We are ambassadors in this long line of teaching
Our second time doing the sequence without visuals – it was great except my hamstrings paid for it a little as I ran to class.
Yoga London teacher Jo took our Saturday practice with the help of Chris and Anna from my course who led different parts of the exam sequence. They all did amazing and it made me think, if my course mates could lead the room then so could I.
How to Sequence
For the remainder of the day, we were joined by Yoga London teacher Lucinda, who helped breakdown the art of sequencing. It was a fantastic afternoon and afterwards I had an ‘ah ha’ moment as one of my concerns had been addressed – how do teachers remember their sequences!? Luci recommended as a top tip changing only 20% of our classes each time, that way it won’t feel so overwhelming devising and remembering everything.
First we brainstormed different warm-ups and then had time to put together our own Vinyasa flow class and test it on our mat. We then discussed how important the language we use is to create a non-competitive environment for our students. The linguist in me thought from a neuro-linguistic perspective, choosing to include the words ‘tension’ or ‘tightness’ could emphasise those feelings for my future students so I’ll be replacing those with ‘open’ and ‘lightness’.
Today was my turn to assist during morning practice along with course mates Fi and Gilda. Our course director Jonathan surprised us by asking if we could put together a 15m warm up before taking the best part of the class! It was nerve-wracking being put on the spot, however there wasn’t time to doubt myself so I just went for it. The class was interwoven with Jonathan instructing partner poses to Christmas tunes – so much fun!
I was genuinely excited to teach today and received lovely feedback from my peers including that I teach from the heart. If I can take that with me for the remainder of this course and beyond I’ll be delighted.
The Science of Yoga
Ayurveda lecturer and practitioner, Tarik Dervish joined us that afternoon to talk about this ancient health management system. Originating in India, the practice of Ayurveda serves to establish good health and wellbeing by natural means and has been around for 5000+ years. I was really excited for these lectures, knowing a little about the subject already.
He introduced us to the concept of Doshas, or body-mind constitutions. In Ayurveda, we are made up of three:
Space + Air
Water + Earth
Tarik gave us a questionnaire to reveal which body type we were asking us everything from the quality of our sleep to the texture of our stools! Here’s an example questionnaire from Ayurveda Pura to determine your Dosha which you can try out here:
Ayurveda says through understanding a little more about our bodily make-up, we can optimise our health and wellbeing. For example, my primary Dosha was Pitta so Ayurveda would recommend I consume less fiery substances or spices – which is hard because I love them so much! Anyone who knows me will tell you I have withdrawal symptoms if I don’t have at least one curry a week…We then finished by talking about the importance of diet and lifestyle choices for our unique body constitutions.
When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use.
When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.
– Ayurvedic proverb
With my training drawing to an end, I’ve started to think about what it will be like after I qualify and how much I’m going to miss the course. Until then, I’m going to savour every minute.
Over the Christmas break, I tested the exam sequence on my Yoga teacher and it felt so natural. She thanked me very much and was really relaxed afterward so I knew I’d done a good job!
On Boxing Day I treated my Mum and brother to a yoga class which they thoroughly enjoyed. By Savasana, they were in fits of giggles hearing my Dad creep around the flat trying not to disturb us. Five minutes later, they were still uncontrollable, one setting off the other. It made me think how Savasana can elicit releases of all kinds – in this case, hysterical laughter.
Sandra opened our first class of 2019 encouraging us to do whatever feels comfortable. It was a lovely practice with an upbeat soundtrack. Ian and Abi, Yoga London Apprentices and 500-hour students, were also there for fabulous adjustments and guidance when needed.
Ian and Abi have been a great support since the beginning. As they both completed their 200RYT with Yoga London, they’re able to relate to our experience. Typically, apprentices accompany the majority of your weekends so there’s always an opportunity of checking in on your progress and getting advice from teachers who are still relatively early on in their yoga careers.
After practice, Ian led a lecture about the business of yoga and what our ‘Dream Life’ would look like as yoga teachers with some handy tips on going it alone and approaching studios. It got me thinking how it would be great to start with two classes a week initially and see how things go from there.
This morning, classmates Phoebe, Shareen and Lavinia led us through our exam sequence and did wonderfully. I especially loved the phrase Shareen used ‘create space and fall into it’, which I’ll definitely be using!
After practice, Sandra spoke to us about the origins of yoga touching on yogic philosophy. She introduced us to two schools of thought (Vedanta and Samkhya) and explained how modern yoga philosophy tends to combine many ideas together, which can at times be contradictory! It was nice thinking how we as trainees are responsible for the continuation and direction of its growth like new buds on a growing tree.
Yin and Yang
After getting all deep and questioning if we have souls, Abi brought us back down to earth with a lecture on sequencing from Restorative to Power Yoga classes. The brilliant thing was having time to create our own sequences and play around. I’m a huge fan of restorative yoga and can’t wait to add this string to my teaching bow! I thought back to a Yin class I’d attended two weeks prior and thought how perhaps it wasn’t such a great idea for there to be two arm strength poses in a row seeing as my arms were on fire after being in holds for a total of 16 minutes – not so restorative!
Sandra then took the last lecture on how to create a 6-week beginner’s course. She gave us sound advice from structuring our content and introducing themes. We then had time to put together a class plan and, with Yoga London’s template you can’t go far wrong:
Breath + Small moves
That evening, I put my restorative sequencing ideas into practice as my other half complained of a shoulder ailment. After I gave him a mini class, he said I was like a pro with my instruction and he felt a lot better.
Sandra led a tough morning practice with the help from course mates Violetta and Tillie. They pretty much taught Sandra’s sequence and did a cracking job! Afterwards, we revisited our discussion on the business of yoga and considered best practice when we go out into the world. I loved contemplating how we are ambassadors in this long line of ancient teaching and how yoga doesn’t stop when you get off your mat…
Yoga equipment was one of the areas we touched on and, by coincidence, my wonderful teacher (who sadly is moving away) texted me the same day offering me all of her mats, blocks, and straps – WOAH! When I saw her message, I went from thinking freaky to feeling extremely grateful and how this gesture reinforces how this path really is meant to be.
That afternoon we had two hours of teaching practice in pairs. This was a great opportunity to test the exam sequence in its entirety, making sure we stuck to the exam criteria. My partner Alex went first and was awesome! In my practice run, I lost my way a few times and forgot Upward Plank Pose (Purvottanasana).
Afterwards, I received constructive feedback including revisiting an adjustment and keeping an eye on timings as I was 1m over in the first section, increasing to 3m by the third! The great thing is having two weeks to practice before another dry run ahead of our practical exam.
Practice makes perfect
After nearly four hours of physical practice today I was ready to rest. With two weekends to go, I’m really getting excited about teaching and my development so far – I know I can do it! I just need to keep up the practice (with a firm eye on the time) and I’ll get to the finish line.