(Excerpts from Bryan Kest's Yoga Teacher Training)
What mostly separates a physical yoga practice from all other exercises is not the movements, it is the awareness. So as students and as instructors this has to be the primary agenda. To know how to become a yoga teacher or simply put, how to share yoga, we need to understand what yoga is about. This understanding comes through our own practice, and that means working on the correct intention, attitudes and awareness.
I want to be clear about my feelings about how to become a yoga instructor. My yoga practice is a recipe, a lot like my mother’s chicken soup: the right ingredients in the right quantities, cooked at the right temperature for the right amount of time. If you have something that works for you, you have the right to share it. So even now, whatever you know about yoga you can share. That is all I’m doing here and all you will be doing with your students. So now we know we have all we need to teach as long as we teach within our understanding and ability. What we are doing here is increasing our understanding through dialogue, asana, and meditation. Through asanas, meditation, and dialogue, through challenging ourselves, we will learn much. The more we practice through difficulty and ease, problems and solutions, wrongs and rights, the more we learn and then the more we have to share. This is why practice is being emphasized and although we will all get some time to experience sharing our practice, it will only be a little taste of an art form that’s long on learning and dependent on lots of experience.
Most of the knowledge we acquire will be through our own practice, which is to say, through our own understanding, through quieting down the mind, unclogging the mind from its business, and opening ourselves up to receive. My job (as yours will be one day if you become a yoga teacher) is to create the ultimate environment for this quieting, reminding you, harping and hounding you to come back to your breath, to the moment, to quietness, gentleness, focus and kindness; all the qualities that enhance our relationships with ourselves and all beings and things.
To be healthy and peaceful, we will need to stop feeding any habits or addictions mentally or physically that are harmful. Whether it is negativity or reactivity or whether it has anything to do with food or exercise. We would be hard pressed to think of three larger contributors to disease than stress, diet, and exercise or lack of it. And as we all know, it is not easy to break addictions and habits, so I highly doubt any of us will feel like this training is fun. Yet hopefully, you can see what we are trying to accomplish and will find the strength not only to persevere, but also to persevere happily.
Becoming a yoga teacher means deriving the knowledge, perspective, and confidence to find your own voice and create your own style. We all have a beautifully unique perspective. Cultivating that perspective and sharing it is our greatest offering. From my understanding, this has been the way yoga has always been shared and passed along; the sharing of information along with the freedom for creative expression. This is why all great ones shared the same truth differently. Any system or style of yoga out there may initially be helpful, but if it does not push you out there on your own (like a parent eventually needs to do with their children), it will eventually lead to stagnation, dependency and a dead end.
Yoga becomes dogma
There shouldn’t be any particular “way.” you should be teaching yoga. My yoga instructor training is about understanding yoga through experience and becoming comfortable and confident with doing yoga and sharing yoga “your way.” And in our Power Yoga Teacher Trainings, I do my best to give you all the perspective I have. I want you to synthesize all this information within you, and I want it to come out of you with your voice, your insights, your style, personality and flavor. In the process of becoming a yoga teacher, you are free to express yoga anyway you see fit and can add something special and your unique perspective to this amazing lineage of yoga.
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