Photo : Hatha Yoga Teacher Training Course, Paris August 2018
A Yoga Teacher Training Course is a new journey starting.
Wether you choose to attend a full month immersion or yoga course spread on several months, it will be just the beginning toward the understanding of the philosophy, the art of adjustments, learning how to teach and how to translate your practice to your futur students.
When I was practicing at Sarawasthi shala, I became the guinea pig of one new assistant. This assistant might have been practicing full primary and secondary series, however he has absolutely no clue on how to adjust. While I was in Supta Kurmasana, grabbing everything and feeling comfortable in my posture, this student had other plans for me. He wanted me to bring my legs behind my head.
However he did not have any notion on how to do it. Another more qualified assistant came to my mat and taught him. After 5 minutes in this uncomfortable pose, I asked them to stop. I was not here for being a study object but as a practitioner.
Even though I am not capable of doing the full secondary series, I know how to teach (not Ashtanga) and how to adjust. And where did I learn all of this? In a Yoga Teacher Training Course.
You have to start somewhere
Except those teachers, highly qualified and practitioners since the last 25 years or so, at one point of a yoga teacher path, you have to start somewhere. If your practice is well established, then there is no hurt of attending a yoga teacher training course.
Most of the teachers has start with it, there is no shame.
As for me, I attended 5 yoga teacher training courses, outside of my personal practice which is Ashtanga Yoga. I have learned from all of them, even from these who were not “that” good, there was something that I kept in my teaching.
One month yoga teacher training course versus several years
Infinite debate. I’ve done both and enjoyed the full month immersion. It is a very personal opinion. As a student I do believe that you improve faster during a full month intensive yoga course. If you are clever enough you will soon realised that it is just an apetizer and you will be hungry for more.
Since the Yoga Teacher training course is not promising to become “THE” best Yoga teacher, then I have no problem with it. During a full month of practice you will understand that the subject is bigger than life and hopefully will continue to practice and learn.
During a several year course, the level of asana practice is slightly uneven. As it is not an immersion some students practice on a regular basis during the gap of the next session, and some just don’t.
That is why the full immersion, is for me, the best recipe.
It all start from the asanas, then the asana will calm the mind, then the pranayama can take place and then we can start slowly going deeper into yoga.
Teaching a Yoga Teacher Training course
As a teacher there are many beautiful things happening.
The little “surprises” the “gem”. There are some students that you simply don’t hear during the full course, they are very calm and discreet. And when they start teaching, magic happens! That is one example amongst thousand of them. During a full immersion you can notice body, mind, practice changing. Practices are so intense, but in the respect of everyone capacity, that students start adjusting themselves while practicing. You can hear the breath flowing, movement connected, intention in the postures.
Whatever we can read or say about one month teacher training course, it can not hurt anyone. The level of practice is improving drastically, the level of understanding is evolving. The approach toward yoga becomes more holistic, the asana practice more organic.
Yoga is not only Asana practice
Of course, however we can not deny that the direct door to Yoga is the asana practice. So whatever the reason someone is coming on the yoga mat, the importance is not what he/she will be practicing, the main part is that this person is ON the mat to do something. Instead of claiming that no one is doing yoga but just asana practice, we should applause it, because at least they are not sitting on the couch eating chips and burgers….
Also for those claiming that yoga is not only asana, underlying that they know better, they should also know that the pranayama practiced after or before the asana practice, is just the technique on how to do pranayama but not the pranayama itself.
Pranayama is basically the stop of the breathing. What we are doing by practicing nadi shodana, bhastrika, brahmari and so on are just the preparation to the kumbakha.
To reach such level of yoga practice you need, as an individual, to live your life without any expectations, detach from anything, not in a capitalist world, not moving to much in order to save your prana toward Samadhi. Because the goal of the real yogi is Samadhi.
Therefore absolutely no one, living in the West (or even in the East) having friends, partying, drinking, eating, in a relationship, paying a loan, a rental, driving a car etc. is a “Yogi/ni”.
To become a Siddha (yogi) you should fix your Sadhya (objective), and your journey will be call “Sadhana” (Yogi with an objective toward is journey is a Sadakha). And how many people, how many teachers with who we are practicing are doing it? Few, little, probably none.
What we are doing currently, we are living our life adding a yogic flavour to it by practicing asana and pranyama. We can not practice meditation as meditation will come after following the 8 limbs (or the rule of Hatha Yoga), so better to stop judging anyone doing this or that, because basically we are all at the same level of practice.
Is reaching your toes in Paschimottanasana important to you, will it have any impact in your life. Maybe yes, because the day you will touch your toes in Paschimottanasana, you will be happy, therefore you will be spreading your happiness to anyone nearby.
When you can start touching people by your positive energy then the world you are living into is becoming better.
Only good things can happen when you are happy.
Flexible mind in a flexible body. As an individual it will be good for your, for your friends, your family and so on. That is enough ! No need to renounce anything if you are not ready, and no need to give a lesson to someone who is not doing “yoga” because since you are living in a house having internet and TV then you are not better than anyone.