Yesterday marked graduation day for the Jaya Vita Yoga Teacher Training Class of 2018. Jaya’s 200 RYT training program is a seven month long program that runs either once a year or every other year.
Teacher Training is a way to delve into the practice and teachings of yoga, whether you desire to teach or not. This group of yogis built a supportive, nurturing community for each other, and it truly was a pleasure guiding them these past seven months.
We asked our graduates a series of questions in order to give our community some insight into their training experience. Here is what they had to say.
Tara Atkins, the organizer extraordinaire, wife, and momma of two grown up kiddos;
Carrie Farrell, the inquisitive, former dancer and momma of two;
Danielle Krimmel, the ICU nurse and mother of two, with two bonus kiddos that make four!
Abby Healey, Jaya’s own photographer, and an aspiring art therapist. Abby has been practicing yoga since high school;
Erica Nealon, the always smiling nurse-to-be.
What made you want to do the teacher training?
Tara Atkins: I wanted to learn more about yoga, and why we are doing what we do. I didn't go into this thinking I'd become a teacher. I just wanted to learn something new and challenge myself.
Carrie Farrell: I have always wanted to teach kids and older adults. My seven year old son and I suffer from great anxiety. I am always looking for a way to give back and help others who suffer from similar conditions.
Abby Healey: I felt compelled to take part in the Jaya Vita Yoga teacher training as a way to deepen my understanding of yoga and the ways in which it enriches the practitioner’s life. I have been practicing since 2013 and had been seeking to expand my knowledge of what lies beyond a sixty minute class with the hope that I could bring the benefits of what I would learn to others.
Danielle Krimmel: I wanted to dive deeper into my knowledge of yoga, and learn more about the philosophy of yoga. I felt like the more I did the physical practice of yoga, the more I wanted to learn how to truly take yoga off my mat. Yoga is not just the movement of the body through different asanas, but noticing your mind/your thoughts without judgement. I wanted to dive deeper into living my life as a yogi.
Erica Nealon: I wanted to expand my knowledge of yoga, and not just in the physical practice, but in the philosophy of yoga and the mental practice.
What was the best thing about training?
Tara Atkins: Getting to know the other girls and experiencing this process with them, learning from Hilary and all she has to share and teach (she’s an amazing mentor), and learning safety while teaching. As a former dancer, I never had that. I feel it will help me be a much better teacher!
Carrie Farrell: The people, and Hilary and Krystie's guidance and insight.
Abby Healey: The best thing about training was the bond formed between my fellow trainees and I, and learning from each other’s experiences and perspectives.
Danielle Krimmel: There are a multitude of experiences I enjoyed throughout this training, but I think it's the unexpected experiences that I cherish the most. I absolutely loved our close knit group of trainees and getting to learn with them. To learn from them was such a great experience for me as well.
Erica Nealon: I loved spending the whole weekend with friends, learning about something I truly love. We all had to dig deep within ourselves to find an understanding of much of the material and to be able to teach others about yoga. It was fun watching everyone grow in this way. I also just loved learning about everything! I truly love yoga and it has saved me in many ways. I’d love to be able to share that with others.
What was the biggest challenge?
Tara Atkins: The biggest challenge for me was fighting my body. I had to learn to meet my body where it is and be ok with that. I became the queen of modification, which I think will be a plus while assisting others!
Carrie Farrell: Learning the lingo and terms.
Abby Healey: The most challenging part, over the past seven months, was the way cultivating all of the elements of teaching, when put together, feel. Finding balance while vocalizing what you are guiding a student into, cueing breath, and remaining mindful of alignment and safety provided an intensified appreciation for the instructors who inspire me.
Danielle Krimmel: Biggest challenge.....not believing everything I think, which I am still working on. Strive for progress not perfection.
Erica Nealon: I think some of the readings were very challenging. Now that I have a little more understanding, I would like to go back and read them again. Applying the philosophies from the readings is challenging as well, but it has opened me up to a new, deeper way of thinking and questioning the mind. Is this thought valid? Why am I thinking this? Do I have to believe this thought? Should I be attached to this way of thinking?
What surprised you?
Tara Atkins: What surprised me most was all the other things we had to learn that had nothing to do with the actual poses - the history, the chants, the human body, the LIFE of yoga!
Carrie Farrell: How much I learned by actually doing the poses and how to do proper adjustments.
Abby Healey: The biggest surprise has been the feeling of vulnerability that accompanies learning about myself in tandem with our yogic themes. This training is far from just academic and has moved me to strive for the best version of myself so that I can share that energy with those who may be in my classes. Yoga asks you to confront and process your emotions, through compassion and honesty, in order to discover your most wholehearted self.
Danielle Krimmel: It was more intense than I thought it would be. Creating an hour long flow is much more difficult than I thought. The teachers at Jaya make it look so easy and seamless. I strive to get to that level one day.
Erica Nealon: I was very surprised at how hard it was to actually get up there and teach, especially the first time. I practice almost every day, sometimes twice a day, but actually standing up there telling people how to move through their practice was difficult. The best thing to do is to just practice!
What was the most important takeaway from the training?
Tara Atkins: As a perfectionist in so many ways, I learned it’s ok to fall - - just get your butt back up and try again! Some days will be harder than others, but you have to love your strengths and not dwell on your weaknesses because it can all change tomorrow!
Carrie Farrell: Keeping others safe and how to make sure it is a priority.
Also the peace I feel and the serenity I get after every session.
Abby Healey: The most important takeaway has been knowing that the learning does not stop with graduation. Every instructor will always remain a student of yoga and must follow their curiosity to best serve their students and their own practice.
Danielle Krimmel: Hmmm…again, there are so many things to choose from, but I think the most important thing is to stay true to yourself as a teacher and as a student.
Erica Nealon: There are so many important concepts that I will take away from this training. I think the general idea of "non-attachment" is so big. We are attached to so many things, so many thoughts, so many actions. Should we be? If we are attached to a certain outcome, what happens when that outcome is different? Or exactly what we wanted? Are we disappointed? Do we want more? For me personally, I’ve found I was attached to a life I thought I wanted, until I got it. It wasn't what I expected. I don't think many things are what we expect them to be. So, if we are not attached to that expectation, maybe we can find something deeper in that outcome. I did want to win the Mega Millions, but when I woke up this morning to a few losing tickets, I was not attached to the idea of buying a beach house or three after I quit my job and hired a personal pizza maker.
Would you do it again?
Tara Atkins: I would, but I would like to see more of it all together. I liked the time in between, but sometimes I felt I needed it more often. Also, I feel now that I have a taste of all aspects of the yoga world, there are some things I want to learn more about!
Carrie Farrell: Yes, yes, and yes!
Abby Healey: Yes. I look forward to future trainings and learning opportunities.
Danielle Krimmel: In a heartbeat!!!
Erica Nealon: Yes, in a heartbeat. I will miss my weekends filled with yoga and new friends. We didn't just learn about yoga; we have learned a new way to live.