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