One of my big goals for 2016 has been to get myself through yoga teacher training in hopes of becoming a part-time yoga teacher. I’ve had to invest a fair amount of money into the training, dedicate countless hours to studying and practice teaching and sacrifice numerous nights and weekends to attend lectures and class just to complete this lofty goal of mine. The road to becoming a certified yoga teacher has not been an easy or cheap one to travel down.
Over the last nine months, I’ve completed three different yoga teacher trainings while holding down a full-time day job – the 200-hour Hot Power Fusion Teacher Training at CorePower Yoga, the 5-week Extensions Program through CorePower Yoga and the WASUP Yoga Teacher Training. I feel really good about everything I’ve accomplished so far. Last week, I started my most anticipated yoga teacher training of the year, Bikram Yoga Teacher Training at Sealevel Hot Yoga in Seattle. For nine weeks, I’ll be taking seven Bikram Yoga classes a week, memorizing dialogue and geeking out on Bikram Yoga 12+ hours every weekend.
There were a lot of highlights from my first week of training. Most of them were about me getting so many questions I’ve had about Bikram Yoga over the last 6+ years finally answered. If you’ve ever practiced Bikram Yoga before, you might have wondered what a Japanese ham sandwich is, why everyone faces their head towards the front of the room instead of the other way around and how exactly does one lock their knee in a posture. Turns out the “Lock Your Knee” cue is really just another way of saying engage your quad muscles, a cue you’ve probably heard a bunch of times in a number of different non-Bikram yoga studios.
A big “Ah-Ha!” moment last week was learning how to pick up my leg the correct way in Tree Pose, Tadasana. Up until this point, I had been grabbing my foot and knee and yanking them both up as high as they would go. Learning the correct way to lift my foot and bend my knee in this posture was a game changer for a couple of reasons: my knees no longer hurt getting in and out of this posture, I’m able to get the sole of my foot higher up my leg and I have a more solid foundation when standing on one foot in this posture. Having a solid foundation in Tree means I don’t fall out of it as much as I did before.
I still can’t get the sole of my foot all the way up to my costume and I can’t quite bend my knee all the way back, but it doesn’t matter. Another big “Ah-Ha!” moment for me this last week was learning that the goal of Bikram Yoga, and any style of yoga for that matter, isn’t about getting into the final expression of a posture. It’s all about having the proper setup for each posture. In fact, it should always be alignment before depth. Pushing towards your edge is good, but sometimes too good is no good. Trust me, this is coming from someone who thought she had to take it to her edge in every posture in every class. It’s like someone gave me permission to relax and actually enjoy myself getting into and out of each posture. What a relief!
In addition to getting all seven classes in and attending lecture all weekend long, I somehow managed to squeeze in a double one day this week. I practiced at the 6am class and then again at the 6pm class. My double went surprisingly well. I left my second class of the day feeling completely energized.
Can’t wait to see how the second week goes.