Mental health is beginning to get the coverage it needs in the media and It’s great to see more and more people turning to yoga as a tool for their overall wellbeing. Sayeeda shares her story with beautiful honesty, about how yoga has changed her life, given her a community and set her on a lifelong journey of discovery.
What course did you do at BSY?
What made you decide to do yoga teacher training?
Yoga saved my life, and because of that, I wanted to dedicate my life to the practice and to help others, through teaching yoga. After experiencing depression, anxiety, and drug addiction from my teenage years and onwards, at 28 I had hit total rock bottom after the diagnosis of an incurable autoimmune disease and removing myself from an abusive relationship that I had been in for two and a half years. I had given up on life and was seriously contemplating suicide. I started to practice yoga consistently, even just 10 mins a day and my practice was my saviour.
Yoga helped me to reconnect to myself in a way which I had never known before. I had tried every trick in the book, antidepressants, been in and out of counselling, CBT and of course had self-medicated my pain through intoxicants for as long as I could remember, yet yoga was the only thing that managed to get me out of this destructive way of thinking and see life from a whole new perspective. Quite literally I felt like I had been born again. As soon as my focus became my practice and I realised the transformative power of yoga, I knew that I had to teach. I wanted to be able to give the gift of yoga to others in hope that I may be able to inspire and help others on their own spiritual journeys.
Was the training what you expected?
It was everything I expected, but also so much more. The description of the course in regard to coursework, subjects covered, assignments and timeframes were very much true to the website. What wasn’t stated was that I would be welcomed into a wonderful community of like-minded people with open arms. I would form connections and bonds not only to others but also to myself on quite a deep level. I had never really felt part of anything before, relationships and family issues throughout life always left me feeling disconnected, so this for me was an incredibly rich and fulfilling experience. The course really opened up so much opportunity for growth and development, not only with my learning and education but on a personal and spiritual level also.
What were your biggest concerns before you began?
I didn’t really have any, I was just super excited and grateful to be on the journey and to get stuck in!
How has the training affected your own practice?
The training has really helped me look at my practice as a whole in a very different way. In regard to Asana, I can now adapt my practice safely for my body and I often use my own body as a subject matter for deeper learning to then help my students. My personal practice used to be a regimented Ashtanga Primary Series, with the exception of a Hatha class once or twice a week, and the course has really shown me how to really move with my development and just go with it wherever it takes me. I’m continually adapting my practice with what my body can do and when, which I feel is a much better and safer way to practice.
The books on the reading list and the assignments given to us have sparked an incredible enthusiasm within me for the study of yoga philosophy and I am thinking about continuing my study in this area, to deepen my understanding of myself and the world around me in relation to yoga and my practice. I have learnt so much from the course, and I apply so much of it to my life on a day to day basis, including the 8 Limbs and many philosophic approaches and ideas.
What has been/was your favourite part of the course?
For me, my favourite part has to be the fact that the course acts a starting point to a whole world of potential learning and development, personally, spiritually and academically. The possibilities are so vast and having so many opportunities to learn is an incredible thing.
That and of course the community aspect of being on the course with a bunch of amazing Yogis who all share the same passion and enthusiasm for yoga.
What advice would you give to new students or anyone thinking of doing the Teacher training course?
If you have a passion for yoga and want to deepen your knowledge of yoga or yourself or both then just do it. There is something to gain for everyone even if you don’t decide to teach after the course. If you’re feeling a little scared about the process or worried about being out of your comfort zone, then know that pushing yourself outside of that point is where the most beautiful growth and development happens. The opportunities and possibilities are endless and well within your reach.
Are you currently teaching?
Yes, I am, and I’m loving every minute of it. I feel so fortunate and blessed to be doing what I’m doing! I was even lucky enough to have covered a class at BCY a few months after completion of my training and will be taking over a regular class in the new year!
You can follow Sayeeda on her journey with the following links;