Category Archives: yoga teacher training

Yoga pals forever

Last night four members of the Thrive Yoga Summer Intensive YTT got together at Yuan Fu Vegetarian Restaurant in Rockville for our first get-together. One member was excused because she was away at college and another one had gone to North Dakota for family matters. Two of us are actively pursuing our yoga teacher path, even if it means teaching a a fitness club or gym. The other two are stalling on completing requirements and assignments. We caught up on the details of our lives between the few classes we’ve shared since August. We acknowledged the thrill of expanding our yogic horizons. We firmed up our plans to see the yoga art exhibit at the Smithsonian.  We plotted how to move forward with our ambitions and dreams.

A good time was had by all. No pictures were taken for posting on Facebook to prove that this meeting actually took place, but we know it did. We remain convinced that that month of intensive sharing and learning was a milestone in our lives.

Photo: yoga class in Warrior II pose
Learning yoga in a class setting has become standard in the United States

I’ve added a new page to the DC-area section of the site: yoga teacher training in the metropolitan Washington region. It pulls together all the links that I have in the local pages into one place with some additional commentary.  With so many people exploring how best to deepen their practice and also pass on the benefits to others, I felt that there was a lack of useful information and convenience.  I welcome any feedback or additional information. Continue reading New resource page – yoga teacher training in Washington

Life eases back into glide

Photo: yoga trainee and mock class
In front of the class, I muster my will power and focus to get through the final practicum.

I had all kinds of plans to writing a bunch of entries about my yoga teacher training (YTT) at Thrive Yoga, but I got sidetracked by all the thing that had been piling up during training. Just sorting through the stacks of mail seem to take over an afternoon. I can see myself being swept up by the flow of life and failing to examine this experience thoroughly.

Plus, my son, Matt,  is moving to UC-Berkeley next week to get his master of fine arts so he is dropping off a lot of his stuff for storage while he’s away.  Which means that we have to shuffle our own stuff or donate older items to charity. Our burden of possessions takes over entire rooms. I think my son takes pleasure in reducing his life to two suitcases, a shoulder bag and a couple of boxes sent by mail to the west coast.

One of the prices of being a “renaissance man” (by which I mean a well-rounded man of many outbursts of curiosity, multiple interests, mundane chores,  and middling talents and intelligence to get them accomplished) is that the current crisis tends to get the upper hand on all the other agenda items. Today, a visit to the dentist and the resulting low-grade pain wiped me out for most of the afternoon.  And I get successive visits to my office by my wife to remind me that I owe her big time for her being a “yoga widow” for a month—and she’s right.

A hangover from yoga teacher training

Photo: by Michael Smith at Thrive Yoga
One foot forward

Well, not  a real hangover. I just had one small glass of excellent red Greek wine at a Greek restaurant called Trapezaria where we rendezvoused for the class celebration in Rockville. Since I had a light breakfast and had eaten only some fruit and nut bars during the day, I was starving by the time we sat down at the table. I wolfed down pita bread and dips (six options), and then dug into the entree. I even had room for a few spoonfuls of dessert. I plan on coming back to the restaurant soon because it has good vegetarian dishes, a must for my son Matthew.

Once at home, I felt as if I were some stock animal that had been overfed prior to slaughter. Too much food, too much variety. I also think I was dehydrated from doing yoga all day and not drinking enough water. I had worked late processing photos from the last day of class. My digestive system was working overtime well into the wee hours. I guess you can cause ahimsa (non-harm in Sanskrit) to yourself by overindulging (but I already knew that).

Several of my classmates said they were going to get together for one last session of morning yoga at Thrive Yoga, but I could not pull myself out of bed and slept in to 9:30.  I woke up aching and sluggish. I downed my first cup of coffee and contemplated my agenda. For the past month, I have given priority to yoga teacher training so many other tasks and family affairs were left undone or on maintenance mode. I have got my work cut out for my over the next few weeks just to catch up and then going into proactive mode in shaping my future.

Life gradually shifts back to “normal,” but I don’t think “normal” will ever be the same.

Career milestone as yoga learners (and instructors)

Photo: students and teachers of yoga training
Thrive Yoga 200-hour Teacher Training July Intensive (2013). Students and teaching staff. We’re so psyched to get past the milestone.

Today, the latest cohort of yoga teachers from Thrive Yoga passed the threshold of delivering their practicum (a 30-minute mock class). It may not have been the most demanding jury (classmates and teachers), but it sure felt as if we had leaped over a mountain. Considering that we began our forced march on July 9, we covered an enormous amount of yogic terrain. Two of my classmates completed all their requirements and got their certificates today. The rest of us have to complete the homework assignments and observe some classes.

I admit that I was one of the slackers because it required a lot of me just to absorb the daily practice and the YTT classes. I was lucky to have compassionate classmates and teachers who encouraged me after I had tied myself in knots during my first practicum. All of us laid bare a lot of vulnerability and self-doubt in the process of standing up as yoga practitioners aspiring to be teachers.  I am sure that the most heart-opening lessons will come as the experience matures and yields its fruit. It’s going to take time to process all this “stuff.”

As the only male in this group, all I can say is “You go, girls! Namaste!”

Specialty teaching in yoga school

Photo: a woman places hands on back of a supine yogini to help stretch out the spine.
An intense round of backbends needs to be counteracted with a release of muscular tension.

This is our last week at the Thrive Yoga teacher training July intensive. Actually, only four days. Our final activities are on Thursday and then the six students will go there separate ways after having shared yoga for 26 days.

I wanted to mention two teachers to highlight. who gave a two two-day intensives.  I guess you’d call specialists because no yoga studio is going to have the necessary expertise on staff  to present a well-rounded program. Thrive YTT also provides introductions to other specialties (chanting, pre-natal yoga, restorative yoga and Yoga Nidra), but they tend to be for a couple of hours or part of hands-on practice. We had a three-hour video conference with Zoe Morae on vibrational energy. Continue reading Specialty teaching in yoga school

Yoga teachers as rising rock stars

Photo: yoga class at Thrive Yoga
A wide-legged forward fold or Prasarita Padottanasana led by Suan Bowen

Each morning at Thrive Yoga‘s yoga teacher training (YTT)  participants join a 90-minute yoga practice led by the owner Susan Bowen or two other teachers, Sarah Wimsatt or Krista Block. Except for a few yin session that Susan gave as a change of pace, the classes have tested my yoga:  I’ve come out of the practice dripping in sweat, buzzing from the intense rinse cycle that my brain has been put through and feeling as if I had had an out-of-body experience. Just when I think I can’t go any deeper, I am led into new territory.

The physical practice is the number one reason I decided on YTT — I wanted to renew my hatha practice, increase my stamina, strength and flexibility, deepen my understanding of fundamentals and get back into my yoga groove that I lost when my parents died two and a half years ago. Continue reading Yoga teachers as rising rock stars

Photos – our first attempt at yoga teaching

The six of us participating in the Thrive Yoga teacher training July intensive lured a small group of friends and family to the studio on Monday afternoon to allow us to lead our first yoga class under controlled conditions. We each took a 20 minute segment that included pranayama, asana and awareness.

Photo: yoga class in Warrior 2 pose
Jenny St. Clair leads her sequence of poses, including Warrior 2, a pose that is a lot harder than it looks.

Some of our family and friends had never done any yoga before so they were challenged.

Continue reading Photos – our first attempt at yoga teaching

Book learning

Last night I was trying to catch up on my required reading for yoga teacher training, and some thing in Mark Stephens’s Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques:

But yoga is not a practice of attainment: it is an unending process of self discovery and self-transformation.

So the first intention is to become a self-discoverer and self-transformer, and then to become a facilitator and guide as a teacher. Although the Stephens book is supposed to be about yoga teaching, it actually is an insightful reference about a whole spectrum of yoga-related matters, including the underlying philosophy, history and practice.