Updated: Jun 3
In February of 2016, I became a 200 hour certified yoga instructor through The Body Temple Yoga School with Daniella Cotreau. I initially joined the training program to support my role as dance teacher in the community. I noticed how my personal yoga practice, specifically with my teacher's method of alignment based yoga helped me develop a strength and flexibility in my body I had never achieved prior to my practice. Through that physical development, I also noticed how strong I also became at managing my emotions and mental state. I wanted my students to have these skills that helped me so much in my own dancing. I wanted the ability to guide my dance students with the kind of clarity and effectiveness my yoga teacher was guiding me.
Learning how to teach yoga revolutionized my teaching style. I began to create space for my students to share their feelings and thoughts, as well as incorporated breathing techniques and exercises in my dance instruction to help them negative feelings that often show up during the learning process of dance. Within the first 100 hours of the yoga teacher training program, I instantly understood that teaching people how to effectively move their bodies also requires teaching to one's mental and emotional state. In dance, you are taught to leave your ego at the door. In yoga, you instead learn how to dance with your ego-you learn how to tame it. Rather than escape and ignore reality-which is what my yoga practice revealed I was doing for many years as a dancer, I learned how to embrace and acknowledge the parts of me and my life that I used my dancing to hide.
By the end of my 200 hour yoga teacher training program, my big take away was that who a person is in their personal life greatly affects how they show up professionally. Up until I started practicing yoga, I didn't think too much about my life outside of work. In fact, I did not have a life outside of work. Like many dance professionals, my work was my life. As much I loved being a dance professional, I was always operating from a place of depletion and my body was constantly screaming for rest. This training program help me begin to change my life so that I could live a life that is restful, joyful, sustainable, and whole.
I am also very grateful that I took this yoga teacher training program when I did because right in the midst of it, I became pregnant. The experience of becoming a mother in itself is life altering. I was able to take everything I learned about yoga and apply it to the discomforts and rapid changes that occur during the pregnancy journey. Yoga empowered me to make the necessary life changes I needed to make to welcome motherhood. And it taught me how to move gracefully through the challenges that come with change-which I have accepted is constant and unpredictable.
In conclusion, I did achieve my desire to teach my dance students with the kind of clarity and effectiveness my teacher continues to teach me. What took me by surprise was the amount of attention I needed to give to my own personal growth to become the teacher I believe my students deserve. At the time of signing up, my goal was to learn how to teach yoga poses so that my students can access the physical strength and stability I developed through a yoga practice. By going through this process of being a student, I have have deeper understanding of what it means to teach people how to move; and the best way to teach people anything, is to lead by example.