To Teach, or Not to Teach?
I have a confession to make: I, along with everyone else and their mother, have ambitions of becoming a yoga teacher. My practice has done so much for me, physically, intellectually, and emotionally that I feel compelled to share it. And I'm intrigued by the idea of making a little money sharing this practice that I love (and I do mean a little money... I realize it's tough to make a living teaching yoga. I won't quit my day job... or night job, as it were). I may not even decide to try to teach right away, but I'd really like to have the option. I had been looking into teacher training programs in my area a few months ago, but none spoke to my practice, or fit into my schedule while I'm working nights and taking classes in the afternoon. I decided to be patient and put the notion of teacher training on the back-burner, thinking I can always do it when I finish school... whenever that may be.
Then opportunity sidled up and gave me a cheeky tap on the shoulder last week. When I went to the website of the yoga studio I visit on Wednesday to check class times for the afternoon, I saw a little link at the top of the page asking, "Interested in yoga training?" Why, yes I am! I clicked the seductive blue letters. Apparently, the studio is hosting a teacher training intensive this summer with Kurt Johnsen of American Power Yoga. Heard of it? Neither had I. Check it out here. I'm a little apprehensive about this "unique" style of yoga which incorporates elements from varied backgrounds. I do realize that this is a bit hypocritical of me, as I'm no purist, certainly not on my mat. Mr. Johnsen apparently has a few classes on the Yogavibes class list. Maybe I should buy one before I make my decision. Has anyone heard of this guy or his style of yoga?
The training is eleven weeks, Friday evenings, and 9-5 Saturdays and Sundays. I could do this! My classes this summer are online, and if I can manage to rearrange my work schedule a little bit, I could conceivably complete this training. I'm excited. But...
I have many questions.
Is my practice at the level it should be to undertake teacher training? I spend a lot of time on my mat, and my practice is both ritualistic and exploratory. I sometimes wonder how my solo practice would translate into a teaching method. I'm also a little afraid of how the training might change my practice. Change is scary. One of the reasons I have chosen to stay away from yoga studios is that I have a tendency to be very competitive. I want to be the best, all the time. It's irrational and destructive, but it is. I am capable of suppressing these competitive urges. I have never attempted an asana in a class because the person beside me could do it, but I have wanted to. I've also been inspired and enlightened by the person beside me, or in front of me, during a class, so there's that, I guess.
I also wonder if I have I been to enough studio classes to have a good level of comfort and understanding in a classroom environment. There has never been a time that I felt unprepared or out of my element in a class. My home practice, to my sustained astonishment, does not disintegrate when I take it into the light of day. But these are eight-hour days.
I've read that some programs require 6 months to a year of practice with a teacher. It does not appear that this program has any such requirements, but I haven't developed much of a relationship with any of the teachers at the studio. I've been teacher-hopping, taking one, two, or three classes with four different instructors... and this is the extent of the instruction I've received (with the exception of many Yoga Today classes, which were very educational). Is this enough? I feel pretty confident that I'm capable and ready. I am dedicated and diligent in my practice, but that is not to say that I don't have doubts about my abilities.
I've gone back and forth since I first learned of the training. One minute I'm certain I'll do it. The next, I'm apprehensive. But some simple math has revealed that, most of the time, I think I should do it. I'm excited to learn, and optimistic that whether or not I choose to teach when I emerge from the training, the experience is likely to deepen my own practice.
I have not yet decided what I will do... It would give me something interesting to blog about, assuming I can find the time ;) There's an open house with Kurt Johnsen at the studio this Saturday, which I plan to attend, and perhaps ask some questions. I will make my decision then. In the meantime, I'll be practicing, on and off the mat.