Life Leaping During Lockdown: A Journey to Becoming a Yoga Teacher in the Pandemic
If someone had told me at the start of 2020 that I would begin to train as a Yoga teacher during a pandemic, I would have said, ‘Pull the other one.’ Yet, fast forward nine months and that’s exactly what happened.
Having been an enthusiastic Yogi for over eight years I had been curious for a while about taking those next steps to become a teacher. Heck, I’d even been in touch with teaching centres to enquire about courses and asked other yogis for recommendations, fully intending to commit. However, for one reason or another the time to sign up and begin never quite came. Time was always ‘full’, which meant I never really took a moment to stop and breathe.
As many Yogis will know, connecting with our breath is extremely important - both on and off the mat. For some, the stress and anxiety experienced from the first and subsequent lockdowns has been ongoing and we have all had to find ways to navigate these turbulent times. Adversity, of course, presents challenges, but it can also give us a chance to view things with a fresh perspective. For me, when the world was first put on pause, I discovered an opportunity to take that moment and breathe. I engaged even more regularly than usual with my Yoga practice and I began to reconnect and reawaken the sense of curiosity that sparked my interest in teaching Yoga, in the first place. Yoga was helping me to rebalance in a period of imbalance and there seemed no time better than the present to begin my teaching journey.
Due to the various Covid restrictions, it came as no great surprise that my Teaching Diploma began online. I won’t lie, it did feel a little unusual to meet my course colleagues and tutor for the first time via Zoom rather than face to face, but it was still exciting to start this new adventure together and of course, once we bypassed minor technical hiccups - mainly remembering to unmute before we spoke - we found our rhythm and began to bond.
I chose to enrol on the British Wheel of Yoga Teaching Diploma course due to its comprehensive content and holistic approach to Yoga teaching and I have not been disappointed. Studying the different components, such as Anatomy and Physiology (fascinating!), Yoga Philosophy (enlightening!), as well as taking those first baby steps into practical teaching has truly been food for my soul and my brain during an uncertain time. Dare I say it, there have even been advantages to lockdown when it comes to learning. Without so many of the usual day to day distractions, I have welcomed the time and space to absorb my lessons more deeply. I have also been able to reflect on set texts or Yoga practice without feeling as though I need to move on or I have to be somewhere else.
I recognise I am on my own personal journey as I train to be a teacher, but then again, Yoga is a personal journey for everyone. No two people are the same, no two bodies are the same and no two experiences are the same. Our role as teacher isn’t to help students to become ‘Instagram ready’ with their Yoga postures, rather it is to safely facilitate the individual with their own personal Yoga journey. As I continue to grow into my teaching role, I hope to be able to support students in the discovery and immersion of their own practice.
As Covid restrictions begin to ease, I am sure we will all look back at this past year with mixed emotions. Personally, as I look to the future, I am looking forward to being in the same room as my tutor and peers again, I am hungry to continue my learning of Yoga and I am excited to take those next steps in developing my teaching practice...and when in doubt, I will now always remember to take a moment to stop and breathe.