Oh yes, I will not deny this one is a bit left field. I mean, how often have I mentioned yoga on this blog or podcast, ever?
When I told some friends that I was going to be taking a YTT 200 - or a yoga teacher training course that leaves me minimally qualified to teach yoga - well, it's fair to say they were quite surprised.
They were polite about it, but I was met with comments like 'wouldn't that be like me, someone who can't speak Japanese, deciding to spend a few weekends learning and then start teaching?'
Which, is understandable. I'm not the kind of yogi you see on Instagram standing on their head, with the sun setting in the background...
But I have actually been practising for about 6 years.
Yeah. It's been a fair old while, and even though I hadn't considered the possibility of being able to teach until earlier this year, yoga has been a big part of my life.
In fact, it was the thing that I attribute to sparking my self development journey, and the thing that pulled me through the darkest times back when I worked in London at an office.
Anyway, I'll save the full story of why I decided to take the training for another day, but let's just say I was inspired by my trip to Peru to spend more time helping people face to face, then from behind my laptop screen.
I also believe strongly in cultivating group environments that are 100% introvert friendly - because I know how valuable this has been in my own life, and how I feel in a group that is NOT introvert friendly.
One of my Leaguers (in the League of Creative Introverts) Kesse Hodge is flying the flag on making yoga super inclusive and accessible, so if you are interested in more of that, do check out change.yoga.
Ok so let's get to the training! A quick overview, this course is going to take up 3 full days each month till January, which isn't a big time investment, but for those weekends: it's pretty intense for this introvert!
I haven't spent a full 9-5 with a group of strangers in a closed setting since... working in that office in London, which I left back in 2013.
So yeah, I was nervous about how I'd fare, energy-wise.
I was also nervous about my yoga ability. Yeah, I've been practising for a while, but mostly... from Youtube. Not exactly the most disciplined practise, though I do owe so much to Yoga with Adriene.
Anyway, I got my big girl yoga pants on, and went with an open mind.
And I was pleasantly surprised.
First of all, everyone on the course is bloody lovely. Of course they are - they do yoga!
And the teachers, of which there are 3, are all amazing in their own way. One of them is like a big sister, one of them is like a mum, and one is like the cool aunty who was likely a hippy back in the day.
So yeah, good people, a good start.
Then there's the learning.
I roughly break this down to anatomy - of which there is a LOT - so I have a newfound respect for yoga teachers, at least ones trained in anatomy. Then there's philosophy, which I was honestly VERY skeptical about. I mean, as soon as I hear the word 'chakra' in a yoga class, I cringe.
But I will say our teacher made the subject super interesting, regardless of what you choose to believe. Then there's the practical stuff: how to teach each pose, and actually doing yoga, of course.
Which it's fair to say I'm struggling with, but the more I do it, the more I love it and - I'm already seeing improvements now I understand the underlying mechanics of each pose.
Ugh! You guys: this is SO fascinating for me.
I've also been pleasantly surprised with how much of a loud mouth in class I am. I think part of this is coming from my own sympathies with the teacher. I know how it feels to ask a question in a workshop and get NO response, so I'm quick to raise my hand if no one else is to ease that pain.
I also think this has a lot to do with how comfortable I feel with the other people in the group, nothing like school where I did NOT feel comfortable. And then there's my overall passion for the subject: again, nothing like most classes in school.
Of course, I'm still thinking about my energy. I was wiped out after the first day, and could do very little when I got home. But I'm not feeling cranky-drained, so that's good. I'm making sure to get off on my own during the lunch break, which seems to restore my energy somewhat.
And I discovered a homemade Bounty bar that the cafe nearby makes, which is definitely helping with my energy ;)
There's only been one faux-pas so far: that was our first trial of teaching a class. Actually, we only had to teach a sun salutation A, which is like 2-3 minutes long. but I of course had to have notes, and insisted on reading them, quite blatantly. Teacher told me off, kindly, but enough to make me feel a bit shit.
I know I need to get over my fear of 'winging it'; I know I can teach without notes, I know I could do this podcast without notes but... still, my notes are a crutch and one I have promised myself I WILL work on.
We're all work in progress, and if I'm honest, I don't mind that. I like having something to work on, something to improve at, something to learn.
I guess that's why I'm having so much fun on this course.
So my fun rating is:
I'm hardly going to recommend all of you to go out and take a YTT course, but if you are into yoga already, may be consider going to a workshop or a longer class, local to you. It's amazing how learning more about the practise can really boost your enthusiasm for it.
I'll be sharing more of my yoga journey at YogisWhoShave.com and on Instagram at @yogiswhoshave