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Finding the Courage to Teach

Melisa Hernandez Yoga Teacher Training VSOHA After graduating from a BFA in Interdisciplinary Performance from UBC Okanagan, Melisa Hernandez was looking for the next step. Much of her art centres on the menstruating female body and reducing the shame many feel around menstruation. “It’s an important thing we need to discuss and I realised, the next step I had to take would be to hold a workshop,” Melisa said.

Despite being a confident performer, Melisa felt timid about her ability to articulate and she lacked confidence in herself as a teacher. “A lot of my training is in theatre where you listen to what the teacher has to say and get critiqued on your work. I didn’t want to be that kind of teacher. I wanted to learn to teach and to hold a space properly,” she said.

Melisa felt drawn to doing a yoga teacher training and was interested in the history, spiritualty and philosophy of the practice. After attending a free open house event, she decided to take the plunge and enrolled in the Immersion 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training with Rebekka Walker. “It was intense. I’m familiar with the work involved in going to school, but I wasn’t expecting the transformative changes I had during the program!”

Melisa was in a class of 16 people from a variety of backgrounds where everybody has a conscious intention of what they wanted to get out of the program. “There was a sense of courage and this ultimate feeling of ‘we’re all in this together’. A part of why I wanted to get certified was to push myself spiritually and mentally, but also to work on the insecurity inside me saying ‘I’m not articulate and I can’t teach’,” Melisa said.

She said the program really helped her to articulate how to deliver clear and effective instruction, particularly during the practicum component where students create a 60-minute yoga class, which they teach to their peers as one of their final assignments.

Melisa said, “I like how informal teaching yoga is. After my practicum, I learned it’s okay if you screw up, just admit it and move on. I had this expectation that the teacher has to be perfect but that’s not true. Teachers are human. You’re going to make mistakes, and that’s fine!”

Since graduating Melisa has continued to cultivate confidence in her teaching skills and hopes to travel abroad and teach English, something she didn’t feel she could have done before the program.

“I went into the program wanting to be more courageous and to find my voice as a teacher. And I feel like I got it!”

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