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Last weekend I did something I haven’t done in a while – studying! After a few months of research and soul-searching I finally signed up to The Yoga People’s teacher training course and started my practical training (the first of nine jam-packed weekends) last Saturday. To be honest, I had an overwhelming first day of school feeling before we started, perhaps emphasised because this was really the first time I’d really chosen to embark on study on my own terms, rather than because it’s expected of me i.e. starting school age 5, doing GCSEs and A Levels and then going to university. So on Saturday morning I felt a bit like I was trotting off to school, albeit in leggings and lycra rather than grey skirt and school tie and with a yoga mat on my back rather than a rucksack. There were the inevitable first-day nerves as my brain started running away with me in the days preceding the start of the course…. What if I was the only one who can’t do a handstand? Would I look like an idiot if I turned up with a posh mat and then couldn’t do Pincha? What if everyone else spends hours in Pincha like as if it’s the easiest thing in the world? Oh god, why can’t I do Pincha?! Actually, arriving for our first day wasn’t anywhere near as intimidating as it could have been. I’d done a couple of taster classes with TYP before and knew one or two of the teaching assistants whose classes I’d been to (which was one of the reasons I chose to train with TYP). Plus our group classes has started the previous week so we’d had a couple of chances to meet our fellow trainees face-to-face and we’d already signed up to a dedicated Facebook group and had the chance to introduce ourselves on there and (ahem!) snoop as far as possible on our new contemporaries’ pages! So by the time we arrived at the venue where we’ll be studying and practicing until December (the very cool Trip Space in Haggerston) we were pretty primed and ready to get cracking. Jamie and Dulce (the duo behind The Yoga People) threw us straight in at the deep end with a full Ashtanga primary series, followed by meditation, which lasted around 2.5 hours. By the end I was wishing that I brought more clothes to change into as I was sweat-soaked, but buzzing from getting our first class under our belts. We were soon learning how to teach, starting with a breakdown of Surya Namaskara A. This was the point where I realised the gap between being a yoga practitioner and a yoga teacher. Can I do Surya Namaskara A? Yes, absolutely, I know it inside out and can do it without thinking. Can I explain what I’m doing while I’m doing it, including the Sanskrit names for each asana and whether one should be inhaling or exhaling? Erm, not so much. I didn’t even know UrdhvaVvrikshasana had a name, I just thought it was inhaling your arms above your head…. Accompanied by a hefty introduction to yoga theory and philosophy, which made my brain work in ways it hadn’t in a looooong time, by the end of day one I was pretty tired, and by the end of day two I was counting my blessings that I’d booked the following day off from my 9-5 job and wondering quite how I was going to get through the final Ashtanga class of the weekend! But ultimately I finished the first weekend hungry for more and having enjoyed stretching both my muscles and some brain cells. I’m really pleased that I’ve chosen a course which is going to push and challenge me so hopefully I’ll progress considerably by the end. An exciting start to an exciting adventure… yoga teacher training London