Samantha Hatherall - Guest blogger:
I wrote Part I as I was approaching six months into my yoga teacher training, and I felt like a rabbit in the headlights… Seven intense months later I qualified to teach Integral Yoga. The journey to becoming a yoga teacher was much tougher and so much more profound than I could ever have imagined; I didn’t want to eat the same foods, I gravitated towards different groups of people, my body changed and my mind grew even busier. And yet slowly I grew the power to silence it when necessary, to love my body and cherish those around me. So by way of gathering my reflections, here are 3 essential things you need to become a yoga teacher:
This sounds fairly obvious, but mine was challenged greatly. Ordinarily when I put my mind to something, I have vast amounts of motivation, determination and passion. But this training put me to the test and had me running for the exit sign on various occasions. I blamed having two young kids, lack of sleep, running my own massage business and a husband who worked away. Of course those things impacted on my time to commit to learning the class script, sticking to my own hatha practice at home, attending classes, meditation time, reading, the list goes on as the requirements for learning to teach are huge. But ultimately somewhere in amongst my busy life, I found motivation, I had to, I was turning into a martyr. I dug deep, I prayed, meditated, even for a few minutes, read pages of my training manual here and there…I had to reach a place of acceptance that the minimum was going to get me through. Then after a while it clicked, yoga had to weave its way into everything I did so that it no longer felt like a minimum. So as I cooked dinner I chanted, as I booked in more massage clients than I had time for I thanked the universe; When my kids woke me 4 times a night I smiled (mostly) instead of wanting to cry; When my husband was late home so I couldn’t attend class I did a few postures myself at home. As I lay in bed I would take a few moments for reflection rather than falling straight to sleep. I become re-motivated by living all aspects of yoga in my everyday life.
2. Awesome teacher trainers.
How fortunate was I to be invited to train by my very own yoga teacher? I knew that I would be in safe hands, Janaki had been my yoga teacher for around 18 months and I absolutely loved everything about how she taught. She clearly knew her hatha but also, during teaching evoked the heart and this beautiful grounded earth mother shone from within. As I got to know her I admired so much how she lived her entire life as a yogi, in service to everyone around her both on and off of the mat. She opened my eyes to yoga becoming a complete way of life, not just exercise. I felt it would be an honor to have her guiding me through training. My other teacher Stephan I didn’t know as well, but I had heard about his hatha teaching, he is the head of Integral Yoga UK and with very good reason. He has explored and practiced yoga for over 25 years and his passion for hatha is immense. And I have to say when you walk into his yoga studio, if your heart is not in it, you may as well leave. His name isn’t Siva for nothing! He has an extremely powerful energy. He feels everything you feel when you’re on the mat, of course I didn’t know this prior to training, but now I do. It’s an amazing way to engage with your students and give them the very best hatha class possible. So if you’re thinking of training to teach yoga, research who your teacher trainers are going to be - they are going to be such an integral part of your journey that you want to absolutely believe in all the stand for, this in turn helps you to get the very best out of who you are going to become as a yoga teacher too. Mine have left a big bucket full of lotus flower love in my heart and an enormous passion for yoga on and off of the mat. And for that I am eternally grateful.
Perhaps this third one is a reflection of how inexperienced a yogi I was as I began my training journey. My teachers challenged me in many ways during my training. I always felt supported, but at times I felt lonely, nervous, anxious, and out of my depth. Exploring all aspects of yoga makes you dig deep, in times of self-reflection, meditation and through physical exploration on the mat. Pranayama especially has brought all sorts to the surface for me. There has to be a huge willingness to observe yourself. At times I felt like I barely knew my mind or body, I was observing myself for the first time. I knew that if I didn’t allow myself to explore in this way, I couldn’t become a yoga teacher who taught from experience and with integrity. This journey of discovery is life long of course, but a willingness to begin that journey is paramount.
Sam wears The Michaelangelos Flip The Dog yoga leggings, in size Small