Sunday, November 6, 2016

Yogawise 30-hour Yin Yoga Teacher Training



I just completed my 30-hour Yin Yoga Teacher Training with David Kim at SimplyLife Yoga today.   As I had completed my Yogaworks 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Course with David in May, I did not hesitate to sign up for the 30-hour Yin Yoga Teacher training as I was confident that I would learn much more from him to be a better teacher.

I was reunited with some of my YTTC classmates and also made new friends as there were 19 of us doing the course.   Most of them were doing the course because they wanted to learn more about yin yoga and its benefits.  

The 4-day course on yoga theory, anatomy and practice gave us a better understanding of the difference between a yin and yang practice.  Most of us are doing hatha, vinyasa or ashtanga  which is a yang practice which emphasize on strength and building muscular power.  In a yang practice, we contract our muscles to stablize our joints so that we can move actively to resist the force of gravity.   While in a yin practice, with passive and longer postural holds, our muscles are stressed to increase resilience and restore mobility in our joints as we allow gravity to draw us to the ground.   Yin yoga is a complement to our yang practice as it brings balance movement to our joints.

During the course, David showed us slides of various bone structures with distinct differences to help us understand why some of us may have limited range of joint movements.  After looking at those slides, we realized why we are not able to move beyond a certain range in some of the poses as we would feel pain due to two bones colliding with each other.

In the yin practice, we would be able to adapt or vary the poses if there is compression so that we can target our practice to release tension in the myofascial areas such as our hips and torso.

The underlying theme of the training was Mindfulness as yin yoga is a very good practice for us to learn how to be mindful.  Mindfulness means being present with a purpose, non-judgmental and not changing things the way they are meant to be.   During our yin practice, we learn to listen to our bodies by focusing on our breath which keep us present at all times, accepting the limitations in our bodies and letting go.



David also asked us to write down our observations and emotions after doing a meditation in our daily meditation journal.   I found this to be quite difficult initially as I did not have much to write about but after a few days of doing it, it gave me a better sense of what is actually going on in my mind when I am meditating.

I have gained so much knowledge these four days which will not only help in my teaching later but in my own practice and daily life as well.   Thank you David for all your teachings and Christina, our teacher assistant during the course who is so much fun both in and out of class.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

My First Yoga Teaching Class

I taught my first yoga class yesterday after having completed my Yogaworks Teacher Training programme and obtaining my Yogaworks Teacher Certification.

It was not a planned teaching as I had went to Chi Fitness, BSC to attend a class with a replacement teacher as the regular teacher was on leave.  Actually, I was still contemplating whether I should attend the class as some of the practitioners who had attended the replacement teacher's class before did not like her class.  I decided to try out her class as being a new teacher myself, I know it is difficult to get students to attend your class when you are replacing a class.

Five practitioners besides myself was waiting for the teacher and when it was time for the class to start, we were informed that the replacement teacher had not turned up and they were not able to contact her.

As one of the practitioners was actually talking to me about my teacher training and certification while we were waiting, I was asked to take over the class.  The other practitioners were agreeable to the suggestion as they did not want to leave without doing the practice after getting up early and coming all the way to attend the class.

Although I did not have a class plan in mind, I decided to take up the challenge as it was a good opportunity for me to gain some experience teaching a class.

I managed to do a sequence that incorporated sun salutations, forward bends, seated poses and a supine twist at the end before finishing in savasana.    During the class I gave some tips to the practitioners on how to do a proper Chaturanga Dandasana as I noticed that normally, teachers tend to neglect this pose in a multi-level class.  

I found that even seasoned practitioners have difficulty in maintaining the proper alignment in this pose when they are doing the vinyasa.   When we are not doing the pose properly, we often end up with soreness in our shoulders after class and in the long term, it can cause shoulder and rotator cuff injuries as well as neck and low back pain.

I am sharing this article on 7 Common Chaturanga Mistakes (And What To Do Instead) from Yoga International in this post and hope that it will help you to practice the pose in a safe and injury-free way.

After the class,  I was glad to receive positive response from the practitioners who attended the class as I had wanted to impart some of the knowledge I have learned from my yoga teacher training to them.   The class has also given me the confidence to teach other classes when the opportunity arises and I hope to do a properly sequenced class when I teach again.

Picture taken from here

Friday, April 29, 2016

Final Week - Yoga Teacher Training

The week started with most of us feeling some anxiety as we had to sit  for the In-Class Final Exam on Wednesday and do the Final Practicum on Thursday.   In order to receive the 200-hour Yogaworks Diploma, we have to pass the In-Class Exam and the Take-Home Final Exam as well as the Final Practicum.

To help us study for the In-Class Exam, David did reviews of the topics taught with us and also played a game of questions and answers where we were divided into two teams.   My team, the Om Girls managed to beat the other team, China Gang by one point.    The game helped to reinforce what we had learned and was a good way to relieve some of the anxiety as we had fun playing the game.

For the Final Practicum, we were each given some poses to teach in sequence.  Although there was some tension in the air, all of us performed quite well and we were informed by David that all of us have passed the Final Practicum.   David also gave each of us feedback on our teaching skills; our strong areas as well as areas which needed improvement.   I am glad that I have finally found my voice and was more confident in my teaching and managed to give clear instructions for the poses and with the help of Ken gave a good demonstration for assisted handstand.

Although we still have to do the Take-Home Final Exam, there was a sense of relieve after finishing the Final Practicum as we only have to submit it two weeks after the program ended.

Today, we had lunch together to celebrate our completion of the program and also a closing ceremony where we shared our feelings and what we have learned during this whole month.   There were tears and laughter as we have seen each other's growth during this month together and I will miss each of them and hope we will see each other again.

Om drawn by Elly, given to me as a present

There is a saying "when the student is ready, the teacher will appear,"  I am so glad to have taken this teacher training with David Kim.  He is a very patient teacher and he goes all out to make sure that we understand his teachings.  As we have some Chinese learners in the class, he had to do a lot of demonstrations for the poses which not only help them but also those of us who were not quite sure of the actual position and movement of the joints during the anatomy lessons.  He also made sure we understand the sutras by incorporating them during the asana practice.    We learned so much about how to sequence a class as he goes through with us the sequence of our daily asanas practice by asking us to identify the component parts and the preparatory poses for the peak pose of the sequence.  His dedication and sincerity in his teaching has been an inspiration for me to deepen my practice further.  

I would like to express my gratitude to him for all his guidance and encouragement during this amazing journey.





Friday, April 22, 2016

Week 3 - Yoga Teacher Training

It seems like this week just passed so quickly and we have only five more days before our yoga teacher training program ends next Friday.    For the last couple of days, there was a sense of heaviness among us as we know that after the training we would all be going back to our own lives and will miss the camaraderie that has formed during the past three weeks.

We have learned so much about each other during the "Look at Bodies" sessions in the program with David asking us  to identify some of the misalignment in the way the pose was done as we start to notice the little tendencies in the way each of us hold the poses.

Practicing hands-on adjustment allowed us to be a little intimate with each other as we learn to give the proper adjustment for correct alignment in the pose.

Encouraging and cheering each other on when we do the Practice Teaching and discussing the answers to the worksheets and trying to remember the sequencing of the asana practice provided us the opportunity to share our knowledge with each other.

I am so glad to share my journey with this group of amazing yogis and hope that all of us will do well in the final exam next week.  All the best!  加油!

Image from here





Friday, April 15, 2016

Week 2 - Yoga Teacher Training

This has been another week of hectic learning and getting to know my fellow trainees better who are an amazing group of yogis with different backgrounds coming together to support each other as we share a common goal and our passion for yoga.

I am finding that I have to do a lot of  unlearning and relearning as I learned the proper alignment for the yoga poses and getting rid of my incorrect habitual ways of doing the poses.   The daily asana practice has provided a stronger understanding of the poses as I listened to David's instructions for the poses.

I find the anatomy studies to be the most interesting as I learned how the muscles and joints movements affect the poses we do.  Although it sometimes get confusing trying to figure out the position and movement of the joint, David's advice on doing the pose ourselves help to make it clearer.   The anatomy and asana studies also help me to remember the verbal cues we should give for the key simple, counter and complementary actions when the students are in the pose.

The sutra studies is getting easier to understand as I start to connect the yoga philosophy with my practice and how it relates to my personal life.  

We have been doing a lot of practice teaching which is the most challenging part of the program for me.  When I am asked to teach my fellow trainees the pose, the words I am supposed to say gets stuck in my throat.   I end up becoming nervous and my voice would become softer making it difficult for my "pretend students" to hear and understand what I am saying.

I have been trying to overcome this by saying the instructions out loud as I am stuck in traffic driving home after training.  I have also recorded myself giving out the instructions at home so that I can listened to how I sound like.  I am still trying to find my voice and I think I am slowly getting better with the encouragement and support from David and my fellow trainees.

I found out that there are some talented artists among my fellow trainees as I have seen Noah sketching David as we sit listening to his teachings.   Another trainee, Szefone has made drawings which is an innovative way to help her to study the breath and poses for Surya Namaskar A and B which she has allowed me to share them here.


Surya Namaskar A




I am looking forward to deepen my practice further for the next two weeks and I will end my post with this inspirational quote for my fellow trainees and myself.



Sunday, April 10, 2016

Week 1 - Yoga Teacher Training

I  have started my 200-hour Yogaworks Teacher Training program with David Kim on 4 April 2016 and the first week has passed so quickly.

I chose to do the Yogaworks TT program as it offers a balance and comprehensive training to prepare the practitioner to teach skillfully with safety, integrity and compassion.   Having attended David Kim's workshop before, I wanted to learn more from him as he is a teacher who teaches with passion and enthusiasm and his precise instructions made it easy to learn and follow his teachings.

Our first class began with learning to stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) which is the blue print pose for the other poses.  We learnt how to activate and engage different parts of our body to ensure that our body is in correct alignment to ensure a good foundation.   Tadasana was done standing up, against the wall and lying down so that we can  build the 3 platforms - knees over ankles, hips over knees and shoulders over hips for the optimal alignment where there is a plum line through the center of the torso.

During the course of the week, we also learnt about the key simple actions, key pairs of counter actions and complementary actions when doing the poses like Utthita Hastasana, Prasarita Padottanasana, Parivrtta Parsvakonasana, etc.

The morning session of the class was spent on anatomy studies, followed by 2-3 hours of asana practice before we break for lunch.    After lunch, David would go through the yoga sutras to help us understand the philosophy of yoga.    We have also started to learn to chant the sutras which help us to familiarize ourselves with saying them.  

We have started to look and analyse each other bodies, learnt to do some hands-on adjustments and practice teach with a partner during the week.

It's been a hectic first week of absorbing all this new knowledge but I am grateful to David for letting us know that it is normal to feel anxiety and sometimes lost during the first two weeks of the program.  I know that I only need to stay focus in class and do the daily reading and written homework assignments to keep on track and let everything falls in place without thinking too far ahead.  David is also helping us by letting us know the areas where we should pay particular attention to for our final examination.

I am very inspired by my fellow trainees.  Two of them, Ken Yang and Claudia who are teachers are still teaching classes in the evening after the long day of spending eight hours learning in the class.   I am also very motivated by the group of trainees who are not well-versed in English who need to spend additional time to translate everything that David is teaching into Mandarin.   I really admire their dedication and courage in taking the teaching training in another language.   Ken Yang who is the owner of Simplylife Yoga who brought the Yogaworks TT program to Malaysia has earned my admiration as besides attending the program himself, he is also giving revision class to these trainees on Saturday to help them understand the teaching materials and assisting David in translating his teaching in Mandarin during class.

I hope to support my fellow trainees by posting inspirational quotes daily and sharing information which are relevant to our training on my FB page.