Each day at yoga teacher training at Essence of Living begins with a guided seated meditation (or more specifically, a guided concentration technique) to centre and align our minds.
This is followed by an energising asana class to centre and align our bodies. Asanas are the physical postures or poses of yoga; what we in the West think of as ‘yoga’. In fact, asana is just one of the eight limbs of yoga, as described by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras.
After a short breakfast break where we indulge in nature’s sounds and sights at the beautiful Tallebudgera retreat location, we return to get stuck into some theory.
In just four days (2 weekends) of yoga teacher training at Essence of Living we’ve already covered a massive amount of content! My favourites have been an in-depth, step-by-step process on how to sequence a yoga class, and how quantum physics aligns with yogic philosophy, meditation and going beyond both body and mind. Somehow, we’ve learnt the theory behind all of this, in a fun, super-relatable and interesting way:
- Meaning of aum
- 5 levels of the mind
- How quantum physics aligns with yogic philosophy
- 5 branches of yoga
- 8 limbs of ashtanga yoga, the yamas & niyamas
- First 2 yoga sutras of Patanjali
- Importance of the breath, how to breathe in a yoga class & why
- What is pranayama
- 4 of the pranayama techniques
- Principles of ashtanga vinyasa krama
- 2 of the bandhas
- 4 of the mudras
- Principles of hatha yoga
- How to meditate
- How to sequence a yoga class
- The core principles of how to be a SAFE, but GREAT yoga teacher
Flowing with the dynamics of the group and answering our eager questions fully and completely as they arise, going off on tangents, flicking from front to back of the book and looping back around again, it all starts to make sense. The information begins to slot into the correct parts of my brain. “It’ll all make sense in the end,” Michelle says with a smile.
After diving deep into the philosophy and theory it’s time for a welcome lunch break and some chitchat with my new best friends. The Tallebudgera studio where yoga teacher training at Essence of Living is held has a little kitchen so I’m able to whip up some amazing plant-based meals!
After lunch we switch the energy up and come to some more practical, hands-on learning. This is what I love the most about the course so far. After just two weekends at yoga teacher training at Essence of Living I realise this isn’t one of those courses where you pay to get your qualification and ‘seeya later!’ This course actually teaches you HOW to be a yoga teacher! How to be a GREAT yoga teacher. Michelle actually makes you practise the tools you need to be a great teacher, right from the second week.
You know how we always complain about the education system teaching us the theory behind everything but not actually how to do anything? At school we learn trigonometry but we leave with no idea about how to do our taxes, how to vote or how to get a job? When we’re taught languages we’re taught how to read and write but the teacher speaks English to us the whole time??
In just two weekends of yoga teacher training at Essence of Living we’ve already ALL given two yoga philosophy talks with the rest of the class relaxing in savasana – just how a yoga teacher would start or end a class.
Because of this, I now actually UNDERSTAND the 8 limbs of yoga and the yamas and niyamas on a deep level, and am able to put that knowledge into my own words and add my own unique touch to it instead of just memorising the information. Not only that but we’ve all already led the rest of the class in surya namaskar A (sun salutation A), and have all learnt to adjust, hands on, the standing yoga asana poses and sun salutation A and B.
We have also all observed at least one yoga asana class taught by Michelle or one of her teachers at the studio, allowing us to begin to see how the sequencing works and flows and integrates with the philosophy teachings, breathing and relaxation.
The transformations that have already taken place at yoga teacher training at Essence of Living within the group are amazing! At least five of us have already cried… A few girls with massive fears and anxieties around public speaking have already started to break down the barriers and improved so much since their first talk… And we’re all starting to become closer and closer friends. I can’t wait to continue to learn and evolve over the next 8 weekends, and I wish it didn’t have to end!