I joined the TT program at CHYS in 2015, under Marina Jung’s steady watch. It seemed fitting to be in a place that held many memories, like my first ever yoga term with Vaughan Allan, or my first taste of inversions with Frank Jessie. But really, I joined the TT program because of Marina. I had been a student of Marina since 2010 and had the fortunate experience of practicing yoga through two healthy pregnancies under her guidance. She generously equipped me with the principles of pre-natal yoga (not just a list of poses) which allowed me to keep up a yoga practice – including inversions – safely throughout both pregnancies. It was fascinating and intensely rewarding. I was also fortunate in that time to see two groups of trainee’s progress through Marina’s TT program, and successfully become qualified Iyengar teachers. What appealed to me then was not only that they passed their introductory assessment, but that they actually learnt how to teach, and teach well. I now know firsthand that this is one of Marina’s many great strengths. As was my experience with pre-natal yoga, Marina doesn’t teach a list of what to say or when to say it, she teaches why to say what needs to be said.
The TT program is not a one-size-fits-all approach. There are no set learning modules that are completed in a specific amount of time and in that way it’s different from getting a certificate or university degree, and perhaps different to some other TT programs available. It is not about an end point, about certification, it is about learning to teach. The commitment to practice yoga is undoubtedly the most important aspect of TT, no matter what life throws at you each week. It takes discipline and patience. Primarily, Marina expects that we understand and teach yoga through our own yoga practice – it is useless to try and teach a pose that I don’t practice and therefore don’t understand. My background as a Physiotherapist can be a hinderance in this, e.g., I may think I know anatomically how the body should move in an asana, but this intellectual understanding is inferior to real-life practice. In other words, thinking about what a body should do doesn’t always transpire into what a body actually does, there are always surprises. Some of these surprises will take longer to unravel than others, and in that way, practicing and teaching yoga seems more about the journey than the destination. Doing TT is like an exciting bus ride with like-minded tourists through unchartered territory, with Marina at the wheel.
Marina is much further along the path of yoga because she is a genuine student of yoga, and this makes her an exceptional teacher and teacher trainer. She consistently demonstrates an unwavering commitment and intensity to the study of yoga like nothing I have seen before. She seems to have an uncanny knack of giving just enough to inspire change in my practice, while at the same time letting me explore and discover my own steps forward. I regard myself as exceptionally lucky to be inspired, challenged, and taught by her, and don’t have any reservations in recommending her TT program at CHYS to anyone that is serious and open to learning more about Iyengar yoga.
By Suzanne Long