What is / was your profession when you signed up for Yogafurie Teacher Training?
At the time of signing up to Yoga Teacher Training with Yogafurie I was working as a part time administrator, I called this my ‘in-between job’, intending to pave a career path I truly I loved. I’d never known what that path entailed though and in truth, I was completely lost.
I’d worked hard in the past and created a comfortable life with passive incomes, so in many senses I felt free. I was so grateful for that. But I also felt so disconnected from my true self. I knew I wasn’t really living with integrity or in alignment with what is actually important to me.
More than anything, I craved a sense of meaningful purpose. To have a positive impact and to genuinely connect with others. I longed for a job I absolutely loved, where I could channel my creative and spiritual energy, continue to challenge myself, learn, grow, empower and share.
My ‘in between’ admin role didn’t fulfil or inspire me. And while anyone who knows me will tell you that I love order, organisation and aesthetic, I was seeking more.
What was it about Yoga that made you want to learn more?
Yoga has been a great source of healing in my life. I went to my first Yoga class shortly after my mum died in 2016. I actually just went for ‘gentle exercise’ and to ensure I met with a good friend on a weekly basis.
As it happened, I felt really close to my mum during those first classes. I remembered how she’d tried and failed to get me into Yoga when I was little. As hard as I found both the physical practice and the meditations, I kept going back. In an unexplainable way, I felt like I was meant to be there.
In 2019, a break-up brought Yoga and I closer than ever. By which time, I already knew how healing Yoga was for me (although I couldn’t really pin point why). I stayed close to my mat during this period but unfortunately, I still couldn’t find the motivation to practice half as much as I wanted to.
Later that year I signed up for the course. I thought if I was paying for Yoga Teacher Training I would definitely practice more. Plus, I’d get to learn a lot about something I loved but didn’t fully understand.
The previous year, I was accepted to study Philosophy at university. I’d developed a strong interest in the subject following a near-death experience in my mid-teens. In the end, I decided not to enrol and instead undertook my own reading around philosophy and spirituality. Both of which have played an essential part in maintaining my mental health since the trauma. I knew Yoga had a significantly philosophical/spiritual side but my knowledge was limited. I was intrigued to learn more and I was excited at the prospect of combining this aspect of yoga with my physical practice.
Did you aim to teach afterwards or was this a journey to deepen your knowledge about Yoga?
I knew that to become a Yoga teacher would bring meaning, purpose, challenge and growth into my life. It would also be a great means of channelling my creative and spiritual energy. I would have the chance to empower others, have a positive impact and make genuine connections with like-minded people.
Everything I previously mentioned I was seeking from a job…
However, at the time of signing up for 200 Hours Yoga Teacher Training in Bristol, I told myself there was no way I would, or even could, become a teacher. I’m an introvert by nature and I’ve never liked the spot light. Not to mention, I didn’t feel I was physically up to it given a CFS diagnosis and general lack of fitness/flexibility. For so many reasons, I just didn’t think I’d ever be “good enough at yoga” to become a teacher.
I said to myself ‘The course is just to deepen my own practice and knowledge. To get me on my mat more. Maybe it’ll even help alleviate heartbreak by creating focus. When the course is done, I’ll probably be a bit more stretchy, hopefully a little less sad and I’ll call it a day.’ It was much less daunting that way.
How did you feel the moment that you signed up to the course?
But that emotion was mixed with an understated feeling of calm. Because beneath the worry, I had this knowing sense that I was paving the right path. Although signing up and the thought of what was to come was so incredibly scary at that point, it felt weirdly right.
I hadn’t let myself think about signing up too much beforehand. If I had, in my usual over-analytical style, I would have found a million reasons not to and I’m certain I wouldn’t have gone for it.
It was more of a spur of the moment decision at the open day. An unexplainable pull made me pay the deposit and I’m so thankful I honoured my intuition. Somewhere deep inside I was feeling expansive.
How did you feel on your first day? What was the experience of your first weekend with us?
But (again) my nerves were soon settled by the loveliest bunch of fellow Yoga Teacher Trainees – who were evidently all just as sacred as I was. Our new little community, our sangha, bonded over shared food we’d bought from home. It was comforting and the food was delicious. If nothing else, I knew I’d always be excited for lunch time!
Ed, Sinead and the whole team in Bristol were welcoming, supportive and quick to put us all at ease with their big smiles and committed but laid-back nature. There was a sense it was all under control; everything felt taken care of, organised and thought out.
Of course, I brought my painful insecurities along with me on the first day. And they stayed for the best part of the course. But volunteering to practice teaching first, when we got thrown straight in, felt liberating. I vowed to get comfortable with a feeling of failure in the name of growth. To pave this particular path well outside of my usual comfort zone. To just go with the flow and see where it led me.
I remember crying in the Kirtan session at the end of the first weekend and, as cheesy as it may sound, feeling as though I was finally finding my way back home.
How did you feel on your last day of the course?
As the 2020 group, we had a strange experience due to lockdowns… therefore our last day was not as planned and our final assessments got pushed back quite a bit.
Nonetheless, on completing the Yoga Teacher Training course in Bristol I felt so proud of myself. What a cathartic and genuinely life-changing experience.
On the day of my final assessment, surprisingly, my nerves dissipated and I was left with a feeling that this was just the start. That ending this course was only the very beginning of my journey.
I’m eagerly awaiting our closing Kirtan session (which was also pushed back due to lockdowns and is arranged to take place soon), I’m sure there will be lots more tears of joy! 🙂
What is your favourite learning that you will take away with you? Do you have any new / unique areas of interest since the course?
That’s a difficult question. There are so many aspects of Yoga that I love.
Personally, as a whole, the Bristol Yoga Teacher Training course gave me an opportunity to stop and look at myself deeply. The mat really was a mirror which allowed me to see my behaviour and general attitude towards life for what it really was. I started to recognise that I was so out of touch with my mind, my body and my true self.
I was never fully in the present moment before Yoga Teacher Training. I was always in an unconscious, tense rush to get to an unknown destination. Somewhere, anywhere, other than the here and now. On realising this through in-depth study and practice of Yoga, I started to question all aspects of my life and noticed I was also lacking in authenticity and integrity.
During the seemingly straightforward assignment to pick my favourite Yoga Sutra and talk about it, I shared with uncharacteristic vulnerability. This was the first step towards facing some really hard things and has since been invaluable to me.
I sought much needed therapy with a clinical psychologist after the assignment and began working through difficult memories. I feel such gratitude to my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Course, as it was the catalyst for unearthing my authentic voice.
I’m currently looking into Somatics in more depth, trauma-informed Yoga and Yoga for energy and healing. I’m excited to continue my learning and would love to officially extend my training in the near future.
Do you teach Yoga now? How do you enjoy the experience of teaching Yoga?
And I’m shocked to say, I love teaching. I still get a little nervous beforehand but I am solid in the understanding that teaching Yoga is not about me.
First and foremost, I teach Yoga because I wish to share how healing it can be. My practice comes from the heart and as such, flows naturally.
I really enjoy the whole process from creating themes, planning sequences and meditations, to sharing my lessons and receiving feedback. I’m keen to keep growing and evolving my practice.
While encouraging people to challenge themselves physically, my main aim is to facilitate them in finding peace – building on present moment awareness and letting go of all judgement – returning them to their true selves.
Drawing inspiration from natural cycles and deeper themes/emotions, I create my classes guided by mother nature and using all the tools I’ve found most healing. I love sharing them.
What is different about your life now than when you started the course?
So much. But an important, life-enhancing difference is my ability to remain present.
As mentioned, I was habitually in an unconscious, unnecessary tense rush before Yoga Teacher Training.
When I started Yoga in 2016, I remember being so impatient during the opening meditation. I wanted to start moving and didn’t allow myself to fully relax or attempt to switch off. When we did get moving, it wasn’t long before I wanted to lie back down. And of course, by the time the end meditation came, I felt fidgety, wanted to move again and I was annoyed at myself for being unable to relax. I’d given a half-hearted effort throughout.
In my head, I’d wanted to be some place other than the present moment for the entire class. And although this did improve with time, I found this habit cropping up during Yoga Teacher Training Bristol. On reflection, I realised that this trait or behavioural pattern (samskara) could be extrapolated into my wider life. The present moment never seemed good enough. Whatever I was doing, I was always unconsciously wanting to be somewhere else, doing something else – but I didn’t know where and I didn’t know what.
I was dealing with and still experience profound grief and emotional trauma. But through studying Yoga came the stark and simple realisation that continues to set me free: This moment, right here and right now, is enough.
It is the only place true peace can be found.
I had a slight grasp on this notion prior to Yoga Teacher Training, but the course allowed me to really put it into practice. And I realised, experientially, that my presence in the eternal present relinquished me from suffering.
If this notion doesn’t resonate with you – I understand – I’m aware it sounds too good and (almost offensively) too simple to be true.
But I’m thankful to say, it works for me. You can read my more extensive thoughts over on my blog.
What was your favourite thing about the Yoga Teacher Training course with Yogafurie Academy?
The breadth of knowledge that Ed and team in Bristol have on the many aspects of Yoga, and all of the great guest speakers that offered their unique expertise in specific areas.
I also appreciate the flexible way in which knowledge was delivered. With the recognition and understanding that people had come to the course for many different reasons.
Some are more interested in anatomy and the physical/fitness side of Yoga, some the more esoteric and spiritual side, and everywhere in between.
In addition, while I often still challenge myself on being ‘just another white woman’ appropriating Yoga; I felt that the ancient and sacred tradition of Yoga was fully respected during the course – which is so important.
Is there anything else you would like to offer up as a reflection on this journey?
Take a moment to relax your jaw.
Soften. Arrive where you are.
…I have to consciously remind myself of this often. That habitual tension still creeps up. This is just one example, but I’m so much more aware of my unhelpful samskaras and how to counter them now.
I’m so grateful to the yoga Teacher Training course in Bristol for that. The course was such a transformational and self-developmental period for me.
Lastly, if you’ve been reading this while considering signing up but you feel you “won’t be good enough” and of course, you “could never be a teacher” – perhaps approach the idea from a slightly different angle.
Ask yourself some simple questions, putting the teaching aspect aside for a moment:
Do you love Yoga?
Has it helped you in some way?
Would you like to deepen your knowledge and practice?
If yes, I say go for it. Of course, it’s a big investment which comes with its limitations and no doubt adds a lot of pressure. But if you have the means, I suggest weighing up your alternatives and checking in with some big questions regarding the direction of your career/life. Get clear on the reasons why you practice Yoga yourself and above all else, do the course for those reasons; for yourself. For what you’ll take away from it personally, regardless of whether you think you’ll be “good enough” to teach others in the end.
The way I see it, if you practice from the heart and from a place of genuine love for yoga, you can’t really go wrong when sharing. You’ll find your people.
Love and light,
Discover how you can start your beautiful Yoga Journey here with Yogafurie Academy 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training in Bristol.