200 Hours of Yoga

200 hours of yoga in ten weeks. That is A LOT of yoga. I guess it wasn’t really 200 hours of YOGA because it was actually Yoga Teacher Training and some of that time was lectures and such but 200 hours were devoted to yoga over ten weeks and that was a lot of yoga.

How did I find myself in Yoga Teacher Training. Funny you should ask. To answer the first question I always get, No, I don’t want to teach yoga. So what was I doing?

Over the summer I got serious about yoga. I increased my running and needed some major cross training. I had been going to yoga during the spring, but had two months off over the summer and started taking ten classes a week. It was awesome. I was in a zone. The studio I was going to, Yoga Tribe in Huntington Beach, had a summer challenge of 92 classes and that motivated me to attend so many classes.

Yoga Tribe is a hot yoga studio and offers three different types of classes. The Dayton Method is very similar to Bikram Yoga and has a series of 28 postures performed in the same order in each class. There is a 60 minute or a 90 minute class. I started going to this studio off and on about three years ago. When I first started they only had the Dayton Method and I would go to the 6am class once a week. Eventually they added 60 minute Warrior Flow classes and these were vinyasa yoga classes. Vinyasa Yoga is a breath with every movement style of yoga. Each yoga pose flows into the next with the breath. I tried out these classes and loved them. They were not as hot as the Dayton and each class was different. Yoga Tribe started offering a 5:30am class twice a week and I switched over to Warrior Flow classes. I started taking a restorative yoga class on Sunday night and it was fantastic! Eventually the studio switched it over to something called Yin Yoga and I went to a few of those classes. Yin Yoga is very passive and you hold positions for 5-7 minutes. Almost all poses are seated poses but you feel them! When I was taking all those yoga classes in the summer, there were two days a week when I would take a 5:30am and 5:30pm Warrior Flow class and then a 7pm Yin Yoga class. I felt great.

In these classes there are studio announcements at the end of class and I kept hearing about Warrior Flow Teacher Training. I had been taking classes from the yogi who was teaching Teacher Training and she is one of the best yoga instructors I have ever had. For weeks I would hear these announcements and they would wash over me. Then one day I was in her class, Shannon Kasoff is her name, and she said something that grabbed my attention. She said, “If you have ever wanted to learn more about yoga and alignment and how it relates to your body, teacher training is for you”. I am not sure if that was word for word what she said but all of a sudden I was interested. I really did want to know about yoga alignment and how it related to my body. I wanted to be a better yogi. I talked to Shannon after class about some questions I had and let her know I didn’t want to teach but was interested in learning more about yoga. She answered all my questions and the next day I signed up.

The first weekend of training I thought I had made a mistake.

As I sat through orientation on Friday night it started to dawn on me that this was after all, Yoga Teacher Training, and if I really didn’t want to teach yoga, this might be a bit of an overkill for what I was looking for. I was training for a half marathon and on the first Saturday morning of training I got up and ran eight miles and then went to my required 9am yoga class and then had class/ training from 11am-4pm. I slept during our break and was exhausted by the time training ended on Monday night. Not a good way to start the first week.

This teacher training was designed so people could work and attend training for ten weeks. Classes were on Saturday and Sunday from 11am-4pm and on Monday from 7-10pm. We had one Friday orientation meeting and one Wednesday night event. Additionally we were required to take four yoga classes a week and three classes at other studios. The 9am Saturday class was mandatory for all students. We also needed to observe two yoga instructors teaching. Each week we had three textbooks we were reading and multiple writing assignments. And when we started to have to practice teach as a class, we were practicing that each week too. All of this added up to our 200+ hours of yoga teacher training.

There were twelve of us in the training and we came in all shapes and sizes. There were eight girls and four boys. The youngest were in their early twenties and the oldest said she was in her fifties. I hope I look that good when I am in my fifties! The experience level varied greatly with a few people being fairly new to yoga or that style of yoga. The first night we were put in groups of four and these people became our “Omies”. A cross between “Homies” and “Om”. I thought it was kind of clever. These people would be the ones we texted if we were late and be our study buddies. My Omies were AWESOME and I felt so lucky to be in the group with them. One of them was the owner of the Yoga Tribe studio named Jason and I was curious how that was going to go. It ended up going really well.

So let me just say that Yoga Teacher Training was intense, time consuming, and completely overwhelming. It completly messed with my schedule and I got to the point during the week where I just had to focus on the next thing I needed to do to keep moving forward. Read this chapter, write this paper, answer questions, take a yoga class, practice teach with Omies…. did I eat? Ironically, it was stressing me out. A few weeks into the training I realized what was going on and tried to slow the train down. I wasn’t too successful, but at least I was better. I talked about this a bit in my blog post about Mindful Eating. But while it was all those crazy things, it was also wonderful.

Shannon told our class that this was her dream teacher training. She had created a manual for us that was 2.5 inches thick. Each week we focused on a different topic. We created a strong foundation and moved up from there. We had lots of guest speakers and my two favorite were Nicolette David who taught us all about anatomy (my favorite part of training) and Simon Ballard who did a sound healing class for us that blew my mind. That was a whole new experience. While the training focused on teaching, I was able to find a lot of it that was what I was looking for. We practiced many yoga postures and dissected them to understand their component parts. I learned about complimentary yoga poses and so much more. We even had a huge section on yoga modifications and yoga for pregnancy. We had to take a yoga class with Shannon while we were all (even the boys) pregnant to understand what it felt like and how to modify yoga poses. We wore big shirts and had a balloon as a baby so it wasn’t really like being pregnant but it was close enough! That was a hard class!

The teacher training part was also really good. We created classes together and then started teaching them to each other. We got lots of feedback and eventually taught a class to our family and friends. It was done “popcorn” style where we each took turns, but it was nerve racking just the same. I was so proud of our my fellow students during the training and felt lucky to be part of the group.

We also spent a Wednesday night doing a Karma Yoga Project where we helped with Laundry Love, and organization that Shannon and her husband Christian work with. The organization helps homeless people do their laundry and offers them a free meal. It was a moving experience to work with all the volunteers and to help some of the members in our community. Clean clothes. So simple, but so important. Something I won’t take for granted again.

As graduation approached we could feel our time together coming to an end. We had learned so much together and Shannon organized a special day away from the studio. We had lunch and then visited the Chinese Gardens at Cal State Long Beach. The following weekend we completed our finals and then graduated.

And at the end of all that I can say it was worth it. I became better at yoga. I am certified to teach if I decide to do that in the future. I learned more than I thought I would and want to keep learning. Always a good sign….. And I am grateful for a body and a country where I can practice yoga. I think Yoga Teacher Training was a gift I gave myself. But the universe also gave me a gift when I decided to drop my ego at the door and pursue this. I am not sure what doors this will open, or where it will take me, but that is the story of my life. Until then, I will just be grateful that I signed up for Yoga Teacher Training and for my new found knowledge and experience.

As they say at the end of yoga class.... Namaste.


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