Venetia- Never before have I considered flying nearly 5000 miles to train with someone…. however when that someone is Bernie Clark, and he’s running a yin teacher training only at his home studio in Vancouver, I think you make an exception!
Bernie Clark for anyone who isn’t a Yin fanatic is one of the major Yinsters in the yoga world, he has a fascinating background in science and engineering. He has also researched and practised multiple styles of yoga for over 20 years.
With his reputation preceding him I knew my week of YTT would be informative, but I didn’t realise it would radically change my understanding of what it means to teach yoga.
Over the week we studied yin, philosophy, pathology, anatomy, human variation, the energy body, quantum physics (yep!) the heart and mind connection, spirituality, Buddhism, meditation and that’s just the start of it…
Many questions asked were answered with “Yes….no….maybe” it became something of a
catch phrase. What he was touching on is how there isn’t always an answer and the teacher shouldn’t always feel like they have to provide it. We can hand over the reigns to the student and ask them to steer their practise.
Bernie embodies what all great teachers do, a wealth of knowledge and unquestionable
curiosity but also an openness and generosity that helps you discover in your own time and way. I’ve learnt to forgo concerns about aesthetics and the attitude that alignment cues apply to all bodies, in all poses. One comment Bernie made while in discussion about student progression was “why are you [the teacher] putting people in poses?” Which has helped me reflect on my intention not just for students but for myself while practising.
Each morning we arrived at the studio for a pre-daybreak practise, and as we held our poses the sun would rise above the Vancouver downtown waterfront and the room would be filled with light and warmth just in time for savasana. It was symbolic of the practise of yin, we start in the dark, cold and at odds with our body. we slowly warm and tension recedes as we begin to wake up to different sensations, leaving the practise nourished, open and at peace with ourselves.
I can't wait to get back to teaching at Yoga Quota to share everything I have learnt with the studio clients and vulnerable people in the charity classes!
See you soon!