Becoming an educator: Mentoring and Interning by Bria Gillespie
Being involved in Sarva Rasa's mentorship program has been an incredibly multifaceted experience. In the months leading up to the 200hr teacher training in Costa Rica and the first 10 days of the training I have felt the following: doubt in my abilities, empowerment, confusion, inspiration, exhaustion, joy, terror (finding a tarantula in the yoga studio is not my jam)... It has been wonderfully wild, humbling and challenging.
I spent the weeks leading up to training preparing to teach pose studies - joint position, muscle action, etc. I am passionate about and fascinated by anatomy, and the responsibility of teaching pose studies provided an opportunity for me to not only apply my knowledge of the body, but to figure out the best way to transmit that knowledge to others.
In doing so, I developed a deeper understanding of the poses and found confidence in both my knowledge and in my teaching ability. In the early days of training, I spent a portion of my evenings running study sessions, working through pose study, cuing and general teaching questions with the trainees.
As Sarva Rasa's 200 hour teacher training has progressed and students have come into their own and become more confident in their knowledge my after dinner role of "tutor" has become less and less needed - a transformation in the trainees that has been amazing to witness. One of my favorite roles has been that of providing a safe, less-intimidating, and judgement-free space in which trainees can practice their teaching and experiment with finding their voice as a teacher.
Since I so recently went through what they are going through - the trials and tribulations of "how the hell do I get someone into triangle pose" - I am able to give insight into little tricks to make things easier, as well as serving as a sort of light at the end of the tunnel. Knowing I so recently stood where they do now; flailing to find the words needed to make a body move and seeing how the uncertainty and insecurity have faded from my voice and the words come almost fluently, I almost serve as tangible proof that "Hey, this is totally possible. I can do this."
I have loved being a witness as their confidence increases and their cues become more fluid, accurate and refined. On the flip-side, the trainees have provided a safe place for me to experiment with and increase my confidence in my teaching. That space combined with the insightful and infinitely helpful feedback from Selena and Anwar, has been invaluable in my experience of finding my confidence and voice as a yoga teacher.
Now I would be lying if I said that my work here has been easy and glamorous. Early on I found myself spreading my personal resources too thin, making sure that I was always available, willing and excited to help; not taking the time that I needed to digest and integrate Selena and Anwar's teachings. Until I found myself on the edge of an exhaustion / yogic philosophy fueled breakdown. Slowly but surely I'm getting better at setting aside time for myself and recognizing how for my to hold space, and support to help everyone here I need to take time for myself. I'm also almost always sticky, possibly stinky, and desperately need to do laundry but can't seem to find the time. That being said, there is nowhere I would rather be.
In a recent yogic philosophy lecture we were told that if you want to slay giants you have to hang out with giant slayers. For me, at this point in my life Selena and Anwar are the giant slayers I've been looking for. Prior to embarking on this journey with Sarva Rasa, despite having completed a 200hr YTT, I did not feel that I was worthy of the title of yoga teacher. Slowly, and with the support of everyone here, that view is shifting and for that I am immensely grateful.