Reflections of A New Yoga Teacher

by Casey Deschene

In the months leading up to graduation from Yoga Teacher Training, I had thoughts, assumptions, and projections whirling around my head.  In anticipation of beginning this new lifestyle of splitting my time between my career and my passion, I did a lot of reading and researching attempting to create some sense of understanding and establish expectations for what life would be like on the other side. 

One of the main themes I read about is how important it is to maintain your own practice and to always remember why you wanted to become a yoga teacher in the first place. 

I knew this. 

I read it so many times I had it imprinted on my brain, but it wasn’t until recently that I fully understood what that meant to me.

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I work full time in Boston and my commute is about an hour each way. I started teaching one day a week and picking up individual opportunities whenever I could. When I began teaching my class, I was also prepping for a big test I had to take for work. Adjusting to the weekly routine of sequencing and class preparation was something I was prepared to do, but working in all the study time necessary to pass this test in the same time frame – whoa, baby, it was a lot of work! 

I found myself completely drained after it was over.  The relief I felt after walking out of the testing center with a pass was such an amazing feeling, but it took weeks to finally level back out.  I felt like I needed to relax but the problem was, I wasn’t going about it the right way. I was trying to just have fun and let loose rather than giving myself the relaxation and rejuvenation I really needed.

Where am I going with this?  During my time in training I was immersed into all the yoga goodness.  I was reminded daily of the wonderful benefits and the joy I feel from practicing and learning about yoga. Every other weekend I was taken on this journey through the beautiful world of yoga – vigorous practice, meditation, education, restoration (sidebar: take me back!).

To go from over four months of all that yoga love, only to be released into the wild, left to find balance between my personal practice and all these new amazing opportunities was overwhelming. But immense growth stems from new challenges and with that, I have learned a few things in my early months as a yoga teacher to pass along.

  • Warning Signs
    • Pay attention to how you feel and be honest about it.  I find that writing is key for me. You know what you’re feeling and what you need, sometimes you just need a safe space to let it all come out.
  • Self-Care
    • It is okay to feel exhausted and feel like you still need to do more.  The mistake I made was thinking that meant pushing myself harder and harder.  Sometimes I didn’t need to stay up late watching Broad City, what I really needed was to fill earlier nights with restorative yoga and meditation.  It is hard to be disciplined and do what you know is best for your body.  It’s important to remember the gains you can uncover when you do slow down.
  • Your New Practice
    • One thing I never read about was how much my personal practice would change after going through YTT and beginning to teach.  I’ve found it’s sometimes difficult to get through a class without analyzing the entire thing.  It is so much harder to quiet my mind and enjoy the practice for myself. Setting my intention for class, forgetting about the technicality and logistics of the class and taking in all of the energy in the room. When I start to get distracted, I simply remind myself of my intention and get myself back on track.
  • Building Community
    • This is another one that comes up all the time in the yoga world – community. I stared to open myself up, not being afraid to borrow a sequence or cue from another teacher.  On top of this, I made a point to stay after class to start building relationships with fellow teachers.

So there you have it.  This is my journey so far, it’s filled with dips and thrills and I wouldn’t change a single minute of it.  Learning to find myself all over again and grow into the new person I am working so hard to be.  

Looking for your yoga community? Join ours.

Casey’s website: http://www.salutationsofsoul.com

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