How to Become a Yoga Teacher- What To Consider – PART ONE

Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@zoltantasi?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Zoltan Tasi</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a>

In the past 13 years of teaching yoga, a few students have approached me to ask about how to become a yoga teacher and what things to consider. This is an important decision for those of us choosing to take this path. Before you embark on searching for the yoga teacher training course (TTC) of your dreams take a moment to consider the following questions.

Why do you want to become a yoga teacher?

Let us start with the basics: why do you want to become a yoga teacher? Although it sounds obvious, it is worth sitting with the question to get some clarity. Some people wish to become a yoga teacher simply as a means to deepen their knowledge on yoga. They do not necessarily wish to teach afterwards. This is a perfectly acceptable reason to join a TTC. To reach such an in-depth knowledge usually can only come from a TTC, living in an ashram and serious self-study.

Others, on the other hand, have their mind set on teaching. They want to get a good certificate that will allow them to work afterwards. If this is your reason for joining a course, then take a moment to visualize your future. What images come up for you when you visualize this? Do you see yourself giving hands on corrections to your students? Are you guiding a meditation? Or alternatively, do you see yourself explaining complex spiritual notions to a group of people? Or are you simply holding space for your students to go through their own process? Use the images that arise as a compass to guide you through the different TTCs that exist, so that you choose the right one for you.

What style and lineage of yoga should you choose?

It is important to know what kind of yoga style you like. Search for a TTC that aligns to this style. Other than just the style, you also have to look at the lineage of the yoga teacher training course. For example, a Hatha Yoga class from the Sivananda lineage can be quite different to one from the Desikachar lineage. Sometimes concepts as basic as the breath can be taught differently and even contradict each other! I do find it worthwhile to spend some time reflecting and researching on these points. A yoga TTC is a big investment, so go and try out different styles, find out what lineage they follow. Make notes, keep an open heart, and learn what you like.

Yoga Lineage is not simple and straightforward

Lineage can be complicated as we are following the teachings handed down over several centuries. Furthermore, in the past decades there has been increasing amount of proof that quite a few important yoga masters and gurus have sexually harassed and abused their students over the years. Although, the teacher you choose is not directly related to the yoga guru of their lineage, it can be quite devastating to find out half way through your training course that the yoga lineage you chose has such dark secrets. One way to go about this is to ask your teacher about their stance on their lineage. If your teacher is treating their guru with unshakable reverence and is not able to condemn an action of sexual, emotional and physical abuse, then you should probably find a different teacher. If on the other hand, they are able to demonstrate critical thinking, can clearly disagree with such actions and empower students and teachers to challenge dogma… then they might be a better fit.

What is important for YOU to have in a yoga course?

Not all courses are alike. Some give much more weight to anatomy and alignment. Others are much more focused on yogic philosophy, spirituality and meditation. A few others focus more on how to lead groups, to hold space, and methodologies of teaching. How do you know which kind of course you are about to embark on? Ask for a copy of their curriculum to check out what they offer. Although all good courses will have a mix of all these things, find out where your TTC puts most of its weight. Does that align with what your wishes are?

How to choose a yoga teacher training course.

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing the right TTC. These first questions and reflections are a good starting point. In part two of this blog I will discuss the difference in diplomas (200H, 500H, 600H); the importance of connecting with your teacher; some yoga teacher training courses in Berlin; and the teachers that have inspired me personally. Till then, get to know the difference in yoga styles, find out about their lineage, and check out some curricula.

Pinelopi has been a Hatha Yoga teacher since 2008. Her yoga Kreuzberg Berlin classes are open for and welcoming to beginners. She offers Berlin business yogaprivate yoga classes for people struggling with chronic pain, yoga courses, retreats and workshops.  She is currently deepening her knowledge through Leslie  Kaminoff’s Yoga Anatomy course and training to become an Alexander Technique teacher.

Computer Work and Posture Part II – The semi Supine

Computer Work and Posture Part II

In part I of Computer Work and Posture, I discussed the importance of learning how to take care of ourselves while working in front of computers. Since computers are our new way of life, learning skills of body care and presence while using computers is vital. In order for us to have an upright posture, we need to first know how we define upright and what we mean by it. I suggested that we start thinking of upright less as a fixed straight position, and more as a balanced relationship between your neck, head and back.

A good way of becoming familiar with the relationship between your head, neck and back is to lay down in the semi supine pose with some books underneath your head for ten to fifteen minutes daily. The height of the books you will need underneath your head varies depending on both the shape and the present use of your body. It is best to let a trained Alexander Technique teacher help you determine the height of the books needed, but if you are not yet in contact with one you could use this video as a starting point.

The following instructions and mindful exercise are also available on audio here:

Instructions for the Semi Supine

Lay down on your back with your head placed on top of some books for support (5 to 8cm as a starting point). Put the soles of your feet on the floor with your knees facing upwards towards the ceiling. Place your hands on the belly with the elbows pointing outwards

Mindful exercise while you are in the semi supine.

First let yourself notice how your body feels in this position. For the moment, let your intention be to notice without wanting to change anything. Simply to become familiar with what is.

Some questions to help you in your process:

  • Is my back in contact with the floor? If not, which parts of my back are not touching the floor?

  • Are the parts not touching the floor similar on both the right and left side? Or is one side more lifted than the other?

  • Is it easy for me to have my knees pointing upwards? Or would my preference be to let them drop inwards towards each other or outwards?

  • Are the soles of my feet carrying equal weight? Or is the weight traveling more towards the inside or the outside of my soles of my feet?

  • Do my shoulder blades feel comfortable on the floor? Or are there places where they feel crammed.

At the end of this reflection mentally tell yourself, “this is the relationship that my neck, head and back have throughout the day”.

Now allow for some subtle changes to happen in your posture. Let your intention be to explore an easier relationship between your neck, head and back rather than to “fix” your relationship. As the word “fix” implies, the mentality associated to that is too static and creates a one fit all mentality. We wish for a subtle fluid relationship rather than a “fix” solution.

Some subtle changes you could invite:

  • You could gently lift your pelvis, place your hands on your upper back and caress the back downwards in the direction of the pelvis, while coming back down to the floor. Did that increase your back’s contact to the floor?Creating more back contact to the floor through the semi supine

 

  • You could gently lift your shoulder blades to allow for more space in the upper back, and then place them on the floor again. What change did this movement bring with regards to how much of your back is in contact with the floor?

 

  • If you feel that you wanted to bring the knees inwards, you could try placing your feet closer to each other.  If you feel that you wanted to let your knees go outwards, you could place the feet a bit further apart from each other. Do these changes to your feet make it easier for your knees to be pointing upwards without tension? Did this also bring a subtle change to the pathway of weight distribution in the soles of your feet?

 

  • If your shoulder blades feel cramped, you could gently lift your elbows and place them again on the floor. Did that bring a subtle change or do the shoulder blades still feel the same way?

Once you found the most comfortable place in this position, then do nothing. Allow for 10-15 minutes to pass where you simply enjoy doing nothing. Let gravity do the work for you.

Before you come out of the semi supine position, mentally tell yourself, “This now is the relationship that I invite my neck, head and back to have during my computer work”.

When to do this practice

It is good to do this practice before you begin with your computer work, once in the middle of your computer work and/or at the end of the work. It will help to find  your center during computer work. Do remember, however, that this is a starting point, a step one, if you will, for how to take care of yourself while using a computer.

Tune in for the next blog where we will investigate positions of mechanical advantage while working on the computer.

About the author

Pinelopi specializes in Hatha Yoga. Her yoga Kreuzberg Berlin classes are open for and welcoming to beginners. She offers Berlin business yogaprivate yoga classes for people struggling with chronic pain, yoga courses and workshops.  She is currently deepening her knowledge through Leslie  Kaminoff’s Yoga Anatomy course and training to become an Alexander Technique teacher.  Due to the corona virus, we are currently giving all yoga classes live online.

This Summer at English Yoga Berlin: Two workshops and more!

The summer at English Yoga Berlin is full of wonderful offerings: We will be hosting David Moore for a workshop on Yoga and the Alexander Technique,  Yes Hernandez brings us a Sound Healing workshop, Juli has completed the third module of Yoga Therapy, summer holidays are coming up and much more!

“I have been a seeker and I still am,
but I stopped asking the books and the stars.
I started listening to the teaching of my Soul.”

― Rumi


A workshop on Yoga and the Alexander Technique

We are delighted to host David Moore on the 2nd of July who will teach a five hour workshop on Yoga and the Alexander Technique. This is of particular interest to yoga teachers and experienced yoga practitioners who wish to deepen their knowledge on injury free yoga. Check out the details.


Sound Healing with Yes Hernandez

Sound Healing Workshop

Travelling Yogi, Yes Hernandez, will offer a Nada Yoga Sound Healing workshop to help participants connect to the power of their own Voice to find balance and peace within and without.
The workshop will be by donation (€5+), and all proceeds will go to a local org that helps people out of domestic violence, Frauenprojekte BORA.
Date and time TBA, keep an eye out for more info on our Facebook page or on our blog page.


Yogatherapy

Juli recently finished Module 3 of the advanced yoga teacher training, Svastha Yoga Therapy, and continues to bring new knowledge to the community classes at English Yoga Berlin: Queer* Yoga on Wednesday mornings at 10am and therapeutic Vinyasa Flow on Sundays at 4pm.

Summer Closures

Yoga teachers need a break too! Pinelopi will be off for the whole month of August and Juli from mid-August to mid-September. Please check out our online schedule to keep up-to-date!
We continue to be thankful for your practice and your support of our work. We wish you a healthy, happy summer, full of inner peace and connection!