This interview was held with with Alumnus, Siobhan Kennedy, of Ireland, in December 2020. She completed her 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training in 2017, and then the Your Yoga Flow Mentorship Program and she is currently enrolled in the 300 Hour program, which she'll begin in 2021.
What is your yoga background?
I began practicing yoga 12/13 years ago. I took classes in person and online. I practiced under a teacher in my hometown that trained and taught in the Sivananda style.
How or what prompted you to take YTT?
I think it is a natural progression for many of us to become more and more interested in what yoga is outside of the physical practice. That interest was the first thing that prompted me to embark on my 200 hour training. The second reason was that I had experienced the positive effect yoga had on helping me manage anxiety and I had a tiny inclination, the prospect of which honestly terrified me, that maybe I wanted to share that with others as a teacher.
What notable benefits came about from the training?
I gained knowledge in so many areas that help me on and off the mat. I found a global support network of teachers and like minded people to connect with in Your Yoga Flow. It set me down a path where I can continue to grow and learn as a person and a teacher.
What was your favourite part/aspect of the training?
I had only been exposed to the physical practice of yoga so learning about the other side that includes the philosophy, yamas & niyamas etc was amazing and a complete eye-opener.
What was your least favourite part/aspect of the training?
There were mornings that I could have done without the before dawn starts!
But honestly apart from that every minute of my training was enjoyable and I treasure that time so dearly.
What stands out as the most valuable thing you learned about yoga?
Yoga is not only about the physical practice. It’s about our journey through life on and off the mat.
What stands out as the most valuable thing you learned about teaching yoga?
One of my teachers reminded us before our practicum that “It’s not about you it’s about them”. As teachers we are there as facilitators (those are the words of my other teacher). We are there to create and hold a space for students where they feel safe to release tension and stress, find a place of stillness and quiet and connect back to themselves again. It’s all about them not us.
What stands out as the most valuable thing you learned about yourself?
That I can be hard on too hard on myself at times. I’m a perfectionist. I came out of my training wanting to practice ahimsa towards myself and that’s been an ongoing journey.
What was your experience of the doing the practicum?
Terrifying, exhilarating and emotional. I have never and may never stand at the top of a class and feel such support from the people sitting in front of me. I could feel every single one of my fellow trainees willing me to do well, as I did for them.
What else do you do in life (career/vocation; parent/partner/caregiver)?
I work in an administration job full time. In my free time, aside from yoga & meditation of course, I enjoy walking- roads and hills. I’m a creative person and enjoy photography which I would like to get back into more in 2021 also.
How did the YTT you took impact these aspects of your life?
It made me more aware of staying present in experiences in my life so that I could enjoy and appreciate them more fully. It also allowed me to reflect on my relationships with people in my working and personal life and explore how I could include yamas and niyamas in my life off the mat.
Were you surprised by any aspect of your YTT experience?
I was surprised by the bond that I felt with the rest of my fellow trainees after our 200 hour. We had spent a relatively short period of time together but we went on such a journey together you could feel a genuine connection in the group. I missed them all after we parted!
Tell us what your teaching journey has looked like since finishing YTT?
After my 200 hour training I began teaching a couple of classes a week at a local studio (evening and weekends). It took a while for me to feel like I was finding my groove as a teacher and I’m still finding that. I still get nervous before class, I’m an introvert so being top centre of a room isn’t where you would normally find me but I believe in the value of yoga and the value of what I want to share with people and that keeps me pushing outside of my introvert comfort zone!
I began my training in Yin Yoga last Summer and those classes ended up being my most popular last year. They appeal to sporty people looking to supplement their active lifestyle and those interested in the energetic balancing side of yin.
I set up facebook and instagram pages for my business last Autumn. I’ve enjoyed exploring my voice more and sharing my reflections on subjects from yoga philosophy to self-care to mindset. I’m usually surprised by what comes out of my posts and blog articles. I didn’t ever consider myself someone who could write but I’m enjoying exploring this side and my hope is that some of those posts might cause someone to stop and reflect on something that might help them in some way.
I made the decision to cancel public classes in March for the safety of my students and their families. I felt a responsibility to play my part in keeping our community safe. That’s what practicing ahimsa in real life is about.
I moved online and first began sharing guided meditations and short classes to support people with their home practice. I held off joining zoom until Autumn this year. The experience of teaching on zoom has pleasantly surprised me! It has been really lovely still being able to keep in touch with students. We have chats and a catch up before class which I love. I’ve made a Spotify playlist for students to listen to while practicing on zoom. I’ve also been uploading videos to IGTV and facebook with demos of poses and sequences to support students in the home practice.
I love how technology is still allowing us to share yoga with people. I love that students can still practice yoga with us from the comfort and safety of their own homes and I love that we can still support them in these crazy times when we need these grounding practices more than ever.
We have all had to up our technological skills this year. It’s been challenging and frustrating at times but 2020 has given me the opportunity to gain a range of skills that I wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity or need to learn. I’m grateful for that!
2020 has brought challenges and opportunities. It has allowed me to finish my yin training. It has given me the space to connect back with who I want to be as a teacher. It’s given me a push to put myself out there a bit more across social media. It’s been a tough year but a valuable one.
In 2021 I’m excited to begin my 300 hour training with Your Yoga Flow. Our school has so many amazing teachers and I cannot wait to begin learning from them all again!
Siobhan graduated from: 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training
Siobhan is currently enrolled in: 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training
Connect with Siobhan