A teacher’s view on training…by Sara Schneider (RussaYog Teacher 2011)
To me, finding your yoga teacher training program is like finding your hairstylist. Many people might think it is not a big deal, but once you meet the one who gives you just what you want and need, you never let them go.
That is how it was for me with RussaYog’s owners Jasprit and Teresa Singh. After being away from RussaYog (RY) for a few years due to moving after graduating the University of Michigan, I found my way back. Not by chance, or accident, but because I knew it was where I could find the mind-body connection and depth that many yoga instructors do not give.
I have been a dancer all throughout my youth, college, and even now. When I began taking frequent yoga classes, everyone would ask me why I was adding in so much yoga when I was already dancing several days a week, but my mind and body needed it. It was the perfect counteractivity. It was all the release and challenge I craved, both physically and mentally. I knew that someday I wanted to go beyond just classes and truly educate myself in yoga principles.
In the Fall of 2010, I began researching yoga training programs in my area, but they all seemed so expensive and commercial. I kept thinking, “I wish I could just train with Jasprit.” But, with the studio two hours away, it seemed impossible.
One day, I decided I would just email Jasprit to see if it would be possible to make something work. I had not seen or talked to him in a couple of years, but right away he remembered me and enthusiastically assured me that we could figure out a way to get my RY Teacher Training certification.
I completed my training through two week-long intensives in Santa Barbara with a couple weekend intensives in Ann Arbor to fit in my 100 hours of in-studio training time.
No matter how prepped I thought I was for the training, I wasn’t. The intense workouts and thought-provoking writing assignments force you to consider yourself, others, and the world in a variety of new ways. I became conscious of what was happening around me, mindful of what was happening within me. Exercises like chewing on an almond for an entire minute brought my focus to my eating habits. Following the yogi lifestyle while in Santa Barbara of rising early (5am) and going to sleep early (9pm) allowed me to zone in on my sleeping habits.
And then there were the physical and mental challenges. Six hours of yoga, especially the muscle-intense RussaYog practice, definitely makes you aware of your body. How your mind deals with physical pressures. How you can use your breath and mindfulness to overcome these stresses.
Every new limb of yoga that we covered, I felt a little more exposed, a little more in tune to my own selfhood, and a little more confident that I wanted to share this journey with others in the future. Jasprit’s knowledge of Indian history and culture brings a special familarity to the training. You feel genuine in your practice, tapping into age old traditions and principles.
The RY Teacher Training leaves you feeling prepared by first allowing you to get acquainted with your own personal practice, and then teaching you methods to graciously share that practice with others, whether through teaching yoga professionally or just embodying its lessons in your everyday life.