5 Things I Learned From Yoga Teacher Training
By: Danielle Ciniello, certified yoga instructor
In 2016, I completed yoga teacher training at Real Hot Yoga in Englewood, NJ and Hoboken, NJ. The Teacher Training contained curriculum from Twisted Lotus College of Yoga and was led by Jeffrey Posner & Sarah Flaherty. Teacher training is 200 hours and mine was completed on weekends: Friday 6-9pm, Saturday and Sunday 2:30-7:30pm, plus at least three practices per week, from September 23-December 18. Here are five important lessons I learned from yoga teacher training.
1. The 8 Limbs of Yoga.
The practice of yoga consists of eight limbs. The term "ashtanga" means "eight limbs" in Sanskrit and these eight limbs serve as steps to take to achieving self-realization and an escape from suffering.
“Yoga” is most commonly thought of as the physical practice of moving the body into different postures, or “asanas”.“Asana”, the physical practice of moving the body into different postures is actually the third limb. In terms of the human body, the body is to yoga as one of the vital organs working in the body is to the asana; in a similar manner to the way a vital organ functions together with the other organs in the body creating a properly functioning human, when all of the limbs are combined, a yogic lifestyle can be achieved.
The first two limbs relate to how you as an individual relate to the world around you.
First limb: Yamas- universal truths. Yamas are the universal truths by which we live, simply put the morals and values by which every yogi should adhere. Examples of yamas include, but are not limited to ahimsa, or non- harming, satya, or truthfulness, and asteya, or non- stealing.
Second limb: Niyamas- personal commitments. Niyamas are personal values and truths to live by. Niyamas include (but are not limited to) ideas such as self-discipline, contentment, self- study.
Third limb: Asana. This is the physical practice of yoga as the body moves through the postures.
Fourth limb: Pranayama, or breath control.
Fifth limb: Pratyahara, or sense control.
Sixth limb: Dharana, or concentration.
Seventh limb: Dhyana, meditation.
Eighth limb: Samadhi, union with the Divine, or enlightenment.
2. Listen to your body.
Every single body is different and every single day is different for every single person. Listen to your body. Know when to ease up or go further. It’s great to push yourself, but if it’s at the cost of an injury, is it worth the risk? Mindfulness here is key.
3. Injuries are your greatest teachers.
Having sprained my wrist in the second week of teacher training, I was unable to bare any weight in my hands. Still needing to meet the 3 class per week minimum, I modified, using props, or taking different postures when the class was on their hands. Asteya, or non-stealing, became prominent in my life as I wanted to make sure I didn’t steal my body’s time to heal.
4. Everyone has a history and everyone has a future; be here now.
Almost everyone that I met through yoga has come to their mat for a specific reason aside from physical exercise. The ability to let go of what has happened and what will happen allows you to be present now, creating a calmness, a stillness in the mind.
5. Yoga off the mat is just as important as yoga on the mat.
As mentioned earlier, in our bodies have many working parts to make us whole. The eight limbs all being practiced in unison can allow for the possibility to "live your yoga."