YTP Community Member, Jasmine Sara, Reflects on Starting her Career Teaching Yoga
In April 2017, I completed my Astanga Vinyasa Flow Yoga Teacher Training at Kranti Yoga in India. I settled there for my YTTC after two months of traveling, practicing and studying yoga in Hampi, Mysore, Gokarna, and Goa. I’ve always loved to travel, and have been all over the world but for one reason or another, I found myself back in my hometown this year for my very first year as a Yoga teacher. Applying everything I learned through the practice of Yoga (originating in ancient India) to revisit the place of my past has been a blessing. I’m now doing another teacher training course at home in the North of England and feel reflective about the journey so far.
Here are 5 things I learned in my first year as a Yoga teacher:
- I LOVE TEACHING YOGA! It fills me with joy and allows me to be fully present in the moment. I trust 100% in the practice itself and believe wholeheartedly in what it can do to help deal with trauma, physical ailments, mental health conditions, and more. Yoga has played such an integral role in my own wellbeing and healing journey. It is simply beautiful to see other people come to the mat for all their own, personal reasons and to have the honor of holding that space for others.
- It’s a Logistical Challenge (but it’s totally worth it). It can be difficult to make a living out of doing what you love. Financial stability can be hard to obtain for self-employed people. In order to pursue my Yoga career, I also work as a waitress in two different cafés and I teach on average about eight times a week at the moment. Plus, I run one-off workshops, help organize community events, and I sometimes volunteer as a teacher. This means that I never actually have a day off. I’m in a fortunate position in my living situation which has enabled me to put time into developing my teaching career but it’s still not as simple as just “quit your job and become a Yoga teacher”! It’s all 100% worth it, though. When I’m in class guiding people through a Yoga sequence there is literally no-where else I would rather be.
- Self–practice is Essential. Finding the time for self-practice has become non-negotiable ever since I first committed to daily Yoga practice in October 2016. It really can be fit into any day. Sometimes I just grab 20-minutes in an empty studio in between teaching and sometimes it’s a full hour or more at home. The type of self-practice I choose on a day to day basis changes depending on what I need in that particular moment. So, it could be Yoga Nidra or the full Ashtanga primary series. When I connect to the breath, the past slips away, thoughts of the future loosen their grip, and I am brought home to the here and now. I wouldn’t be able to teach classes without my self-practice! It both inspires my lesson planning and also keeps me well so that I can show up for my students.
- Yogis are Human (and just as messy as everyone else)! I used to assume that there was this magical endpoint where you suddenly are fixed; are no longer triggered by anything and have just reached this perfect place of peace. Now, I realize that we are all dealing with our own Samskaras (mental and emotional patterns that we are prone to be in a cycle of repeating over and over again) and each of us is doing our best to transform our destructive habits or patterns of behavior. Healing is not linear. What inspires me so much about the Yoga teachers I have been taught by, young and old, from all walks of life, is that they are human too. They have their own personal issues. Yet, all that messy human suffering begins to melt away when they step on the mat. They find a way to remain present, focused, and committed to the practice and the students throughout class. We are all working with different challenges and Yoga helps us navigate our way through.
- There’s Still So Much to Learn. I knew when I first came to Yoga 10 years ago that I would be a lifetime student. This path is one I have chosen for life and I am very aware that I am so far from really knowing anything at all, despite calling myself a ‘Yoga Teacher’! Some students ask questions that I simply don’t know the answer to. I used certain cues when beginning that I wouldn’t use now. I gave certain assists a year ago that I do very differently now. I am always learning.
This barely even scratches the surface and there is so much more to be said, I could write a whole book but for now, here is one brief blog post highlighting some of the key things I have learned a year on from doing my first YTTC. If you’re thinking of becoming a Yoga teacher then I hope it has been helpful. Namaste.
Jasmine first came to yoga ten years ago and at the start of 2017 she traveled around India practicing yoga from Hampi to Mysore before completing an Ashtanga Vinyasa Flow 200 hours Yoga teacher training in South Goa. She is currently teaching vinyasa flow and yin classes in Newcastle, England. She is currently furthering her studies with advanced teacher training modules with Yoga Therapies. You can connect with her through her website: Jasmine Sara Yoga.
Editor’s Note: Thanks to Jasmine for sharing her insights and inspirations. If you’d like to share your yoga teacher journey with the Yoga Teacher Prep community, please see our Contributor Guidelines.