We spoke to Linda, who is currently taking our 200-hour yoga teacher training course. She has now reached the final stage of her course, which started over 6-months ago in September 2013.
Tell us about your yoga background.
One day my friend Susan suggested that we try a yoga studio that she had passed on the street in Hiroo. That studio was Be Yoga Japan. We started in April 2012, taking a Level 1 class with Danielle. Although I had done Pilates before, it was my first experience with yoga (except for a quick, freebie at a hotel in India). Probably Danielle’s class was the very best introduction to yoga for me because she is patient, inspiring and very rigorous. Plus, she seems to have eyes in the back of her head–you just know that she is speaking to you as she calls out corrections to the pose alignments.
Since that first day, I have taken many more classes with Danielle, Kumiko, Meg, Kaz, Tomoko and Kazue as well as at Yoga Works in my native Southern California. With each passing month my body became a little stronger and more flexible and I think that as my physical strength grew, somehow I felt emotionally stronger, too. Even my husband began to notice the new muscles on my shoulders and arms–he always thought that yoga was cult-like and only for wimps but now he is really supportive of my practice and wants to learn, too.
When Be Yoga Japan first announced the English Teachers’ Training (ETT) course, Susan was ready to sign up but I thought that for me it would be ridiculous as I only had been practicing yoga for about a year. But Kaz encouraged me to join, saying that it would help me to deepen my practice. Since the reason I came to yoga was for the physical discipline (i.e., as a means to keep fit), I thought this would mean that my poses would get better and I would add new ones to my repertoire. However, in the past 2+ months, a whole new world has opened before me.
I approach the asanas differently now that I have been asked to think about how my muscles, joints and bones are moving in tandem and I have been introduced to yoga’s history, the philosophy behind it and Ayurvedic medicine. There have been times when I have thought that ETT was way over my head. But I feel privileged to be learning more and more every day about all aspects of ISHTA Yoga, side by side with 7 incredible women and our supportive teachers Kumiko and Meg. While intense and at times frustrating, ETT has been an amazing journey.
What are your favorite yoga poses?
I have strong legs so my favorites are the standing poses like Warrior 2 and Alana/High Lunge. I especially like the challenge of a balancing asana like Half Moon. I suppose that we all enjoy whatever plays to our strengths but what I appreciate about yoga is that it allows me to confront my weaknesses. Tomoko once said something at the start of class that really resonated with me: Today you can try something. Maybe today you can’t do it; maybe tomorrow you won’t either. Maybe you’ll never be able to do it. Or maybe someday you will. But either way it doesn’t matter–just try.
Tell us what you like about Be Yoga Japan
I like training at Be Yoga Japan because of the teachers. Every teacher whom I have taken a class with has made some correction to my alignment that has opened my eyes to the pose. And I am grateful to Kumiko and Meg, the mentors who gently, and with humor, persist in helping me find my “true” self and path.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to practice Downward Facing Dog, Up Dog and Old Dog with Koro, my “giant toy” poodle. However, my cats think that my Up Cat/Down Cat is not worth their attention.
Anything else you would like to add?
Thank you, Ken for being supportive of my dreams.
Thank you very much, Linda!
Our next teacher training course (taught primarily in Japanese this time) will start in March 2014. The application deadline is February 17. If you’d like to deepen your own yoga practice, why not sign up?