November 17, 2014
by Emilie Milkulla
Well, that’s it; it’s over. A few weeks ago our 100-hour Yoga Therapeutics Teacher Training with Harvey Deutch ended. While I was glad there was no more homework to hand in or tests to take, the end of the training made me a little sad – I think I could have kept going forever. Here’s why:
1. You’ll be part of a community. You’ll spend one weekend a month, for nine months, with like-minded individuals who genuinely want to help others.
This community is made up of many different people and personalities, including Physical Therapists, Personal Trainers, doctors, Yogis, Pilates teachers, acupuncturists and more. For all our different backgrounds we were united by our thirst for knowledge. Each weekend wasn’t just a series of lectures, it was an opportunity to leave our luggage behind for a few hours and to gather in a ‘salon’ like setting to ask questions, share ideas, knowledge and experiences. What struck me was the generosity of all the participants. Harvey spared no expense in sharing his vast knowledge in a pedagogical and experiential way and everyone in the room was always so supportive of one another.
2. You’ll exercise your brain. Do you know what the word Thixotropic means? Neither did I! Not only will you expand your vocabulary, you’ll also deepen your knowledge of science, anatomy, and biomechanics.
You’ll look at bodies and begin to train your eye to see the different misalignments that, as a Yoga teacher, you will often come across in the Yoga room.
Learning is one of the most humbling experiences we go through. We realize how much we already know and the vastness of what there still is to learn and experience – it is thrilling! You’ll also draw from everybody else in the room. Whether it’s a presentation about acupuncture, massage, Jhin Shin Jitsu or Quantum Physics (really!), you’ll develop an interest in topics that you never thought you’d learn about.
3. Your teaching and practice will be transformed. We all grow as students and teachers. But when you spend nine months learning about various medical conditions, as well as the most common injuries that happen in class, you’ll think twice about taking people into certain poses. I’m not saying that we were taught not do teach the poses, but that their risks were explained in such detail – and modifications offered – that you end up with a newfound appreciation for and awareness of the human body: its beauty, strength and limits. This will spill over into your own practice. Maybe you won’t be doing a million Chaturangas in your next Vinyasa class, or you’ll think a little more about how much weight is really on your head when you come into headstand… It’s all food for thought.
4. You’ll get in touch with your body, big time! Every weekend started with a Yoga practice. We opened up our hamstrings, hips, thoracic spine and shoulders – I want to get on the mat just writing about it! Using blankets, bricks, bolsters, sand bags, straps, the wall, and each other’s hands, we were able to go deep into delicious poses. Seriously, do you know anyone who wants to come out of a supported child’s pose while you lovingly work on lengthening their entire spine and releasing their hips?
We spent many hours learning about therapeutic Yoga poses, how to sequence them intelligently and assist students into successfully coming into the pose and deepening it for maximum benefits.
Harvey drew from his many years as a PT and his extensive knowledge of Thai Yoga Massage to teach us several manual assists that students in his own classes just love and keep coming back for.
5. You’ll have an arsenal of tools to successfully teach private and group classes. From learning what questions to ask when you first meet a private student to assessing his or her body and coming up with an appropriate program, you’ll be well prepared to work in an one on one environment. In a group setting, you’ll know how to deal with people speaking to you about certain conditions/injuries/surgeries they are dealing with and you’ll be equipped to give them the appropriate modifications so they can have a successful movement experience.
And – but this goes without saying – you’ll have a ball! If you’re curious about the experience of living in your body and helping people develop the awareness of living in theirs, this is a training you won’t want to miss.
During the last nine months, I had several moments of doubt when I asked myself whether I am good enough of a teacher, or if I know enough. Only to come out on the other side understanding ever more clearly that as long as we stay curious, humble and able to slow down to think about and feel what we are doing, we are already on the right path.