Yoga Teacher Training - Days 10-17

Hello everyone! I’m back for Days 10-17! If you follow me on Instagram (which I’m assuming most of you do), I’ve been more active on there during these 7 days than I was for my first blog post, and have been posting little bits (well, long captions!) about the struggles I’ve gone through while I’ve been here. When I think back on the last 7/8 days, I have 90% amazing memories, and 10% memories of struggling through classes or struggling with my thoughts and feelings. I didn’t really go through too much on that front during the first part of the training. For me, it was more about getting into the swing of practicing twice a day and getting the hang of teaching. This last week has been much more difficult overall, but I think I needed a little bit of a challenge to help me grow and learn things I wouldn’t have otherwise.

On Day 10, everything changed! Well, I say changed, but really all that happened was that we started having a self-practice every afternoon and the students started teaching the morning class, which consists of meditation, pranayama and Nauli Kriya. For the first 9 days, we had 2 led classes a day, but on Day 10 we started doing our Modified Primary Series (the main class we are learning how to teach) on our own, Mysore style. For the first few days of self-practice, we had our laminated sequence sheets with us to help with the parts we hadn’t gone through in asana clinic yet, or just in case we forgot a pose, but we haven’t had the laminated sheets in a few days now. We also bring our phones to time ourselves to get into a good flow of counting. I never had any trouble with remembering the sequence (I thank my years of having to remember all sorts of things for cheerleading for that skill!), but figuring out the counting flow was quite difficult. I talk very fast, so my counting was also really fast, and I ended up finishing my first Mysore practice much earlier than I needed to. As the days went on, I started counting slower and slower, so now I finish around the same mark every time I practice. My favorite thing is the feeling of practicing by yourself, yet surrounded by 20 other people doing the same thing as you. I love having control over my sequence and once you know it by heart, the practice really becomes a dance to your breathing. It’s amazing. There was one day I sat out MPS in the afternoon because I wasn’t feeling well, and watching everyone else moving and breathing was incredible too.

For the morning class that the students had to teach, I was assigned meditation on the last day. I had a sneaking feeling I would end up with mediation, because it’s the one I actually didn’t want to get originally. I had never really meditated before my yoga teacher training – we did some in my spirituality class in high school but I’d always fall asleep, and I had some friends highly recommend a few apps for my phone, but they either just sat there taking up space on my phone, or I’d only use the ones to help me fall asleep. Basically, my only experience with meditation involved sleep (of course!). But coming here, we have to meditate for 10-20 (and now longer) every morning. I’ve had a hard time getting used to it for a few reasons, mainly that I am a very fidgety person and always like to be moving so sitting still for long periods of time is difficult, and with the fidgety body also comes a distracted mind I usually have a million things in my head, going all different directions and it can be extremely challenging to try and clear the thoughts to focus on just one word, or my breath. The first couple of techniques we tried out didn’t work too well for me, but as the days went on I found myself getting better and better at clearing my mind. The whole “keeping the body still” is still a work in progress! But sure, I could somewhat get through a 10 minute meditation, but how would I be actually leading a meditation?! Even though I was beyond stressed about this for days, it ended up going really, really well! I had a little help from one of my teachers on the technique I’d be using, and on the day of, the scariest part was actually being confident I could ring the singing bowl properly! I took the class out onto the beach and we had a gazing meditation where you could keep your eyes open and observe for the first 5 minutes, and then close your eyes for the last 5 minutes and just listen. This was actually one of the techniques that I was able to connect with right away because we kept our eyes open for a portion of the meditation, which was helpful for my over-active mind and body.

After teaching the class, we had the opportunity to do 24 hours of silence, which consisted of not speaking (unless we were teaching, had a question in class, etc.) and being totally off the phone as well. No texting, WhatsApp, social media. I was actually quite excited and not too nervous for this, because I am an introverted person who thrives off of alone, quiet time. HOWEVER, I enjoy my alone time when I decide when it is, and can be extroverted/chatty at other times. When there is a “rule” placed on me, I always want to break it immediately. So while the first few hours of silence went okay, the longer I got into the day, the more I wanted to talk just for the sake of talking. This 24 hours of silence was a lesson in speaking mindfully, and not just to fill a void of silence when you feel awkward, or like that something needs to be said just for the sake of it. I got through my 24 hours with just a few breaks – to tell my homestay hosts that I didn’t have water, give someone a toe tap tip and when one of my friends had a word on the tip of her tongue – I just had to say it! But otherwise, it ended up going well, but I was very excited to be speaking again on Friday. The social media part wasn’t too bad either – I’ve done days off of Instagram (forced by shadowbans and unforced), but I have always had by personal IG, Twitter, Reddit, texting, etc. to fall back on, so being off everything was a bit more challenging.

Aside from all the fun stories from the past week, my practice has been feeling so strong recently. Of course we’ve done lots of Primary Series, but also some Rocket Yoga, Vinyasa and Yin. It’s nice to have it switched up every once in a while and experience different styles and see our teachers teach different classes as well. I’ve still been good about my handstand practice as well, and am finally getting my crow press consistently! I think it’s from the millions of vinyasas/chaturangas/jump backs and throughs I’ve done in the past 3 weeks. SO MANY. Abs are constantly on fire! We’ve also gotten through learning the entire Modified Primary Series like I mentioned at the beginning, so now we are teaching longer portions of the sequence (like the full standing, or the full seated portions). Our teachers still haven’t told us exactly how our final exam will work (although I hope I won’t have to do 21 MPS’ for each person to teach!) so that is going to be a nice surprise next Tuesday. We also had anatomy this past week with Wendy, who is officially the sweetest person in the entire world. I was most nervous about anatomy because of how technical it can get, but she kept the classes super easy to understand, and I’ve actually found myself incorporating some of the things I learned in her classes into my practice (agonist antagonist anyone?!?)

I know I keep saying it on Instagram, but I seriously cannot believe how fast this training has flown by, and that I only have 3 and a half days left! Especially the last week – it feels like it should only be Tuesday based on how fast the days went by compared to the previous weeks. Even with a few more days to go, I am already feeling much more confident in my teaching abilities, so the fact that these last days of training will be heavy on the practice teaching side, I’m interested to see how I can add in some personal touches to my sequence and really make it like I’m truly teaching my own class. Again, you all have seriously been the BEST during this training. Every single one of you who messaged me, commented on my posts about my struggles, or texted me 100% helped me get through this week. Like I said on my post, I knew that this training would challenge me in ways I wasn’t sure I’d be ready for, but knowing I have the support of some amazing people really makes all the difference. My last post will be covering the last 5/6 days of training! Friday the 23rd through the 28th, and maybe some of my last days on the island before the journey back home (although I think my main activities will be sleep, laying in the sun, and massage!).

I’ve also gotten tons of DMs while I’ve been here about the training and what program I’m doing. I am going through All Yoga Training, which offers YTT in Bali and Thailand. You can check out their website if you are interested, but if you have any questions that aren’t answered on the website, please feel free to DM me!

xx Aubrey

Aubrey Sutter