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Rachel: As YTT comes to an end….

As YTT comes to an end….
I wanted to reflect on how I expected my yoga journey to be quite linear. I started out practising yoga seriously about 2 years back and saw yoga as a means of exercise after graduating from college. It was satisfying to see progress as I practiced consistently and that egged me on to continue reading up on postures, eventually deciding to take up YTT because I hoped to gain more knowledge on alignment so that I can also guide my friends and family who might be shy to join a class or dismiss yoga as “too slow”.

I looked forward to each class as I learnt more asanas as well as the history and limbs of yoga. Everything seemed to be progressing smoothly in the linear fashion I had imagined, where I would be able to practice >> learn >> teach others. However, as we got to the last segment of teaching and assessments, I started feeling very anxious and had a nagging feeling that something was missing. I was not able to pinpoint what it was but assumed that it was the COVID-19 situation where we had to adapt to bring lessons and teaching online that threw a curveball in the YTT. I simply continued to practice, aiming to make my sequence as seamless as possible, and held more online community classes with friends. As I did more of my peers’ sequences during teaching assessments, the anxiety grew — would I be able to conduct a class as seamlessly, ensure that I bring enough energy through the screen, and more importantly, convey my authentic self through in my teaching? I did more lessons with friends, but I was often still not satisfied with myself after and found myself questioning more—how can I improve my sequence? should I consider including music as an accompaniment? What is the style of yoga I see myself teaching?

Eventually, I spoke to Jess about this— and I’m glad I did. I mentioned I felt anxious because I didn’t feel like I have a distinct style of yoga I was teaching, while others seemed to have developed and found theirs. Underlying this, I believe it’s also self-doubt that was creeping in. Jess gave me some hard questions to ask myself, and prompted me to really take time to reflect on who I am as a person and how I can bring that to that mat— just me, not trying to emulate or compare myself to others.

I held these questions in mind while I planned another sequence for a class with friends. Glad to say that focusing and bringing myself back to why I wanted to teach in the first place— to guide friends and family, has helped keep me grounded and less anxious. But this is just the beginning. YTT has given me the foundation to teach, but this is a reminder that my yoga journey is not linear and will include twists and turns— where it is okay to stop and question, take a step back and reflect. Yoga is also not only about the asanas and physical practice. I often forget the other limbs of pranayama, meditation and self-observation, which are equally as important in the yogic lifestyle.  This is only the beginning of my yoga journey, and I am so excited to continue discovering what Yoga— not only the physical practice, means to me and how I can contribute to the world of yoga.

A special shout out: My YTT would not have been complete without the support of my classmates! I have also shared the above with them, and received so much encouragement and tips to improve, which truly shows what a supportive and genuine yoga community looks like. I am so glad that our paths have crossed, and I can’t wait to see what each of them will do after YTT 🙂

Feb’20 Weekend YTT