Ever wondered what committing to 200hrs of yoga teacher training is really like? Here two PYC Academy alumni discuss their experiences, sharing the emotional and physical challenges they faced on their 200hr Power Yoga Teacher Training.
Considering things I hadn’t faced before – Molly Taylor
The idea that a YTT could be “life changing” was floated prior to me taking the course by a friend who had previously completed her training. If I’m being honest, this was met with much scepticism from me – I was really looking forward to exploring yoga philosophy and the depths of asana practice but couldn’t see how 200 hours of educational training could change my life.
Having now finished the course, I happily hold my hands up to say I was wrong. The practical knowledge gained was fantastic, but the richest experience was undoubtedly from the people I met. Throughout the training, everyone approached the learning with such sincerity and a strong sense of safety was created amongst the group. This safety meant many of our group, myself included, were able to be emotionally vulnerable, sometimes in quite a significant way.
“How could 200 hours of educational training change my life?”
This wasn’t without challenge, as opening up in such profound way can be draining. Coupled with the intense physical demands of long training days, powerful physical practices and hours of posture workshopping, I did, at times, feel completely exhausted.
The course also inherently involved a depth of introspection I hadn’t previously encountered – through the practices of pranayama and meditation we were required to look inwards and for many of us, consider things about ourselves we had not faced before.
Out of context I think any combination of these physical and emotional stressors could cause real turbulence, however within the YTT, the support of the group and emphasis on parasympathetic activation meant this emotional and physical challenge felt more cathartic than distressing.
On a YTT you should expect to work very hard, on all fronts, but also to find the resources to nourish your body, mind and soul. I can safely say that after three months of training and a million Chaturangas later, my arms are tired, but my heart is full.
Molly Taylor graduated from PYC Academy in Spring 2021. You can follow her here.
Molly believes her role as a teacher is to create a safe space for students to completely immerse themselves in their practice. Her classes are challenging, empowering and mindful of supporting all abilities. Students are guided to feel deeply into their bodies whilst finding a place of stillness in their minds.
If I can’t do it, how can I teach it? – Sam Jenkins
I signed up to PYC’s 200hr YTT for what I imagine are realistic, if predictable reasons: to change my knowledge and understanding of yoga; to deepen my personal practice; to learn to share something that has been so life changing and affirmative for me with others. If I stand back and look at my decision in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic, I was also there for a discipline, a community and to explore a deeper meaning in life at a time of global and personal uncertainty.
And I got these things, boy did I get them. Despite a (mostly) regular practice over several years my physical and mental limits were tested and broken repeatedly – being stuck in self doubt, not being able to manage poses, experiencing the imposter syndrome of “if I can’t do this, how can I teach it?”, sharing that with the group and being met with a safe space for doubts, fears and insecurities was at once physically and mentally painful, emotionally terrifying and wholly liberating – liberating because it was happening to all of us, no matter our “level”, and next time the limit was that both further away, for all of us. Being challenged to the core of who you think yourself to be by teachings developed over millennia designed to strip us back to the very core of our consciousness. Being humbled by the freedom with which both my teachers and fellow students shared their knowledge and experience.
“I was there for a discipline, a community and to explore a deeper meaning in life at a time of global and personal uncertainty”
And herein lie the changes and learnings that I hadn’t expected: That we all experience self doubt, but we can be present with it without succumbing to it. That the wisdom of yoga lies precisely in its ability to help us question who we think we are and to help us to move through this world with an outlook of acceptance, of ourselves and others. That in each of us there is both a student and a teacher, and that accepting both of those parts allows us to teach from a place of truth and humility and learn from a place of curiosity. That even chanting can be liberating if you approach it with openness.
Yes, I got the change I expected, I can now teach others something I love, and I can touch my toes. But I received so much more as well: a life time’s physical and spiritual practice, the liberation of joy and tears, a reconnection with my physical and emotional self, a new yoga family.
Sam Jenkins graduated from PYC Academy in Spring 2021.
Sam discovered yoga in his mid twenties, initially as a tool to manage the physical impact of endurance sports on his body. During an intense Finance & Start-Up career yoga became a safe haven in the storm, offering calm, release and movement in a life sorely lacking in those experiences. Focusing on the breath and physical sensations as they arise in the body, Sam teaches dynamic, accessible classes, guiding students inwards to their inner calm and strength.