Why Yoga Teacher Training Is Not For The Fainthearted

01st Dec 2019 - Michele Pernetta

Like any teaching career, it’s the culmination of years of personal practice, hard work, study, research, injuries, trial and error, listening, tears, patience and a passion for other people’s healing.

We have all been through forms of training, - schools, diploma’s and courses. Normally mostly when we were young-ish. Usually we then stop for many years and use the skills we have learned in our work and reap the rewards of our study.

In many ways a teacher training is no different, except often-times we have not been in such an intensive learning environment since we were much younger, and our brains are unaccustomed to being kick-started again to explore, memorise and inspect. We can find we need to re-learn how to learn.

Even in our intense learning periods, we were rarely challenged both physically and mentally simultaneously. Normally it’s either academic learning or physical training. Doing both at once is not for the faint hearted. You get your ass kicked in class, stand up in front of 30 people and teach 3 poses and then you have to write an essay on Indian Philosophy!

One is being asked to grow mentally as well as use one’s own body during twice daily yoga sessions so this means a teacher training can be far more intense than other forms of training. New ideas, new friends, spiritual teachings, meditation, and self inspection, all these things are occurring for real, and the vehicle is one’s own body, not just a textbook.

We are not stamping people with our brand. We help teachers to be individuals, and teach from their own experience and with their own personality. We aim to to give people how to understand their own body ad mind, and to understand their students the same way. To teach from the inside out. This requires much more of the student.

Public speaking and diction can be a trigger for many people’s greatest insecurities and patterning and can also be an incredible key to unlocking their power and releasing their past.

I’ve heard people say “oh you learn a few words and you stand up there and say them, how hard can being a yoga teacher be?” Like any teaching career, it’s the culmination of years of personal practice, hard work, study, research, injuries, trial and error, listening, tears, patience and a passion for other people’s healing that has brought even the new yoga teacher to the point they are teaching you. Its heroic. As a new teacher we try to get the timing right, the words right, the motivation, the voice, tone, music, pace, corrections, modifications and god forbid someone with a steel rod in their spine or only one hand shows up to one’s first class!

Teacher trainings are crucibles for growth and any part of us that is un-inspected comes to the surface and can be understood and transcended within the supportive framework of a full time course. The love, caring and compassion that builds during the course is astonishing to me and as a teacher, who has been blessed with many stories of transformation and growth, it is the most incredible gift to be part of such a transformative process.

People have asked me why I don’t offer a correspondence course over a year or two of weekends for those who can’t get away for a full month. As much as I want to support people who can’t take time off, and may well do this, part of the reason I did not prioritise this is I believe something very unique is attained by going through the difficulty and intensity of one month with a group of 20 or 30 people. Those people become your peers, your mirror, your critics and your greatest support. They will push your buttons, bolster you up during difficulty, and show you your strengths and weaknesses and love you for both. The workload will show you where your mind needs work, your body will release it’s story from the yoga asanas and breathing, the self-inspection will uncover areas of your life you have neglected and a light will be shone on your un-inspected areas.

On a physical level, your body will get stiff at the start, then stiffer as you build muscle, old injuries may surface and with them old beliefs and emotions. You can be tired and sore, you might feel you can’t do it. This is just old weaknesses and patterns surfacing and being expelled, like a detox. After 2 weeks you start to gets suppler, and your energy starts to soar. By the end, one feels the best one has felt in years, light, energised and new. The mind, body and emotions have been flushed through. The tutors will get to know you, and we get to know and see what you need, how we can support, and what we can help you with to become the best person and teacher you can be.

Another reason I have not yet done a correspondence course, is that I wanted the first wave of FG teachers to be these intense, fiery, brave, honest, risk-takers. Willing to go through a fire to find peace. That’s what Fierce Grace is, it’s not for the faint of heart, and I felt that teachers willing to put themselves through this process of self understanding and transcendence and not quit, would be able to help students go through the same process in class and teach with Fierce Grace.

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