I remember early on in my yoga teaching adventure hearing someone say, “The fastest way to ruin your yoga practice is to become a teacher.” My immediate response was shock and horror – not me! No way! I would be as forever committed to my yoga mat as I was at that very moment.
Over the years, I began to recognize the truth to the statement. Becoming a yoga teacher oftentimes takes us away from the role of being the student. Part of that is because once we become yoga teachers, much of the time we had set aside for taking a yoga class becomes redistributed to the time we have to teach a yoga class. But a big part is because it is easy to get caught up in our way of doing things – the way we cue, the way we sequence, the way we practice, the way we interpret the practice of yoga, and so on -that we get stuck in our own bubble. And when we get stuck, we stop evolving.
Completing a yoga teacher training does not make any of us an expert, especially considering the standard training for Western yoga teachers is solely 200 hours of training. It’s really just a dip of a toe into an ocean of information, but it is easy to forget what we don’t know when we’re busy trying to share what we do know.
I got very caught up in my way of doing things early on in my teaching career, having been taught in such a way that presumed there was a “best” way of teaching. I did everything I could to subscribe to that particular way of teaching, wanting very much to impress my teachers and mentors. There was a year where I painstakingly developed a style of teaching that was intended to cater to the general and personal preferences of my teacher (see also: my boss), in an effort to make her happy, thus avoiding receiving negative feedback when I taught the way I wanted. Essentially, I learned how to teach a perfect class for that one particular person, setting aside any of my preferences, or, more importantly – what would best support the other 20+ people in my class.
Yoga teacher training is really just a dip of a toe into an ocean of information, but it is easy to forget what we don’t know when we’re busy trying to share what we do know.
My teaching career began shifting four years ago, right before the creation of Yoga Buzz. I wasn’t entirely sure what was happening, but I knew that the way I had been teaching and practicing no longer served me. My mind was completely blown when I attended the Accessible Yoga Conference in 2016, and even more so when I trained with Matthew Sanford’s Adaptive Yoga training that same fall. I was surrounded by people who had entirely different abilities, perspectives, and experiences with yoga, rather than a group of folks who all saw things more or less the same. I remember coming back to the teacher training I was halfway through leading the following weekend and saying, “Forget everything I’ve said, we’re going to look at things a little differently now…”
At Yoga Buzz, we believe in expanding the conversation around conventional, Western yoga to include more perspectives. This supports the on-going re-creation of a yoga community that is more inclusive, more accessible, and more reflective of the greater collective, not just a select percentage.
For the last few years, we have been hosting our 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Program, with a commitment to our four pillars of education: accessibility, trauma-informed approaches, social justice and conscious activism, and cultural appreciation. We have watched as our 118 graduates have been creating ripples of change throughout the St. Louis yoga community, and we believe that these pillars of education specifically have a lot of value to offer in creating a shift in conventional yoga.
We are thrilled to now expand our educational offerings to be available to one and all, featuring local as well as national voices. Presenting; the upcoming Yoga Buzz Continuing Yoga Education schedule!
July 20 – 22
Skill in Action: Yoga + Social Justice with Michelle Johnson Join Yoga Buzz in welcoming yoga teacher, social justice activist, and Dismatling Racism trainer Michelle Johnson to St. Louis for a weekend workshop diving into a conversation of yoga as a radical tool for activism, all with the goal of creating equity, justice, and personal transformation that ripples outward.
Intro to Trauma for Yogis This three-hour introduction to trauma is specifically geared toward yoga teachers and teachers in training. Attendees will learn the definition of trauma, the impact trauma has on the body and mind, and practical application of this knowledge to create a trauma-aware environment on the mat.
Intro to Adapting Yoga for Accessibility Join Yoga Buzz Executive Director April Morrison for an afternoon workshop on rethinking yoga asana (poses). Through the integration of props like blocks, bolsters, and chairs, begin to rewrite what you perceive the practice to look like. This session has been postponed – stay tuned for the reschedule date.
October 5 – 7
Veteran’s Yoga Project Veterans Yoga Project is teaming up with Yoga Buzz and the VA in St. Louis to offer an extraordinary opportunity for intensive training in a proven, mindful approach to teaching yoga to veterans and others who are struggling with post-traumatic stress and other trauma-related psychological difficulties.
October 13 – 14
A Weekend with Dana Falsetti Join Yoga Buzz and EarthDance Organic Farm School in welcoming thought-leader, yoga teacher, and body justice advocate Dana Falsetti (aka @nolatrees) to St. Louis!