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.
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:
-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?”