I would probably not have participated in any Yoga Teacher Training program at this point in my life, if my “Yoga Home”, Amara Yoga and Arts, would not have offered their first 200 hour Teacher Training. I knew I would be in very capable hands. All the trainers primarily involved in the program, Kelsey, Linda and Don, had been my teachers for the past year and they would be wonderful and very knowledgeable faculty.
The program promised to provide everything a Teacher Trainee could hope for, three strong, well planned and organized sections that cover teaching Yoga and Asana practice, anatomy and physiology, Yoga philosophy and history. I started teacher training with the expectation that I had eight months of hard work and many new things to learn ahead of me. What I did not expect was the atmosphere created by my teachers, their dedication to us students and the program was exceptional. The program was so much more than a class or a workshop, we were not just being taught, we were being mentored. In addition, all the other teachers at Amara that were directly involved in teacher training went out of their way to be helpful and supportive.
The training provided us students with all the tools we need to become the best Yoga teachers we can be, and allowed us to explore and find our own interests and strong points. A very important aspect of the program is the fact that students are able/required to teach and use their new knowledge to gain experience while in training. Experience is something that cannot be taught in the classroom and from what I have read many other programs do offer much opportunity to actually teach. Besides being required to teach one another as well as friends and family, Kelsey did a marvelous job finding teaching opportunities that allowed us to teach on regular basis, like Yoga for Med students or Yoga for emotional healing at the Women’s Resource Center at University of Illinois ect.
The other thing I did not expect to find was my fellow trainees, only a few weekends into the training we started to bond as a group and to really trust one another. There were no cliques, no small groups, no superficial smiles, Although all of us were so different at first sight, came from such diverse backgrounds and seem to be heading in different directions, there were no cliques, no small groups, no superficial smiles. One of the most important things I learned during these eight months was the true meaning of the phrase: “The light in me recognizes the light in you”. Not only did I find my own little light, I saw all these wonderful people shine, their uniqueness and all they had to give as Yoga teachers, as students, as friends and as members of the society.
People used to ask me when I graduate from grad school: ”What does it feel like to be Ph.D.? Do you feel different?” – The answer was: “No.” Graduating after 5 years did not make feel like a different or a better person. Graduating from Yoga Teacher Training after eight months does make me feel like a different person, a person that has grown. Going through Yoga Teacher Training is one of the most valuable and most important things I have accomplished in my life and I regard it as highly as my graduate degree.
I am grateful for the opportunity to study and grow with such a wonderful group of students and teachers. I so wish for all the future Amara Teacher Trainees to have the same amazing experience, and encourage everybody who is “thinking about it” to just do it. Yes it takes a lot of time, yes it is a lot of work, yes it is demanding, and yes it is so worth it and the end you will be sad it is over.