Thursday, February 27, 2014

Yoga Teacher Training -- the first 100 hours

Since January 11th, I've been engaged in a Yoga Teacher Training course with Mark Stephens.  I've been doing yoga for almost 15 years and even though I love so many other forms of exercise, yoga is the one that I'd volunteer to share with others or teach yoga for  P.E. at the school, classes at family reunions, Young Women Camp, church activities, or in big gatherings with friends.  I just love how yoga makes me feel and it brings me joy to share it with others.

I started exploring yoga teacher training options several years ago, but there weren't any programs near where I lived.  So I bought a book by Mark Stephens called Teaching Yoga.  I knew that I would need more than a book to feel completely qualified to teach, but this was a start.  Just before we moved to this area 3 years ago, I somehow discovered that Mark's yoga studio in Santa Cruz was not that far from my house -- just about 8 miles away!  I told my husband that one of my goals upon moving was to take Mark's teacher training course someday.  Months passed.  Years passed.  I'd look into it occasionally, but I didn't see how I'd find the time to make it work.  7 weekends of at least 12 hours in class.

But something clicked last fall and I realized it was time to do it.  Part of it was a fear that this may not always be available to me.  One of Mark's teacher training courses last year was up in Oregon.  What if he traveled more and more and didn't offer it locally?  Or what if he moved?  Or what if the unknown? . . . When Michael Jackson died, somehow that taught me that not everything we plan on being available will always be available. All of those people who dreamed of going to a Michael Jackson concert and finally bought tickets, didn't get to go.  The opportunity wasn't a given.

So I talked to my husband, explained the time commitment and signed up.  It actually took me about a month to sign up because I was so scared to take that leap to do something that meant so much to me.  That may sound weird, but the excitement was hard to commit to.

Fast forward to now -- I'm 100 hours into the course.  I have learned far more than I imagined, yet with that, I now know how much I don't know.  We get to take In-Depth workshops with Mark for the next 3 months and then I will begin an apprenticeship, which sounds wonderful, too!

Santa Cruz Yoga Center

Just to give you a glimpse of some of the unexpected benefits I had from the start of Yoga Teacher Training, this was what I wrote on Facebook after the first weekend:

How do I love Yoga Teacher training? Let me count the ways!!
  1. I love learning about yoga for 6 hours a shot!
  2. I love practicing  yoga with such amazing instructors.
  3. Mark is a WEALTH of information!
  4. My body is getting stronger and more flexible faster than I thought possible.
  5. My mind is opened to so many new thoughts and philosophies that tie in so perfectly with what I already believe.
  6. I'm making new friends from such diverse backgrounds and places (one flew in from Greece for the course!)
  7. I'm doing something that slightly scares me every time I go, but I like that.  I need that.
  8. My children are having to learn to be a bit more independent without me here while I'm gone.
  9. I am learning anatomy and am actually retaining some of it.  I'll have to work on helping myself remember the terms, but I love seeing the connections to all the forms of exercise I've been doing for so many years.
  10. My husband rode his Vespa to come see me on my break -- so sweet to have a little date in the midst of it all.
  11. I am eating better because I want to nourish myself to be able to move like I need to, but I'm not overstuffing myself as I tend to do because I'm finding it doesn't serve my body well.
  12. I did traingle pose today for about 20 minutes or so while the class walked 360 degrees around me, evaluating my form and my body and I was somehow okay with that.  Pretty amazing!
  13. I finally made the connection in my brain of how to improve my triangle pose.  It's never made sense before when teachers have adjusted me in that pose.
  14. The yoga studio is in a very cool spot by a quaint french bakery in Santa Cruz where people flock to all day long.  It's fun to watch them gather and be so happy.
  15. I know that what I'm learning will benefit me for the rest of my life.

It doesn't get much better than that!


  1. Hi Renee! It's Beth (Toaster) from VF. I just kind of re-discovered your blog b/c I've been doing some shifting of my email accounts. (Speaking of which, I can't figure out how to subscribe to your blog in its new location--can I add you to my Blogger blog list, or can I only subscribe via email?)

    Anyway, I had forgotten that you went through YTT, and I had no idea it was with Mark Stephens--very impressive! Are you doing any teaching now? I am in a YTT program and have 3 weekends left in September/October. My teacher is Aimee Senise Bohn, who was once part of John Friend's inner circle (in fact, she was formerly married to Douglas Brooks, who is a Tantric Philosophy professor and helped Friend found Anusara Yoga). If you have any YTT wisdom to share, I would love to hear it!

    1. Hi Beth! -- That's so exciting that you're doing your YTT! I'll go look at my gadgets and add one so you can put my blog on your blogger list. I also have my website that is actually a Blogger account doctored up a bit to make it look less bloggish :) So I guess that will answer your question about me teaching now -- yes! I'm teaching vinyasa flow classes at a small nutrition counseling / small group fitness studio near my home 3 mornings a week and two noon classes. I'm also on Mark's studio's sub list and have taught there the past 2 weekends, which was really fun. Let's stay in touch and share YTT thoughts! I'd love to hear about yours, too.

    2. I just added a "Subscribe to" gadget, but I don't know if that's what you need. Let me know and I can figure it out if it's not.

  2. Hey Renee! I did figure out how to add you to my Blogger list; I'll have to add your other site as well. That is great that you are teaching! My fear is that I will finish YTT and won't be able to teach since I am working at my "real" job full time, but we'll see...definitely want to stay in touch!

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