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jenniferdwyer88

So you think you aren’t ready teach yoga?

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teach yoga

I felt the same way.

It was the Fall of 2010 and I was going to yoga every single day. Power Yoga Canada Clarkson was like a second home to me. I was in love with the practice, inspired by the community and was finally starting to understand those people that claimed yoga had changed their life. I was constantly eyeing posters and hearing buzz around the next round of Kinndli’s 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program that would be starting that January.

Over the course of those months leading up to January, I thought to myself more times than I can count, I really want to teach. Then very quickly and very loudly, the BUT would come in.

I can’t hold a handstand yet, if I’m going to teach I need to be able to do that. 
I need to tone up more if I’m going to be at the front of the room.
I’m not confident enough to talk for 60 – 90 minutes to a room of strangers.
Nobody would even want to take my class. I’ll never get hired anywhere. 
I don’t know if I can handle the big investment of my money and time right now.
I haven’t been practicing yoga long enough to take this next step. 
There’s already so many great teachers out there, there’s no room for me.

The list was long and the doubt was loud but at some point I hesitantly mentioned to Pauline that it was on my mind. Those of you that know her will also know that once you tell her you want to do something you pretty much have to do it because she’ll be right there behind you – pushing if she has to.

I’m so grateful that she gave me that push and now, whether we know each other or not, I’m here to do the same for you.

If you’ve been thinking teacher training is something you want to do, then you’re absolutely ready to do it.

After almost 7 years of teaching full time, opening a studio and making yoga my ‘real’ job, here are the four things I wish I had known then.

1. It doesn’t matter what your practice looks like.

There are amazing teachers in the world that can float into handstand. There are also amazing teachers out there that can’t even hold it for a second. In my opinion, there is no correlation between a teachers ability to do advanced poses and their ability to teach an unbelievable yoga class.  There will always be another pose to work on.Don’t fall into the trap of waiting until your practice is ‘good enough’.

A powerful teacher loves yoga. Their practice changed their life and they want to share that gift with others. They have a sincere desire to dive deeper and learn. They’re passionate about helping people. If you have all that and you can hold a handstand, high five! If you can’t, high five! You love yoga and that’s what matters. You have SO much to offer.

2. It’s a lot of money and time but totally worth it.

My plan was to do my Teacher Training while I had the time and then get a corporate job. I thought I’d learn how to teach a yoga class, figure out how the body worked and understand the basics of explaining yoga poses to other people. I’d teach 1 or 2 classes per week on the side of whatever job I had but lucky for me, life didn’t go as planned!

But let’s say it had. If I was a corporate girl who never taught a single class after my training, it would still be the best investment I’ve ever made in myself and my growth. It’s so much more than a yoga training. Yes you will learn (a lot) about yoga but more importantly, you’ll learn (probably more than you want to) about yourself. You can’t put a price on the growth that this program inspires in every aspect of your life. I would go back and spend that money again in a heartbeat.

3. You’ll never feel 100% ready.

If you’ve convinced yourself that you have some sort of physical, mental or emotional barrier that you need to overcome before you’re ready to stand at the front of the room, I have some news for you. Sitting around and hiding from people is not going to get you over that barrier.

We all have something standing in our way. Maybe you think you need to lose a few pounds. Maybe you think you’ll teach when you somehow get over your anxiety around public speaking. Maybe you think you need to get over your fear of judgement and what others think of you. Whatever it is, there’s something you want to work through before you teach. These are the very things you get to tackle with a group of amazing and like-minded people all going through their 200-hour training with you. Sitting at home thinking about how you’ll one day feel comfortable talking in front of a group is not going to get you there. You’ve got to do it, even if it’s scary.

4. The world needs you, yes YOU!

If you remember one thing, let this be it. Yes, there are many, many great teachers in the world already but guess what? None of them are you. You have something so unique and so special to share with your future students and believe me, they’re out there just waiting to hear what you have to say.

We all have our own stories and life experiences to share. We’ve all found yoga for different reasons and the benefits of this practice are profoundly personal. We experience them in our own way. One of the things I love most about yoga is that no two teachers are the same. We’re all sharing this ancient tradition but adding our own unique flare to it. So stop telling yourself that there are enough teachers out there. There’s more than just room for you, there is a need for you.

You’ll doubt yourself. You’ll probably have a long list of ‘buts’ like mine. You’ll question if you’re ready. You might even have a little crisis before your training starts or you teach that first class thinking: ‘I can’t do this’.

I’m here to tell you that YOU CAN and YOU SHOULD.

 

jenn headshot
Jennifer Dwyer
Power Yoga Canada Muskoka
www.jenniferdwyer.ca
@jenniferdwyer
@pycmuskoka

Are You Present?

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PYC ClarksonI’ve lived most of my life from my head – over-thinking, over-analyzing and worrying about every little thing. It wasn’t until I started practicing yoga that I even began to wrap my worried mind around the idea of presence.

My first few practices were confusing.

The teacher would ask me to ‘be present’ and I would think to myself: Well, yah, obviously. I’m here. I’m in the room. Where do you think I am, teacher? Now tell me what pose do to next.
I would hear the words ‘land in your body’ and I’d think: Land in my body? What does that even mean. I live in my body. How can I land in it?

It didn’t take me long to realize that all that inner dialogue was exactly what the teacher was encouraging me to step out of. I was NOT present. One moment I was overanalyzing what the teacher said, the next I was fretting about the essay I had to write, then before I knew it, I was getting mad at my sisters all over again replaying some fight from last year.

I wasn’t landing in my body because I was having a conversation in my head. 

That was years ago, and to this day, every time I hit my mat, I struggle between landing in the moment and wandering off in my head. That’s what the practice is for me, an opportunity to bring my body and my mind into the same place, at the same time.

We are on Day 3 of 40 Days to Personal Revolution at Power Yoga Canada and the theme of the week is Presence – bet you saw that one coming. If you are participating, awesome! If you aren’t, you can still join us in noticing when you are present in your life and more importantly, when you are not!

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a conversation with someone only to realize that you have no idea what they just said?
Have you ever been in front of your computer at work or at school and you get nothing done because your mind is fixated on that fight you got in with your boyfriend/girlfriend/friend/parents last night?
Have you ever pulled into the driveway after a long day and realized that you have no idea how you got there? Scary, right?

These things happen because you weren’t present. You were in your head, thinking about something that wasn’t actually happening in the moment. Take it from me, it’s a tough way to live! I suffered through a lot of my life because of the time I spent in my head dwelling on things that had already happened and worrying about things that might in the future. And this is still my work. It’s a practice that will never end for me, but one that has had an amazing impact on my relationships, life and overall happiness.

When you bring your attention to presence this week, you might notice that you aren’t really there for more moments than you thought. Maybe you’re realizing – like I did – that you’ve spent your whole life in your head.

Don’t get discouraged. It’s a powerful place to be. With the awareness that you’re not present, you see an opportunity that you didn’t even know was available to you before:

You can come back to the moment.

Jenn Dwyer

If you have any helpful tips for practicing presence in your life, share them with the community in the comments below! 

See more of my writing here.

If I just had more time

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I’ve been really struggling with time lately and feeling like I just don’t have enough of it. I’ve used this as an excuse to stay away from writing. The inspiration hasn’t been there. The words haven’t been coming. So every time I sit down to post, I tell myself I just don’t have enough time. There’s more important, more productive things I could be doing and off I go.

I convince myself that if I just had more hours in the day and more days in the week and more years in my life, I could get my writing going again. And it doesn’t stop at this. There’s a long list of things I would do, poses I would master, and places I would see if I only had the time.

In the airport last Thursday, I picked up Mitch Albom’s The Time Keeper. I was looking for a light read – since I don’t have enough time for a long one – and this looked like it would do the trick.

Moral of the story: the moment we started tracking time was the moment that we stopped appreciating life.

How many Sunday’s do you spend wishing you had another day to your weekend? How many work days do you look at the clock and think if you just had more time you could finish everything AND get to add some fun to your life after? How many times have you thought OMG, my life is flying by?

And the funny thing is, all this time we spend wishing we had more time just gives us less of it. We waste the time we do have in our heads. We don’t appreciate the moment.

This quick little read on an airplane taught me an important lesson. I can’t get more time but what I can do is use the time I’m given wisely. I can appreciate it. I can put it towards a good purpose.

This little lesson in time can be applied to so many other things in life. It’s simply really.

Stop asking for more and start appreciating what you have.

__________
Jenn Dwyer
To see more of my writing, check out my blog here.

Earth to Yogi: Your Body is Calling…Pick up!

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Injury can be one of our greatest and most frustrating teachers. Just when we think we are on a certain path in our practice, we are forced to slow down, modify and pull back. We have to set up camp and hang tight.

Slowing down is not an easy task and often comes hand in hand with frustration and resistance. All of a sudden, we’re forced to put all that yoga stuff into practice. We have to get present to our current situation, to our bodies and what feels right.

Then comes the hardest part. Acceptance. How many times have you heard that word in a yoga room? We need to accept where we are, and this can be incredibly difficult.

I’m speaking from my own personal experience in my practice right now. I got present to my back injury about a month and a half ago. I’m not sure exactly what I did but all of a sudden any twist would leave me with a tight pain in my right, mid-back. Day after day, I would feel the same pain every time I practiced – so I modified. I shared my frustration with people in the community. I even backed off enough to take a few days off and after a while, it seemed I was in the clear. This past weekend I felt like I was finally 100% – surely I could jump back into full expression in every pose.

Yah…not so much.

Too much, too soon. I ignored my intuition and let my mind get in the way. I wanted so badly to be back to my “regular” practice (what is that anyway?) that I pushed my bodies signals to the side. I felt tight but muscled through countless back bends and here I am, sitting at my desk with a sore back and heating pad.

True practice comes into play when things don’t go as planned, when we are pushed out of our comfort zone, when we face one (or more) or life’s many different challenges. Whatever that might be for you; an injury in your practice, an illness, a loss, relationship issues, money problems or just feeling unhappy, listen to your body, your gut, your intuition.

Put your yoga into practice.

At the end of my class yesterday, I opened up that magical, amazing book from the front of the room (FYI – Journey to the Heart) and flipped it open to a random page. This is what it read:

Sometimes the Road Gets Rough

Feel your fear and frustration about slowing down, then settle in for the ride. You may not be going as fast as you’d like, but the journey hasn’t stopped. You’re not doing anything wrong. You are going slower, but you’re still moving forward.” 

– Melody Beattie

A gentle reminder to slow down, listen to my body and give it time to heal. I couldn’t help but smile, knowing that that reading came to me when I needed it most.

Whatever challenge you might be facing right now, realize that you’re exactly where you need to be. You don’t have to rush. You don’t have to force. Get present and remember that no matter how slow, you are always moving forward.