Tuesday, July 9, 2013

YogaWorks 200-Hour Teacher Training

I promised you a recap of Teacher Training with YogaWorks
and I will not disappoint!

Now that I'm safely through the first two weekends,
including all of the accompanying homework, here are my thoughts...

First of all, the program could not possibly be more well-rounded or more chock-full of valuable information.  I think that's one of the benefits of going through a training with an organization versus an individual:  It's obvious that the program materials were produced utilizing the strength of a collection of some of the best minds in the yoga business.  It's just a really, really good, solid approach and I feel grateful to be enrolled in this training methodology.

Secondly, the homework is INTENSE!  I knew it was going to require a commitment, but I NEVER in a million years could have guessed it would rival the workload of some of my past college courses!  It is seriously A LOT.  You might not believe this, but I've been know to complain over the past two weeks about the time commitment the homework requires.  However in all honesty, now that I recognize first-hand all that I'm learning, I don't think I would have it any other way.  No... I definitely wouldn't have it any other way.

The all-day sessions on Saturday and Sunday are also intense.  And long.  Generally, we have two hours of yoga philosophy first thing on Saturday morning followed by a two-hour practice and then a short lunch break.  The rest of the afternoon is spent on a variety of things including asana alignment points, sequencing, practice teaching/adjusting, risks and contraindications, modifications, etc.  Sunday is structured much the same way with the omission of philosophy (due to a slightly later start time).

I find the two-hour practice sessions to be fairly easy, although to hear my fellow trainees talk about it, you'd think they had just been through the war.  The practices don't include a lot of motion.  There are a lot of long holds while our trainer discusses various aspects of the pose.  I don't sweat that much.  After giving it a lot of thought, I think my experience doesn't seem to be that challenging due to my background in Ashtanga.  Primary Series prepares you for anything!

I actually found myself feeling quite frustrated during the two practices we had that first weekend.  I felt like my own, personal practice was suffering and a lot of anger came up for me.  The second weekend, I made it a point to fit in a practice early in the morning prior to even going to teacher training.  On Saturday I did an advanced Vinyasa Flow and Sunday was my regular Ashtanga practice.  Even though that made for two REALLY long days, I'm glad I made the extra effort because I was able to sit through both of the teacher training practices without crabbiness.  This really freed me up to ABSORB what my trainer was trying to get across rather than be stuck in my own loop of frustration and resentment. 

The only other complaint I have is that even though YogaWorks offers Ashtanga - both Led and Mysore style classes - there seems to be a glaring omission of Ashtanga from their curriculum.  I find this especially troubling since they claim that the YogaWorks Method is founded on the teachings of three individuals - Iyeangar, Desikachar, and Jois.

The books "Light on Yoga" by B.K.S. Iyengar

and "The Heart of Yoga" by T.K.V. Desikachar

are both included in our reading list,

but "Yoga Mala" by Pattabhi Jois

is notably absent. 

(The pictures above are links, in case you're interested
in owning any of these books.)

In addition, we are required to take 18 classes with very specific requirements in order to complete our training.  An Iyengar class is included in this list but in bold letters it states that no Ashtanga Led or Mysore classes may be used to fulfill that requirement.

I do want to state for the record that this isn't a large, overt DIS of Ashtanga.  It isn't.  It's more subtle.  There are some Ashtanga-based items included in the teaching.  For example, our pages covering Trikonasana state that in Ashtanga, it is appropriate to have a shorter stance and reach to grab the big toe.  But I'd be remiss if I didn't report that I wish Ashtanga were more fully present.

After a lot of soul searching about "my path" these past few weeks, my current plan is this:  I think I will explore continuing on in the YogaWorks training to obtain the 300/500-hour level certification after this 200-hour program is complete.  I just can't ignore the overall strength of the YogaWorks program and after quite a bit of research and speaking with other yogis, I simply don't think I can get the same level of education and preparation through any other teacher training.  Not to mention, YogaWorks is my home studio and I'm comfortable there.  I like them a lot and my yoga membership is free throughout the duration of my training.  Since I have a plan that allows me to visit any club in the LA area, this is a substantial savings.

Once I obtain my 300/500-hour certification, that will qualify me for the RYT-500 with Yoga Alliance and I will also be able to teach at YogaWorks.  (If I get my 300/500-hour certification elsewhere, I'd still have to go through the YogaWorks program anyway if I wanted to teach there.)  After that, I will probably pursue a specialty intensive Ashtanga-based training, possibly with Kino MacGregor, Tim Miller, or David Swenson.

So.  There you have it.  If you have any questions, I'm happy to answer them!

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