I feel like a proud Mama. After two wonderful, full-on years, the students of my Advanced Student Teacher Apprenticeship Program (ASTAP) graduated this week. Each and every one of these graduates are strong teachers with a good sense of self. Their dedication to yoga, to each other and to the community fills me with joy.
Training yoga teachers is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’ve been doing it since 2007 and with each group, I learn so much. In teaching, it is not my intention to create carbon copies of myself, but rather to inspire students to integrate ideas and make them their own.
My ashtanga vinyasa based program includes a 20-hour independent study on a style or an area of yoga that has not been covered. The students research, attend outside lectures or classes and then give a presentation to their peers. This year, the topics were fantastically diverse:
• Yoga for Belly Dancers – Susan Synder (professional Belly Dancer)
• Therapeutic Yoga for Back Injuries – Gisele Seto (Budokan teacher & new YTT in yoga therapy)
• Yoga for Less Stress – Susan Methe (Speech therapist)
• Corporate Yoga – Jasmine Goyer (Marketing & PR Specialist)
• Traditional Asthanga Yoga – Emilie Brunet (Student & Vegan Chef)
• Yoga for Heart Patients – Bruce Chase-Dunn (Contractor & middle-aged Skateboarder)
• Yoga for Happiness with Art – Wendy Tillett (Artist)
• Kids Yoga – Catherine Kraus (Teacher & mother of three)
• Restorative Yoga – Jenn Herring (Osteopathy student)
• Yoga for a Healthy Menstrual Cycle – Kristianne Brunet (Student & environmentalist)
The ASTAP program not only trains students ‘How to teach’; it pushes them to develop a self-nourishing advanced yoga practice. (By ‘advanced’ I don’t mean one-arm handstands, but rather an intelligent practice that is based on their unique needs and intentions.) They learn how to modify the traditional ashtanga yoga sequence to their level of flexibility, strength and energy. This ultimately helps them further understand and adapt to the needs of their students.
These graduates are not virgin teachers either. Within a few months, they began teaching ‘karma yoga’ community classes in pairs. This allowed them to work together and slowly build their confidence. The grads say that organizing and leading community yoga was one of their favourite aspects of their training.
A NEW BEGINNING
It’s a little bitter sweet to see these folks go. I have really enjoyed working with them. But alas, I am happy to know that my students are now teaching and inspiring others to lead healthier, balanced lives. It’s a new beginning!
My 2013 Teacher Training begins in January and will be co-led with the marvellous Jamie Lee, ashtanga yogi, kinesologist and visionary artist. The program will include more ayurveda, yoga nidra training and studies in sacred geometry.