Teacher Training

What a Yoga Travel Tree Teacher Training Has that Others are Missing

If there’s one important lesson we’ve all learned from our own yoga teacher training journey, it’s that there’s so much more to becoming a yoga teacher than knowing how to teach yoga. Yoga isn’t just a mashup of poses and postures and creating playlists.

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We want you to have more than just a teaching certificate. We want you to have all the information, knowledge, insights, and abilities you need to go out into the world and find success - financially, physically, and spiritually.

That’s why we include several bonuses in our trainings that we feel are important to giving you the best possible yoga teacher training experience possible, and go above and beyond the Yoga Alliance requirements.

Introduction to Ayurveda

Our lead instructor, Kate, has spent the last several years running her own Ayurveda coaching and consulting company. She brings that experience (and her Ayurveda Practitioner Certification) to our 200 HR teacher training to give you a detailed introduction to Ayurveda. Whether you’ve never heard of this sister science to yoga or if you’re looking to broaden your knowledge, you’ll walk away with a deeper understanding of Ayurveda that you can share with future students.

Advanced Business Training

All Yoga Alliance registered schools are required to talk about the business side of becoming a yoga teacher, but we take that to a whole new level! Our mission is to not only help you deepen your own practice and knowledge of yoga, we also want your training to be PRACTICAL. After this experience, you'll walk away with strategies and approaches to securing your first teaching positions, know how to professionalize your approach to this new career, and much more. Because there are only so many hours in a day, we also give all of our teacher training graduates discounted access to Brooke’s 6-week Soulful Business Bootcamp advanced online training course. We believe in providing and delivering value and helping you achieve the professional success you want!

Advanced Mediation Training

Meditation is the cornerstone of any well-rounded yoga practice, and unlike other trainings, we don’t just say “hey you should probably meditate.” We include daily group guided meditation to show you the many different styles, structures, and approaches to meditation, so you’re prepared to bring the practice back to your future students. Of course, this daily practice during the training will help you broaden and deepen your own meditation journey along the way.

Yoga Travel Tree Retreat Discounts

We wouldn’t be a very good yoga travel company if we didn’t encourage and help our teacher training graduates see the world with us! That’s why we provide travel grants and discounts for our training alumni to use toward a retreat of their choice. There’s only one thing we love more than giving the gift of travel - it’s giving the gift of travel+yoga!

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Teach on A Yoga Retreat

Once you’ve fulfilled your training requirements and gotten some teaching experience under your belt, we would love to have you teach on one of our global yoga adventures held throughout the year! First things first... let’s get you trained and certified through Yoga Travel Tree!

What EXACTLY is included when you train with Yoga Travel Tree?

So we’ve shared a lot of information with you about our yoga teacher training programs, and now we want to give you a quick and dirty breakdown of what exactly you receive when you embark on this journey with us.

Here’s what’s included in your Yoga Travel Tree investment:

  • 200 Hour Yoga Alliance approved and registered teacher training curriculum with the Satyam Yoga School
  • Comprehensive teacher training manual (only distributed at our trainings)
  • Welcome bag full of surprise goodies!
  • Access to not one, not two, but THREE experienced and expert instructors
  • All accommodation and three delicious+organic meals per day
  • Organized airport pick-up and departure shuttles to make your transition to/from the training seamless
  • Certificate of completion after all training requirements have been met
  • Camaraderie and friendship with like-minded yogis on the path to becoming a teacher
  • Full-immersion in a new culture and destination
  • Small class sizes and instructor studio ratio - All trainings are limited to 25 students
  • Mentorship, teaching, and coaching from our instructors before, during, and after the training
  • Complete roadmap to structuring and teaching Vinyasa  + many other styles of yoga at studios and events around the world
  • Broad understanding of the anatomy, functionality, and connection between the body and mind, breath and movement, yoga and life
  • Teacher Profile in the Yoga Travel Tree Teacher Directory on our website (including bio and links)
  • Opportunity to teach yoga on a Yoga Travel Tree yoga adventure retreat

And beyond all that, we also have some great bonus materials for you! 

  • Introduction to Ayurveda
  • Advanced Business of Yoga Training + Discounted Soulful Business Bootcamp
  • Advanced Meditation Study
  • Exclusive discounts on future yoga retreats with Yoga Travel Tree
  • Opportunity to teach on a Yoga Travel Tree retreat

There it is. The whole enchilada! We hope you’re inspired to find the perfect yoga teacher training program for you!

10 Reasons I chose Yoga Travel Tree for my Yoga Teacher Training

…and why I’m glad I did Choosing a yoga teacher training program isn’t easy, especially if you live in an area saturated with options. I actually had to create a spreadsheet to organize all of my choices!

However, Yoga Travel Tree easily stood out as the program for me. Here are 10 reasons that Yoga Travel Tree worked so well for me before, during, and after training:

1. The Yoga Travel Tree website is welcoming.

Yoga Travel Tree is all about yoga and travel. I checked out a lot of yoga studio websites that had solid training programs, but that was just one of many offerings (as it should be at a studio).

When I found Yoga Travel Tree, I felt as though I was being spoken to directly because they are specifically in the business of yoga training.

2. A three-week immersion program was exactly what I needed.

Teacher Training

At the time, I was looking for a program that I could start – and finish – sooner rather than later. I know that most people can’t take three consecutive weeks off from their responsibilities, and, for most, a program close to home works best. There was a long time during which this was the case for me, too. However, last spring, I found myself at a transition point, and I wanted to take advantage of having the time to immerse myself in the training and complete my 200-hour program as soon as I could.

3. I have a major travel bug.

The idea of an immersion program in Mexico was too good to be true. I wasn’t at a point where I could take a vacation, but given that the Yoga Travel Tree teacher training tuition was comparable to other programs in my area, plus going to Mexico meant getting out of town and would force me to clear my head, well, this was too good to be true. When else would I have a chance to do something like this? Yoga Travel Tree combines two of my great loves – yoga and travel – and getting my 200-hour certification in this way was the perfect fit.

4. I got positive feedback on my application.

That’s right, my application. I knew that applying to a teacher training program would mean answering questions about why I wanted to be a yoga teacher. However, my intent was to deepen my practice and my knowledge; I wasn’t even thinking that I wanted to teach. I didn’t know how well-received this would be, so I certainly didn’t expect to get an email back from Yoga Travel Tree saying “we loved reading your application.” I felt welcome from the beginning, and this reinforced that wanting to obtain more knowledge, to whatever end, is always a worthy endeavor.

5. Yoga Travel Tree attracts diverse yet like-minded people.

My training cohort came from Canada, the U.S., and Mexico; spanned a 30-year age range; and had very different backgrounds. However, I remain amazed at how similarly we all viewed the world, our passion for yoga and for travel, and, most importantly, the compassion we all shared for wanting to help others. I have no doubt that I will stay in touch with this group for the rest of my life, trainees and teachers alike.

6. Yoga Travel Tree has the best teachers. Ever.

YTT teachersSatyam Yoga School, which provides the teaching certification under the auspices of Yoga Travel Tree, is second to none. I am very particular about my yoga teachers when I take a class, and doing my yoga certification with teachers who I had never met before felt like a gamble. However, Kate Towell and Kim “Ganga” Taylor are a dynamic duo with the ultimate respect for each other and their students. Their individual and collective knowledge was staggering. They were completely in the moment with each of us, making sure that we were getting what we wanted out of the program and that the experience was setting us up for our journeys once we returned home.

7. The curriculum places a major emphasis on all 8 limbs of yoga, not just the asanas.t

This may be true of many yoga teacher training programs, but I feel so fortunate that Yoga Travel Tree places such an emphasis on how much there is to learn beyond the physical poses. Yes, my physical practice got stronger, but so did my meditation practice, my interest in Ayurveda, my knowledge of the deities and the influence of Hinduism on this part of yogic philosophy, and so much more.

8. It was an intense curriculum, but we all made time for fun and enjoyment.

Though I’d read the agenda in advance, I wasn’t prepared for what it would feel like to start the day with 6am meditation and end the evening session at 8:30pm.

However, we all made time for dips in the ocean or the pool, which were both mere steps from our yoga studio and outdoor eating area; reading in the hammocks on the beach; and blasting our favorite music during study breaks for impromptu dance parties.

9. Mar de Jade is the perfect location for a yoga teacher training.Mar de Jade

The site of Yoga Travel Tree’s program – Mar de Jade retreat center – was the ideal setting. It was a blend of adventure travel (lizards in the bathroom? OK!) and having the amenities to last in the heat and humidity for three weeks (I love you, air conditioning). Mar de Jade also made meals easy for those of us with food restrictions; all of the food was fresh and locally-sourced, and there were always vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options. Also, our designated yoga space had a 180 degree view of the ocean. You know it’s a good day when the biggest problem is not being able to hear your teachers’ voices over the crash of the surf below.

10. Yoga Travel Tree is incredibly supportive of and active with its alums after the program is over.

One of my concerns about a program that wasn’t based locally was that no one would know who I was and what I was now capable of doing when I returned home. However, after departing Mexico, there were still 20 hours of practicum hours to complete, and the Yoga Travel Tree teachers and staff were available via email and phone to support us if questions arose or just to check in. Even after becoming a registered teacher with the Yoga Alliance, I am in constant contact with my teachers and the other students as we navigate our way.

For me, that has come in the form of beginning a certification program as an Ayurveda Wellness Counselor and beginning to volunteer and substitute teach with local programs. It’s difficult to break into a saturated market, yet Yoga Travel Tree has provided endless, alternative ways of keeping connected with alums by providing opportunities to act as Ambassadors, write articles, and network within the yoga community.

From the beginning to the present, I am so grateful that I trusted my instincts and selected Yoga Travel Tree for my yoga teacher training. My three weeks in Mexico were life-changing, and I continue to reflect on and learn from the experience.


 

Becca Stoltz pursues her love of yoga as an extension of her work in public health and stress. She completed her undergraduate education at Tufts University, earned her masters at Boston University School of Public Health, and is enrolled in the Kerala Ayurveda Academy for her Ayurveda Wellness Counseling certification.

Yoga Travel Tree Teacher Training

Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Choosing A Yoga Retreat

  Yoga retreats can make or break a devoted yogi.  With a wealth of available retreats for you to experience, it's important to do your homework and know what your getting into rather than be blindsided by a trip you weren't prepared for.  Here's your checklist to make sure you get the most out of your next adventure.

1.  What type of retreat?

As yoga and yoga retreats gain popularity, it’s important to realize there are a wealth of different types of retreats available for you today.  Some retreats involve a small number of people, going to an area in the world where yoga and meditation is going to be your number one focus.  Other retreats bring a larger group of yogis and yoginis as well as a few more instructors to offer a variety of classes intermingled with daily excursions and experiences (in addition to the yoga).  There are retreats that offer an intensive training schedule if you plan on doing a teacher training retreat.  There are retreats that allow you to wander the streets of a foreign village experiencing the culture and lives of its inhabitants.  If you want to participate in volunteer work and spread yoga in 3rd world countries, there are retreats for that as well!  It all comes down to a matter of preference, and it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into before you board that plane.

2.  Who are the instructors?

Most retreats these days are at least a week long.  If you’re going to be taking daily classes with an instructor, it’s a good idea to get a sense of what style they teach, what their personality is like, and how they will make this retreat a memorable experience.  Most instructors have a strong social media presence or even blog you can check out to get a sense of who they are and what drives them.  Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter or Wordpress are great places to start when doing your research about your instructor(s).  Even better, do a quick Youtube search to see if your potential instructor has a class you can take in order to get a sense of how they teach.  If you can’t make it through a class with them via the web, chances are you’re not going to have that fulfilling yoga experience you’re anticipating.  If you’re instructor has a bigger online presence, try searching for them on some bigger yoga class sites (Udaya, Yogaglo, MyYogaWorks, YogaAnytime, GaiamTV)

3.  What’s the menu?

This bit of research might not be as important to you as you think…With the rising popularity of detoxing and special retreats devoted to “detoxing” your body, it helps to understand what types of food you’ll be eating while on your journey.  If you’re going on a detox retreat, it’s common to expect a week long of eating fresh, vibrant, mostly vegan or vegetarian foods.  These retreats typically involve eating at a specific resort for the duration of your visit.  It’s also common to have a personal chef cooking for your group during that type of retreat.  If this doesn’t float your boat, don’t fret!  There are a lot of retreats out there that allow you to venture out on your own, tasting the unique foods of your region and culture.  Wine tasting is becoming an extremely popular activity on a lot of retreats, as is going out to eat and experiencing the vibrant culture of the places you’ll be staying.  If you have any specific diet or allergy you need to accompany, then hopefully you’ve already done your research into what is being served at your retreat, and what your available options involve.

4.  Whats in your bag?

Packing too light, or packing way more than you need is a nightmare you don’t want to experience.  Some retreats are exclusively meant to grow and hone in on your yoga practice, meaning you’ll need little more than your mat, clothes and a few personal belongings.  Other retreats involve day hikes through incredible land marks, trips to various cities or villages, hiking, diving, biking, you name it.  If your retreat offers more of an opportunity for exploring, then definitely pack that camera, swimsuit, and a pair of hiking boots.  You don’t want to find yourself in the midst of a glorious and fascinating city or landmark and not have the tools you need to remember this life changing opportunity!

5.  Why be open minded?

Perhaps the most important aspect of going on a retreat, it helps to keep an open mind.  You might make some life long friends on this journey.  You might not.  You might find that the schedule you’ve previously glimpsed at is far from being rigid and structured.  In many cities or villages around the world, time goes by a lot slower, and locals are a lot more laid back and relaxed.  Some people view retreats as a vacation, while other people choose to view a retreat as the beginning of a turning point in their lives.  Depending on what your view is of your upcoming retreat, choose accordingly.  If you want to experience all that a new country and region has to offer, it might be a bad idea to choose a retreat that doesn’t allow you to leave the premises and explore.  If your goal is to restart your life, detoxify your body and soul, and hone in on your practice then choose a retreat that caters to your intent.  There are always going to be little surprises, or little hiccups in your journey, but at the end of the day we are all yoga practitioners.  Go with the flow!

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Image credit: gurmit singh

 

10 Traits that Make a Great Yoga Teacher

Image Credit:  Susanica Tam


Recently, while deepening my own practice as a yoga student and expanding my knowledge as a yoga teacher, I began thinking about what qualities are often found in our favorite yoga teachers, and what makes a good teacher “great?”  Over the past few weeks, I had the chance to visit many different studios, spanning into multiple provinces and one state in Canada and the US.  I didn’t just take the classes at these studios, I experienced them.  How did the teachers make me feel, how did they cue, what words and phrases did they use, did they integrate touch and adjustments in their class?  Every class was different, and every teacher taught me something new about my own teaching and how I differentiated between sub-par guiding and great yoga experiences.

In my journey, here is what I have found that to me, really makes a great yoga teacher:

1. Energy & Presence

When a teacher with great energy walks into the room you know it-because you can feel it.  They make you feel welcome, they make you feel uplifted if you weren’t feeling so great, and if you’re lucky, their energy may rub off onto you as well.

2. Voice

What did they say?  Some teachers talk with such a soft voice you’re constantly straining to hear what they said, or you’re spending the whole class looking around at the others to see what pose you’re supposed to be in.  Having a voice that is calm and clear is very important when leading classes and makes a big difference for the students that are attending.

3. Pace

Have you ever experienced a class that moved so quickly you practically got tangled up in your limbs?  Or so slowly you barely had the energy and enthusiasm to get into the poses?  A teacher that leads their class with a natural, smooth and flowing pace makes a big difference in how you experience the class and how you feel afterwards.

4. Assistance

Since we all know that bad habits and painful consequences can be a result of poor alignment and form, having a knowledgeable teacher to adjust and guide you can be a huge benefit for your practice.  When a teacher works the room, it should not be an anxiety-inducing moment for students thinking they’re going to get “corrected,” it is the teachers showing that they care and want to help us in every way.

5. Availability

When teachers make themselves available before, and especially after class, it says a lot about their teaching. They truly want to help you and are willing to make themselves available for your questions, concerns or simply just a friendly discussion.  When teachers offer their time to you after they’ve taught the class, it’s showing their compassionate nature for each of their students.

6. Connection

Making eye contact, and especially smiling when you’ve made eye contact, creates great connection between students and teachers.  I love when I happen to catch a teacher’s eye and they fill me with energy from their beaming smile and kind gestures.

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7. Preparation

Having a prepared class is pretty critical in a great experience for yoga students.  As a teacher, making sure you’ve prepared the structure of your class ahead of time, and remembering it is very important in whether students decide to return to your class or not. No one wants their flow disrupted by a teacher that forgets what comes next.

8. Music

Have you ever been in a class and the teacher exactly the right songs at just the right time? I feel so grateful when a teacher takes the time to create playlists for their classes so that in each sequence the right type of song will be playing.  Sometimes this can be hard to do, as we all know that things don’t go as planned and sometimes a cue needs to be extended or something needs to be explained, but for the most part, a great playlist designed for the certain style of class is a wonderful treat from the teacher to the students.

9. Language

The type of language used in a class can make a big difference in one’s practice.  Sometimes a teacher uses phrases and cues that seem too soft, and therefore no one in the class is inspired to actually do the pose, and sometimes a teacher uses too abrupt of cueing, making you feel like you’re in gym class again and are just waiting for the time to be over.  When a teacher uses languages that involves the perfect mix of suggestive and inspiring cueing, therefore motivating you to go deeper into the pose, and offering modifications in a way that won’t make participants feel as though they aren’t practicing “right” or are strong enough, the class experience can change ten-fold for students and can make you want to keep enjoying that teacher’s classes again and again.

10. Fun

Who doesn’t want to have fun?  When a teacher leads a class that isn’t so serious, participants are able to relax and therefore start to have some fun.  Whether it’s telling some jokes or funny anecdotes at the beginning or end of class, playing upbeat music that makes you feel like moving, or simply throwing a few smiles or laughs in here and there, you start to have some fun.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?

There are some yoga teachers who are gifted enough to have many of these attributes, and most of us are capable of bringing at least one or more of these qualities into our yoga classes. Perhaps as a yoga teacher you already have these qualities, but if there are a few that you think you could deepen or improve upon, why not try?  You may create an even better experience for your students and you may see your classes filling up soon enough. Now that I’ve shared what I personally find to be the distinguishing qualities between what makes a good yoga teacher a great yoga teacher, I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Please share in the comments below.

 

Is a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Enough?

Image Credit:  Dejathoris


You just finished an intense Vinyasa Flow class.  Sweat is dripping from your face, your muscles feel rejuvenated, and your mind is clear.  You think to yourself, how in the world can you begin sharing and helping others experience this surreal feeling one experiences after a yoga class?  The rest of the students leave the room, and you consider taking a moment to speak with your instructor.

Finally, the two of you are the only ones that remain and you ask your teacher:  Where did you get certified to teach?  Do you have your 200 hour or 500 hour certification?  How did you know when you were ready to be in front of a class?

This experience happens to many yogis, young and old.  They become blindsided by the idea that yes, you can indeed turn your teaching into a full time career.  Some people up and quit their day job to pursue teaching yoga, while others consider teaching yoga on the side of another fulfilling yet demanding career.  Unlike many corporate or other teaching jobs that require a 2 or 4 year college degree and send you on your way, the world of teaching yoga is very, very different.  Rather than going to a 2 or 4 year school, yoga certifications are broken down into the number of hours you've studied (200, 300 or even 500 hour certification programs).  So the question is, can you begin teaching right after you've done your first 200 hour course?

The short answer, yes.

Heres your plan:  Just.  Get.  Certified.   That's it.

Many studios around the nation simply require you to have your 200 hour Yoga Alliance Certification.  In addition to this, to promote furthering your education in yoga, some studios might even hire you while expecting you to simultaneously teach and go on towards your 500 hour certification within a certain number of years. 500 hour programs aren't required to teach yoga to the public, but they do allow you deepen your own understanding of yoga, and after you've received a 500 hour certification, you'll be certified to teach teachers and award 200 hour certifications yourself.

Depending on what studio you see yourself teaching at, it helps to check with them first about what type of certification you should get.  For example, Baptiste-Inspired yoga studios require a Baptiste certification in order to teach with them.  The style of yoga taught at these studios is consistent, challenging and helps to assure practitioners that they'll know what to expect before walking in.  The same goes for studios such as CorePower Yoga, which offer their own teacher trainings in order for you to teach within their studios.

Nowadays, competition is growing fiercer by the day.  More and more people are becoming interested in teaching yoga.  Do you need to be worried?  The fact that more teachers out there means that more people might start practicing and begin to reap the benefits yoga has to offer, but for us as teachers, it can seem a little scary. Putting all of your time and money into a certification that doesn't always guarantee you a steady job is a risk.  If teaching and sharing your practice with others is truly a passion of yours, getting certified is a no brainer.  Even if you don't end up teaching consistently, having the knowledge of a certified yoga teacher is an incredible attribute, something you will carry with you throughout this life long practice.

In closing, know this:  Once you get certified, the world is yours.  Instead of thinking of your yoga certification as a "one and done" notch on your belt, treat it as if it were a life long education.  When you finish your first certification, teach.  Teach often.  Get as much experience teaching, and you will begin to find out what style of yoga you are most comfortable with teaching.  There will always be more certifications you may be interested in achieving, and when you are ready you should go for them!  Teaching is a life long journey, just like the practice of yoga.  You are always learning, adjusting, and seasoning yourself as a teacher.  When the time is right, go ahead and get your aerial yoga certification, or restorative certification, or even prenatal yoga certification!  This only adds to your repertoire of what you can teach, and helps to build your resume.  Stay humble, seek experience, and try to view your teaching as a life long journey just as you would your own personal practice.

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Essential Elements of a Yoga Flow

Image Credit:  Matt Madd


 

As a yoga teacher, there’s plenty of room for creativity within your sequencing. How you put different poses together and why you choose to put them that way will ultimately define your teaching style and attract a certain type of practitioner. There are some essential or traditional elements to a flow, especially when you’re starting out and learning how to sequence your class – elements that leave the student feeling well rounded mentally, physically, and emotionally. You can imagine that a class is like a story, with a similar flow to that of a movie. In most movies, we have the introduction, which leads to the rising action. This brings us to the climax, falling action, and finally the resolution.

How does this relate to yoga? In class, we take students on a journey – a mindful, soulful, physical, emotional journey. Students experience a roller coaster of emotions throughout a yoga class, and the structure is a nice way to effectively and safely take them on this journey, with all its highs and lows, a slow introduction, a physically and mentally challenging middle, and closure at the end to tie it all together.

I was trained in YogaWorks style sequencing and per our training, there is a certain style that the Vinyasa Yoga Flow classes tend to follow, which is one I find to be very fulfilling and well-rounded. The following guidelines will derive from that inspiration but with my own words. Classes I take are typically 90 minutes so it allows for all elements of the following – most classes in typical studios these days tend to be 60 – 75 minutes, so you have to adjust the times according to your needs. Please note these guidelines generally wouldn’t apply to certain styles of yoga like Yin/Restorative, Iyengar, or Ashtanga.

1.  Tuning Inward and Focusing (5 minutes)

Most people come to yoga and bring the rush of their day with them. It’s important to take a few moments to acknowledge the beginning of practice, the quieting of the mind and body, and the coming to the mat. Here you will teach: breath work (or pranayama), how to focus the mind inward, and skills to help students stay present in each moment, regardless of the external situations (or poses). You can invite students to set an intention (like staying present with each breath) or you can talk about the theme or peak pose for the class. Some poses that you can start with are Savasana, Balasana, Tadasana, or supported bridge pose.

2.  Warming Up the Body (20 minutes)

This is a place for a cardio-intense full-body start to get the breath and blood flowing and the muscles warm. It's well-known in most athletic or bodywork communities that a cardio warm up is essential to accessing different parts of the body and performing more efficiently throughout the practice. Think Salutations here (all kinds – Sun, half, As, Bs, Cs, Moon, with variations!). Core and abdominal work can be added here as well.

3.  Warming Up/Teaching The Parts You’ll be Focusing On (30 minutes)

Here, you sequence together a different kind of warm up. Some teachers teach the skill and introduce easier poses that open and strengthen areas that will be needed for the peak pose. For example, if you’re taking student towards handstands, you’ll want to teach core engagement and warm up the shoulders and chest. You’ll introduce certain actions/areas (called component parts) in these more accessible poses that will be used later on to build to advanced poses. Sequencing actions or movements needed in the body to access harder poses are also taught in these easier poses. This helps to create muscle memory while the practitioner is able to maintain a calm and steady mind and breath versus when they are in a challenging position. You will include many variations of poses here including hip/shoulders openers, downward facing dog variation, chaturanga dandasana, and more, leading to standing poses. You can take spins on Sun Salutations by adding elements related to your focus for the class. An example is adding Utkatasana Twists in Sun Saluation B if you're working on detoxing, or add humble warrior in Virabhadrasana I if you're working on opening the shoulders and hips. Then you can lead into more standing poses like Trikonasana, Virabhadrasana II, and Prasarita Padottanasana variations. Depending on the level of class you can throw in transitions to Bakasana and Sirsasana II (tripod headstand) from a number of poses.

4.  Peak Pose and/or Inversions (5 – 15 minutes)

Within your standing series of flows, you will lead students to the peak pose (maybe ardha chandrasana, natarajasana, or bird of paradise). If you are teaching inversions, you will break after to the wall and teach inversions that you have been building up to. Think also forearm stands, headstands, dolphin, forearm plank, and side plank.

5.  Backbends (5 – 10 minutes)

Time for Bridge pose, wheel pose, camel pose, locust pose… take your pick or choose a few! By this time, students should be warmed up in the shoulders, thoracic spine, and hip flexors in order to access these poses. Think Urdhva Dhanurasana, Ustrasana, or Salabhasana.

6.  Cool Down/ Resolution (10 – 15 minutes)

This is the time when you bring it to the ground for your seated poses - think cooling poses like Shoulder Stand, final meditation & breath work, and everyone’s favorite pose: Savasana. Think Pigeon variations, happy baby, halasana (plough pose), or Marichyasana C.

General Tips to Consider

  • Ask students about any injuries or pregnancies before class and be aware of your students’ safety foremost. Adjust your class when necessary to fit who showed up that day. Also, base your instructions on what you see in the room.
  • When guiding through standing poses, in general, it’s advisable to start with easiest poses to hardest poses. This would be externally rotated --> neutrally rotated --> twisting poses.
  • Within categories of poses, move from easier poses to harder.
  • Compensate between poses and bring the spine back to neutral in between. For example, a Tadasana between a backbend and a forward bend. Speaking of, the combination of the backbend with the forward bend is known as “counter poses”, taking the body in opposite directions to achieve balance.
  • Twists also complement backbends. They release the body after a backbend, and they also warm up the body for the backbend and vice versa.
  • Take students into child’s pose after most inversions, and encourage students to take child’s pose and downward dog in between and during series instead of constantly doing flows, especially when they stop breathing.

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What to Expect from Your Yoga Teacher Training

Expectations

My best advice for anyone heading off to Yoga Teacher Training regarding expectations is, quite simply, to not have any.

Easier said than done, I realize, as there are so many things to consider. Before you register for a program, make sure you are aware of your ‘logistical’ expectations.

These include:

Appropriate Lodging/Destination: clean, comfortable and safe

Dietary Needs: vegan, gluten free, etc.

Leaders: well trained and emphasizing the topics you are most drawn to

Cost: can you comfortably afford the program and what is included?

Timing: is this the right time for you, truly?

Ask lots of questions before hitting the ‘buy’ button to ensure there are no (or very few) surprises waiting for you when you land. Beyond logistics, consider what you might experience in the personal, emotional and spiritual arenas. Much of the ‘work’ to be done in yoga teacher training is very personal and powerful - and it is this work that needs to be done first, so you can be your most powerful self as a teacher. Many of us who are brave enough to seek out the life of a yogi have backgrounds and histories that compel us to move more and more towards spirit, compassion and non-harming. Either because we have trained as body and energy workers or health advocates, or because we are approaching it from a place of personal healing and growth through our own battles with addiction, stress, depression, etc. In either case, we are looking for an opportunity to guide and be guided along the path to health and healing, transformation and expansion. 

Yoga Teacher Training, although not specifically designed to create emotional responses and releases, (from tears to fits of laughter, to feelings of anger triggered by a chakra workshop) will force the trainee to look at different aspects of their life and personality where there may be room for growth and change in order for them to emerge fully as a confident yoga teacher and leader in their community.

For some, it is this energetically charged experience that they seek out in a training, for others it may be unexpected and unwelcome. This reinforces my suggestion of asking lots of questions and being true to who you are coming in to the training - NOT who you hope to leave as.

Therefore - if you are someone who appreciates ‘beyond the creature comforts’ (and this does not make you a bad person!) then do not choose a training that is rudimentary in its accommodations. If you tend to be more body-centric in your approach, maybe your first yoga teacher training should not be a ‘bhakti-heavy’ training. If you are not comfortable with travel or new people, then maybe you should look at a first training closer to home, with people you know. 

Usually the first to encourage people to break out of their comfy boxes and expand into the world, I do maintain some reservation when it comes to something as important (personally, financially and spiritually) as this undertaking. Spreading your wings and testing the uncharted sky is exciting! Do not let all of your decision making be based on the most extreme, challenging or different experience available.

You will want some comfort and familiarity to fall back on when the heart starts to stir and some fears start to surface. Beyond the emotions, insecurities and stories that may rise for you, there will also be incredible joy, levity, humor, and straight up really good times waiting for you at your yoga teacher training - and these will mean far more than any painful stirrings you may encounter.

The beauty and celebration of the emerging teacher inside will create room for even greater potential as you witness and celebrate that expansion with your yoga teacher training family. Together you will build a solid community of trust and awareness.

Finally, consider:

Fatigue: At some point you will be tired: tired physically, tired emotionally, tired mentally, tired socially. Know that this will build strength, stamina, compassion and wisdom.

Questioning: You may find yourself questioning facets of your life from how you eat to who you date and that the responsible decisions and choices you make will be a great example to those you lead.

Immense joy: As you immerse deeper into your Yoga Teacher Training and your own Self, be prepared to feel a deep joy, a real connection to spirit. This joy will become a magnet for those looking for something ‘more’ from their practice, something ‘more’ from their teacher, something ‘more’ from their lives.

Quiet: You will become quiet, without realizing or asking. It is a natural side effect to inner peace and expansion.

A new-found voice: Your voice will become sacred, without violence, and will speak for those who can not. Your ears will be more attuned to words that feed and serve, and close off to judgement, gossip and insult.

Fun side effects: People have experienced all kinds of ‘bonuses’ with immersions from improved vision (both physically and intuitively) to optimal systemic function and enhanced memory and concentration.

Now that you have a ‘list’ of things to expect, let us return to my opening statement regarding expectations - don't have any!

 The journey through your yoga teacher training is yours alone and you need the freedom to experience the training to your full capacity. This will be challenging if you are in a constant state of expectation. When packing for your yoga teacher training, bring your tooth brush, bring your yoga clothes (half of what you think you will need), bring your journal ~ leave behind fear, ego and expectation.

Enjoy and be engaged in every step of your journey. You are embarking on an adventure, realizing a life passion, shifting into a place of steady and able leadership and mentorship. Part of you has already made the decision to do this. You are ready, you always have been.

So okay - maybe expect one thing - to come out of it with everything you already have. Hari Om!

Namaste and Welcome!

Ganga

Do you think you're ready to attend a yoga teacher training? Click below to learn more about the Yoga Travel Tree Yoga Teacher Training program!

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5 Reasons to Do a Yoga Teacher Training, Even If You Are Not Planning to Teach

If you have been practicing yoga for a while, you may find yourself in a place of longing for something deeper. You may want to learn more, to travel deeper into the world of yoga, and you may want more than your regular yoga class is providing you. You can deepen your practice through various workshops and retreats, but perhaps the best way to deepen your yoga path is through a Yoga Teacher Training. "But I am not planning to become a yoga teacher!" you may think. Don't let this stop you from considering a teacher training. Besides being able to teach, Yoga teacher training can give you a surprising amount of additional value!

So what can you expect from a Yoga Teacher Training?

1. A break and quality time for yourself

Do you ever dream of leaving it all behind for a while and escaping to a tropical location to focus on your wellbeing? Even the longest yoga retreats are usually not longer than few weeks, but with a Yoga Teacher Training you are getting the ultimate yoga retreat - four to five weeks of pure yoga! You will spend your days practicing yoga, learning about the history and philosophy of yoga, exploring different areas of yoga such as Meditation, Pranayama , Kirtan and Yoga Nidra just to name a few. For these weeks your world will revolve around you and yoga. There is nothing quite as relaxing for a yogi as forgetting the rest of the world for a while and only focusing on yourself.

2. Intense journey into yourself

Yoga Teacher training is not just about how to teach yoga to others. It is first and foremost an experience into yoga, and a deep, often quite transformational journey into yourself. When you practice yoga and meditation daily without any other interruptions pulling you back into real life, you reach a whole new level of clarity in life.

For the first weeks of my teacher training I was in a continuous state of bliss. I was in a tropical paradise, surrounded by people sharing the same love and interest for yoga, and because of that everything went a level deeper. My meditation, self reflection and my practice. Yoga Teacher Training takes you on a trip in many senses of the word.

But don't be fooled, the training is also hard. It takes you to your edge and shows you your weaknesses. At the same time you are in a supported environment where it's OK to break down, if needed. Although the days are not always comfortable, it will be more than worth it in the end.

3. Deepening your own practice

When I started my Yoga Teacher Training, I was not yet 100% sure whether I would end up teaching. But there was one person I was desperate to teach - me!

During the training you will do just that. You will teach yourself, which is the most important teaching experience you will ever have. Only when you have taught yourself, and experienced your own learning curve and development within the world of yoga, can you teach others. During the Yoga Teacher Training there is finally time to really get into the specifics of it all. Where does the practice stem from, why do we do certain asanas, what alternatives are there, and what are the internal and external benefits from the practice. After a teacher training you will look at yoga from a different place of understanding and affection.

4. Learning the individual nature of yoga

Yoga was essentially a practice between a guru and a disciple. Yoga practice was geared for the individual, taking into consideration the unique physical characters of the disciple. In a classroom full of students this element is often lost, and it takes some practice for you to find what really works for you. From this knowledge you can build an effective practice for yourself, a practice which not only benefits your character, but also your unique physical frame.

During a teacher training you will learn how yoga is more internal than external. You will learn how yoga applies to you as an individual, how your body reacts to the different exercises and asanas, and how you can modify your practice to benefit you. This knowledge makes all future yoga practices feel quite different.

5. Long lasting friendships around the world

Last, but certainly not least, during a Yoga Teacher Training you will end up with amazing friendships with like-minded people from all over the world. You are united by yoga and by the unique journey you take together. It is a bonding experience, one that will last a lifetime.

As you can see, Yoga Teacher Training is not just for those who want to teach yoga. It is for those who want to know more about yoga, and for those who are serious about this beautiful practice. The training gives you more confidence in your own practice, it guides you and supports you. And if you end up sharing your love for yoga in the process of it, wonderful!

For those who do want to teach yoga, teacher training is purely a beginning. It gives you the perfect starting point, a scratch on the surface. It ignites a spark in you that hopefully will turn into an eternal flame lighting your life long journey.

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7 Essentials to Consider when Choosing a Yoga Teacher Training

Choosing a yoga teacher training is the beginning of a whole new career and a whole new you! Here are 7 things to know before taking the leap.

Be Inspired

One of the most important things is to find a training and teachers that resonate with you and inspire you. Look for teachers that are experienced, passionate about yoga -on and off the mat- and that will inspire you to dive deep, stretch your edges and to discover more about yourself and the many layers of yoga.

Start with Why

Get clear on your why. What is your intention for embarking on a teacher training adventure? Are you hoping to make teaching yoga your full time job? Part-time career? Or do you want to deepen your personal practice and learn more about the philosophy of yoga? Maybe all of the above? Take the time to discover your why and seek a training that supports your intention.

Course Content

There are many types of yoga styles and trainings out there. Which one is right for you depends on your personal practice and intention. Each training is required a minimum number of hours dedicated to things like anatomy, history, teaching methodology and philosophy—but each training is going to emphasize different areas that highlight their style. Pick a program that emphasizes your passion whether it’s alignment, philosophy, Ayurveda or Bhakti.

Credentials

Is the training school Yoga Alliance registered? YA is the international governing body for yoga and sets the standard for certifying  teacher training programs. If your intention is to teach, you want to make sure that the training you choose is Yoga Alliance Certified; otherwise, you may not qualify for insurance or it may limit you in finding a teaching gig. 

Course Structure

How does the training structure fit into your life? Whether you choose a weekend program taught over many months or a multiple week immersion style training make sure you can dedicate the time to necessary to fully commit to your training.

Student/Teacher Ratio

Find out how many students are in the training. What is the number of teachers to students? Will you feel seen, heard and supported? It’s important to feel that you will be able to connect to your fellow trainees and teachers. Lasting connections and friendships are often forged during teacher trainings. Will you be able to connect and create community or will you get lost in a crowd?

Follow up and Support

What happens after the training? Is there support outside of training days or after the training is complete? Does the training provide a mentorship program or a way to stay connected post training? Do they provide a directory of their teachers?

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Join author Kate Towell and the Yoga Travel Tree Team on a 3-week immersion 200HR Yoga Teacher Training and jumpstart your new, passion-filled career today! Click here to learn all the juicy details!

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How to Choose a Yoga Teacher Training Program

Yoga Teacher Training Video GuideScreenshot 2014-11-20 21.56.01

The Yoga Travel Tree team walks you through the key elements to consider when choosing a yoga teacher training program that's right for you - for your life, your obligations, your intention, your personality, and your overall yoga focus. We cover everything from immersion programs to low-residency, to what to look for in credentials, deciding on a yoga style to focus on, and even the overall community you're joining when you pick a yoga school.

Meet Your Presenters

Brooke Roberts, Yoga Travel Tree Founder, 200Hr RYT

Kate Towell, Infinite You Wellness Founder, 300Hr E-YRT

Kim (Ganga) Taylor, Peace Tree Yoga Studio Founder, 500Hr E-YRT

Learn more about the YTT Instructors here.

 

 Download "How to Choose a Teacher Training Ranking" sheet

 

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