In many ways, I am an unlikely yoga teacher. I have no background in dance, martial arts, or acrobatics. I started out with quite stiff hamstrings, with which I still work today. On top of that, as a Type-A personality, I’ve always had a hard time “letting go,” and the aspects of the practice that necessitate this release were hard for me. I definitely have days where yoga feels like a super-human challenge, both physically and mentally, but finding ease in my practice and learning to just let go on the mat has been an incredibly liberating experience.
I took my first yoga class in 2005, and for three years, I practiced Sivananda yoga. I discovered the Power Yoga Company when I went to a class with a friend who was curious to try it out. I was immediately turned on by the physically dynamic and vigorous practice, and I became a self-confessed yoga addict.
As I became more committed to a regular yoga practice, I realised what a positive impact it was having on my life. I am an archaeologist, so I spend long periods of time doing fieldwork for my research; I noticed when I was out of the country for 10 weeks last year how much I missed my regular yoga practice. When I couldn’t stop talking about yoga with my friends and family, I decided that it was probably time for me to find an outlet for sharing yoga with others.
The month-long course was an absolute joy for me, and even though I was physically pushed to my limits, I woke up every day wanting to get back on the mat and learn more. Our daily sessions with Stewart were my favourite part. Each afternoon, we would spend several hours with him, breaking down a pose or a sequence, discussing alignment, learning physical adjustments, and practicing teaching each other. Stewart is a wealth of wisdom about yoga, and I feel fortunate to have learned so much from such a knowledgeable and generous teacher.
I also loved our coursework in anatomy. Learning how our bodies function during the yoga practice was fascinating for me. A solid understanding of human anatomy is absolutely essential if you are going to be a safe and effective teacher, and learning more about our bodies also helped me to deepen my own practice.
I think the hardest part of the course for me was the first 3-4 days. Although I had been practicing yoga every day for several months to try to get into good physical condition for the training, I was very sore the first week. It was a bit of a trial-by-fire, but everyone bonded over our aching bodies and we helped each other get through. Luckily, the soreness subsided after the first week, and the challenge became as much about mental stamina as it was about physical endurance.
Now that the course is finished, I am delighted to be teaching at the Power Yoga Company—come check out my class on Saturday mornings! Of course, I am also continuing my regular yoga practice, and when I’m not on the mat, I am still pursuing my archaeological research.
The teacher training program is one of the best things I have ever done. The month-long course is physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding, and you need to be fully committed to reap the benefits of the program. That said, if you love yoga, it’s an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in the practice and learn more.