Written by YS Instructor, Shoshannah Frank
It is interesting how the road begins to twist and turn when you think you are headed on a straight path. My journey into teacher training began solely as a personal journey, I was on a quest for knowledge in my own personal practice and had no intention of ever teaching. I said the same thing when I took assistant training and by the time I signed up for teacher training in 2012, I had been on the floor as an assistant for three years.
You could say that I am a constant work in progress, well aren’t we all, and I have been in therapy the majority of my life. When I started teacher training I knew that I would be able to delve deeper into different aspects of yoga, but I had no idea that the most meaningful and extraordinary take away would be a greater sense of self. Years of negative self talk and feeling of inadequacy had left me broken in many ways. Teacher training provided me with tools to come face to face with those feelings when they begin to creep in, because they will, and discern what is truth and what is a lie I tell myself. For me the training was deep, it was scary, painful at times yet it was the best thing I ever did for myself. My therapist agrees. It is interesting how learning about yourself and being open to new discovery is actually an important part of being a good yoga teacher.
Learning to actually teach was challenging, frustrating at times, but exciting as well. Just like being open to self discovery, it was important for me to be open to feedback from our teachers and other trainees in order for me to grow and move past the self-criticism in my head. I was not great, I was actually pretty boring at first I found that learning to teach yoga does not come naturally to most. Learning to not take it personally and use it as something to work on was a great lesson outside of the studio as well.
One of my favorite take aways from the training is that even though we all seem so different on the outside, we actually have so much in common. We are all full of insecurities, we all have fears and goals, we all have lessons to learn and lesson to teach. You may not like everyone, but you can learn from everyone and every experience. I made some dear friends in my class; people I now celebrate the ups with and lean on in the downs.
I decided to teach because I just thought that it was the next thing to do. It scared the crap out of me and I genuinely do not like being on a stage. Eventually you learn teaching really is not about you. I continue to teach because I think I can provide an interesting point of view. I do not think linearly all the time, I often teach asana using color, shape, rap songs, or food. I am now a firm believer on how things feel as opposed to how things look. My imagination is the key to the deepest part of my practice and I want to enhance the use of imagination in my classes for those who get it and expose it to those who don’t. I was once told that using your imagination to connect your mind and your heart will allow your soul to shine. Who does not want that?! Not everyone is going to like me as a teacher or maybe even as a person but teacher training made me ok with that. Well, it finally sunk in over time. I leave you with something I wrote to the teachers of YS in October of 2013 about a year after I started teaching at YS…
Before I went to Level 1 Teacher Training with Baron Baptiste, people would ask me if I loved teaching yoga. I was hesitant to answer because the answer was “No” but I knew that was not the answer they wanted to hear. I would just reply, “I am still getting used to it.” When I went to level one people asked me why was I there. I had to think about that answer, other than give the quick answer of “I had paid for it moons ago.” Soon my response became “to see if teaching is something I really want to do or is something others want me to do.” Honestly when I got on the plane to go that was not even a developed thought. I did not leave Arizona with an answer.
If you had asked me that question this morning, about a year after I started teaching, I would probably still have to give a dodgy response. There was nothing special about my class tonight, it was not full and the energy was not overflowing. My practice, in my body, although beautifully taught by my dear Christopher Roberson, was not mind-blowing. But as I drove home tonight, I heard myself say “I love teaching yoga.” It was in my head but it was so loud I am sure you heard it.
I am sure that this feeling will ebb and flow just like all things in life and that’s ok, but there will never again be the FIRST time I said “I love teaching yoga!” As Baron would say I am **astonished** ( insert spirit fingers.) Thank you for being my support team on and off the mat.
Shannah Frank, Imagination Pusher
YSYS graduate 2012