Teacher Training weekend 9 recap

This was the last weekend of teacher training for these wonderful students! It was a fun but busy weekend. On Friday night we talked about ethics as a yoga teacher. There are several ways in which we need to pay attention to ethical considerations. In no particular order, there are the ethics of the student/teacher relationship, the ethics of professionalism, and the ethics of knowing your limits as a yoga teacher. I like to tell the students that there are some things that should be obvious, but are not. For example, it should be obvious that a yoga teacher (who is not also a doctor) is not qualified to give medical advice. However, students will ask you all the time what they should do about various injuries. It's always important to listen to their concerns, ask if they're seeing a medical professional, and advise them against doing anything that aggravates their injury. But trying to diagnose or treat any condition is outside the realm of what a yoga teacher is qualified to do. 

On Saturday, we had the first group teach their 75 minute class. It was a wonderfully integrated flow class that culminated in crow pose. Over the last few months, the students have all found their teaching voice and were able to shine in their final teaching assignment. After the teaching and feedback, we had a discussion on Michael Stone's book The Inner Tradition of Yoga. This is a fascinating book that delves into the psychology of yoga and behavior. Michael Stone's writing is compelling and it's hard not to recognize one's own habits and behavior in the text. The good news is, once you recognize your habits, yoga provides you with the tools to break free of your mental chains. The path is hard, but rewarding. 

Our discussion of Michael Stone's book was heavy, so we took a quick Yin break and did a short, mindful practice to take care of our sitting bodies. Then we finished off the day learning about the business of yoga. This talk included information about how yoga students hire and pay teachers, and what the responsibility of the teacher is professionally. At Blue Point, all teachers are employees and their sole job is to teach yoga and interact with their students. They don't sign in classes, collect payment, or market themselves or the studio. And they are paid a fair and generous rate for each class they teach, whether there is 1 person or 20 people. But not all yoga studios are run that way, so it is important to know what to expect. 

On Sunday, the second group taught their final class. It was another excellent effort by very competent new teachers. The peak pose of this class was side plank, which coincidentally happens to be the pose of the month at Blue Point. Immediately following this class, there was a surprise for the students. Andrea Dixon taught a partner yoga class that helped the students unwind and reconnect with one another. This was followed by a teachers panel with me, Andrea, Jacque Johnson and Linda Martinez. It was a great opportunity for the students to ask some of our most experienced teachers some questions. And we loved sharing all the crazy things that can happen while teaching yoga. One of the first questions was about the worst class we had ever taught. And we all had that experience of falling flat on our faces as a teacher. But you get through it by getting up the next day and trying the whole thing again!

Our last order of business before graduation was to finish up our discussion of book 2 of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This is the book on practice and the book that should be followed most closely when you are just learning about the philosophy. We used Chip Hartranft's commentary, as well as Srivatsa Ramaswami's translation of the sutras. Then we had our sweet graduation ceremony and our goodbyes.

Each teacher training class is unique, with its own personality and quirks. This group of students was very special. Although from very different backgrounds, they found friendship and worked together to strengthen each others teaching and practice. I loved watching them grow from their nervous selves during the first weekend, to confident competent teachers during the last weekend. I will miss them all. 
IMG_20170305_123637967Student teaching demonstrating good use of props!

IMG_20170305_134404195_HDRPartner Yoga class with Andrea Dixon.

IMG_20170305_161229691Jacque and Linda, two of our esteemed experts for our Q&A panel.

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