This week in our new Interview With A Flowgi series, we catch up with Amy Hope-Gentry. Like so many of our ace instructors, Amy first practiced at Flow, then attended teacher training and now teaches in both Leesburg and Ashburn. We’re proud to have so many recent graduates on our teaching roster, and wanted to get a more in-depth perspective on what that process is like.
1. What was Flow’s teacher training program like for you?
INTENSE! But in a good way! There is so much ‘overview’ that occurs for the 200-hour teacher training that it’s like a tease. You get a wonderful base of knowledge and a thirst to continue that education after it’s all over. I can now see why so many teachers move on to 500-RYT (Yoga Register Teacher) – to get more into the nitty gritty details. I’ll forever be a student of the practice.
2. What were some of the challenges and how was the overall curriculum and instruction?
For me, I feel my only challenge was time. Those 200-hours fly on by, and before you know it it’s over. I’m a horrible note-taker, but in class, I was fascinated and felt like a sponge – just absorbing as much as my wee-brain could hold. I really enjoyed the hands-on teaching method. Not just always reading material and discussing – but actually being able to ‘feel’ the poses, sequences, energies…..Flow’s teacher training also allowed plenty of time to discuss and get opinions on how things feel, individually, for each of us.
2. What did you think of the teachers and your fellow students?
Teachers were phenomenal – but I knew they would be. I had waited a year or so before actually deciding that Flow’s teacher training was for me. This gave me time to continue to be a student of Flow and understand how they teach Vinyasa flow. I feel that it would be a challenge for a student to come into Flow’s teacher training without ever practicing at the studio. You need to have the trust in your teachers and by being a student first, you have that opportunity – to get familiar with their methods. You get to know the different personalities which allows you to have more of an open communication on different topics.
3. Was there a particular moment, class or assignment that you can recall where teaching yoga started to click for you?
I remember our weekend together when we began learning about assists and adjusts. I remember feeling very natural during that whole process – learning how to aide students in deepening their practice or making sure they aren’t in a ‘danger,danger’ mode. The fact that just a gentle touch or a verbal reminder can improve a pose; that’s so crucial. To this day – I still LOVE touching students! I know as a student I LOVE being assisted or adjusted so maybe this is why it feels so natural for me to do as a teacher. Yoga is so very personal – if I can help just one student release more, I’ve done my job.
4. Is there a method or style of yoga that you’ve come to prefer?
I really enjoy rotating students around the mat. When I do my personal practice, it just feels natural to move the body around the mat vs. only moving forwards and backwards. When teaching classes, I want the student to feel that the whole body is getting opened; including the mind – always including the mind. So, the Universal Yoga method is what I would say has helped me learn more about the mandala method of teaching.
5. Now that you’re an instructor at Flow, which aspects of teacher training do you most frequently think of to help guide your classes?
Easy – LISTEN TO YOURSELF! Teacher training isn’t just about learning Yoga – but it’s also learning more about who you are. I constantly struggle with having the brain lead when I teach. I am noticing that the more I teach, that it’s coming from the heart. That you need to have a ‘relationship’ with the students. You’re guiding them on their own personal journey. The more you can tune in to that vibration of energy and not pay attention to getting your sequence taught in the EXACT manner in which you wrote it down – you’ll notice the unfolding of a beautiful dance between teacher and student. It’s really quite fascinating!
6. Since graduation, how have you been engaged in expanding your practice, or do you have any new goals as an instructor?
I just know I want to learn it all! Yet, patience grasshopper, right? I’ve taken Andrey Lappa’s Universal Yoga training (part 1). Michael Gannon has opened me up to more knowledge regarding Ashtanga. Cora Wen and her wonderful ways of incorporating yoga therapy; that was excellent. Having amazing discussions with Tori Lundock and hearing about her training in Aryuveda….the list goes on and on. We have such wonderful studios that I feel so very lucky to be a part of it all. Each year we have these Master Teachers who come in for their training. Next on my list is to delve into Yin/Restorative, Yoga Nidra training. I cannot wait to see where that leads.
7. Any advice for people thinking of attending Flow’s next teacher training session?
Just to come in with an open mind. Just like in Yoga – if you just relax, breathe and allow yourself to be open – the possibilities are endless.
8. Thanks Amy, great interview!