Apparently, I’m now an Experienced Yoga Teacher! Not bad for someone who did a yoga teacher training with absolutely no intention of ever becoming a yoga teacher.
So why do it at all, you ask? Call it a flash of inspiration, if you will. I was in Bali, just about to have my 40th birthday. I was emotionally and physically exhausted and on a yoga retreat as an alternative way to celebrate my birthday. One day, out of the blue, the thought popped into my head, “I am going to train to be a yoga teacher.”
Notice that I didn’t have the idea to become a yoga teacher – oh no – just to do the training. At that point I hadn’t practised yoga regularly for about ten years. After a spell of four years after my daughter had been born when I was 26 I had had a regular weekly practice. Every Wednesday lunchtime I’d get out for an hour, away from my baby and my web design business, and do Iyengar yoga in the dusty, cold village hall.
As I turned 30 we moved back to the Midlands and I had tried to find a class that I liked but it had never quite worked out. For a few months I did Bikram yoga in Leicester, but I couldn’t get my head around the heat and the sweating and the shared showers afterwards.
There’d been the other odd class here and there, a few attempts, albeit unsuccessful, to get into Kundalini yoga when a friend went through the training, but that just put me in a bad mood.
I was turning 40 in Bali and as stiff as a board, not helped by the fact that I had taken up running and only indulged in a rather pathetic few minutes of stretching after every run. Not enough to make a real difference and certainly not enough to mean that doing yoga came back easily.
I don’t know exactly what promoted that thought, rising, unbidden, from nowhere. Maybe it was the peaceful studio, the sound of the gong. That space that yoga creates where it’s just you and your breath. Maybe I could feel my demons rising, my unhappiness and stress and misery, all coming to the fore. Perhaps part of me knew or sensed the journey that I was about to undertake and knew that I would need yoga in my life to get me through it.
I remember only an overriding sense that it was time to make yoga part of my life; a real part. Not a dipping my toe into the water, diving in and out, a class here and there, but a real commitment to the practice. I wanted to know all about it, to understand it, not just to learn the poses, but everything that went with it too, the anatomy, the philosophy.
I duly signed up and began a teacher training, and in a room full of students who clearly did want to become actual yoga teachers, I was out of my depth. Our first homework was to write about what kind of teacher we wanted to be, what our intentions were for the course. I wrote that I simply didn’t want to hate my body anymore and hoped that yoga could help me do that.
Months later, the mother of a friend asked me to begin teaching classes at her studio. God knows why I agreed, but I did, and so my journey as a teacher really began on 13th January 2015 when I held my first class for three students. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love; I could see that actually, I wasn’t as useless as I thought that I was, and I had learned an awful lot on the course and it felt wonderful to share that with students. Especially when they told me that they were enjoying it and could feel the benefits.
Four months later I added a second class. Five months after that a third. At some point, I added a fourth, but I don’t remember when that was. After one and a half years of teaching, I led my first workshop, a year later, my first weekend retreat. As my teaching grew, so did my confidence, and at some point I realised I’m not a bad teacher, not at all.
Now here we are, five years and eight months after my first class and I have ascended to Experienced Yoga Teacher (EYT). It doesn’t mean too much to anyone but me, it’s a level system used by Yoga Alliance Professionals, a professional body that offer accreditation and insurance to yoga teachers. Kind of a governing body. A teacher has to have been teaching for at least four years and to have more than 2000 hours under their belt. That’s me. I’ve done that.
I never thought I’d become a yoga teacher, much less that I would enjoy it, find out I am good at it, and make a solid business out of it. Using this new logo feels like a milestone, one I should celebrate and enjoy. Next one is Senior Yoga Teacher and for that it’s 8 years and 4000 hours of teaching, so that’s a long way off. I’m happy being considered an Experienced Yoga Teacher or ‘EYT’. If you’d like to practice with me then check out my Timetable.