Today I’m introducing the Fall 2015 session of The Skilful Yogi, an online mentoring program for yoga teachers. I created and piloted this program last winter. Throughout the offering of the program and in my reflections since then, I’ve become even more convinced that this type of work is essential for all yoga teachers. Here’s why:
As we who love these practices know, Yoga is a path for a lifetime.
The best, most inspiring and impactful teachers are those who are actively engaged with their personal practice and truly inspired by their ongoing study of yoga as students.
Having worked with yoga teachers for the past decade, I recognize the need for an accessible, practical and supportive framework for professional development outside of the traditional teacher-training model.
I created The Skilful Yogi to respond to four needs that I believe are essential for all yoga teachers who want to get better and more effective at what they do:
1. Ongoing engagement with the subject
Yoga teachers are busy. Constraints of time, resources and energy might make our professional development as teachers a challenge. And yet, in order to become a better teacher and remain enthusiastic about what you do, it is crucial that you keep refining your skills and understanding.
I wanted to create a structure to make the important work of continuing education for yoga teachers accessible, affordable, and effective.
The Skilful Yogi offers a framework to refine your teaching skills, deepen your personal practice and reflect on the teachings of yoga. These three aspects of the program work together to inspire and inform your teaching.
2. New teachers need the opportunity, including time, guidance and a structure, to assimilate what they receive in training.
Often, I see new teachers complete a teacher training and right away move on to another more specialized or advanced training with the good intention of gathering more skills with which to serve students.
However, we might never give ourselves a chance to fully process all the tools and knowledge we receive in training and put them into practice.
New teachers need support to integrate new skills, to test out knowledge, to see what works, and what doesn’t. It takes practice and guidance to assimilate the tools and knowledge we receive in trainings.
The Skilful Yogi is less about giving you new information and knowledge, although there is some of that too. It’s more about empowering you to take ownership of the tools and knowledge you already have so you can share them with confidence and skill.
3. Even the best 200-hour training is just the beginning!
As you begin and continue teaching, questions naturally arise based on your real-life experience. Real students, with real bodies in real teaching situations are the best sources of ongoing learning if we have the structure and support to process what comes up in class.
In this program, you will get answers to your questions, clarify your understanding, fill in the gaps of your knowledge and receive guidance in further refining your teaching skills.
4. Yoga teachers need community.
In yoga, learning happens best when done in community. I know many teachers who are leaders in their local community yet they themselves don’t have a network to tap into for support. Sometimes this is because they did their training in another city or because they live in rural areas and might not live close to other teachers.
This program is designed to foster a supportive and stimulating learning and practice community both online and in-person through our local host program.
The Skilful Yogi offers yoga teachers a framework to re-enter the space of learning and discovery, to deepen your practice, refine your teaching skills and to be inspired and re-inspired by the great wisdom of yoga tradition.