vrijdag 16 september 2016

6 Reasons to join the Yogalife teacher training course

Yogalife Foundation
About a year ago I decided I wanted to join a yoga teacher’s training course (TTC). After two dance related injuries I embraced yoga as a healthier way to move. My initial goal in joining a TTC was to immerse myself in yoga. When you start taking yoga classes regularly you feel the benefits, but an hour or an hour and a half of class is not enough to learn about asanas and pranayama and meditation and yoga philosophy…

So I started browsing the internet for a yoga TTC in India. I wanted the real thing, explore yoga in it’s natural environment as it were. There are so many places that offer teacher training, which one to choose? A good website seems a contradiction when you’re looking for an authentic traditional program. So I turned away from the internet and went to the people I know. July 2015 I had met Manoj Bhanot. He’s Indian, lives in Gent but I actually met him in Italy (read about our meeting here). I had enjoyed the yoga practice in Tuscany and the yoga nidra session in a pretty little church. Over diner Manoj had talked about Yogalife and the teacher trainings he organizes. He was inspirational and down to earth at the same time. He showed a profound knowledge of yoga but didn't talk in riddles, if you catch my drift.

When Yogalife announced the start of a new TTC in Leuven, one weekend every month, I was sold. The course takes a little longer - 9 months - but you can combine the TTC with work and family life. Plus: you give your body time to recover from intense yoga practice, you have time to digest all the information and prepare the classes you will have to teach. The Yogalife TTC is organized by a family that grew up in India in a tradition of yoga, a family that has been organizing teacher trainings and retreats for many years now.

On the website doyouyoga.com Ali Washington shares 10 reasons to do a yoga teacher training. I have to agree: the yoga teacher training does change your life. And the changes go far beyond the physical. With Yogalife you are in very knowledgeable, capable and supportive hands to embark on this life changing adventure.

'Connect with your true self'

Sanjeev Bhanot & Katarina
That first weekend in March we had yoga classes, meditation sessions, lectures and an in depth look at postures like cobra. But most of all the first weekend was about getting to know each other and ourselves. You think you know yourself? Wait until Sanjeev Bhanot starts asking questions. I don’t want to give away what happens during the first weekend but it was emotionally very intense and liberating. 

Sanjeev Bhanot is the founder of the Yogalife Foundation, he has trained teachers for Deepak Chopra at the Chopra Center in California, he coached Julia Roberts during the making of ‘Eat Pray Love’ and he has worked for the UN, Microsoft and other companies. He has also developed his own style of yoga: Antastha yoga, a blindfolded yoga. 

It's a privilege to take his yoga classes and listen to his lectures about the journey into self-discovery. Sanjeev does seem to talk in riddles sometimes but that's part of his charm and his talks do strike a chord.

'Deepen your asana practice'

April and we’re back at Santé Magic, the beautiful wellness and yoga centre in Leuven. The second TTC weekend was about firsts: first time touching my nose to my knees in paschimottanasana, first time shoulder stand with the arms lifted, first time teaching sun salutations. I enjoyed myself that Sunday teaching the Surya Namaskara in small groups. That’s the first time I thought ‘maybe I do want to become a yoga teacher'.

'Learn new things about your body'

Sarah Jabloune & me in utthita parsvakonasana
In May it was time for Manoj to share his love for Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. We learned about yamas and niyamas, about making yoga a part of everyday life. I had a physical setback after that weekend. I had pushed myself too much and neglected to listen to my body. Such an important lesson! I tell new students in my class how important it is to listen to their body and here I am totally ignoring mine… My lower back was hurting so much I could not do cat pose. Sun salutations the days after the TTC were torture. But that pain actually helped me to become a better teacher. I had to listen to my body and search for variations that my painful body could manage. Because of those weeks with lower back pain I’m a better teacher now, one that can relate to less flexible people in my class.

'Avoid injury'

The June TTC weekend was dedicated to anatomy. Yoga doesn’t only affect your skeletal, muscular and respiratory systems but many more body systems. It was a lot of information to digest but our teacher Nadine and her assistant Sigrid made it comprehensible and made us aware of the muscles, the skeleton, the blood circulation… through exercises as well as talks.

During a Yogalife TTC you will meet lots of lovely assistants; yoga teachers that have done the Yogalife course and continue their education by assisting during the next teacher trainings. You’ll be amazed about the quality of their teachings and their diversity. Every Yogalife teacher has their own style of teaching.

'Forge new relationships'

with Els & Patrick
Beginning of summer and we’re at Santé Magic to learn about meditation and the history of hatha yoga from Patrick De Vleeschauwer and to experience yoga nidra, a sleep based meditation. Yoga nidra is a powerful method of physical, mental and emotional relaxation. We were guided through this powerful meditation by Els Verheije, another very experienced and wonderful teacher. Yogalife has a great team of teachers, every one with their own speciality. 

By this time we are also becoming teachers: we all have to teach 20 minutes of a yoga class. That weekend I taught the beginning of a class. I was so nervous even though I was already teaching three times a week. But I guess it feels a bit different when you’re teaching knowledgeable students and when you’re being evaluated.

Two whole months in between that July TTC weekend and the next one in September! What a long time to miss my new yogi friends. Luckily there was the Yogalife festival in August: three days of yoga classes and time to hang out with other members of the Yogalife family ‘cause that’s what it feels like. A warm, supportive family.

Foto © Stijn Swinnen @Yogalife Festival with Teresa & Sander

'Gain confidence'

Before the Yogalife TTC I did not realize how much stress was affecting me, my stress level must have been about 9,5 out of 10. Just about anything would give me stress, even in conversations with friends I would worry about saying the wrong thing. These anxieties were affecting my body and my mental state. I went from knee pain to back pain to heel pain and back to knee pain… Something was always hurting. But it’s September, 6 months after starting the TTC and I feel so much more relaxed. There’s still a little bit of nervousness when something new comes along but it’s not debilitating anymore. My fellow students have noticed the difference too, I’m so much more open now.

I was still nervous teaching 30 minutes on Saturday but I enjoyed it so much that I volunteered to teach another 30 minutes the next day. It’s so much fun, I’m hooked. I’m actually looking forward to my final examination teaching class but I do NOT want the TTC to end. I wish it could continue on forever. 

But yoga teaches us to live in the now so I will not look too far ahead and enjoy my relaxed state at the moment. Yoga also teaches us to be grateful so I'm glad I still have three more weekends to share with my fellow students and the Yogalife teachers. That means three more weekends to discover many more reasons that make this Yogalife journey so wonderful.



You can join a Yogalife teacher training course in Gent, Brussels and Goa.
More information on the Yogalife website