The trainee yoga teacher journal. Part 1
Meet Samantha Hatherall. Sam will be putting our first collection of yoga pants through their paces as she undertakes her yoga teacher training. She is the perfect mix of soul, passion and bonkers! And as both Sam and Flip The Dog enter exciting launch phases, we are very much look forward to sharing our journey with her and uncovering what it takes to be a yoga teacher.
When the Flip The Dog team asked me to be a guest blogger, my immediate reaction was ‘woop woop…yes pleeeeeeease!’ Having followed Flip The Dog on Facebook since its very days, I knew that I would love to be affiliated with them; I adore colourful leggings, I abhor landfill and I’ve just begun training to be a yoga teacher…perfecto.
I wasn’t actually intending to become a yoga teacher at all. In fact practically I was a million miles from it. I have a toddler and a three year old as well as my own massage business that I run from home which is still in its infancy. And in all honesty, although I bend like a pretzel I don’t know my Downward Dog from my Flip the Dog. Seriously! Despite having dabbled in various forms of yoga for around fifteen years, I have never really committed to a practice at home, or a consistent attendance anywhere. My nine months of pregnancy yoga was probably the most committed I ever really got. And when I highlighted that fact to my yoga teacher she smiled, 'Sam that is so western of you, its not all about the postures, its about living the life of a yogi, and you do that every single day. You practice Bhakti yoga all the time, you are so devoted as a Mum’.
Well yes that’s true, but what do you mean its not all about the postures? Not all about the postures?! Have I been missing some vital understanding of this ancient science? My mind boggled…and was about to boggle a whole lot more. And so my journey into a true understanding of yoga began...
Six weeks later I am sat in half lotus with four other ladies and our two yoga teachers. I have in front of me a very very big manual; 'The Integral Yoga' teacher training manual. I flick though that la la la la la, attempting to not be overwhelmed by it. Then I look at the small pile of books I need to consume; 'Science of Breath, a practical guide'; 'The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali'; 'Integral Yoga Hatha'. My teacher announces that the first book in the pile is the best book she has ever read, ‘controlling the breath is a prerequisite to controlling the mind and the body’ the front cover reads. Brilliant! I am good at breathing, this should be a doddle. Breath work is done by the name of Pranayama, (Note to self, must learn sanskrit names for all postures and techniques in Integral Yoga). Okay, so 'if we breathe correctly', I read on, 'we can become seven times healthier in every aspect of our existence'. I repeat, brilliant, I am good at breathing.
After observing our teacher demonstrate the three different types of breath work we practice in integral yoga, we all then take turns to observe each others breathing and give critical feedback. Ironically I then hyperventilate as I become acutely aware that after thirty plus years of breathing, I do not, in fact, breathe correctly.
I spend the next five weeks going to a Reik master to help balance my energies, I cut out alcohol, sugar, finally give up fish, attempted to be vegan (ish) and invited only positive thoughts into my life whilst balancing on one leg chanting Ommmmmm. (not in the yoga training manual, but i figure its got to help?!).
It turns out that Integral Yoga is a science. A complete yoga practice which includes chanting, postures, deep relaxation and breath work, non of which I have ever ‘studied’. I have gone along to class, like most of us do, copied the teacher, felt energised and possibly a little bit spiritual then forgot about it all until the following week, same time, same place.
Now, six weeks in to my training I am reflecting more deeply on why this journey feels right for me now…it feels right because I am a really busy sleep deprived mum who works super hard at running her own business. In the middle of all that, my yoga training is something that is unexpectedly grounding me more than I could have ever imagined.
My biggest fear is time, and the lack of it to dedicate to practice. I am already concerned that I am not getting out of my practice what I should be, as I lapse into day after day of thinking ‘I must do some meditation this evening’ and then slump in to bed yet again without succeeding to do any mediation, breath work or postures. I hope this gradually changes and that I am able to deepen my practice and understanding of all areas of Integral yoga, I am literally in love with it, the more I read about it and practice it…I want to soak it all up so it shines out of me. I want to be a living example of the benefits this lifestyle can bring.
My dream is to teach, to teach yoga with humility, respect and integrity to toddlers, children, teenagers adults, pregnant ladies…in a lovely studio, somewhere I can hold retreats and never stop learning. Ever. I have had several amazing yoga teachers who have inspired me, ultimately we all want to be an inspiration in some way and that is what I hope I can be to my future students when i become a teacher.
Om Shanti…Sam x
Sam wears Eddies of infinity Flip The Dog yoga leggings in a size Small