A Typical Teacher Training Course
Techniques and Asana Workshops
Students address alignment in flexion, extension, lateral flexion, rotation and axial extension in asana. As they refine these skills in their own bodies, they learn the language, sequencing and hands on assists to coax others into effective yoga postures.
Western Anatomy and Physiology
The mechanics of yoga impact the muscular and connective tissues systems. Students begin to learn the basic structure of the body. Evidence-based effects of yoga on the nervous and endocrine systems are covered as well as the nuts and bolts of both of those systems. The pathways of digestion, blood flow, lymph flow and waste removal are discussed in the context of yoga.
There is a large emphasis placed upon injury prevention in these programs. As yoga becomes more and more popular, the variation in the body types and pre-existing conditions of the yoga population also grows. It is important for every teacher to understand individual differences in the structure and function of all of the individuals in the room. It is also important that he or she learns to draw the line at the appropriate level of expertise as a new teacher.
Regardless of the desire to teach, all students practice teaching during a training program. Teaching is one of the best ways to learn something and the act of teaching yoga requires an even clearer and more focused mind than being on the mat. Students teach each other throughout the program and are required to teach their peer group for 20-30 minutes at the end of the training. Additionally, all students complete a pre-planned series of off-site beginner's sessions or classes.
Nurses, doctors, therapists, and counselors all follow a set code of ethical guidelines. The western yoga world is not government regulated; therefore, it currently has no set code of ethics. Discussions of the balance of power, the yogic lifestyle and the eight-limbed path can guide new teachers on the path to determining a code of ethics for themselves or for yoga studios.
Pranayama and Meditation
A student may learn hundreds of asanas in public classes but only one way to breathe. In training, different methods of pranayama are introduced, explained, and woven into the context of practice. Students learn how to use the breath to impact the nervous system and to regulate energy levels.
Meditation is often an afterthought in public classes but it is one of the most potent tools in yoga. Students are introduced to various methods of meditation, how to practice them and how to teach them. Also, as the asana clinics and practices progress, the students slowly build their personal meditation threshold. In this way, students graduate with a home asana, pranayama, and meditation practice.
Yogic History, Philosophy, and Literature
Nearly twenty percent of the United States population participates in yoga of some form. This is an incredible number considering that yoga was relatively unheard of in the western world just fifty years ago. Students learn the ancient and modern history of yoga in this segment and become a part of its future.
Yoga is a practice, a lifestyle and a philosophy. Students are introduced to the first texts that unveil yogic teachings as well as to a number of interpretations of those teachings.
Rachel began facilitating 200 and 500-hour teacher training coursework in the Fall of 2008. She has served as the lead instructor for 8 teacher trainings and accrued over 1,000 total hours of Yoga Alliance approved curriculum to date. She designs and implements curriculum for both 200 and 500-hour trainings. Most notably, she spear-headed both the first flow-based training and the first health care training at YogaYoga studios in Austin, Texas.
Life Changing: Yoga teacher training is a transformative and unforgettable experience regardless of skill, age, experience or intention. Each person enters training with their own individual needs and gifts and leaves better able to access and use those gifts.
Practical: Teacher training teaches basic life skills concerning physical, mental and emotional well-being. Students go home after each course with new tools for themselves and those close to them.
Fun: Class has its ups and downs but overall it is a ridiculous amount of fun. Adults rarely take the time to enjoy the company of other adults in a safe and transformative environment. Friends made in class become friends for life.
Multi-faceted: Individuals approach training with a single view of yoga and leave with a multi-faceted approach. They learn to do yoga that can serve them for a lifetime.
Accessible: Often times there is too much emphasis on reaching a full form of a pose. In these trainings, the focus is on function over form. Students discover ways to bring the benefits of yoga to every body.
Hands-on: Students work closely together and with the instructor to practice skills soon after learning them. The focus on practice teaching begins early on in the training.
Personal: Not all bodies are the same and neither are all teachers. Just as a pose can be adapted for a student, the education received in teacher training is adapted to individual needs. Some students come in with teaching experience and some don't. The goal is to meet the individual where they are in either case.
Challenging: Teacher training is truly an incredible experience and it will definitely be hard at times. Facing oneself on the mat and in the classroom on a regular basis provides a hefty amount of both physical and emotional hurdles. Each individual quickly discovers his or her own road blocks to a more authentic life and sets about conquering them in this practice.