Teacher Training Spotlight: Sarah
Sarah is someone who radiates a magnetic energy! She is a ray of sunshine that has come to brighten your day and is sure to put a smile on your face! I hope you enjoy getting to learn and grow with Sarah as she takes you on her Teacher Training Journey below!
What life events started you on your path to becoming a yoga teacher?
I started yoga in 2014 when I was just getting out of high school and going into college. I was always big on exercising - which is what I ended up studying in college. I loved all different forms of movement, anything that kept me active I was open to try. After exploring different classes in the area - Krav Maga, Zumba, Pilates, I also came across yoga. I immediately fell in love with the way it made me feel afterwards, internally and externally. It was more than a rush of serotonin after a good workout. I began to feel the ways in which it affected me in my daily life, my attitude towards things and my outlook on life.
Why did you choose Midtown Yoga for Teacher Training?
I had been putting off getting my certification for a long time because of money, time, etc. One day I woke up and felt the need to just look at some studios in the area that offered YTT. I found multiple different studios, all with high prices and dates that did not work with my schedule. When I came across Midtown Yoga, I was immediately drawn to the full 8-week immersion. It was the perfect times/days that worked with my schedule and it was different from other studios because it was a little less expensive and didnʼt take months and months to complete. I messaged Emily through social media, I had never met her nor had I even taken a class at Midtown Yoga yet. She called me shortly after and gave me a brief overview of what to expect, and how it would be a very intense, eye-opening 8 weeks. I decided to visit the studio before making my decision, and immediately fell in love with the atmosphere, the energy, the style of yoga they taught, and so much more. I was more than ready and eager to take on this next chapter of my life.
The Midtown Yoga Teacher Training involves learning how to teach the physical practice of yoga through sequencing and ques, but also exploring the history of yoga, the anatomy of the body, chakra work, and so much more. What was something unexpected you learned?
One thing that I was very surprised and interested in was the chakra work. It was so amazing being able to open up and become vulnerable with the group of women I was training with. I was never one to open up or express myself, and I learned so much through chakra work. Emily really helped me dig deep into the “why” of things. It was so much more than just learning about the chakras, balances and imbalances. It was about finding ourselves along the way, and being able to truly understand what each chakra stood for and how it applied to each of us personally. That was the most shocking experience I had during training. And through those realizations, I was able to understand more about others and help them through things that they may be dealing with, inner-demons they may be battling with, and why they may have the habits they have today.
Did you have any nerves or fears going into teacher training?
I was super nervous about being around a group of strangers and becoming vulnerable. I was already taking college courses on teaching Group Exercise classes and Personal Training, so the concept of teaching didn’t scare me as much. As I mentioned before, I was never the one to express my feelings and thoughts to even my family, let alone a group of girls that I had never met before. It made me very nervous because I knew it would be something I would have to face eventually, I just never knew how. As we sat down at the end of each weekend and had our heart-to-hearts about how our training was going, addressing any concerns or questions, listening to the other girls become vulnerable made me feel so much more comfortable with expressing my thoughts as well. I felt so welcome, heard, and understood by everyone and I soon realized what an amazing feeling that is to have and share with others.
What was your favorite thing about YTT?
Yoga teacher training was truly the highlight of my year. If I could go back and do it again and again, I absolutely would! There were so many things that I enjoyed about my training at Midtown Yoga. I think one of the main things that I loved so much was the sense of community that I felt. I never had someone to share my passion and yoga practice with. Having a group of 10 women there by my side, sharing that passion, sharing the same nerves and working through those discomforts, was such an amazing feeling at the end of the day. I loved having a group of women that I could now call my friends, that loved the same things as I did and that I was able to openly share and explore my practice with.
What are some of the challenges you've experienced as a yoga teacher?
I am a huge over-thinker. I think the hardest challenge that I’ve faced while teaching is the thoughts I have before my class even starts. Will they like the content? Will they be touched by the words I speak? Will it be too hard or too easy? I have learned that in order to trump all of those thoughts that go through my head, I must be confident in myself. I have had to learn how to be confident the moment I step in the room, and although it has taken some practice, that confidence was discovered and developed through the knowledge and experience we received during training.
Do you have a personal go-to practice to get you through busy/stressful times?
I love moving slow. My personal practice is usually 10 times slower than the classes I teach. Being super mindful of every movement my body is making, and every breath I take. Moving slowly and mindfully really helps me connect with myself, internally and externally. When I am going through a very stressful time or situation off the mat, I can always go back to my breath to calm me down and help collect my thoughts. Whether thatʼs just taking a moment in the car to take a few deep breaths, sitting at the computer and closing my eyes to breath for a moment, my breath is always there to reel me back in. When I am over-thinking or playing out scenarios in my head that havenʼt even happened yet, I pause, realize where my thoughts are taking me, and just breath. It truly helps clear my mind, and brings me back down to reality, to the present moment.
How has YTT affected your daily life going forward?
YTT was so much more than just learning how to teach the physical postures and learning the history of yoga. For me, it was a lot of personal growth and self discovery. I found my true authentic self. I became vulnerable, and open to talk to people about my thoughts and feelings without feeling insecure or like my opinion didn’t matter in the end. One of the biggest things I am truly thankful for is the way in which YTT helped me better my communication skills. In learning how to become vulnerable and express myself, I learned how to properly communicate with others and the importance and value of it. The relationship and connection I have with my family, friends, and love life are now thriving because of this new discovery. Without communication, there is no relationship. Especially after reading The Art of Communication, I have been able to connect so much deeper with those around me and have a better understanding of otherʼs opinions and where their thoughts are coming from.