Maybe you have heard about it, I did all my Yoga training so far in Hanoi, Vietnam. All in OM Factory - School of Yoga. The first one I completed was in February 2017, a 200h Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training. As they always say: 200-hour training is not enough to become a Yoga teacher. But I was very lucky that by the time I finished, OM Factory opened a new studio in West Lake district of Hanoi. I was recruited into a full-time Yoga teaching job which gave me precious experience in quite a short but intensive period of working.
While working for OM Factory in Hanoi, later in 2017 I had a chance to support another Teacher Training and met Holly Coles, the Yoga teacher trainer of the course. Working with her throughout the course, I totally admired how serious she was in teaching Yoga and movements, and how she could sum up vast knowledge into simple teachings which still contain science and anatomy of movements. In her 40+, Holly was still stunning and fit, and get involved in a variety of movements and sports.
In summer 2018, I did my first Yoga classes in Sweden. It was a series of Sunday Yoga classes for the public to ¨test the water¨. I introduced my most favorite Vinyasa flows to my new Swedish audience. By that time, I was able to write many Vinyasa class sequences orienting to a peak pose, which means Yoga classes with flows that graduate smoothly to a complex Asana. After the summer, when I got back to Vietnam, I heard Holly would train the next 300h Vinyasa Teacher Training in Hanoi, June 2019, I signed up and paid for it.
The next period of my teaching was a hard time, as I started losing confidence in what I speak and do in Yoga classes. My belief and the meaning of Yoga in me wrecked slowly. I still taught Yoga classes but without giving many instructions, as I was doubtful of what I said. I tried to keep it going until the training started in June 2018, when I have completed the ¨unlearn process¨ and ready to be guided.
The course was really tough, as Holly was serious about teaching Yoga as a job. She wanted to make it a vocational course that gives a job to do in life. At the very first day of the course, we were asked to write down the answers to some basic marketing questions:
- Who do I want to teach?
- Why do those people do Yoga?
- Why should they do Yoga with you but not with other teachers?
- What do I expect to get from the training?
- Who is my Yoga teacher idol?
- Who is a successful Yoga teacher in my opinion?
- What makes a Yoga teacher successful in my criteria?
and etc. It was a great review for myself and at that time, the answer for ¨why should they do Yoga with you but not with the others¨ to me was ¨because I'm cheaper¨, seriously.
Holly made me learn and speak out the principles and explanations of movements, and a question Why? always followed a statement. She really got us to think before we speak as if our Yoga students (I prefer to refer as ¨my Yogi friends¨) could ask Why? after each sentence we say. ¨Don't say things because you hear other people say so¨.
The most important thing, and also the simplest thing, I learned was to go back to basics. While I could make up a lot of Yoga flows leading to different peak poses, I didn't want to repeat myself and I felt bored out of it when I had to. However, the practice of Yoga should be constant and repetitive. I tried not to set a certain pose as the goal of the Yoga class, but rather an action, a movement, or an idea that repeats itself again and again like a mantra. Just like any other thing in life, doing Yoga is so much more effective and meaningful with a clear goal of what to do. With this, a very simple Vinyasa Yoga class with basic Yoga poses could be turned into a very powerful and highly concentrating hour of practice.
By doing basic Yoga, I can also serve a bigger audience than when I tried to create fun, creative sequences that lead to complex Yoga poses. That's the Beginner audience - people who haven't been doing Yoga, but need to start doing Yoga for the simplest reason for reversing the impact of everyday movement habits on their body.
The more advanced practice of Yoga is actually not crazier-looking Yoga poses, but higher bodies and spiritual practice like Mediation. By focusing on the basic things from the beginning, a Yoga teacher can also turn the physical Asana practice into a practice of Concentration, which is the first step into advanced Yoga practices.
With 20+ years of experience, Holly got me to be humble and persistent in the career. The knowledge that she gave me kept me going on with confidence in what I'm doing. I can see myself in 20 years' time still teaching Yoga and get better with the experience, for I love this job and I'm being critical for each Yoga class I teach. The way Holly taught was to prepare each Yoga teachers with tools so that they can remember and understand human body movements the more they work in the field, and become critical to judge statements and to find answers for their doubts.
During the time I was in Vietnam for the training, I got my lungs and throat infected all the time and a lot of coughing. I couldn't teach many Yoga classes. My throat is already very weak since I was a child. So I made a secret ¨goal¨ as a Yoga teacher: I want to teach only 5 Yoga classes per week, but 5 GREAT Yoga classes! Of course, goals are made as an orientation and not as a destination, but that would be very fine for me. I may not make a living out of it, but maybe I can, eventually?
The journey is long and unknown, but like a good Vinyasa Yoga class, it's meaningful with a clear idea of what to do. Teaching Yoga has become a practice of being patient and persistent, both of which I have just started learning how to be.
I'm writing this post with nice memories at OM Factory in my head. Great gratitude to Holly Coles who trust me in becoming a good Yoga teacher, and OM Factory to be a nest that hosted me as a little bird before I grew enough to fly away.