Diary of a yogini part 6: Chels Perkins journey through 200HR Teacher Training

A few weeks have passed since my last update and what a few weeks it has been!

I attended our 6th module “Yin, Restorative & Yoga Therapy”, another nourishing weekend that filled my cup.

We dug deep and determined the difference between a Yin and Restorative practice and key things to keep in mind when planning these sessions. This I found particularly useful as I have always enjoyed a Yin practice but thought a restorative practice to be not as valuable as say a Yin or Vinyasa. Now knowing the many physical and mental benefits of this practice I see it as not only a beneficial practice, but one that I will be incorporating in to my yoga routine.

During the module we covered off different postures and with the use of chairs and a wall we were able to clearly see, that if you can breathe, you CAN do yoga! I have even created a ten-minute mid-afternoon yoga routine which I do at work in my chair to release and reset me for my afternoon. Talk about multi-tasking and making yoga possible anywhere.

I didn’t have any prior knowledge in Yoga Therapy or its benefits, but was curious as to what this was, what it’s benefits are and how I can incorporate this into my teaching?

We went through a series of postures/movements and discussed what to look for throughout these to determine restrictions, stiffness, imbalances etc.…

As part of our homework we were to work with an individual whom we felt would benefit from Yoga Therapy. A friend of mine came to mind whom I know had experienced a serious car accident a few years ago. The ongoing effects due to the accident were both physical and emotional and I just knew without a doubt she would get something out of it. A little hesitant to approach her at first as I was unsure what she would think, I put all hesitations to the side and approached her knowing that this would make a difference to her physically and emotionally. Thankfully she agreed to be my guinea pig and we met up to discuss what she would like to get out of the programme. After much discussion we determined her top three priorities for the programme. I went away and devised a programme specific to her goals. I created a programme incorporating postures to aid in hip release, lengthening of the hamstrings, opening of the chest/shoulders and choosing movements that will reinstall balance in the body. I also gave her a Pranayama and Meditation to do within her practice to aid in the clearing of the mind and provide a better night’s sleep.

After finalising the programme and creating a practice playlist for her, we met up to discuss the programme and I led her through what would become her daily morning practice. I am so excited to meet up with her in a couple of weeks to discuss the impact of the programme and what differences it has made to her.

I now have two permanent classes that I teach. Every Wednesday morning and Thursday evening I get to share the gift of yoga. With a variety of different ages and levels in every class, I welcome the challenge to deliver and offer a practice that is accessible to every individual in the room. My goal as a teacher is to deliver a safe, nourishing, fun and sustainable practice. I want every participant to feel freedom and permission in my classes. Yoga is such a personal and individual journey and if I am able to nurture and facilitate you on your journey in some way, it is truly my honour!

With just a few weeks to go before we all officially graduate as qualified 200-hour yoga teachers, I am beyond excited for this next chapter of mine ahead! I have a Facebook page and brand I am in the process of creating and a vision for where I would like these new found skills to take me. Most of all I want to share this wonderful passion I have for yoga with as many people, knowing now that I have finally found what I am meant to teach!

Namaste xoxox

 

 

Diary of a yogini part 4 & 5: Chels Perkins journey through 200HR Teacher Training

My fiancé and I escaped to Hawaii for a few weeks to attend a friend’s wedding and hence my tardiness with updating my blog!
The sunshine, swimming and spending time with close friends in Waikiki was magical, but admittedly lead me astray from my usual self-practice. I managed a few early morning self-practices but made the most of the stunning weather nurturing my body in a different way with lots of swimming and walking.

Since the last module “Pranayama, Meditation & Yogic Philosophy” I have continued to practice teaching and have begun incorporating these practices in my class sequences. The Bhramari pranayama (humming bee breath) being a favourite with most of my yoga students for its calming and stress relieving benefits. As I continue along my teaching journey I continue to learn something with every practice I lead. Every class is an opportunity to discover who I am as a yoga teacher and what aspects resonate with me most.
Just before going away on holiday I taught my first Yin class and although I have always enjoyed Yin as a practice, I was unsure whether this was a practice I wanted to teach myself. Surprisingly after teaching the class, I couldn’t believe how connected to it I was and how much joy came from seeing the benefits my participants felt post practice! This has me super excited for our Module 6 where we will cover “Yin yoga, restorative yoga & yoga therapy”.

Returning home from holiday and back to reality, I was struggling to resume my yoga routine. Late evenings at the office and adjusting back into my daily routine left me wiped out. In honour of what my body was feeling, I created a relaxing 15-minute practice focusing on releasing tension in my lower back, neck and shoulders. Practicing this each evening before bed helped to calm my mind, aiding in a good night’s sleep and in turn, lifting my energy levels.

Feeling a lot more like myself again, I stepped in to module 4 “Anatomy & Physiology” with a clear head ready to absorb all I could. This module was certainly the one I was feeling the most pressure with in terms of wanting to ensure I understood and retained all the information, as the safety of my students depended on it! I left Saturday quite overwhelmed and kept telling myself “don’t over think it, let it land and the pieces will come together”. It was in the afternoon session on Sunday that it all began to click. Muscles, joints, ligaments, skeletal structure etc. it all started to make sense. My previous studies and prior experience as a personal trainer was reignited and I left excited for the further knowledge gained knowing I was armed with the tools to keep every student of mine safe on their mat!

A few days after this module I got hit with the terrible flu going around and found myself couch/bed ridden for two days, with minimal energy. At first irritated and frustrated with the fact that I couldn’t continue with my usual routine, I took a step back and realised perhaps this was my bodies way of telling me “you have taken on too much, you need to slow down”. It’s at times like this we get to reflect and evaluate our priorities and mine clearly had not been dedicated to self-care! Taking the next few days to rest and repair my body, I completed my homework and prepared myself for module 5 “Yoga for women’s Health”.

This module came at the perfect time for me. A module dedicated to understanding women’s health and why it is imperative to nurture ourselves at certain times. As one who often feels rather crappy to put it mildly around that time of the month, I used to beat myself up if I wasn’t able to work out or workout as hard as I usually could. Whether it was a gruelling cardio workout or strong power Vinyasa class, I’d feel like I was taking the easy road out by taking the options, despite feeling depleted. Little did I know I wasn’t fully present to exactly what is happening inside my body during this time and how my neglect can impact me in the long run. I am now stepping in to a space of self-care, nourishment and permission where small changes over a very small period of time will have a powerful and positive impact on my internal system in the future.

I cannot believe we only have two modules remaining in the 200-hour teacher training and that as of August 28th I will be a qualified yoga teacher! I am filled with nervous energy and excitement at the possibility of being able to share this passion which has grown from strength to strength over the last 6 months. I have never felt more at home in my own skin, more at peace with who I am and more excepting of my body and all that it is. If I left this 200-hour teacher training with only these findings I would be humbled and overjoyed, yet I know I am going to leave with so much more!

Namaste
xoxo


Bhramari pranayama (humming bee breath)

  1. Find a comfortable seated position that elongates the spine
  2. Take a breath or two to settle in
  3. Bring the thumbs to the front lobes of the ear, wrapping four fingers of both hands onto the top of the skull
  4. Take a full expansive inhale into the body, and with the exhale, close off the ears and mouth whilst making a low vibrating humming sound
  5. Continue with this pattern of practice for several rounds, keeping the ears closed
  6. Discontinue the practice if any dizziness, headaches or tightness in the chest occurs
  7. Seal your practice by releasing the arms, return to your normal breathing and pause for a moment of stillness to notice the effects of the practice

 

Diary of a Yogini Part 3: Chels Perkins journey through 200HR Teacher Training

Coming away from our second module “The Practice of Teaching” I was absolutely fizzing with nervous excited energy - I would be teaching in just 5 week’s time ahhhhhh!

As a team we decided on a “Hips and Twists” themed class. I quickly got to work on preparing the peak section I would be teaching. I began by putting full class sequences together and taking myself through these in my morning self-practices. Leading myself through these sequences I began to get a greater understanding of the flow of a class, where I may have sequenced too many/too little asana, how correct combinations of asana and transitions can aid my body in a safe practice and how the flow of a class can impact my overall experience both physically and mentally. Once I had chosen my class sequence, made adjustments where necessary and created a playlist that mirrored the flow and direction of the sequence, I knew it was time to bite the bullet and teach!

With furniture moved, mood lighting created and candles strategically placed, I converted our large living room in to my own home studio. I invited three of my lovely, kind and willing friends to be my guinea pigs and I DID IT, I lead my very first yoga class!

I was nervous, my heart was racing and my palms were sweaty, but most of all I was overcome with passion to share the gift of yoga with my participants. Every time I saw them get in to a pose just how I instructed it, my heart gave a little sing of joy. The feedback I got from them all was great and I knew exactly what I could improve/adjust for next time.

On the Wednesday evening prior to our Module 3 weekend, we organised a full sequence run through with our team. With our studio space created and more participants ready to share our practice, we led our class as a team.

At the end of the class we all breathed a heavy sigh of relief and were so grateful for the opportunity to connect as a team and cement our class as a whole. Our sequenced sections flowed, the energy felt right, we meshed well as a team and we all felt more confident about the prospect of teaching to the others in our course in 3 day’s time.

Friday evening, we reconnected as a group for Module 3 - “Pranayama, Meditation & Yogic Philosophy”. Entering our learning space, it felt so nice to connect with my fellow yogi’s.

We began our journey into pranayama and meditation and although these are not practices I have participated in often, I was keen to learn more!

Over the course of the weekend we learnt about various pranayama’s, meditations. We paired off and took turns leading our partners through these.

My favourite Pranayama from the weekend was the Viloma Pranayama which is a beautiful calming practice focusing on separating your inhale breath into stages and exhaling via one open mouth exhale. My favourite meditation was the Japa Meditation – I really enjoyed this meditation as I found it stopped my mind from wandering off with the use of a mental repetition of a mantra and counting using a string of beads known as a japa mala.

On our final day of the weekend myself and my two team mates took over the yoga studio and took our fellow course participants and friends through our Twist & Hips yoga class. It was definitely a lot different leading 30 students as opposed to the classes of 3-4 people I had been practicing on, but overall an amazing experience. I walked away from teaching that class knowing that after teaching a number of different fitness classes/programmes over the years, I finally felt like I have found what I am meant to teach!

Namaste xoxox

Diary of a Yogini Part 2: Chels Perkins Journey Through 200-Hour Teacher Training

I left the first weekend of my Jayayoga 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training elated for the journey ahead and made the decision to put my gym membership on hold to begin my journey in self-practice. Self-practice was something you could say I had dabbled in previously. I had played around with different asanas, keeping it simple and strictly to the poses I liked or felt good at (admittedly it was what felt good for my ego, not necessarily what felt good for my body at the time).

I created a space in my lounge at home purely dedicated to my yoga practice. I have strategically placed Buddha, personally created music playlists I play and a candle I light before every practice which transform the space from my lounge to my own personal studio. It is here in this fresh, open and nurturing space I truly begin my journey in self-practice.

As I approached my mat for the first time after our first weekend of training I was feeling both overwhelmed and eager. Knowing I can now come to my mat purely with the intention of honouring my body and what it needs for that day, allowed me to relax and let it flow. Some days my self-practice looked like 75mins and other days it was 15mins. It varied from a strong powerful Vinyasa to a slow and nourishing Yin. Whatever my body required at that very moment on my mat, I honoured it! I was allowing nothing but observation and honesty in to my self-practice.

As much as I was relishing and enjoying my self-practice, I wanted to mix it up with instructor led practices. Some days I just need a little guidance and as part of our teacher training it is imperative we participate in both. Through recommendations from many, I signed up to yogaglo (a website that offers hundreds of yoga classes catering to different levels/focused practices) so I could have a led practice at my fingertips no matter what time of the day! I have quickly connected with instructors whose classes I love and also with some whom although I haven’t enjoyed their practice/teaching, I have learnt a lot from them from a teaching aspect.

With our second weekend of training just around the corner, I made sure to record any self-practices/guided classes completed, any yoga related studies I had undertaken and most importantly that my homework was fully completed. Being as ready as one could be, I stepped in to Module 2: The Practice Of Teaching ready to bring it!

Over the next few days I got to understand what the heart of yoga is. I got to know what core values every yoga teacher needs to be authentic in their teaching, what preparation/sequencing for a class looks like and what makes a complete practice. This information coupled with the opportunity to observe two classes taught over the weekend gave me a whole new appreciation for yoga teachers and all that they do. I am so present to the time, energy and thought that is put in to every class. How no one class is the same and how at the drop of a hat you may have to restructure an entire class to cater for injuries, abilities, pregnancy etc...

At the end of day 2 we were divided in to groups of three in which we will each take turns in our groups to lead our fellow course participants through a yoga practice. Delighted with my chosen team (aka “Team Red”) I think to myself, ok we are going to have to teach at some point and what better environment than this one of encouragement to start in. We are then informed that Team Red will be the first team up to teach. AHHHHH… It is at this moment a nervous laugh escapes me and that little voice inside my head pipes up with its self-doubt (it is always easier said than done not to listen to that pesky wee voice that holds us back from our greatness). After recollecting my nerves, pushing that little voice to the side and connecting with my team and lead facilitator Jen, I am left with the assurance that I CAN do this!

With my cup overflowing and anxious excitement flowing through me knowing I will be teaching my first ever class in just 5 weeks, I reflect on the knowledge I have acquired from the course thus far and leave my second weekend of training knowing once again I am right where I am meant to be!

 In the words of Robert Heinlein “When one teaches, two learn”.

Namaste xoxo

Diary of a Yogini: Chels Perkins journey through 200-Hour Teacher Training

After practicing yoga sporadically for 2 and half years I decided it was time to commit myself to crushing my goal and participate in a yoga challenge. It was either that or admit laziness and defeat and set myself a new goal! I put my other training sessions on hold (coming from a high intensity, competitive, sweat till it hurts or you want to puke engrained focus, this was not an easy task) and signed up for a “31 Day Yoga Challenge” at Golden Yogi in Takapuna.

My first 7 days were a breeze. It was about day 9/day 10 that I started to get that itch, you know the one where you are so engrained in your daily habit that if you don’t get it, your body wonders what’s going on? I wanted to forgo my scheduled yoga class for that fast-paced, sweat drenching adrenaline hit so bad. However the competitor in me said “don’t give up, achieve this goal and do not lose!”

So I stuck at it and each day throughout the challenge I observed something new in my body – my core was stronger, my posture was better, my injuries were beginning to improve and my bodies flexibility increasing. My practices became less about comparing myself to others (because usually boy did I like to beat you, at whatever cost) and more about ME! How was MY body feeling in a certain pose, what adjustments could I make to have the pose feel good for ME, what practice was going to feel better for MY body that day and what could I let go of on my mat?

I completed the 31 days in what I can only describe as enlightened. I became completely open to my body, its limitations, its strengths, but most of all I left behind everything I considered my body not to be and became grateful for all that MY body IS. I left my “31 Day Yoga Challenge” wanting more! I wanted to explore yoga more fully, gain a greater understanding of everything that was starting to happen for me physically, mentally and emotionally and what better way was there to discover this than to do my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training.

I met with Jennifer Quail-Allen, lead Facilitator at Jayayoga prior to Christmas whose classes I had participated in at the Golden Yogi and someone who I really resonated with as a yoga teacher. We talked over all the nitty gritty details I needed to understand about committing to her upcoming 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training and I left our meeting with excitement brewing. I immediately rang my partner to say I have to do this and to voice my commitment to someone who I knew would keep me accountable.

A month later I paid my deposit (no backing out now), purchased the pre-course required texts and got to studying to ensure I was well equipped to walk in to my first day/weekend of the course.

Friday February 26th (day one) rolls around faster than anticipated and now my commitment is all too real. I make my way to the Yoga Studio where our Teacher Training is being held and I feel likea nervous 12 year old attending my first day of high school again. My stomach is full of nerves but also excited butterflies and I can’t wait to meet the other participants and see what the first weekend has in store.

Over the course of the next 2.5 days, my head explodes with Asanas (postures) as we make our way through each one individually. I am immediately opened to how much safer I can make my practice, how much stronger my body feels in these alignments, how I could teach these safely, what common misalignments I need to look out for and what adjustments I can make to have asana feel good for those with injuries or perhaps a wee bub on board?

Every possible component of Asanas including Sanskrit pronunciation (which I am quickly discovering is not my forte) is covered and we then put into practice the content covered through two yoga classes delivered by last year’s graduates. I place myself in front of a mirror throughout these classes to relish in the opportunity of alignment. We pair up and takes turns at teaching one another Asanas, providing feedback along the way. Although nerve-racking we are all in a safe and non-judgmental space to give everything a go. My brain is in definitely in overwhelm, but I am also super pumped with all of this amazing new knowledge I have been absorbing like a little sponge.

In our final session of training for the weekend I let go of any preconceived intentions I had in attending this course. I let go of self-doubt and my fear of not knowing enough. Instead I sit confidentially in knowing I have found my purpose. I leave the weekend elated to see what the next six months ahead holds and cannot put into words how passionate I am about the possibility of delivering safe, effective and accessible yoga to my community!

Namaste xoxo