“If you wish to help others through the healing power of yoga, you have to put yourself at the service of the art and through experience gain understanding.” ― B.K.S. Iyengar
Simon’s Teacher Mentoring program kicked off earlier in the year and the trainees are about to start their second weekend this Friday.
These students are joining the teaching group at the Centre, and as part of their training will be assisting in classes at the studio, and helping in Yoga Therapy classes.
Assisting is an important part of the process of becoming an Iyengar Yoga Teacher. Teacher mentoring brings great new energy to the Centre as these trainees dive into deeper study and learning over the next two years. You’ll notice the presence of these assistants in classes over the coming year, so don’t hesitate to ask them for help in class.
I’ve been coming to Marrickville yoga for just over a year now. I decided to join the mentoring program because I really enjoy yoga and it’s a great opportunity to strengthen and further my practice. For me, standing poses are the most challenging. I struggle with malasana, just can’t get my heeels on the ground!
From memory, I first started attending MYC in 2011 as I had been dealing with neck and shoulder issues and it was recommended that I find something to help me manage that long term. I explored a number of options and decided the best fit for me was yoga, then it was a matter of finding a studio in Marrickville. Having no yoga experience and no flexibility I boldly signed up for a beginner course at MYC.
It was after I did the beginners course, and what a challenge that was for my stiff body, that I wondered what I had gotten myself into but I was hooked and determined to touch the floor in uttanasana. Last year I was happy to discover that coming to yoga with a stiffer body is easier than coming to it with one of those bendy flexible bodies I had been jealous of for years. I stayed with yoga through my pregnancy in 2012, which was wonderful but stepped away from it as I managed motherhood and a move across the country for work.
Once back in Sydney in late 2014, I came back to yoga and MYC, tentative at first but excited. I redid the beginner’s course, which was great and moved into general classes when I was ready. For the next year, I was happy to be back and watching my practice develop, some poses came naturally and others were a challenge and still are. In my mind, I was determined to do full arm balance and for years it eluded me – I felt that if I could do that one pose it would be a sign that I was progressing with my yoga. In hindsight, I missed all the moments in which I progressed or improved in all other areas of my yoga.
In 2016 I commenced the In-depth Yoga Course at MYC, still unable to do full arm balance and sold on the course on the understanding that I would meet great people and that my yoga would improve. I am happy to report that the course did deliver on both fronts and I missed it when it concluded in mid 2017. That deeper exploration of the asanas and the knowledge behind them was such a satisfying and engrossing process.
I was intrigued when I first read about the Teacher Mentoring Program and it was a hot topic of conversation against the group that had undertaken the In-depth Yoga Course. Primarily I am undertaking the program for my yoga practice and myself, I was also encouraged by friends and family who all commented on how much I had enjoyed the In-depth Course and indicated the potential of what I could achieve out of doing the Teacher Mentoring Program. This combined with the enjoyment I have experienced assisting with the yoga therapy classes on and off in the last year, made me eventually sign up for the Teacher Mentoring Program starting soon.
As for full arm balance, I can now happily achieve it (against a wall) however whenever I do a beginners class and come back to those core basic poses I can acknowledge how far my yoga has come but am reminded very quickly of how challenging those poses are and how much more I have to learn. My new nemesis pose is padmasana – maybe as a part of doing the Teacher Mentoring Program this pose will improve, time will tell and I also wonder what else I will get out of doing the program
How long have you been coming to MYC?
I started my yoga journey at Marrickville Yoga Centre in June 2017. With the 6 week beginners introduction package.
Why did you decide to embark on the mentoring program?
Yoga has helped me shift the way I see my world. It has helped build my self self-esteem and shift my limiting beliefs. I choose the mentor program to give myself a greater self study of yoga. I also look forward to building the skills to share the power of yoga with others.
What groups of poses do you struggle with the most?
I came to yoga in my late forties so I don’t have the most flexible body. That and a minor lower back injury make forward bends a fun challenge.
I first started coming to MYC around 10 years ago, I was 19 and utterly heartbroken. Witnessing my sadness a woman who I admired encouraged me to check out MYC, speaking very highly of the teachers there.
For the majority of this time I’ve attended the school very sporadically, although I knew how much I enjoyed showing up for classes I had trouble prioritising my practice. Each time I’d take a break from the school I would take myself back to the beginners classes because I was embarrassed, feeling that I didn’t know what I was doing and that I didn’t belong there.
Last year while going through a difficult time I made the choice to commit myself properly to classes as a means for escaping the overwhelming situation I found myself in. Knowing that I had this safe environment full of warm and friendly people that I could retreat to, as well as a place to quite my mind was one of the greatest gifts anyone has ever given me and I hope one day I have the opportunity to thank the woman who pushed me there so long ago.
I’ve decided to embark on the mentoring program to further my own understanding of my practice, to hopefully expand + grow this thing that helps me in challenging times and as an opportunity to show it proper appreciation. But also, because I feel the better I understand what I’m doing here the greater the possibility of me being able to share it with someone else who might need it in the way that I did.
I’d say I struggle most with inversion poses, the middle of my body is so bendy and wiggly, I have a very hard time holding myself straight and steady. To make things worse, I’m constantly fidgeting and moving around when I have two feet on the ground, it’s a real challenge for me to maintain focus and hold it together when I’m upside down. I remember when I first started how much I would dread shoulder stand and head balance, but now they’re two of my favourite poses. It feels like they give me such a good indication of how I’m feeling or what my mind is doing that day, and whether its a good day or a bad day it’s really satisfying to come down and know that I’ve been able to take however many minutes to focus and slow down.