Yoga is on the rise!
Yoga has grown so much over the years, especially in London where there seems to be a new studio popping up every few months. In 2016, we also started to see the trend of boutique fitness studios providing the option of yoga alongside their other HIIT style classes to offer an even more balanced approach to training. Whether it’s Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Hatha, or Hot Yoga, people have found their own personal reasons for practicing.
Throughout my time training, I have always done some form of internal practice, from Tai Chi to Qi Gong and Yoga, but not as consistently as I would have liked. So, last September I decided to take the plunge and up my game.
How yoga changed my life
The benefits of yoga are vast, from improving kids’ self-regulatory skills in school
, to helping adults reduce anxiety, stress, and even insomnia. Working in such an energetic industry and city, I wanted to not only teach and promote this practice, first and foremost I wanted to live it and make it intrinsic to my life.
I tend not to do things by halves, so on the 31st August I flew out to Costa Rica for a transformational, month-long 200 YTT (Yoga teacher training) course – it changed my life.
What the Yoga Teacher Training involved
The training was done at Vida Asana3 near to the beach, tucked away in the lush green jungle of Costa Rica. The powerfully beautiful environment and people alone was enough to de-stress and help me appreciate the vivid colour of life even more. The actual course timetable was pretty intense with a lot to learn in just a few weeks – usually from 6am until 6.30pm. Like with all certified training courses, it covered all key content, including:
- Techniques Training/Practice
- Teaching Methodology
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle and Ethics for Yoga Teachers
…All making up around 200 hours. Most importantly, it gave me the tools to grow my own yoga practice and keep developing as a teacher over time.
Personal lessons I gained from the course
Learning how to teach yoga wasn’t all about jumping straight into teaching classes. First and foremost, it was about learning how to better help myself and my life through yoga. It is said, any help is self-help – before you can help others you need to be able to help yourself. The experience gave me just that; a brand new perspective on life, how to prioritise important things, reduce stress, and give more energy and attention to fulfilling things in my life.
On the physical side of things, it was like a month long realigning process. Even with all the postural training and stretching I do, there was a lot of focus on my thighs hips, hamstrings and shoulders – all from years of sitting and training. Was there a need to travel half way around the world to get these benefits? Absolutely! Your environment is conducive to your physical and emotional state, and I wanted a huge change!
If you don’t have a month off work for personal discovery, here’s my guide to infusing yoga into your life.
Ways to let yoga into your life
Yoga Teacher Training Course
Yoga teacher training isn't just for aspiring yoga instructors, but it can also serve as a transformational process and life change. Training can range from a 3-4 week intensive course to a year-long training course. This can be abroad or locally. Make sure your course is accredited by the main associations in the UK. These are:
- British Wheel of Yoga (BWY)
- Yoga Alliance UK and Yoga Alliance (International)
- Independent Yoga Network (IYN)
Find a week or two and dedicate it to yourself. Retreats can be worldwide, ranging from luxury to rustic. Find a place that resonates with you. You can check sites such as bookyogaretreats.com or trip advisor.co.uk for reviews too, but nothing beats personal recommendation.
With hundreds of studios and classes in London alone, you are spoilt for choice. Many studios do first time trial packages, so you can sample the many yoga styles and find one that’s right for you. It can be quite inspiring practicing in a group.
If you feel more comfortable practicing at home, as well as online videos made by instructors, there are many online streamed classes such as gaia.com and movementformodernlife.com. This can be super convenient as it’s time flexible.
The most accessible form of yoga, (with no excuses), is everyday mindfulness. For me, yoga isn’t all about the postures on the mat, but more importantly how you carry yourself and interact with others off the mat. Everyone can find ways to be a little more loving and accepting in all aspects of life, with ourselves and others!