I enrolled in my first Yoga Immersion after seeing a paper flyer taped to the check-in counter of my local studio. Those two words, “Yoga Immersion,” spoke to a longing that had taken form in me that I hadn’t quite named yet: I wanted to steep in the practice. I sensed there was something more awaiting me within the yoga that had so unexpectedly and so resolutely become a part of me. I wanted to go deeper.
Oh, and also, I wanted to do a headstand. Yep, I wanted that thing like a kid wants the icing flower on the birthday cake.
I’ve been asked a lot of questions lately by students who seem to be in a similar place. Questions that begin like this: “I am interested in the Immersion, but…”
Maybe if we explore those “but” thoughts, they will disappear:
1) What if my practice isn’t advanced / I’m out of shape / I can’t do handstand (or full wheel, touch my toes, etc.)?
This is probably the type of question most frequently asked. In response, I could tell you a million things about how yoga isn’t about your physical strength or prowess in asana. But, you’ve heard all that already. We have to hear it over and over before we finally defeat the demon of “I’m not good enough.” Maybe it would interest you to hear how I’ve seen some students heal injuries through intensive practice, which is true. I’ve also seen other students encounter even deeper layers of their physical limitations, right alongside their expanding capabilities in other areas. This is all part of the transformative process that inevitably occurs when we gather in community, mutually committed to the practice of self-inquiry.
But there is also a simple answer, which is: Yoga meets you where you are.
You don’t need to meet any particular requirements to take your practice deeper. We will be doing a lot of asana practice during the immersion. Each student will modify as necessary and make the practice their own as part of the Immersion and Integration process. That’s kind of the point.
2) What if I don’t want to be a yoga teacher?
Great. There’s no end goal for where you take your practice. The practice itself is the point. And you might be surprised by the depth of insight an immersion in practice can offer the other things you do and love. This can be difficult to grasp when we’ve spent our lives making plans, and taking “next steps” and crossing things off of lists, but it’s true.
Many students take the immersion with no intention of teaching, or perhaps with a thought that they may teach one day, but it’s not a burning desire. Some surprise themselves by moving forward to a teacher training, as I did. Others simply enjoy the immersion as a way to deepen into their existing careers or life paths. Still others begin with the intention of teaching, and during the time of the immersion realize that’s not really what they want after all.
The simple answer here comes straight from the Bhagavad Gita: Yoga is skillful living. A period of deeper practice can be of benefit to anyone.
3) What if I DO want to be a yoga teacher?
The 100-Hour Immersion and Integration Intensive is a great place to start. The I&I is designed to get you firmly rooted in your own practice, the only viable place from which to go forth and share that practice with others. There are many successful teacher training models, of various designs and emphasis, but I choose to continue with this strategy because it makes sense to me, and has proven itself effective over time.
We will learn a little about anatomy and a lot about alignment. We will begin to practice seeing bodies and putting words to movements and feelings (waaay harder than it looks), in preparation for the more focused teaching modules to come. When the immersion is finished, you’ll be able to choose from a variety of The People’s Yoga offerings to complete the necessary hours required for certification.
To be clear – this is not trade school, and the life of a professional yoga teacher is one that requires dedication and a willingness to persevere, and constantly reimagine your definition of success.
In short, if you are called to this training, trust that. Listen to your gut.
By the way, upon completing my first immersion, I still couldn’t balance in headstand. But my world had opened up in ways I wouldn’t have imagined, and I got answers to questions I hadn’t yet been able to articulate. Yoga does that. The practice makes you more of yourself. And, I kept after that headstand, and got there eventually.
Do you have a question about The People’s Yoga 200-Hour Teacher Training or the upcoming 100-Hour Immersion and Integration Intensive? Please feel free to reach out to us with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.