Yoga Teacher Training in Paradise

We wanted to give you a quick update on all of the fun that we had during our very first 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training program at Serenity Yoga Lembongan 🙂

It’s been an adventure right from day one! We started our first day off with introductions and stories about what brought us together in search of becoming a Yoga Teacher, and sharing news about our backgrounds and who we are. The beautiful Ibu made a simply amazing offering of Good Luck and blessing for our brand new yoga teacher trainees, which was such a treat to get us started in the right direction! We shared some local dishes together before heading off to join the presentation of Shark Guardian in all of their wonderful work throughout Asia to educate the world about the dangers of killing sharks for shark fin soup – Yoga Everywhere 🙂

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Week One got us started on the philosophy of yoga and we discussed Patanjali’s Eight Limbs, with a particular focus on the Yamas and Niyamas – our relationships with the external world (universe) and our relationships with ourselves. We learned how we could apply the general principles of the Yamas and Niyamas to our daily lives as Yoga Teachers, living and breathing them as a roadmap to finding our most authentic selves as we move forward on this journey towards self-discovery.
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We looked at the history of yoga, where exactly it came from – learning more about the fact that yoga originated more from a point of preparing the body from meditation and how four simple seated poses became the wide array of yoga poses that we find ourselves faced with now in the modern day world. We explored the history of vinyasa and hatha and where we think yoga is heading in the future.

Much time was spent discussing what we think makes a good yoga teacher, what qualities does a teacher need to have to be ok, good and exceptional and how our role as yoga teachers is to provide a safe environment in which yogis can begin their own journey of self discovery. We shared our knowledge about what yoga gives us, the health benefits of it and started to talk about Yoga Therapy with a focus on yoga and mental health issues. It was insightful and something that we realized we could spend a LONG time discussing. Next week we will look at yoga and soft tissue and skeletal injuries.

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As part of our course our yogis attend real life yoga classes with real life customers, with the option of observing classes, attending classes or adjusting yogis in them. It is the perfect way to really learn to teach and see what is front of you. You learn from these sessions that no class will ever be the same, and to expect the unexpected! You can create the perfect class plan, and then an 8 year old child, a 5 month pregnant woman with scoliosis, yogi with torn crucial ligament and a yogi with a knee that dislocates easily walk into the shala….. so the YTT students gain the benefit of seeing how our teacher manages real life situations, with a full debrief on the class afterwards. Over one class we literally had the above situation happen, it was an amazing learning opportunity!

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On day two our yogis started to teach each other – no joke! We had a Sun Salutation clinic in the morning, and by the afternoon the students started out teaching them to each other, it was fantastic! Such an achievement – and as scary as that seems, now two weeks in when I say ok let’s teach each other, the fear is gone and they jump up keen to do it! Definitely a much needed ice breaker, and great way to get things started! So now our YTT yogis are already comfortable teaching 20-25 minute classes which include reading personal passages connected to a theme for the class, moving each other through warm up poses, sun salutations, bent knee poses and straight leg poses! Next week we move to include standing balances, arm balances and pranayama. Amazeballs 🙂

We have spent a lot of time on Asana Breakdown Clinics where we work through each of the poses individually looking at the benefits each pose offers, restrictions, modifications and cues on how to enter and leave the pose, along with which poses they work well next to for when we come to sequencing in the next weeks. A popular way of teaching has been a round robin approach where I stand in the middle in a very simple version of a given pose, and the YTT yogis throw me cues as to how to get into my pose deeper, and information about what I am working in the pose, and get to practice their wording for transitions etc. So we will continue with this for sure next week 🙂

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In week one we broke down the asanas into categories such as backbends, hip openers, inversions, core, arm balances etc. and learned more about what each category offers – for example backbends increase our capacity to open our hearts, and let go of fear and step into the unknown with an openness. We have focused mostly on the foundation poses so far and look forward to learning more inversions and arm balances in week three 🙂

As we got into week two, we started to learn about the art of observation, and a few simple adjusts as a warm up to week three. We talked about different teaching techniques available to our YTT students and the pros and cons of each, and when each technique would be most applicable – so next week we start to practice these. We also talked a lot about language, voice and communication – how to use the combination of these to create a kick ass vibe in each class that we teach. For us at Serenity Yoga it is a combination of how the teacher uses their voice and language to communicate, along with a creative sequence which make the class rock and roll. Knowing when to make people feel the chill, and when to encourage the burn while maintaining a focus on their breath as they journey deeper into their own self-discovery.

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Finding our voice can always be a little bit scary but these yogis are well on their way, as each of them started to inject a little bit more of their personality into their sequences each time they practice teaching! We asked our YTT yogis to find a passage that meant something to them personally, and to think about how to connect this throughout the practice, interlacing useful pieces of wisdom and attaching them to poses which sit well together – for example a passage on love and continuing the theme into a heart opening focused class. Such a beautiful way to be comfortable with expressing your emotions, when you read something heart felt. This can be a perfect way to start to find your authentic self and style as a teacher.

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Anatomy was introduced to us at the end of week one and we have started to learn about the lumbar, thoracic and cervical spine, and now are focused on understanding better the complex region of the pelvis and hip. So much information, it can seem a little overwhelming but remembering the basics and applying this to our yoga poses as we move forward helps to keep us grounded in how to use the information efficiently. Being able to share with our customers a sound understanding of our bodies, and how we use various muscle groups in our body is such a beautiful value-add as a teacher. It is yet another way in which we can help people to learn more about themselves during their yoga practice.

We learned a really helpful technique to help us learn to teach what is front of us – my favorite tip to the yogis is that you learn your repertoire of cues for each pose, to pull from when you need them but my best advise is always to look at what is in front of you. Your students always give you what you need to tell them when you learn to step outside of yourself and see what is in front of you. We practiced a technique that allows you to do a quick body scan of a person from back, front and side view. It enables us to quickly get a rough idea of how to notice balance and imbalance, and potential injury points ahead of even seeing someone move.

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I am writing this quote from a beautiful coffee shop in Ubud. This weekend we took an excursion to Ubud to explore taking yoga classes from a range of our favorite teachers at Yoga Barn and Radiantly Alive. A really useful way to find out what we like and enjoy in a wide range of teachers, in terms of their style, energy, sequencing and how they manage a room of yogis. We attended the fabulous Les Leventhal’s vinyasa class, an iyengar class, a beautiful yin yoga healing class, and the girls are attending a gentle flow with the gorgeous Acacia at Radiantly Alive while I write this blog entry. So blessed to have the opportunity to have access to such wonderful teachers around us in Ubud during our course. Not to mention the chance for us all to stock up on yummy healthy food, and drinks, and spa treatments!!

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We’ve also got a nice treat for the end of week three when Mat Worley – a SUP Yoga, and ACRO yoga teacher will be visiting the island and has kindly offered to teach us an intro to acroyoga class!! Can’t wait to get to that!!

Interested in taking your Yoga Teacher Training course? Send us an email at info@serenityyogalembongan.com for our information pack for our November program 🙂

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