Thinking Yogi

The intersection of two loves: yoga and writing.

Those who can, teach

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We had such a great time at our first Teacher Training info session at Bloom last Thursday. Sharon and Sarah (or as I've come to refer to them, Sharah) joined me as we met with the fabulous crew of men and women who are interested in the program. We delved into our goals for the training, and explained how we plan to meet those goals. For those of you who weren't there, here's the very shortened summary: we want our trainees to be able to communicate their love and knowledge of the practice to students in an a clear and accessible way, and we plan to do that by providing them with the most essential information pertaining to the broader tradition of yoga, and then repeating, repeating, and repeating some more.

All the preparation for our training's September start has reminded me what I loved about my own teacher training process.

It was such a treat to dedicate space and time to deepening my knowledge of and experience with yoga, and to do so in the company of other like-minded individuals. I mean, who wouldn't want to hang around a bunch of people whose idea of good conversation includes phrases like 'internal rotation' and 'buttock flesh?' Don't kid yourself, training to become a yoga teacher requires that you put in some hard work, but it's also a whole lot of fun!

Over the past few months as we've been developing the curriculum for the program, I've had two somewhat contradictory well-known quotes about teaching stuck in my head:

'Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.'


'To teach is to learn.'

I'm going to have to go with the second one here. In order to be a good yoga teacher, you must have a dedicated practice yourself. That doesn't mean you need to be able to do all kinds of crazy arm balances or backbend variations. It simply means you must know what it means to practice consistently, to experience challenges, to work through them sometimes, to back off other times.

For me, the process of becoming a yoga teacher was a catapult into a deepened personal practice that has become an integral part of my daily life. In order to be able to share my knowledge and experience with students, I had to move beyond just kind of knowing the name of a pose in Sanskrit or having a vague understanding of the philosophy behind the poses. I had to know it so well on an intellectual and kinesthetic level that I could find a way to clearly and concisely express these complex concepts to students while also maintaining the pacing of the class, reminding them to breathe, and paying attention to their alignment in the pose. Phew, all this in 90 minutes or less. Yes you can, yoga teachers!

Kerry is the Founder & Director of Bloom Yoga Studio, voted Best Yoga Studio in the Chicago Reader, Chicago Magazine, and Citysearch. As a practicing yogi, writer, and mother of three, Kerry is all about making the principles and philosophies of yoga real and accessible for day-to-day living. You can find Kerry on Google+.