My yoga story – how I became a yoga teacher (English)

@joeytokyo   (この記事の日本語版はこちら)

The next 200-hour bilingual teacher training at IYC led by Tom will start in end October. I thought I’d share my yoga journey as a reference to those interested in yoga education. Here is my yoga story ❤️

2006 – A guy friend told me that if I did yoga my skin will glow so he took me to my first yoga class. Felt soooo great. I started regular practice.

2012 – I was about to go to Thailand for a yoga retreat and just before I left I realized it was all going to be Mysore Ashtanga (i.e. fixed set of sequence memorized by students). Never tried before. Panicked 😱 I did 3 intensive weeks of Mysore at Tokyo Yoga studio as a beginner to Ashtanga, tried to remember as much of the sequence as possible (hard work!), and then had a blast in Thailand 🏖

2014 – Was regularly practicing Ashtanga in Tokyo at this point. Loved the challenges and motivation, which most “advanced” classes in Tokyo didn’t offer me. (I had tried many “advanced” classes in Tokyo but they were typically less intense than those overseas)

2014 – As my practice deepened, I really wanted to do a teacher training (TT) because I wanted to learn more – the history, philosophies, etc. I researched and waited a long time but there wasn’t any weekend + English teacher trainings in Tokyo.

2016 – Hopeless in finding an English TT, I went for Japanese. Even though I speak Japanese fairly well it was tough work with all those anatomy and history and kanji! 🤯

2017 – Finished RYT200 at UTL. I did not think about teaching at all at this point but I loved what I learned and it made me love Yoga more. My colleagues at work asked me to teach so I started teaching at work and private classes/special events 🥳

2018 – Started to practice more Vinyasa style yoga overseas (US, Canada, Australia, Thailand, etc) and kept coming across a bunch of poses I could not do. I was like, “What did I miss after doing yoga for 10 years?!” Shocked 🤔 I realized it was because none of the classes in Tokyo were teaching me / allowing me to experience. A lot of these poses would come up in the intermediate/advanced series in Ashtanga, but my salaryman life just could not afford the time.

 2019 – Decided to take my yoga to another level by starting 500-hour TT with Jason Crandell, one of the most well-respected Vinyasa teachers in the world. This time In English, yay! 😃 At this point, I still wasn’t planning to become a regular teacher. I just wanted to learn.

✈️ to San Francisco for my TT. All my classmates but me were experienced teachers/studio owners. Panicked, again 😲, but it was stimulating.

2019 – With what I experienced and learnt I realized I needed to diversify my practice – i.e. not stick to the same sequences all the time. I started to take more overseas vinyasa classes online, go to other types of classes like Born to Yog (style originated in Japan) and acro yoga. Stimulating – helps with my critical thinking.

2020 – My knowledge and experience continued to grow, and at this point I had more confidence and space in myself, so I thought it was time I give back to the yoga community by passing on my knowledge and experience. I started to teach regular classes in January 2020.

Now I teach regular bilingual Vinyasa classes at IYC with a focus on strength + mobility, skills development, verbal adjustment and critical thinking. And I try to fill the gap where I wish Tokyo had more English classes and classes that would help me grow. I love sharing my experience, every moment of it.

A bit long but in summary, teacher training is not only for those who want to be a teacher. I did it just because I wanted to learn more. If you LOVE yoga, just do it! Whether to become a teacher or not in the future, you will find your answer along the way. The knowledge you gain will only help you grow.

Read more about my profile, regular classes at IYC Omotesando (Tue 1900 & Sun 1330) and yoga blog on Instagram.




RYT200 Course