Digital Marketing Specialist Liana Ruiz shares why yoga teacher training isn't just for experienced, handstand-without-a-wall yogis, and how in working toward her certification, she found herself and connected with others in a way she never had before.
Usually, the words 'first' and 'new' strike fear, or at least hesitation, into the hearts of most people — myself included. (And I know it.) I’m an introvert, shy, and change isn’t my favorite.
Rewind to the first week of 2016. It was my first day on the job at Yoga Journal, first week back to practicing yoga after a two-year hiatus, and in some 'go big, or go home' mentality, I added a YogaPod TT to my plate. By that Friday, I honestly thought I had made some pretty stupid decisions. Now, on the other side of all of it, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Fast forward a few months and my job is going well. My practice is better than ever. I found my voice, learned about anatomy, discovered ways to help others, and made lasting friendships in the process. I'm now a certified yoga teacher and in the 14-week process, I learned more about myself than ever before.
My point: teacher training isn’t just for super experienced yogis. Sure, a basic understanding of, and ability to do poses, gives you a head start. But otherwise, I think yoga teacher training is for anyone who's passionate about yoga, wants to understand the practice and the human body on a deeper level, and wants to inspire others to experience the yogic teachings. Even after training, I still can’t do inversions without a wall, and I'm working up to most arm balances. But the cool thing is: I can help others practice those poses safely now, which I find even more rewarding than achieving them myself. I’m not sure if I will ever teach public classes, but I have already thought of ways to use my new skills on a volunteer basis, such as offering to help a friend ease her back pain with yoga.
The bottom line for me this year? I learned it was definitely worth pushing through my fear and hesitation surrounding so many 'firsts' to get to the absolutely awesome benefits on the other side. And for that lesson, I am forever grateful.