Why did I sign up for yoga teacher training? I’ve been asking myself for months
As I got more into yoga the last three years, I’ve found more than superficial benefits
Yoga class on the Varkala Beach at sunset. File photograph: iStock
Margaret Young: ‘For once, I will exercise some patience and wait for the answers to come in their own time’
Why did I sign up for yoga teacher training? I haven’t been asked much by friends and family because they assume it’s because I love yoga and I do it a lot.
But really, it’s become almost an existential question that I have been asking myself for months.
Do I want to teach? At the moment, the thought is pretty terrifying. And I am already running my own unrelated business. So why did I sign up? It’s a big commitment and it’s not inexpensive. Why not Pilates, personal training etc? What do I hope to get out of it?
Since the whole “India” influence back in the 1990s, I have been smitten with the culture, and yoga is part of that. Remember Kula Shaker, Madonna’s Ray of Light period and Matthew Williamson’s first collections? This glamorised commercial version of laid-back hippy style had me listening to sitar music, burning incense and wanting henna tattoos. I wasn’t on my own in this! But it also led me to vegetarianism, reading about Hinduism and yoga. And while fashions changed, yoga has remained at the very least, a part of my fitness schedule for a long time.
As I got more into yoga the last three years especially, I’ve found more than superficial benefits. While I can’t do any of the challenging poses like headstands or handstands, I do enough and know enough to understand and experience the mental and emotional benefits.
While I say benefits, sometimes it’s really hard to lie in Savasana (the final pose where you lie on your mat). It’s not all sunshine and bliss. While other workouts drown out your innermost thoughts with music and activity, sometimes yoga gives you space and time to think of nothing but those thoughts you have been trying to avoid. I find, if I do not look certain issues and decisions in the face, they will force themselves on me in Savasana and I have no choice but to deal with them or they will keep visiting me until I do. There is nowhere to hide.
And so, maybe it’s no surprise that it was mid-Savasana that I made the decision to sign up to yoga teacher training. I simply wanted to learn more about the philosophy behind it and the physiological effects. My teacher training will be held one weekend a month, from September to June.
Maybe subconsciously I feel encumbered by my lack of a degree as I have done a lot of part-time courses over the years. It feels customary to me to be starting something educational in the autumn. The back-to-school feeling is not just for kids! Otherwise, your life can start to feel a bit like a hamster wheel; I like to have goals, and a beginning and an end of a process or project. That’s how I stay motivated.
And following on from that point about “back to school”, I like to have something positive to focus on in the winter months. Like a lot of people in this country, I find winter really tough mentally. I am one of those people who is affected by the weather on a daily basis.
I don’t mind the cold or even the rain, but the greyness and clouds make me feel suffocated, at any time of the year. Having a distraction like something to work towards, a course, a race or a trip outside of my normal routine in winter, helps me get through it.
I don’t want to live my life constantly waiting for summer, I want to be able to live in the moment, but it takes consistent effort to get out of that way of thinking. As yoga teacher training is spread over 10 months, it should help keep me occupied and present. To have a new string to my bow by the time summer comes around is a major bonus.
Lastly, when I first signed up for yoga teacher training it was not with the intention to teach but after a few days, the seed of a business idea developed.
Unfortunately, it has stayed a seed and hasn’t quite germinated into a fully-fledged concept yet. Yoga products, books, retreats, events . . . I truly don’t know yet. I am hoping that the path will become clear the further I get into the process.
For once, I will exercise some patience and wait for the answers to come in their own time and for the path to become clear.