Tag Archives: yoga conservatory

Insider trading tips for your life.

I’m not sure when it started, and I don’t think I even knew I was doing it at the time, but as I look back on the major life decisions I have made, I realize that I am an investor. I don’t have stocks. I don’t have bonds. I have far more in student loan debt than I have in savings, but I have been playing the market of life and experiencing a positive ROI for as long as I can remember. I have been investing in myself.

My current career does not reveal a direct path from my chosen field of study in undergraduate and graduate school. I remember coming home from Colorado in 2010 after I finished my MFA program, and besides the fancy folder holding my degree, I also had a giant plastic tupperware tub that contained all of my notebooks and scripts and handouts from grad school. “This tub is worth $40,000!” I exclaimed as I dug out a dignified place for it in my basement. This tub made me nervous. It made me nervous because I knew that it was actually worthless, that in fact every penny of debt I had accrued (and continue to accrue) from the decision for higher education was invested IN ME. There is nothing else to show for it. Me. That’s it. It is up to me to create a return on the investment I made. Am I a bad debt or a solid bet?

I have been thinking about this again recently for two reasons:

1) I am going to do it all over again. My work with private yoga therapy clients in the last couple of years has been deeply fulfilling and inspiring, and has revealed to me that I have a strong calling to become a life coach. So yep, I’m biting the bullet and making another big investment to go to coaching school this year. And it doesn’t make me sweat, not even a little.  I am learning to trust in the value of my investments in myself.

2) We are about to launch the second year of Yoga Conservatory, the 200-hour yoga teacher training that I created out of all of the knowledge I have invested in over the last 15 years. Naturally, there are many people who are interested in the program, but who are nervous about the investment. I understand this, because I understand the internal conflict this brings up: Am I worth investing in? What do I need to do to prove that my investment “worked”?

We live in a society that seems to consider it selfish to learn for the sake of personal development, that demands an economic justification for all personal investment. So be it. Such justifications are easy to come by if you look at the economic impact of health, happiness, fulfillment and (most importantly, in my opinion) the removal of self-limiting beliefs that can occur when a teacher gives you the skills, guidance and permission to grow into your full potential.

It’s difficult for me to quantify which of the trainings or experiences that I invested in have helped me transition from a life of slinging noodles at the Old Spaghetti Factory (my first job after moving to Portland) to owning my own dream business, owning a beautiful home, being able to actually afford preschool for my two awesome kids (no small feat!) working with an amazing team of Portland’s best yoga teachers and launching an innovative and transformative teacher training program of my own. Like any investment, it’s a slow process that requires patience, faith and the courage to brave the ups and downs. But I will say it feels pretty darn good to take stock of my life today and realize that I made a great investment, and that is why I will keep pouring more of my money, time and energy into myself, because it HAS paid off.

If you are one of the people circling the idea of a yoga teacher training program, or even just a yoga membership, and hesitating because of the cost, I would urge you to remember the iconic scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, in which Harrison Ford is faced with the dark abyss of the unknown and must make a leap of faith.

How much are you willing to bet on yourself? And does the betting change the outcome? There’s only one way to find out…

P.S. Seriously though, if you want to learn about the potentially life changing experience of Yoga Conservatory (a program that is likely to turn you into a personal investor and a metaphorical cliff jumper, as well as a yoga teacher) please schedule a one-on-one meeting with me ASAP and nab one of the last spots before enrollment closes on 9/1. You are worth it!


Why I love Yoga Conservatory.

There are a lot of Yoga Teacher Training programs out there, which is why I want to make sure that if you are looking for one, you find the RIGHT one out of all the noise. Here at Yoga Refuge, our teacher training program is unlike any other, and its also important to us that we find the right candidates who are a perfect fit for what we are doing. I wrote a little ode to the things about Yoga Conservatory that make me swoon, which I hope will help you prospective trainees make an informed decision.

World Class Anatomy Training.
Yoga Alliance requires teacher training programs to spend 10 contact hours on anatomy. Our program provides 20 contact hours, in addition to extremely thorough homework assignments. Our anatomy section is led by Todd Jackson, who is a sought after master teacher of yoga, biodynamic massage and craniosacral therapy. Todd assembles a knowledgeable team of yoga teachers, massage therapists, acupuncturists, and bodyworkers to assist in this training, and his approach integrates hands on palpation, experiential anatomy inside of asana practice, and detailed lecture and demonstration.

Emphasis on creative process and skillful inquiry over dogma and methodology.
Like life, teaching yoga is complex and nuanced, and most of the real work happens in the moment of doing, rather than in the theories around doing. A skillful yoga practice is not about learning “right” from “wrong”, so much as it is about learning which inquiries are meaningful and useful, and how to listen for the answers. A skillful yoga practice (and therefore a skillful yoga teacher) will integrate the wisdom of the body, the understanding that the body and all things are constantly changing and therefore the answers will change over time, and the ability to stay present with what is.
There are some programs which try to make the process of training teachers more efficient by creating simplified methodologies. At Yoga Conservatory, we examine issues from a variety of perspectives, we teach tools for self-inquiry and personal practice as a primary reference point for trainees, and we work to help students develop their own voice and have the willingness to share it. We empower new yoga teachers to hone their own unique skills and interests, and to participate in creative process in order to craft an authentic teaching practice.

Performative Presence.
Performer training techniques are integrated throughout the Yoga Conservatory curriculum, and bring a unique perspective on the relationship between performance and facilitating yoga. Some components include:
-Improvised Movement, drawing from Body-Mind Centering, Viewpoints and other contemporary movement techniques. This content is helpful in discovering new ways of embodiment, sequencing a class and creating inventive transitions.
-Embodied Voice Practice, drawing from the work of Roy Hart. Teachers use their voice as one of their primary tools, and rarely get the training to understand the power of their voice. This work helps students to explore the relationship between their body, voice and spirit, and can lead to a new understanding of how the body speaks to us, and how the voice can shift self-limiting beliefs.
-Contemplative Arts Practice, drawing from the work of Barbara Dilley and Chogyum Trungpa Rinpoche. By cultivating curiosity and awareness about space, architecture and objects, we can better understand how to craft meaningful ritual and intentional use of design elements in yoga classes.

Yoga as a healing art.
There are many approaches to yoga practice and teaching, and it is helpful to define your intention when pursuing a Yoga Teacher Training certification. Some schools are more focused on yoga as exercise, others on spiritual or religious pursuits. At Yoga Conservatory, we are practicing and teaching yoga primarily as a healing art. Some subjects include:
-An introduction to Ayurveda
-Mindfulness and Meditation
-Yoga for the Right Brain
-Introduction to the Nervous System
-Skillful use of language in teaching yoga
-Techniques for safe, sustainable asana practice

Yoga as way of building community and activating social change.
Yoga is increasingly becoming a popular way to connect communities, heal trauma and introduce tools for personal resilience where they are needed most. Whether you aspire to teach yoga in unconventional settings (such as prisons, addiction treatment centers and the like) or you simply want to know how to teach to the general population in a way that is inclusive and accessible, Yoga Conservatory covers the most vital subjects for using yoga as a tool for community and social justice, including:
-Trauma-informed teaching
-Examination of diversity and cultural barriers to yoga
-Body-positivity in yoga
-Resources for learning to work with special populations

Apprenticeship Opportunities after graduating.
A 200-hr program is just the beginning of the journey to becoming a skillful yoga teacher. Many students feel satisfied with a 200-hr program for the personal growth they experience and the basic tools for bringing yoga into their work and communities. For those who aspire to teach yoga professionally, or who want to continue to refine their teaching skills, Yoga Conservatory offers apprenticeship opportunities for graduates who show passion and promise. Our apprenticeship program includes opportunities to:
-Teach to peers and receive regular feedback from a mentor teacher.
-Teach to the general public in a yoga studio setting at Yoga Refuge.
-Teach to underserved communities through our outreach program.
-Develop business and administrative skills relevant to yoga teachers, such as using Mindbody Online software.
-Learn the skills of entrepreneurship to grow your yoga business.

Yoga Conservatory is for you if:

-You want to integrate yoga as a tool for personal healing and empowerment.
-You want to use yoga as a way of helping other people to heal and become empowered.
-You are willing to keep asking questions even when there are no easy answers.
-You are ready to “get in the arena” of being vulnerable.
-You are curious, creative and open to innovation in the field of yoga.
-You like to be challenged, to grow and to learn about yourself.
-You are motivated by the question “How can I be of service?”

Lauren LaBarre Photoraphy