Graduate Blog Post-Jessica Oatway

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A Day in the Life of a Yoga Teacher

Lets take Monday morning, as it is the day that I notice the biggest change since becoming a yoga teacher and have a full yoga only day.

Morning
My alarm usually goes off at 6.30am and I go to my own yoga practice class at Yoga Dublin. In the winter, I drag myself out of bed but in the summer I’m usually awake before that and can bounce out of bed. Summer is much more attuned to a yoga teachers needs!

Becoming a yoga teacher definitely means getting up early, as I have early morning classes at 7am, 3 times a week and a 9am class on a Saturday morning. If I’m not teaching then I try to get to a yoga class at least 2 times a week or I will do my own practice at home.

I then get some breakfast at Urban Health in Ranelagh or head home and have some tea and toast or if I’m really hungry a boiled egg and avocado on toast. After breakfast, I open up emails or do some social media work…which always takes longer then I expect! I might get to Sandymount and go for a quick walk as well… the advantages of creating your own timetable is that you have more time to do the things you want to do…most of the time.

Afternoon
On a Monday afternoon, I teach a lunchtime corporate class. These are really rewarding as you can see a difference in the students from when they walk into the class to when they walk out - Standing straighter, feeling a bit lighter with smiles on their faces.

I try to get some lunch either at home, something quick like an omelette or if I’m in town I’ll go to Tang on Dawson street. I’m also a big fan of Cinnamon and Mima in Ranelagh. A lot of my time is spent around Ranelagh just because Urban Space (above Urban Health Cafe) is my base and I could be meeting Dee the owner to discuss new projects or ideas. Since becoming more involved in yoga, my attitude to food has definitely changed. I’m more conscious about what I eat and that I try to eat 100% organic. I’m not a vegetarian but I only eat full organic meat from a trusted source. However I've noticed I’m craving vegetables a lot more then a burger. 

After lunch I usually have a few hours off until my evening classes. This involves prepping for the week’s classes, more social media, website work or unfortunately the usual drab housework.

At 5 I go to my 5.30pm class, then head straight to my 7.30pm class at Urban Health. I get home about 9pm. Grab some dinner and then I'm off to bed. I’m quite chilled after my teaching so I don't have the need to watch TV to try and relax. Which was often the case when I worked in London or when I work in my part-time job on Thursdays and Saturdays in Dublin. 

For me every day is different, which is the one thing I love. In my previous full time job I hated being tied to a desk and sitting down all day. I love travelling around to different places, meeting different people in different circumstances and having a bit more of my own free time. 

But it’s not all roses! I am less well off financially, which can be scary. I am still at the beginning of building my classes which can sometimes be hard. Some days you will have 10 students and then the next week for the same class it could be 3. Its hard not to take it personally, but you try to shake it off and just be the best, most authentic teacher that you can be. I know that I am working hard, still learning and getting my name out there. 

I would say the main thing I have noticed since training to become a yoga teacher are that my stress levels have reduced and I’m more content. I still have worries but they come with less pressure and less fear. I’m the boss and I push myself for myself. I now go to bed on a Sunday evening or wake up Monday morning without the feeling of dread. Yes, I don’t particularly love my part-time job but it supports my income, it’s not every day and it means I can teach yoga. 

Additionally, I have met so many amazing people on this journey. Starting with my fellow yoga teacher trainers who are such supportive and kind people. We have a Watsapp group that is still going strong today. I have just returned from a training in Sri Lanka with three brilliant international teachers and fellow students whom I would now call friends. I am about to go to a workshop in Ireland with amazing people who I didn't know last year. I have a retreat booked in a couple of weeks with people whom I have introduced to yoga through my classes, which is the most rewarding out of all. 

For me, while the journey is tough, the rewards are greater. I am constantly learning and meeting amazing people, and not a day goes by that I am not thankful to have chosen this change of career. Its hard to imagine going back into an office now.

Jessica

Graduate Blog Post – Orla Thornton

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After a busy summer preparing for and completing my Yoga Teacher training, I am currently teaching in the Presentation College in Carlow as a Physical Education and Irish teacher. I finished my ‘Art of Teaching’ Yoga Teacher training in Yoga Dublin this August under the guidance of Sibylle Dallmann and Naomi Sturdy and I began teaching yoga soon afterwards – all of the knowledge and teaching practices were certainly fresh in my mind!

At the moment I teach a yoga class at the stunning ‘Carlow Mandala Yoga Studio’ on Friday night with thanks to Aggie Wachowska. This class is quite popular with my students as it is an ideal method to wind down towards the end of the week and enter the weekend feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Thus far, I absolutely adore teaching yoga. It is both fulfilling and rewarding to witness students progress from week to week. After a relatively short time being involved with the practice, they are really learning to move with their own bodies ability and are learning to switch off from any external worries or issues during class time. I find it has a calming effect on me as I deliver the class. During those last few moments observing my students drift into Savasana, it becomes a silent meditation for me, too. 
Teaching can be an intense profession, thus I find that my practice really helps me to relax after a long day at work. I deliver a class to staff members every Wednesday after school which provides a space for them to unwind too. There are members of staff who attend regularly and find that it helps them to relax and rejuvenate before going home or settling into their evening, whilst also finishing their day with some precise and gentle movement.

Through the practice and teaching of yoga, I believe I am much more aware of the students in front of me in school and the difficulties they may be experiencing. I also try to incorporate some yoga postures into the warm up routine for some of my PE classes which the students enjoy. I have taught Bakasana (Crow Pose) to some year groups, which brought with it a fun element of challenge to the class. My transition year group are currently completing a yoga course as part of their PE curriculum and have learned to take some timeout for themselves during this part of their day. In the New Year, sixth year students will be given the option to complete yoga for a number of weeks in their PE class.
I make a conscious effort to encourage my students, particularly those in sixth year, to ensure that they are exercising regularly and taking time out for themselves. It can often be a very stressful year in their lives as they undertake the Leaving Certificate Examination and are faced with some difficult decisions regarding college or employment choices after school.
In addition to this, I hope to run some lunchtime yoga classes for students in the coming months. I hope that this shall encourage students to become more in tune with their own wellbeing as we enter a New Year.

Having immersed myself in an intensive yoga teacher training, I feel it has truly helped with my ability to deal with a hectic day or a tough situation. I try to deal with issues or difficulties in the moment now rather than allowing myself to worry or become overly stressed about things that are beyond my control. Since completing my training, I continue my daily practice and I feel this has become an integral part of my daily routine to keep me grounded and balanced for whatever my day may bring.

I hope to keep building on my knowledge of yoga teaching by maintaining my own daily practice and continuing to attend regular yoga classes, student workshops and professional development workshops. Yoga has become a cornerstone of my lifestyle in so many ways – it keeps me centred, focused and keeps my body flexible and mobile. I hope that through my teaching and love for the practice, that I can continue share the magic of yoga with others.