When I opened Whole Life Yoga, I never intended to offer a yoga teacher training. In fact, it was the farthest thing from my mind. I was already beyond busy teaching classes and private sessions, managing the studio, and working my non-yoga consulting job to pay the bills. I blame Rene. Those of you who don’t know Rene are missing out. He’s a kind spirit, wonderful man, awesome yoga teacher, and now Whole Life Yoga employee. (See him in Yoga for Men and his drop-in yoga class on Tuesdays!)
Anyway, Rene and I met for coffee one day about nine years ago. He told me that he wanted to learn how to teach yoga. I assured him that I thought it was a fantastic idea. Then came the kicker. He said he wanted to study with me! I can’t remember what I said anymore, but it was likely something eloquent like “huh?” Dumbfounded, I left the meeting, the seed planted. Shortly after, I went on vacation. A “yoga cruise” of all things. I remember relaxing in a deck chair on last day of the cruise. For whatever reason, I had the epiphany. “I can do this!” I pulled out a sheet of paper and started designing the training.
It took longer than that day on the deck. Over the next few months, I added a new task to my to-do list. I began developing the nine-month curriculum and applied for certification from Yoga Alliance. Ever the multi-tasker, I developed my advertising plan while leading a career mentoring seminar in Ireland. I fervently hoped I’d get some students. I had Rene, of course, but would anyone else sign up? I hoped to get six students who would meet at my house. In the end, Yoga Alliance certified my program, twenty students registered, and I moved the training to the Phinney Neighborhood Association, where it’s been ever since.
The first year wasn’t without bumps, but we had a great time and learned a ton. Since then, I’ve offered nine 200-hour trainings and added a 500-hour one. We’ve certified over 160 people, with 23 more in the program now.
I can honestly say that teaching this program is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Leading a group of people through this process of transformation is simultaneously enriching, challenging, frustrating and sometimes heartbreaking. It’s telling that the training now takes place over 10 months—the same amount of time it takes to gestate a child. We see each other through births, deaths, marriages and divorces. And growth—lots and lots of growth. We learn about yoga postures, of course, but that’s the least of it. By studying yoga and yoga philosophy, we learn about ourselves and grow in ways so much more profound than the physical.
As I now plan for my 11th training, I hope that some of you will join us. Our students are varied. I’ve had students in their teens and in their mid 70’s. Students who are physically fit and healthy, and students with injury and debilitating illness. Students who are pregnant. Students who are brand new to yoga and, students who have been yoga teachers for over a decade. Students who never intend to teach, and students who plan to open yoga studios. All are welcome. All add to the diversity and richness of our experience.
I hope some of you will join us in October. And be sure to thank Rene for starting me and so many others on this journey!
More information about Whole Life Yoga’s teacher training program can be found at our web site: Yoga Teacher Training at Whole Life Yoga.