"Teaching from the heart is something that I learned from Yoke"
Yoga has been a part of my life for 10 years and my practice is something that developed and continues to develop organically. Truth be told, yoga wasn’t something I immediately dedicated myself to seriously initially, it was definitely a slow burn! But over time, especially as I got older, I found myself showing up to class and getting on my mat at 6am every day. Every time I walked home after class, I had a feeling of clarity and perspective that set me up for my day.
So when I moved across the world from San Francisco to Melbourne in 2015, I knew I had to keep my practice going. Finding the right community was key for me and I got incredibly lucky living a block away from my local studio. Practicing regularly and getting to know the teachers really well, I started to think more and more about doing my 200hr YTT.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT YTT
Just like everything else that’s happened in my yoga journey, it started to come together organically from there. From speaking to teachers at my local studio about which YTT to choose, to meeting Yoke teachers - Patch and Ryan through my time working at Lululemon’s head office, all signs were leading me to Yoke! And I kid you not, Chris Wilson’s name popped up in every one of those conversations and all of my favourite teachers were trained by him, so I decided to go to the source. Why not, right?
But truth be told, I actually only practiced at Yoke a total of 2 times before booking into their YTT. Yup, just TWO! Once in Torquay and once in South Melbourne. It sounds like it was a bit of a gamble, but I went with my gut because the vibe felt right.
STRAIGHT INTO IT
Fast-forward this past October 2018, I completed my 200hr YTT with Yoke and the first thing that stood out the most was the authenticity of everyone there. Chris, Kate, Ryan, Ash, Sammy and my fellow YTT-ers, literally everyone was authentically themselves and it was so refreshing.
It was a nice feeling knowing I was amongst my kind of people. Particularly in a process where it can be uncomfortable discovering the type of teacher you want to be or if you even want to be a teacher in the first place, there’s a lot of self-doubt that goes on, but the Yoke crew always created a safe space to be myself.
From Day 1, we were straight into it, practice teaching. There’s nothing more humbling and hilarious than teaching your first Sun Salutation A! I was SO confused as to why I couldn’t get any words, let alone the right words, out of my mouth. But these sessions were invaluable to progressing our teaching. There were only 16 of us in total, so we had an opportunity to break out into small groups with at least 1 facilitator giving us feedback in the moment. We were practice teaching everyday and we were also encouraged to give feedback to each other, gaining more perspective into how our cues were landing for different people and different bodies.
A week-long retreat in Byron Bay was the perfect way to end the training. Without giving too much away, each day was just as magical as the next. Life-long bonds and friendships were definitely formed and I still get little pings of fondness thinking about my time spent there! Leaving the retreat that last day of training was bittersweet, but I definitely left feeling set up and inspired to teach. I knew the next steps I wanted to take.
LIFE AFTER YTT
I just didn’t expect those steps to happen so quickly! Less than a week after the training was complete, I was offered a permanent slot on the Yoke South Melbourne schedule. Of course all those self-doubt thoughts ran through my head - “Am I ready?” “Isn’t it too soon?” “Surely this is a mistake, there’s no way I’m good enough.” But before I let myself go down that rabbit hole, I said yes to the slot and basically had 2 full weeks before teaching my first class.
I felt like I was back in school during my Uni days cramming for exams and writing papers because I was knee deep in all sorts of yoga books -- studying my alignment cues, writing up sequences and then re-writing them again, staying up late trying to perfect my first yoga playlist. I taught my friends in the park and then taught them at my house. It’s hard to believe that was only 5 months ago! While I’ve lessened my grip on the meticulous pre-planning, I still get the nervous butterflies before a class and I’m not sure that that’ll ever go away or if I want it to. It keeps me on my toes.
What a wild, adventurous ride it’s been and continues to be! I never imagined being the one at the front of the class on the teacher’s mat, my practice was something I did just for me. Even now, every time I practice, it still is just for me. Having a strong connection to myself through yoga helps me teach it authentically to others. That true, teaching from the heart is something that I learned from Yoke.
I can’t imagine having gone through this experience with any other group of people. The relationships made before, during and after the training have been key to my yoga teaching journey. I’m so grateful to continue to develop as a teacher by being part of the knowledgeable and supportive Yoke community.
Join Andie for a Vinyasa class on our South Melbourne schedule on Thursday’s 7.45pm and Saturday’s at 6.30am .
Andie is also the Founder of Vinny - a comprehensive yoga directory, featuring the best of yoga in Melbourne.
Our next 200hr YTT begins in May in Torquay - we have just a few spots followed by another training later this year in October in Melbourne.
Click here for all the important info or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.