Our interviewee today is Pete Cherry, who trained with us back in 2007. He talks about what let him to Yoga and becoming a Power Yoga teacher, the benefits of Yoga and offers tips for people that have an interest of becoming Yoga teachers.
What led you to Yoga?
I started practicing in 2003, I did a lot of touring as a musician and I found that sitting in the back of the van for long periods and weeks, I was peaking up back and neck injuries. It was a bit of unhealthy lifestyle: you don’t eat right, you are drinking a lot, you work late night. I wasn’t feeling particularly happy as I wasn’t physically well. My dad had a few back injuries and he told me about Yoga and gave me a book and that’s when I started to being interested.
What made you want to become a Yoga teacher?
I think there is a human curiosity about why we behave the way we do and what is going on at a deeper level. We all do the same thinks, we get up in the morning, we have fun; and I started to fear that they weren’t answering many of the questions I had about life in general. The more I started to practice Yoga and started to practice meditation the more I began to feel that I was asking the right questions. I was becoming more interested in the spiritual side of things.
The more I practice the more it began to feel right to me and I started to appreciate that maybe there is a bit more to life that what is expected. Regular practice keeps that interest and the feeling that you are being connected to things.
I was self taught for a bit; my wife taught me as she is a Yoga teacher as well, and she taught me into classes, and I wanted to try and take that development better. I practiced in Santa Barbara, America, with Eric Siphman. I found the whole thing quite fascinating, they way he projected that feeling in the studio. I learned the feeling that you should get into practice, I felt in love with it and started to feel that that was something I wanted to do and later on in 2007 I did the Teacher Training at the Power Yoga Company.
What do you find challenging as a Power Yoga teacher?
The challenge I find in being a Power Yoga teacher is getting across more than just the physical movements. Power Yoga instructions are quite fast and the movements are quite fasts too. Left foot here and right foot there; the challenge is to try and get across to people some of the philosophical benefits . The balance of moving very quickly and communicating what you want to say at the same time. If I practice a class and the teacher says nothing then it doesn’t feel right to me. I like to have that element in it.
How do the inspirational stories that you communicate to your students in your classes come out so genuinely and easy? Do you build that from your own practice or is it something you get from the teacher training?
It is a combination of things. To teach properly you have to be practicing regularly, that is important. There is a lot of reading you can do that will supplement what you do on your mat. I would recommend books about the origins of Yoga and about the history of Yoga and classical Yoga texts by the Yoga sutras; every Yoga teacher should read them because that enables you to have an idea of the culture in which you are teaching.
If you go to Yoga in your local gym, somebody might teach you that has no idea of the history of Yoga and what you loose in those classes is maybe the spiritual impact of the teacher. So as part of your training you should make your job to educate yourself in order to educate others.
Out of the three yoga benefits: physical, mental and spiritual, which one of them is the one that you find the best?
I like the way that my body feels when I practice, you feel strong and you feel light and I like that. I think they are equally important: your physical well-being leads you into the appreciation of the other two.
There have been times in my life that I have been unhealthy and as a result of that I was feeling unhappy. The more I practiced Yoga the more happy I felt and I began to start become more interested in the mental and the philosophical sides of them.
The real skill of Yoga is to try and treat the three of them as essentially the real thing, as you are able to train yourself and appreciate your physical body as part of something else.
- Don’t go into teaching Yoga thinking that you are going to practice a lot of Yoga. When you become a teacher you’ll find that the hours in the day that you can practice are less than they were.
- Try to be individual, make the class your own. There are a lot of yoga teachers and this is why you teach the kind of class that you would like to be taught.