Catching Up with Jens Augspurger, 2014 Scholarship Recipient
January 21, 2016
In 2014, Jens Augspurger, RYT 200, was awarded one of Yoga Alliance Foundation's two Aspiring Yoga Teacher Scholarships, which funded his yoga teacher training at Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, RYS 200, RYS 300. Jens’ interest in yoga began after cultivating his practice in India while he was studying peace and conflict resolution. He sought teacher training as a commitment to help others experience the peace yoga brings and find their inner strength. He currently lives in London, UK attending a post-graduate program studying Politics and Peace Studies. Jens believes that the philosophy of yoga can help end real world political struggles.
We recently caught up with Jens to learn about his teacher training experience and where his yoga journey is taking him now.
Yoga Alliance: So Jens, tell us more about your training!
Jens Augspurger: This past summer, I did my teacher training at the wonderful Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre in the Laurentian Mountains outside of Montréal. Being there alone, reconnecting with nature and surrounding myself with people who all seek inner harmony and balance gave me the “reboot” I needed. By spending quality time around students that wanted to deepen their practice and become free of exertion, I felt like I was being plugged into some gigantic recharger that gently started to improve my energy level. Even though I studied the curriculum carefully and I knew the yoga teaching style well, I could have never imagined how much I would cherish the wonderful progress, friendships and laughter that my fellow trainees and I shared throughout our training.
YA: What was the most memorable part?
JA: Teacher training was a quite challenging experience. Getting up at 5:30 a.m. every day and studying all things yoga for the next 17 hours or so was tough, but also invigorating. When would I ever have so much time to dedicate to my own yoga practice with like-minded people? Besides the many asana classes and the amazing progress we all went through, the philosophy classes especially touched my heart. Additionally, the practical approach of our teachers was moving, and it was interesting to discuss how we learned to unveil new truths from past experiences that we could not express before. Sharing this experience with my fellow classmates, for me, was the most amazing part of being in teacher training.
YA: Anything else you'd like to share about your experience?
JA: Coming home from teacher training was quite a challenge. After more than four weeks in the woods, I was used to being around calm, relaxed people. When I came back to the city, everything was vastly different. People are so busy, always hurrying and focusing solely on themselves. Keeping up with my own practice is still a struggle, even though I have made numerous promises to myself. Just knowing that I have the techniques available within me to notice with my energy level and behavior gives me some peace of mind when things feel out of control.
I have learned as much from these struggles as I have learned from the teacher training itself. Yoga is a life-long path. It does not stop with a certificate. Yoga teaches you to be steady and considerate in every action. This, to me, is the greatest message I could receive. If we calm down our busy minds, if we manage to be steady in daily life, we can create an anchor of peacefulness in this world. Having this glorious outlook in mind, things suddenly come back into place. It gives me the motivation I need to strengthen my own practice.
YA: What did getting the Yoga Alliance Foundation scholarship mean to you?
JA: I am so thankful for the Yoga Alliance scholarship because it has given me the gift of self-development. It’s incredible to receive a gift like this and have someone say, “Use this for your own personal development—just for you.”
YA: What's next for you, Jens?
JA: I just moved to London, and there are tons of possibilities for teaching and doing yoga in various environments. I’m currently looking into what possibilities lay ahead for me.
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Jens! We are excited to see how you and the rest of our scholarship winners will continue to serve your communities through yoga.