This week at Fierce Grace Brixton, we chat to one of our members who has recently finished her FG teacher training. Lizzie Sells, tells us how about her creative life as a dance artist and how she found the teacher training earlier in the Spring.
Tell us about your job.
“I trained as a contemporary dancer and have been working freelance as a dance artist for about 10 years. This means I do a variety of different things but I specialise in gallery-based performance and teaching creative dance.”
What do you love about your job?
“I am usually doing a few jobs simultaneously. In one week I could be rehearsing for a performance, teaching dance in a community space, and choreographing opera singers. I love the variety of experiences that this versatility brings, it means, among other things, that I am constantly meeting people and travelling to new places. As a teacher, I love witnessing someone being creative with their body and exploring what they can do with it.”
What made you decide to take one month off to do TT?
“Working freelance means I have real flexibility around when I work. March is normally a quiet month for me, so I arranged cover for my regular classes and planned to do the teacher training well in advance. Of course, the autonomy afforded by freelancing is often challenged by the fear of not having enough work. As the beginning of March got closer, three jobs came my way that directly clashed with the course. All three were great opportunities that were hard to turn down, but I had already committed wholeheartedly to doing the TT so I stuck to my guns. I also started looking at the situation differently; if I was saying yes to doing something else (even if it was great work!), I was saying no to myself.”
Tell us about your Yoga practice – how long you’ve been practicing, what you get out of it and what you love about FG?
“I have been practicing regularly since 2015 when my husband and I joined the Brixton studio. Before that my approach to yoga had been a bit sporadic, practicing at various studios and trying diverse types of yoga for quite a few years. When I started practicing with Fierce Grace I found I loved the focus and clarity of the classes. For me the content and structure of the different classes and the way in which they related to each other was just right. It felt like they had gotten rid of all the fluff around yoga. I became aware of the positive mental and emotional effects regular practice was having on me. I think it was the first time I started to really understand that yoga could be a physical, mental and spiritual exercise for life. I also love practicing to music!”
Why did you want to do Teacher Training?
“I wanted to gain another skill and develop my expertise as a teacher. In the first weeks of joining FG Brixton I remember daydreaming about teaching in such a nice space one day. I enjoy practicing there and being a part of the studio community. After some time researching different options, I realised that the structure of the Fierce Grace TT was the right one for me. I wanted to expand my knowledge of yoga, and start working as a yoga teacher so I can support others on their own journeys. I also saw the month of teacher training as a gift to myself and an exciting challenge to be undertaken.”
What was it like doing TT?
“It was a little like running a marathon (I imagine!). I was nervous the night before the training started, although I was well prepared I suddenly felt very insecure about my abilities. By the end of the first day there was no space left in my mind for fear! From morning until night, I was studying, practicing, thinking, dreaming about yoga in all its manifestations. It was wonderful to be so completely immersed in the subject. It was hard work and very enjoyable.”
What did you get out of it – goals, personal and yoga experience?
“I feel a great sense of achievement completing the course. I threw myself into it completely, remembering friends and family had said, enjoy it! It was a good mantra. When I was feeling insecure, lazy, overwhelmed.. I remembered that I was doing something I was fascinated and excited by, and that ultimately I wanted to share with other people. I decided that if I was doing my best in any moment, that was enough. That helped me relax and not worry too much about the exams! And it is a useful perspective I have taken away into everyday life.
Choosing a teacher training was not easy – I considered many other kinds of re-training routes and yoga courses. Once I made my choice I was still wondering, is this the right one? After the first few days learning more about FG from Michele, Emma and Karen, studying under the other excellent teachers, and getting to know the other people on the course, I knew I had made the right decision. It was a powerful lesson in trusting myself and my choices. My understanding of yoga has expanded and my practice has deepened.”
Was it worth it?
Would you recommend others to do it – if so, why?
“I would recommend the course to anyone considering becoming a yoga teacher or interested in expanding their knowledge of their own practice. It is a great, practical course that prepares you to begin teaching from where you are. You will probably learn as much about yourself as you will about yoga. The teachers and the approach of the course are authentic. There is no bullshit, no veil of mystery around what yoga is and a wholehearted acceptance of everyone.
I would like to thank DCD (Dancers Career Development) for their support in making my training possible. I would also like to acknowledge Francisco, my partner for his support and for keeping me well fed! The teachers on the FG course, and my peers from 07 teacher training are all extraordinary people. I am proud know them all and to be a part of the FG family.”