginner yogi and little experience facilitating groups of people in any regard, I needed to know that what I was bringing forward was valuable. What compass could I follow and what are my criteria? To facilitate an effective yoga class there are many moving parts. However if we are not progressing in our own practice how are we to guide our students to new places? In my experience, we teach what we need to learn most.
For years I have known the value of a daily practice – the benefits to my body, my mind and how to carry myself in the world with peace. Even with these intellectual realizations I had never been able to find a sense of joy in practicing regularly, or at all. Still exercising daily, I drowned my lack of yoga by training my muscles at the gym and building an aesthetic physique.
The realization to evolve my personal practice came down to this: once I had sat with myself long enough in silence, breathed through enough postures and felt an unfamiliar release of emotions I knew my body and heart was longing for something I had been unwilling to give it. Through my teacher training, the classes we were guided through affected me deeply, often leaving me in a brilliantly vast state of “thought-less-ness” where I was transported from the shackles of my mind into the ever changing beauty of the present moment. It was a slow progression, yet as the hard walls of my mind began to soften I could hear my body and my heart surrendering to the joy and discovery of the breath and the asanas.
What started as resistance to even lay out a mat transformed into a physical yearning to move my body in this unique way. What started as uncomfortable and unfamiliar is slowly becoming welcomed and celebrated. This discovery is what I must teach, because it is most authentically me. If I am to bring my best self, my best teacher, to the front of the room and show up for my students I must teach what I am. If I am not evolving my practice how can I expect my students to evolve through my teaching? Simply bringing a smorgasbord of poses on a list to the class to recite out loud is not my idea of teaching.
The word is embodiment, and if I am to guide people back to themselves through their breath and carefully selected sequential movement then I must embody my teaching – I must become it. If this sounds vague let me simplify: it is the difference between doing and being. I can put on my yoga teacher hat and recite out a series of poses or I can be a yoga teacher by developing my own practice and sharing my discoveries and experiences with my students through my classes. When I found the strength to surrender, I found the joy in the practice.
Matthew creates beautiful videos, like the one below, and he is also a talented photographer. Check out his page: www.facebook.com/yeomansphotoandfilm
And his website: www.yeomansphotoandfilm.com