How This Yoga Teacher Training Transformed My Life

Hi there, I’m Mei, a yoga lover and working mom! I recently completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training in Vietnam, and it was absolutely transformational. In this 3-part diary series, I want to share with you my experience, as well as the growth and emotions I felt—on and off the mat. If you’re considering taking yoga teacher training, I’m hoping my experience will help you get an idea of what it’s really like, as well as tips on how and where to start.

How it All Began

I’ve been practicing yoga for nearly five years and have thought about taking a yoga teacher’s training (YTT). In the past, I believed that YTTs were only for people who have a good fitness level, do amazing inversions, are proficient in Sanskrit, and also for those who are deciding to become yoga instructors professionally. But for me, a busy mother? No chance!

I was certain that I wanted to understand the fundamentals of yoga to deepen my practice and improve my life by understanding something about the spiritual aspects of yoga. I realized that I was always inventing excuses for the reasons I could not complete it through a YTT.

Then, one day, while I lay on the floor of Savasana in the aftermath of a sweaty session, I was engaged in an internal conversation with myself. I ended that little voice of despair and decided it was now time! I was required to take time to take care of myself and take care of ME.

How I Found My School

I started researching and then began to ask yogis and teachers about the most suitable alternatives for the kind of yoga I wanted to experience. I realized it was crucial to find a place that matched my yoga philosophy and resonated with me.

I reside in Ho Chi Minh City (also called Saigon), and I searched for courses that were no more than two hours away from my home. I looked into training that was offered in Thailand, Bali, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

I found the Yoga Alliance’s 200-hour-long training, which concentrated on the fundamentals of yoga. It also comprised a 20-hour anatomy class that included one-on-one coaching sessions.

The First Day at My Yoga Teacher Training in Vietnam

At 5:45 am, my alarm was set to go off. I woke up, had an espresso r, rolled up my mat, tucked away the water bottle and two notebooks, and walked through the front door to my bike. The streets of Saigon at 6:30 am were quite peaceful. After speeding through a few avenues, I finally arrived at Jiva Studio Saigon, located in a quiet corner off the street, away from the bustling areas.

When I entered the studio, my first impression was the lovely spacious space, filled with a variety of candles in vases that were cylindrical, as well as a Yoga rope wall that lined both sides of the area. The studio was outfitted with mats, bolsters, and straps, as well as Bean bag masks for eyes and folding chairs. It was like, wow…this will be my yoga retreat for the next three weeks.

I was welcomed at the door by Suzanne Vian, the owner and teacher trainer. I was received with a warm hug. “I’m so happy you are here,” she declared with a smile. As I walked around with the other members of the group, I realized that we’re an intimate group of seven people from different kinds of backgrounds living in various regions of the world. We are an eclectic mix of nations: American, Canadian, Korean, and Danish.

Suzanne described how we are soul sisters and brothers, and we are all cooperating to learn and grow throughout the course while also helping each other through the process as well as personal growth. She also stated that we’d be close to one another, as if we were family members, in the months to come. She also said that we would develop strong bonds prior to and following the course.

I admit that I was anxious as I was given the opportunity to speak. However, it was a relief to share my thoughts in a safe and secure space. I’ve never felt more at ease for this emotional and physical journey.

What Our Day-to-Day Looked Like

Suzanne presented us with an assortment of course materials, homemade body scrub journals, pens, and an eye cream. What a sweet gesture! The manual for training set out the course along with the well-organized program. It contains teaching sessions as well as lectures by instructors with varying specializations, including Ayurveda therapy meditation, healing and meditation techniques, as well as osteopathy therapy.

Diving Deep Into Meditation

The first part of the session was an exercise in meditation called the Kelee meditation, an exercise that helps to relax the mind. It was invented by Ron Rathbun in California. It’s a simple but effective practice that lets us gain insight into our self-awareness and acceptance of the emotions that come to the surface, feelings that we might have hidden within. We also learned to concentrate on a quiet point within our minds to begin to clear our minds of all the noise and triggers within our brains.

We would meditate two to three times per day, and we’d then write in our journals what was happening physically and emotionally in an effort to be still. How do we relax and reach a state of stillness? How can we deal with events throughout the day? What is it that makes us able to loop through compartments (issues), and how can we remove ourselves from them? There’s a lot to discover about this, and at the time, I didn’t realize how important this could be in my personal growth and finding happiness in my own life.

Building a Foundation With Asana Breakdowns

Following the Kelee Meditation after the Kelee Meditation, we enjoyed a pleasant, sweaty vinyasa session. I was amazed at the realization that I had learned an appropriate alignment for the most basic postures and how lifting my arms in an external rotation could aid in preventing my joints on the shoulder from wearing and tearing. It’s quite humbling and insightful to realize that I’ve never been taught or been taught about these concepts during the five years that I’ve been doing yoga.

I was able to get my body into a state of relaxation and to use specific muscles and relax others. I learned to move and safely shift the body from one position to the next and how to stack bones correctly to ensure the body (and those of my students to come) is secure.

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