[YTTC Special] What I learned from Yoga Teacher Training – By Janet Tan-Chay
25 July 2019, Thursday
A special write-up by Real Yoga member & RY Academy YTTC batch 11 graduate, Janet Tan-Chay.
With our Yoga Teachers Training Course coming up in August, we asked our member and YTTC batch 11 graduate, Janet, to share her Yoga Teacher Training experience with us.
What makes you decide to take up Yoga Teacher Training at Real Yoga?
“Yoga wasn’t just about doing the asanas. The knowledge and techniques on breathing, the body anatomy, the purpose of the various asanas made me realise that it is not just a form of exercise.”
I like to say I was ‘brain-washed’ by Master Saumik into going for the YTTC. Having said that, I realised that I have been sharing my Yoga journey with my corporate clients during my facilitation or coaching, especially around the topic of resilience, work-life balance. I’ve even incorporated a short session of Yoga for my clients during my leadership development workshops and the feedback has always been positive. It was during this period that I started thinking of attending the YTTC.
On a personal basis, I suppose there was a desire to know more about Yoga – why can’t I do this asana, how else can I do it, what will it take to get me there, when will I get there? The various workshops that I have attended fuelled my desire to deepen my knowledge and understanding. I went into the YTTC not exactly with the intention to teach Yoga, but to feed my personal desire to learn more. And I did!
Yoga wasn’t just about doing the asanas. The knowledge and techniques on breathing, the body anatomy, the purpose of the various asanas made me realise that it is not just a form of exercise. Practising Yoga is a holistic experience, a lifestyle. I may not have gotten all the answers I was seeking but I felt at peace.
It was during my YTTC that I started having thoughts about sharing what I know with the larger community. I felt more adequately equipped in terms of the knowledge. I chose to do the YTTC with Real Yoga as I have always enjoyed Master Saumik’s workshops. He has a knack of explaining things in a simple way, using metaphor, analogy to illustrate and in a humorous way.
Are there challenges you faced during training; how do you deal with them?
“The instructions that I could follow so easily during my classes disappeared from my memory. I was struggling to fill sentences with words to get my students to do a downward dog, forward bend, cobra, etc.”
Challenges definitely appeared in different forms for different students. Learning the Sanskrit was challenging for me and I found myself stumbling over the words or trying to recall what it means. Teaching Yoga was also a stressful moment. The instructions that I could follow so easily during my classes disappeared from my memory.
I was struggling to fill sentences with words to get my students to do a downward dog, forward bend, cobra, etc. I couldn’t even tell whether it is the left or the right. I had to simulate the move to determine if it was left for right. Learning to see how students feel during the asana was a big thing for me too. In the corporate world, it’s more on thinking and I have always operated in a thinking mode as that’s an expectation of us. And now I have to observe how the students are feeling during the asana? I certainly felt vulnerable.
Laughter was the best way to deal with those moments. I learnt to laugh at myself, let others laugh at me, laugh with them. It certainly helped to dispel the tension and anxiety. We formed study groups to help each other as well – Sanskrit, body anatomy, history of Yoga, body alignment, etc. We were testing each other whenever possible.
Tell us about your first class as a Yoga teacher?
“Seeing the ‘progress’ of my students also reaffirms my life purpose of making a difference (to other people’s lives).”
I took on a community class at a mall – it was an open area near a playground, with the occasional kids screaming and running around us. I was apprehensive initially but with Master Saumik’s coaching, I used the opportunity to teach the students mindfulness. I was prepared with a sequence of asanas and more importantly, to teach them pranayama which I have benefited so much.
I suppose it went as well as I had wanted it to be, as various students came up to me after the class affirming how much they have learnt about the breathing and wanting to know when is my next class. I have since then started teaching in the studio & for corporate clients and am enjoying every moment of it. Through teaching, I am reinforcing what I have learnt for myself.
In addition, seeing the ‘progress’ of my students also reaffirms my life purpose of making a difference! Lastly, Yoga has enabled me to incorporate mindfulness into the stressful world of my corporate clients.
What is your advice to those who want to be a Yoga teacher?
Follow your heart, take the challenge. It does not matter whether you are teaching a class or just 1 person or even yourself. It is about making a difference in your life and in someone’s life.
It has made a difference in mine– mentally, physically, emotionally, physiologically. And don’t forget your self-practice as it helps to reinforce what you have learnt or what you are trying to teach.
Lastly, what have you learnt from your Yoga Teacher Training?
“(Yoga Teacher Training) has brought me the much-needed mental clarity in this chaotic world and taught me mindfulness.”
I need to slow down. I need to give my students space. It wasn’t easy as I am used to sprinting in the corporate world. However, in doing so, I found my space on the mat.
Lastly, I just want to add on that Yoga that started out as an exercise regime to improve my physical flexibility has evolved to a whole new level for me. It has opened up my mind and body to a deeper level of my asana practice. It has brought me the much-needed mental clarity in this chaotic world and taught me mindfulness. And I am thankful to all my Yoga teachers for this, especially Master Saumik & Teacher Rakesh who taught me Yoga is more than a physical exercise. Namaste.