How to Choose the Best Yoga Teacher Training For You
A Yoga Teacher Training course can be a deeply transformative and profound journey into your innermost self. We are honored that you are considering joining our yoga school and attending one of our courses and we wish to offer you some helpful guidelines in choosing the right teacher training program for you; be it ours or elsewhere.
Yoga as it is practiced in the west has transformed vastly from its traditional roots here in Asia. As such confusion can arise in the minds of students who are unaware of the deeper dimensions of yoga and how it is both taught and learned. What follows are some points to consider and questions from previous students to help you understand if what we offer is appropriate for you on your journey into the heart of Yoga.
1 – Make sure your Yoga Training is Spiritually Focused
Spiritual Awakening is the very essence of yoga. Yoga offers not only an approach to work with the body and mind but also offers a complete and holistic system of self-transformation that allows for each individual to discover their true Spiritual Self. As such inner transformation is integral on the path of yoga and any teacher training course that emphasizes yoga as spiritual path will give you the opportunity to discover and deepen your spiritual connection.
Q: What is your yoga school’s approach to spiritual growth?
A: Our approach is that ultimately you are the embodiment of Spirit in form and to discover this is to let go of all that which is clouding the remembrance of your true nature. This entails purification of the thought patterns, emotions, memories and samsakaras (imprints) through techniques and practices. Pure Awareness is the principle mode we advise for letting go into this natural state of yoga. This is an act of surrendering and letting go of all illusions, attachments, and aversions to what Is. It is the deepest self-acceptance of one own self and consequently of all that is. This is pure love, pure bliss, and pure consciousness.
2 – Choose Yoga Teachers Who Live and Embody the Essence of Yoga
Some students choose a training program based on their personal holiday schedule or their preference for one style of yoga asana practice over another, without ever understanding who they will be learning from. While this is now common in the modern world, central to authentic yoga is finding a teacher that is truly able to embody the balance, wisdom and compassion that is the hallmark of a real yogi or yogini. Their life experience and spiritual maturity will act as an ongoing source of inspiration and guidance for you as you deepen your own spiritual connection and learn how to teach yoga through the intuitive heart.
Q: Who are the Blooming Lotus Yoga Teachers?
A: I am the main teacher of the courses (Lily) and teach the asana, anatomy, pranayama, esoteric techniques and meditation components, while Ramananda teaches the philosophy, lifestyle, ayurveda, and some meditation sections. (You can read the testimonials below to get a better feel about the skills of our teachers or can find out more about them here.)
3- Research the Content of the Courses
Aim for a well-rounded and holistic approach to yoga. Yoga trainings that are deeply rooted in the classical yoga tradition while still being highly applicable to the modern age offer you the best all-around training. Be careful of courses that are only asana based, those that emphasize only health and fitness, or those schools which have trademarked their style of yoga©, franchised or heavily marketed their “brand” of yoga. Though anatomy training is important, when it becomes dominant and there is too much focus on the physical body it can indicate that the essence of yoga is being overlooked. The schools that teach you how to market yourself as a yoga teacher, how to start your own yoga school or how to do business are adding to the confusion and wasting your time. Being a real yoga teacher is neither a job nor a profession. It is an inner calling from the heart that will open the doors to higher levels of awareness from which you will be able to heal and guide others on their path of awakening. Schools that support this, will rather, encourage you towards disciplined self-practice, healthy diet, silence, self-reflection, meditation and other practical spiritual techniques. These tools will enhance both your prana and awareness, so that you may gain the inner strength to meet every moment with peace and equanimity.
Q: What is the course content of the Blooming Lotus Yoga Teacher Trainings?
A: The main focus of this course is on developing the skills, methods and techniques of Self-Awareness to embody the essence of yoga and transmit it through yoga classes and by simply being in the world. The course is strategically structured to interweave and integrate the multi-faceted aspects of yoga, tantra and vedanta synergetically so that while we contemplate the theory and philosophy we are applying this knowledge and experiencing its truths. While the syllabus is an intricate web of systematically building knowledge and experience, it fundamentally allows for the organic and natural unfoldment of what each student and group needs to come into the clearest remembrance of their inner wisdom and capacity for compassion. It is a skillful means of preparing each student with the utmost care and attention while understanding each will go through their own process and unfoldment in their own time. Specifically we share the deep rooted philosophy and techniques of yoga which includes yoga asanas, bandhas, pranayama, breath awareness, kriyas and self-inquiry. We also utilize a progressive approach to anatomy that views the body in a holistic way mapping out myofascial lines to sense and integrate the various systems so that it may act harmoniously allowing for the energy body to flow freely. Connections are also made between the relations of the energy body and how it plays out in the emotional and mental planes. This allows us to see the root cause of physical, emotional and mental challenges that obstruct the remembrance e of our true nature. Particular attention is brought to working with different populations with their different need; giving safety and alignment a priority to ensure that yoga is taught to the individual. The course also covers the essentials of pre- and post-natal yoga as well as yin and restorative. What is particularly unique about this course is how to use hand mudras within a yoga flow as well as introducing the magical science of yoga nidra.
4 – Find an Intimate Group Setting
One on one attention and care for your individual process will offer you a safe and supportive environment from which you can learn, ask questions and develop a personal connection with your teachers. The essence of Yoga is actually impossible to learn. It is in actuality a heart to heart and mind to mind transmission of pure awareness that occurs when both the teacher and student are ready. Try to attend only small group retreats as it will be easier for you to develop this personal connection. Though large groups can have a lot of energy, yoga teacher trainings are an intense learning environment where you may benefit more from the intimacy and affection shared in smaller gatherings. Be mindful of yoga trainings with large faculties of teachers. This often indicates that the main teachers do not have enough experience with the various facets of yoga and have only studied yoga asana sufficiently enough to teach only this aspect of yoga. Unless the faculty is well organized and has much experience complementing each other’s teachings you may get a disconnected and fragmented body of teachings that are hard to integrate.
Q: How many students and teachers are there in your yoga teacher training course?
A: We purposefully limit the number of students for each course to 24 students. The course has actually become so popular in recent years that we are now forced to refuse more applications than we accept! Yet to preserve the timeless bond of love that unites us with our students we prefer to keep things small and humble.
5 – Practice Yoga in Nature
Yoga is best practiced in a natural environment where the earth is clean, the water is abundant, the temperature is mild, the air is pure and the space is clear. Yoga studios, small rooms, and rented halls in cities are probably not the best choice. A retreat center or ashram in nature, away from the faced paced lifestyle of modern cities, is ideal. If at all possible find a community of other yoga practitioners and spiritually minded people. There you will find community support, a slow paced lifestyle and the conditions necessary to deepen your own practice with little effort.
Q: Where are the Blooming Lotus Yoga Courses?
A: We are blessed to be here in Ubud, Bali. A true sanctuary of pristine nature…we are surrounded by lush jungle foliage, on the banks of a river, directly across from a sacred Balinese Water temple, with the sounds of mystical birds chirping to wake us up and immersed in an international community of spiritual seekers.
6 – Pre-requisites and Screening
Many yoga schools and teachers are teaching with the aim of learning a livelihood to support themselves and their families going what they love – yoga. While this is totally reasonable sometimes in order to fill their courses there is a lack of discernment as to who is really ready to become a yoga teacher. Many yoga schools have zero pre-requisites and will accept anyone, no matter what age, how much background or experience they may have. Many unqualified yoga teachers graduate from yoga teacher courses each year, only because they paid their tuition; thus, diluting the noble tradition of yoga. Though these students benefit deeply from their training they may not be really qualified to teach based on their own experience of yoga. If a school screens their students you can presume that they are not in it for financial reasons and are wanting to attract the highest quality students. As such you will likely be in a training course with many other mature and competent fellow students.
Q: What are the Blooming Lotus Yoga School pre-requisites? A: We require at least two years of dedicated yoga practice, with a preference given to students with some meditation experience. We prefer student 24 years or older but exceptions can be made when young students demonstrates a high level of awareness when filling out their application forms. All students also need to be fluent in the English language.
7 – Practice Teaching
To apply what you have learned while in the yoga teacher training it is important that the course you choose has ample time for practice teaching. Practicums, or practice teaching time, provide students the confidence they need to teach classes skillfully and compassionately. Many students remark on feeling inadequately prepared to teach, if they have attended a program with little practice teaching time. The learning curve, which can be full of learning from mistakes, can be easily surmounted in a supportive and nurturing environment in the presence of your fellow students and teachers. They will gently guide you to teach yoga from the heart even when the mind gets in the way.
Q: How much time do students spend practice teaching?
A: By day 12 of the teacher training the practicums starts and continues until the end of the course.