Yoga Teacher Training — Some Thoughts from the Halfway Point!
I was super stoked to start yoga teacher training at YogaSpace in Toronto back in March, and I’m at the halfway point of the program, so I figured I’d give everyone a bit of an update as to how it’s going. So far, so good is the short answer. But who wants short answers? Let’s get into the why/when/where/how.
Choosing a YTT Program
For one thing, YogaSpace got great reviews on their 200-hour YTT certification. So that was an obvious plus. I debated the whole weekend-versus-retreat concept for a while before settling on the idea of a 10-weekend course rather than an intensive for a couple of reasons. First, I know that I’m the kind of learner who does well with homework and having time to absorb information. To me, 3 weeks on a retreat would have been tough to really learn the material, especially stuff like anatomy. Second, with my work schedule, flexible as it is, I couldn’t really take three straight weeks of mostly offline existence while I did a retreat. I don’t really get vacation days as a writer! Third, a three-week retreat would have been tough from a training perspective and since we have a pretty full schedule of summer plans and bucket list items, from racing with my crit team to tackling a 50KM trail race and an FKT attempt in August/September, three weeks of primarily yoga would have been hard to work in. But mostly, it came back to knowing how I learn best, and that meant weekend classes. It was tempting to find an island retreat, but when I got honest about what I actually wanted to get out of it, I wanted to be a good teacher, not just deepen my own practice / enjoy island life!
Bonus: Timing-wise, this was ideal. The winter/spring training here fell between the major season: CX was over, and I’ll only miss a bit of road/MTB season and with our prolonged winter, I haven’t felt too bummed being inside during the weekend. And with the class running 11AM to 7PM, I’ve found I have time to run and get some work in ahead of it on Saturdays and Sundays, so I don’t lose the full day. Training will finish the weekend before Killington Stage Race, so I’ll go right into race season!
I live about two hours from Toronto, so it’s been a bonus getting to spend time there and stay with friends, though I don’t have a ton of time not in class. And for those wondering/local to Collingwood, I worked it out so that I could do some of my mandatory observational classes up here at Buddha Rider, an awesome studio in town, so I didn’t need to go to Toronto extra weekdays.
How It’s Going
I was hoping that in the class, I would deepen my own practice (ahem, crush it at handstands, get into the perfect Dancer Pose), get more spiritual, and figure out how to apply yoga to athletics in a meaningful way for myself, but then also for the people I know who don’t love the yoga concept, or who know they should do it but simply don’t. Thus far, it’s been a mixed bag, but I have high hopes. I’m learning a lot about my own yoga practice, for sure, and definitely realizing how to get into poses smoother, and more accurately. When I say more accurately, I don’t mean where I look better—I mean actually being in the right positions, not just straining to look like the instructor or the image in the magazine. Spoiler alert, it’s not about getting into the ‘full expression’ of a pose every day, it’s about doing what’s right for you. On the spiritual level, I admit, I’m not not loving it… But it has served to show me that I’m not really as into that side of things as I maybe had wanted to be a few months ago (ahem, when I was buying myself crystals and really getting into the kooky side of things.). It turns out, I’m pretty pragmatic. I like the breathework and meditation for the mind-clearing and science-based benefits of it, but I’m not as psyched on the more philosophical side of it, interesting as it can be at times. That’s kind of informed the final part of what I hoped to get out of it: a more practical approach for athletes. At first, before I started the training, I was thinking about ways to get athletes more into things like Kundalini yoga, crystal healing, sound baths, et cetera. But what I’m realizing is that while things like that suit certain people, you can’t force yourself to fall into that style of yoga/spirituality. And that’s OK. I am, however, fascinated by the anatomy side of things, which I hadn’t expected. And that’s been making me think a ton about how the athletes that we work with can see practical benefits from yoga. While some people I know are all about things like JasYoga and Erin Taylor’s Hit Reset (yoga… for athletes!), a lot of athletes won’t make time for regular yoga, and it’s especially true of young athletes and busy ones with jobs and families. It’s made me appreciate how much help my 5-minute AM yoga routine has been for keeping me healthy and relatively limber in the last four years.
Where It’s Going
I’m pretty athlete-focused, like I said, and that means I’m trying to focus for the rest of the class on figuring out what this means for endurance athletes and strength training ones. That may end up coming up on here, and definitely will in articles I’m working on! And for local peeps, I’ve been filling in and teaching some spin classes occasionally at Active Life Strength and Conditioning, and we’re working on some athlete yoga/stretching programming coming soon (we’ve had a lot of demand for it)! I also did a mini-flow after coaching spin this morning and loved doing it—and the class seemed to dig it too—so I’m thinking about more things like that, mini-incorporations of yoga flows, and potentially more of a chill beginner no-BS yoga class. So, yeah… Lots of exciting things happening!
Before you go… want a free 7-day guide to healthy habit change? Sign up here!