Community Yoga School Graduate

Interview with Community Yoga School Graduate Emily Byas

(Published Aug 16, 2016)

Community Yoga School instructor, Ashley Kay Zeller, a certified e-RYT® 200, talked recently with Community Yoga School graduate, Emily Byas about her experiences as a student in the inaugural 2016 class. If you’re interested in yoga teacher training, the JCC will host an Open House on Sat, Aug 27 from 5:30-7 pm.

What made you sign up for the Yoga Teacher Training at the Community Yoga School?

I want to say the Yoga Teacher Training found me, as opposed to me finding a yoga teacher training. I just needed something in my life at that moment whether it be physically or spiritually. I needed something and when I came across the training at the JCC, I just knew it was what I needed at that moment.


Why the Community Yoga School Yoga Teacher Training?  There are many other trainings in the greater Indianapolis area; what was it about the Community Yoga School specifically?

I was actually looking for an internship my senior of college and I was really looking to immerse myself in the fitness industry doing something like personal training, health and wellness, health coaching…something like that. And that’s when I found the teacher training at the JCC. So I thought, well I already want to be here doing my training in the health field. And I love yoga. I love health and wellness. Why not do it here?


What was you favorite part about the training?

My favorite part was the family and the connections that I made within the training. Of course the training was about learning to teach and learning to expand yoga for whatever that meant to you, but really, having a close-knit group of people with the teachers and the students that I feel like I can still go to for years to come is really amazing.


What was the most surprising element of the training?

I think that the most surprising was seeing myself grow throughout the journey. I thought that I’d start at point A and get to point B. I thought I’d become a better yoga teacher…I’d find my yoga voice as a teacher. I’d learn of course a lot of new information along the way. But actually seeing a physical, emotional, and spiritual change within myself was the most surprising.


What was the most challenging element of the training?

The most challenging thing in the training was definitely finding my voice and finding confidence in being a teacher—being a shy-natured person and being quiet; I’m always a thinker. I’m always sitting in the back kind of adjusting to what’s coming at me. Being the leader and being the teacher that I know I can be was I think the most challenging, but it was definitely the most important part. With a lot of people, that’s what the teacher training mostly is for.


What was your favorite topic discussed during the training?

This is really hard because jumping into yoga—it was just a fitness thing. So everything else was just kind of an extra, oh my gosh, this is so cool! But specifically I really, really resonated with meditation. I know it’s definitely one of the bigger pieces in yoga if you are practicing regularly and kind of dig deeper into it. We had a workshop for meditation and I just went home thinking this is the craziest thing. Why have I never heard of this? Why didn’t I look into this some more? So, that’s something that really changed me as a yoga student.


What was it about learning meditation that changed you?  Why did it resonate with you so much?

Because I’m such a go, go, go person—it was the sitting still. So in yoga you can have the… this is really grounding me, I get to sit still, I get to feel this moment for myself. But there’s also the flow yoga like go, go, go, the kind of yoga that I liked before I did the training. The meditation brought to my physical practice a grounding where I can sit still and hold the postures longer and really find a different sense of physical yoga.


How are you utilizing what you learned in the training now as far as employment and/or personally?

In terms of personal yoga…previously, before the training I had sort of a here-and-there home practice, so I wouldn’t practice daily, but I was practicing as much as I could, doing what I knew was good for me. Now I have a more regular home practice—practicing daily, incorporating meditation, focusing on spirituality, focusing on breath work in yoga, making sure that, yeah this pose is really easy, but am I breathing? And just really re-grounding myself in the basic fundamentals of yoga and growing from there. As far as employment, I’ve had so many more opportunities after I graduated than I ever thought. I thought it would be very difficult to jump into the game. I felt like I needed to be a part of a studio or a community to get my foot in the door, but I reached out to anybody I could. And everybody has been really welcoming and very friendly. Right now I’m teaching yoga, two classes a week at IUPUI. That will start in the fall, so I’m in the works with the goals for this yoga class, practicing what specific postures/breath work I want to do with the students, getting an idea of what the demographic will be.


Will you be teaching students at IUPUI or the staff?

Students are the focus of one of the classes and I’m almost sure that the other one is just students as well, but it could be students/staff/faculty. They’re two very different classes under the same employer. One of the classes is just a standard yoga class with whatever my specialty is and whatever I feel is right for the class. And then the other one is more of a survivor class. So, I’m going through some training and doing some self-check to know how to I’ll go about teaching that class.


The Community Yoga School is a 200-hour Yoga Alliance-approved, Yoga Teacher Training program within the JCC of Indianapolis. Please join the yoga teachers of the Community Yoga School for an Open House on August 27 from 5:30 to 7 pm to learn more about the upcoming school year that begins September 14. For more information about the Community Yoga School and other yoga classes/events contact Katherine Matutes, or Ashley Zeller,