The goal of the 200hr Mindful Yoga Teacher Training programme is to give you an in-depth understanding of Hatha Yoga and Mindfulness to empower individuals (including yourself) towards health and well-being.
The skills introduced are based on the traditional elements of Hatha Yoga and Mindfulness based Stress Reduction (MBSR) including the study of the 5 Koshas and Pantajalis 8 limbs of yoga (yamas, niyamas, asanas, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi) the body scan, 3 step breathing space and Mindfulness Meditation to help our understanding of which Yoga and Mindfulness practices are most appropriate for bringing balance to the breath, body and mind.
These skills are then complemented with a broad understanding of the health and healing process both from a Yoga and Mindfulness based Stress Reduction (MBSR) perspective and also within the modern mind-body health movement. This enables you to develop and teach both Hatha Yoga classes for the general public, and special focus Yoga and Mindfulness based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Health and Wellness classes, workshops and private sessions.
We are registered with the USA Yoga Alliance the largest and most widely recognised Yoga Alliance in the world. As well as professional training, we offer unlimited ongoing support and mentoring both before you arrive on your course, and on graduation.
Who is the programme for?
This course is intended for participants who have:
- a well-established personal yoga practice of at least 2 years
- a desire to teach Mindful Hatha Yoga and Mindfulness to everyday people of all ages and levels of health and wellbeing
- an interest or existing practice in meditation (not necessarily Mindfulness Meditation)
- an interest in modern mind-body techniques and therapies
Yoga practitioners of all ages and walks of life have choosen our approach because it gives them the flexibility to teach in a wide variety of settings including general Hatha Yoga classes in a Yoga Studio. The course also gives you the tools and confidence to take your classes beyond the studio into the community with Yoga and Mindfulness based Stress Reduction (MBSR) health and wellness classes, workshops and private sessions.
We have also found that Teachers, Nurses, Physical Therapists, Psychotherapists, Mindfulness Meditation Teachers, Doctors and other professionals with a mind-body focus have chosen our programme in order to incorporate mindfulness and yoga based wellness and into their professions.
Our age group has been from 22 to very fit over 60’s!
The most important criteria is that your vision of teaching Yoga includes empowering individuals (including yourself) towards health and wellbeing by tuning into and awakening the union of your breath, body and mind.
What is Mindful Yoga?
Based on a mix of the ancient wisdom of traditional Hatha Yoga and modern Mindfulness based Stress Reduction (MBSR) practices, with a healthy dose of the latest research in mind-body science and therapies, Mindful Yoga invites you to tune into your body and be kind to yourself. It is a path, a journey, not to get somewhere else, but to be where we are, as we are in this very moment, with this very breath, whether the experience is pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. The approach is less about performance than about the exploration of experience moment by moment.
The first foundation of Mindful Yoga is Ahimsa (do no harm) to yourself and your students, and at its heart we practice the 8 attitudinal foundations of mindfulness – non judging, patience, beginners mind, trust, non striving, acceptance, letting go and self compassion. This creative interplay between witnessing (mindfulness) and compassion is emphasised or present as a background theme of our practice and teaching. We would also say that the witness consciousness and the compassionate heart are fundamental features of all integrative forms of yoga. Together they make us whole.
Our yoga practice is the perfect time for cultivating the Yama Ahimsa of ‘do no harm’ by stepping out of Automatic Pilot and into each part of our practice with a beginners mind – each breath, each sensations, each thought and emotion offer us an entirely new experience to explore.
Yoga Sutras II: 16 “Heyam Dukham Anagatam – “Suffering that has not yet come can, and should be avoided” really supports our vision of teaching yoga. We often ask “as you practice yoga can you relinquish the goal of physical accomplishment for the intention of cultivating awareness of well-being, peace, joy and happiness?”
It’s not about “doing your yoga practice” it’s about “being in your yoga practice”
So, for example, in asana we bring awareness to our:
Physical sensations to find your middle path of not too tight, not too loose. Is there something you can let go of? Or perhaps your body is asking you to honor or surrender to some limitations, and work with others? Remember the moment (or just before) you lose the balance of effort and ease, if your breath is ragged (the breath is the great teacher of the principle of yoga and should take centre stage in your awareness) or if it just doesn’t feel good then these are cues for you to come out of an asana.
Thoughts Has your mind wandered (it will – that’s what minds do!) Are you caught in your ‘story’ and practicing mindlessly? Are you judging your bodies on the basis of what you can or cannot do? Are these thoughts pushing you towards practicing certain asanas because you think you should be doing them even if you cannot “abide in ease”? Try to put the awareness of your breath as the centre of your practice, you may need to bring your awareness back time and time again – but that’s why it’s called a practice.
Emotions do certain asanas make you feel angry, frustrated or sad? Perhaps you brought these emotions onto the mat with you. What would happen if you changed your breathing? Try gentle Ujjayi to bring calmness and balance, a longer exhale to reduce anger or anxiety, the heart breath (inhale and exhale for the same duration, without force) for sadness.
Mindful Yoga taps into the innate potential for healing that we all have. It mobilizes our ability to cultivate embodied wisdom and self-compassion, and by so doing it teaches us to live our life and face whatever arises with awareness, integrity, clarity and an open-hearted presence both on and off our mats. This is why we call Mindful Yoga a therapeutic practice, even so, from time to time, we may need to remind ourselves to just be in our yoga practice, rather than think we are doing the yoga practice.
Learn to let go, that is the key to happiness.
Jack Kornfield. A Path with Heart.
A general Mindful Yoga class
The focus of a general Mindful Yoga class is to tune into your breath, body, sensation, thought and emotions, and practice in a way that brings bring balance and harmony. In our asana practice we will practice both slowly and quickly. With longer holds we have the space to explore and with flow or vinyasa sequences we focus on staying present throughout the movement. Neither is better or more advanced and both offer us the opportunity to awaken.
What to expect
Each day is a mix of practice and theoretical classes following the Yoga Alliance 5 education categories. This is not an attendance course so you must participate in all sessions and achieve the required standards during the daily quiz and assessments to graduate the course.
The 5 Yoga Alliance categories are
- Yoga Techniques, Training and Practice (this includes all 8 limbs of yoga)
- Anatomy and Physiology,
- Teaching Methodology and
- Practicum/Teaching experience
Training sessions include
Yoga Techniques, Training and Practicum based on the 8 limbs of Yoga – Mindful Yoga practices focus on using Yoga to get into our bodies – not using our bodies to get into Yoga!
Asana – Mindful Yoga practice, in depth instruction and teaching practice using the Mindful Asana Principle (MAP) cards, learn modifications to suit different students, body reading and assists so that we can find our middle path and ‘abide in ease’
Pranayama – Learning what we mean by a ‘breath centred practice’ breath awareness and pranayamas to bring balance.
Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana & Samadhi – The heart of yoga and meditation. We will help you establish a personal Mindfulness Meditation practice and how to teach Meditation to your students.
You will also experience and learn other tools and techniques of Yoga including Kosha based Body Awareness, Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) Body Scanning, Yoga Nidra, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Guided relaxation, Mindful Movement and Yin Yoga.
Subjects include the Art of Teaching a Mindful Yoga class, class structures, teaching body awareness, mudras, mantras, bandhas, pranayamas, visualisation and imagery plus you will also learn how to include a few of the core skills of MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction) into your classes and programmes.
Anatomy and Physiology
The course has a special focus on Anatomy and how the body moves in Asana. This is so we can be more mindful in our approach, there is a saying that goes “use yoga to get into your body NOT use your body to get into yoga!”
Subjects include focus on spinal health, the skeleton, muscles, fascia, stretching, respiratory system, circulation, digestion and the subtle body (chakras, meridians and nadis) Plus special focus classes on the hips, pelvis, ankles, knees and shoulders, accessing range of motion (both your own and students) and exploring poses that can create stability and/or flexibility.
We also spend time reviewing the effects stress, obesity, challenges that face the over 50’s and those living with health challenges.
Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle and Ethics
Subjects include an introduction to the Yoga Sutras from a modern perspective including the Yamas (Ethical principles & living in harmony) and Niyamas (Personal practices & conscious everyday living) and the 5 Koshas. We also explore developing a personal practice and your vision of teaching Mindful Yoga using the core principles of Mindfulness, Eight Limbs of Yoga and modern ethics. Also, as a way of pausing and becoming aware of any changes you have experienced over the course, on the final day you will be asked to write a 2 – 3 page paper on Mindful Yoga and Meditation.
The course includes in-depth teaching and practice teaching using the Mindful Asana Principle (MAP) cards.
You will also learn to teach all 5 stages of a typical Mindful Yoga class sequence including Body Awareness exercises, Warm Ups, Pranayamas, Mudras, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Visualization and Meditation.