Tales from a trainee
First-hand account from a trainee on the realities of a YTT course. By Georgina Warrick
Before doing my YTT, I was full of self-doubt. The question of ‘Am I good enough?’ kept spiralling round my mind. I was suffering from a huge case of ‘imposter syndrome’. Did the fact that I can’t do chaturanga or some other postures perfectly mean that I was unsuitable for the course?
I was constantly worried that I wouldn’t measure up to the other trainees or wouldn’t be able to keep up with the demands of the course.
It turns out that I didn’t need to worry at all. One of the first lessons our calm, kind and patient teachers (Eva Kristlova and Wenche Beard) taught us was to be yourself. They even cited one of my favourite quotes: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken” (Oscar Wilde).
After this, any comparisons with my peers were left firmly at the door. I soon learnt that my stiffness and physical limitations could actually be an asset as I was able to break down postures clearly and I was more compassionate in my teaching practice to students who found certain asanas challenging.
On my YTT, I also learnt that there was so much more to yoga than the physical postures. The breathing, pranayama, meditation and yogic philosophy/texts were an integral part of the course.
It wasn’t just a course: it was about adopting a whole new yogic lifestyle and being authentic to your true self and really walking this yogic path.
My entire life would quickly change, and for the better, especially when studying the ancient texts. For example: when studying the yogic philosophy of the Yamas (one of the limbs of yoga) on the course, I was studying ‘Ahimsa’ (which is roughly translated to mean ‘non-violence’ or ‘non-harming’). I had to question my actions and my thoughts in my daily life around this.
I am a total perfectionist which, even though I have an incredibly hard-working ethic, actually meant that at times I could be so harsh on myself and really beat myself up about things which, in effect, was a form of self-harm.
The course was a group of 18 women and the most supportive group I have ever met. The relationships you form during YTT are often life-long relationships as you share so much together. I’m still in touch almost a year later with everyone and some have become my best friends. You share so much as you study, laugh and cry together and when one of the group struggles, the rest of the group (including the teachers) are there to pick them up again.
The course wasn’t easy by any stretch; it was very challenging at times and there was a lot of homework. But pushing past my comfort zone — teaching a yoga lesson to a group of 18 women whilst being assessed (at the start of the course I was shaking delivering a 15-minute presentation!), delving into spiritual yogic texts that were thousands of years old and learning and writing about the history and philosophy of yoga, witnessing all our progress throughout the course and our confidence soar — was 100% worth it.
The course also helped me to develop a self-practice, something I had struggled with before. It was like peeling an onion. Through meditation and yoga, I began to reveal my true self, slowly peeling away the layers and shedding and discarding anything that no longer served me. There were teary moments, but I feel it revealed my true essence of who I am and enabled me to live a heart-centred path. I would do it again in a heartbeat and I will never stop learning about yoga and myself — it will take a lifetime!
Georgina Warrick is a 200hr Yoga Life Teacher Training Graduate. Find out more at: yogaeastbourne.com