Michael Johnson is a compelling mix of creative yoga instructor and curious student of the mind. The root of his interest in meditation lies in its ability to help with neurological disorders and for developing wellbeing.

Michael’s worldview and meditation practiced changed when he read Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson and Richard Mendius. In this book, they explain how we can literally reshape our brain for greater happiness, love and wisdom through a combination of modern science and ancient teachings. Implementing these teachings into his own life, Michael eventually divested himself of the dogmatic & religious interpretations of meditation and instead focused on a more scientific approach.

Mettā Meditation, begins October 13. According to Michael, “Mettā means the combination of kindness, compassion, gratitude and patience-all in one. It is a meditation technique used for developing these states so they can occur with greater ease and frequency.” When you look at it from a neuroscientific perspective, cultivating these positive emotions proactively builds new connections between neurons, increases gray matter in key areas and primes our consciousness to respond with kindness for the next person you meet as well as the person you’re trying to heal a relationship with.

“Vipassanā is more like pruning, ridding ourself of weeds or bad habits that have accumulated in our mind. So the two meditation techniques go hand in hand. One is like clearing weeds and the other is for planting seeds.” he says. Find out more about how you can develop inner peace, better relationships and a positive outlook on life by registering for the Mettā workshop at youryoga.com.

Also interested in the advantages of the combination of pranayama and music during a practice, Michael and his wife, Stephanie, formed a project called Ösel to share their love of music and kirtan. Ösel provides original music with creative rhythms using a wide range of instruments, traditional Sanskrit mantra and poetry. Each album is 108, 120 or 130 beats per minute to compliment Ujjāyī breathing. Their albums are available for purchase in the Asheville Yoga Boutique. Their next Kirtan at AYC is Oct 8th from 2-4pm by donation.

Michael understands that for beginners, it can be difficult to consistently make it to yoga classes. His advice to new practitioners is “Doing anything for the first time takes a lot of courage. There are a million reasons not to, but if you can just get through the door, take the class and have the experience, you’ll find it’s totally worth the time. It also helps to come with a friend. A lot of people come to yoga class, not to prove anything, but rather to feel a sense of connection and peace of mind that’s hard to get anywhere else. That’s, I think, why people keep coming back to classes.” So if you’re feeling a bit lost in finding your stride in your practice, or even are an established yogi looking to further the depth of your practice, we here at AYC recommend you attend any of Michael’s classes and workshops. He has a massive following of dedicated students not only because of his wisdom and experience as an instructor, but also because of his raw understanding of what it means to be human with all of the complexities of attempting to successfully navigate our emotions and this world we live in. Find out more about the services he offers and his class schedules at clearlightyoga.com and youryoga.com.

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide 

How Ayurveda Compliments Your Yoga Practice

By Stephanie Keach

Hatha Yoga does an amazing job at strengthening, stretching and detoxifying the body, while helping to replenish and rejuvenate all the internal glands and organs. Yet for some, it may not be enough for full wellbeing.

Yoga has a sister, her name is Ayurveda (both born in India).  If Yoga’s original purpose was to get your body prepared for spiritual practice, then Ayurveda takes over from there with an expanded and balancing view of wellbeing. Ayurveda is the Healthcare system of India.

Ayurveda is an approach to healthcare from Ancient India based on dividing bodily substances into 5 classical elements:
Earth • Water • Fire • Air • Ether

Ayurveda’s main purpose is to prevent illness and promote longevity by seeking balance. According to Ayurveda, the key to vibrant health is understanding how the elements operate within you, your environment and every aspect of your life. Adjustments in lifestyle and daily routines can be made to balance and harmonize the elemental tendencies in each individual. Like Yoga, Ayurveda deals with what supports and doesn’t support us. Ayurveda goes beyond Asana (postures) and Pranayama (breathing exercises) to balance tendencies in order to heal the sick and maintain wellbeing in the healthy.

So, I strongly encourage everyone who loves the health benefits of Yoga, to try out her sister, Ayurveda.  Wellbeing is not merely an absence of diseases but is defined as a state of joy in the soul, mind, and senses.

Come spend a weekend with Dr. Scott Blossom, Ayurvedic Counselor, Yoga Instructor and Chinese Medical Professional. Plus, Stephanie Keach was his first Yoga teacher, way back when, so the love runs deep here people!

Yoga and Ayurveda
With Dr. Scott Blossom
March 18–20, 2016

Why Asheville NC?

Asheville was #1 in Yoga Journal’s “10 Towns with Top-Notch Yoga” and was listed as the #1 “Coziest Cities in America” by Elle DECORE magazine. Asheville area is world renowned as a bustling tourist destination, named one of twelve must-see travel destinations in the world by Frommer’s travel guides.

The Blue Ridge Parkway, which connects the Great Smoky National Park with the Shenandoah National Park and runs right through Asheville, is a great launching point for hiking and biking, or for those looking for a scenic picnic at an overlook.

Mountain adventures await your visit to the Asheville area, whether you’re planning a culinary travel experience with a tour of restaurants and microbreweries, or if you’re checking out the area’s top-rated outdoor sports activities. There’s so much to see and do in Asheville, that the only problem is narrowing the options!

Learn more of what Asheville has to offer at www.exploreasheville.com

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide 

Power Flow Vs Slow Flow

One of the most beautiful aspects of yoga, is that it invites practitioners from all backgrounds, ability levels, and personal goals to share in the benefits of yoga and hopefully even transform the world towards peace and goodwill. The most popular style of yoga at the Asheville Yoga Center is Flow Yoga, (traditionally also called Vinyasa).  And the two most popular sub-sets are known as SlowFlow and Power Flow.   As with many aspects of yoga, there are deeper benefits and qualities to these two forms than at first glance.

Slow Flow Yoga, in some ways, has more traditional roots going back to Viniyoga (Desikachar, founder).  This style usually provides poses that range from gentle to challenging, but done with stable, self-centering energy.  The pace of these classes is understandably slower and emphasis is placed on safe alignment and the maintaining balance of the slow breathing. This style can vary tremendously in its speed, with some classes preferring long, silent periods of reflection and static holding during each pose, and others opting for a more fluid experience (with possible frequent bursts of energetic sequencing to raise energy).  The toned-down speed of these classes does not, however, mean that the poses are any less beneficial for building strength, stability, and postural integrity than other styles. This slower pace is definitely more conducive to the meditative practices of mindfulness of action and awareness of breathing. This makes it particularly well-suited to newer students, or for those who desire deep concentration within their practice, most conducive to Slowing Down (hence the name).

Power Flow Yoga, or often Power Yoga, takes its inspiration and core from Ashtanga Yoga (Pattabhis Jois, founder). This style relies much more on synchronized breathing with each movement to produce beautiful, flowing patterns of motion and energy. As you may have guessed from the name, Power Flow techniques tend to be more vigorous than Slow Flow, and we generally recommend that practitioners are capable of enduring a higher rate of physical activity and heat in their classes. All Power Yoga classes are not necessarily heated, but internal heat is a big benefit of this style, helping with overall detoxification, cardiovascular fitness and weight loss.  With a foundation in Sun Salutations, Power Fow is often considered the “most athletic style” of yoga out there and attracts such clientele.  At first, it\’s all about seeking the workout, but eventually, by the end of class, not only has the body slowed and calmed itself, but so has the breath, heart, and mind.

Both styles are designed to transform the way you think, feel, and move, increasing physical capabilities in tandem with the mental. They promote anxiety relief, self-growth, and continual advancement toward your own goals, offering benefits as long as you remain conscious and active during your practice. We play music at our studio, which helps to set a rhythmic tone to the movements of theFlow practice.   We recommend newer students or those with physical fitness concerns to enroll in Slow Flow yoga classes before attempting Power Flow, as there are a wealth of benefits to be found in the tranquil, focused techniques of this style. Those who are returning students or seeking an experience that heightens physical challenges, weight loss, or a more workout-centric style should consider looking into Power Flow classes, but will still find ample reasons to pursue either form. Listen earnestly to your body, breath and mind, to deepen your sense of progress on your journey before making a final decision, and if still in doubt, feel free to contact our studio for assistance.

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide 

5 Reasons Steph Loves Ashtanga Yoga

1. Strength Building

I have the genetics for flexibility, which makes Yoga a dream job. Except that flexible people get injured in Yoga three times more than non-flexies. We apparently go too far into the stretch, injuring the tissues around our joints. Yup, I see it all the time. But lucky me, I “found” a style of Yoga early in my Yoga career that complemented my flexibility and built the much needed strength around my joints called Ashtanga Yoga. It was in Santa Barbara, CA in 1992, in John’s danky basement with space heaters. I would later drive to Encinitas to study with Tim, and it was also a danky basement with space heaters. These were definitely the low-budget days of Yoga! But the benefits of strength building Yoga practice are beyond protecting flexibility. I am building bone density, I am comfortable in my strong body (long periods of sitting or gardening for example don’t “kill” me), and I am a strong woman. Not just muscular, but strong in spirit, and in Yoga. Body-mind-spirit are all connected.

2. Pranayama

I had been practicing Yoga for several years before I found this style of Yoga, and besides the incredible strength it required (which humbled me to my very core), I was blown away by breathing deeply. At least it felt like this was the first time in my life that I ever even noticed deep breathing and how it made me feel. It was incredible. I am talking one of the top 5 moments of my entire life! Somehow, I awakened to the realization, while doing the traditional closing seated pranayama (Ujjayi- throaty breathing), that the breath wasn’t just “air in, air out.” It was energy, and I could literally feel it beyond my lungs, filling up my body. I could feel where the energy was stagnant or depleted and could use the Ujjayi to help heal and re-inspire that area. Oh yes, life transforming, like a million times more exciting than downward facing dog!

3. Heat

For me, I like intensity and excitement. Not only is this practice intense and exciting (incredibly hard and challenging postures!) but the environment is intense and exciting. At least “back in the day” in those basements. I was told by John and Tim that they were trying to recreate the heat they found in Mysore, India, the birthplace of this practice. I loved it. As most of us Yogi-heat-seekers realize, the detoxification happening is definitely not just physical toxins but emotional, spiritual, and psychological as well. That heat combined with the practice itself can really transform things (cells, muscles, bones, thoughts, emotions, etc).

4. “Practice, Practice, All is Coming.”

This was the mantra of the founder, Pattabhis Jois. He wasn’t very fluent in English, but he sure chose his words succinctly! His verbatim teaching matches my own personal philosophy of life, which is highly influenced by Zen. About the same year I “found” Ashtanga Yoga, I also discovered Zen meditation. The main messages are so parallel: It\’s not about the goal. It’s about the journey and every single thing we do and think along the way. So wake up. Keep practicing. Every moment.

5. Amazing Lineage

This particular style of Yoga has one of the most amazing lineages of dedicated practitioners. It starts before Pattabhis Jois with Krishnamacharya, but then quickly finds many American devotees: Bryan Kest, David Swenson, Tim Miller, Kino MacGregor, to name a few. And ALL of these fabulous and kind people were influenced by one main American: David Williams. He is from Greenboro, NC and often comes to visit family and friends, and – being super blessed – I am one of his friends! This crew of devoted, old-school ashtangis are the best. I feel honored to call them my friends. And David will be at Asheville Yoga Center Sept 3 – 6, so if you want to try what Steph has used to sustain herself for almost 30 years, please come! All levels welcome. Register here.

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide

Instructor of the Month: Sara Levine

Why do you teach yoga?

Teaching gives me the opportunity to be joyful with those around me. As humans, we aren’t always able to be present and kind to ourselves and others, but when we’re on our mats, we are all equal – we are all graceful, clumsy, learning, falling, succeeding and showing up.

What is your teaching history?

I taught in San Francisco for 6 years before I moved to Asheville. I started my career teaching 20 classes a week at 5 different studios! That didn’t last long…Now I’m happy to have been teaching solely at AYC for the past 2 years.

What is your favorite pose at the moment?

My favorite pose is, and always has been, half moon (ardha chandrasana). It makes me feel beautiful, strong, balanced, open and feminine all at the same time!

What’s your sign? (astrological)

Sagittarius

What is your most challenging pose?

Funny enough, my most challenging pose is revolved half moon (parivrtta ardha chandrasana). My upper and mid spine don’t like to twist too much so I’ve always found it challenging to stack my hips and rotate my shoulders at the same time in those opposite directions.

How long have you been practicing yoga?

12 years

Describe yourself in three words:

grateful, compassionate, easygoing.

What is your favorite quote?

“and though she be but little, she is fierce” – Shakespeare

What is your favorite word?

Eloise (my little girls name)

What are you reading right now? (or your favorite book)

Middlesex

What are some favorite songs on your playlist?

La Belle et Le Bad Boy – MC Solaar

Walking in the Sun – Fink

Ohpa-Me – Dechen Shak-Dagsay

What is your favorite food?

My mom’s lasagna

What is the last movie you watched? (or your favorite movie)

I watched Boyhood recently. It was fascinating and so well done.

What inspires you?

Now, it’s my daughter. Before I had her, it was my strong and intelligent friends – taking on the world.

Sara’s class schedule:
Monday 8:30am – Slow, Power Flow
Tuesday 7:00pm – Slow, Gentle Flow
Friday 8:30am – Slow, Power Flow

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide 

Instructor of the Month: Denise Daneck

Why do you teach yoga?

Yoga is amazingly healing on all levels. It is a gift to share and anyone who feels called to should!  What an incredible opportunity to dissolve boundaries, connect unconditionally on a soul-level, and explore the power of collective group energy with sacred intentions! I love all of the possibilities that teaching offers.

What is your teaching history?

I began reading the Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, and all kinds of texts on yoga/meditation in college before developing any sort of consistent asana practice. I moved to asheville while dabbling in various spiritual practices with the intention to learn yoga and have been teaching here now for about two and a half years.

What is your favorite pose at the moment?

Warrior 2! Lately I go into it and feel almost instantaneously empowered, energized, and focused.

What’s your sign? (astrological)

Sun in Virgo–Moon in Pisces

What is your most challenging pose?

Handstand in the middle of the room.  It reveals to me some limitations and work I need to do.

How long have you been practicing yoga?

About six years.

Describe yourself in three words?

Peaceful, grateful, active

What is your favorite quote?

“Be the change that you want to see in the world.” – Ghandi

What is your favorite word?

Ethereal

What are you reading right now? (or your favorite book)

Reading now: The Empire of the Summer Moon by S. C. Gwynne, The Shamanic Way of the Bee by Simon Buxton, and Learning to Silence the Mind by OSHO.

What are some favorite songs on your playlist?

Changing Waters by Lis Addison, Nataraja by jai Uttal and Ben Leinbach, Fear of Falling by James Murray, Shyama Bolo by  Jai Uttal and Ben Leinbach

What is your favorite food?

Smoothies & Green Juice!

What is the last movie you watched? (or your favorite movie)

Last watched The Princess Kaguya and Still Alice

What inspires you?

Nature, conscious evolution, Light-workers & Difference-makers

Denise’s class schedule:
Friday- 4-5 AYC
Saturday- 12:15-1:45 AYC

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide 

 

Instructor of the Month: Rich Fabio

Why do you teach yoga?

It agrees with me.  Every other line of work I tried I wasn’t very good at.  I used to work so I could be a yogi in my off time.  Now, I see work as a contribution to society and my community. It is an extension of who I am.

What is your teaching history?

I have explored many styles and facets of yoga.  I first started teaching meditation as that was my first interest.  My body was weak so I took up asana.  I taught vinyasa flow sequences in college.  When I decided to teach yoga full time I was initially an alignment teacher and now I offer a fusion of all my past teachers and methodologies including other wisdom studies like Qigong and Kaballah in The Roots Moving Meditations.

What is your favorite pose at the moment?

Kneeling One Legged Blue Moon pose as my teacher calls it.  You have to see it to know what it is.  But it is really cool and fun.

What’s your sign? (astrological)

Aries sun

What is your most challenging pose?

Dropbacks

How long have you been practicing yoga?

12 years

Describe yourself in three words:

Happy, honest, and free

What is your favorite quote?

“You already have it!” – Lee Rothstein

What is your favorite word?

Gelfling

What are you reading right now? (or your favorite book)

Vivekachudamani by Swami Dayananda, Dune by Frank Herbert, Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism by Lama Anagarika Govinda, and The Principles of the Greater Kan and Li by Mantak Chia

What are some favorite songs on your playlist?

Pure Imagination by Willy Wonka and Celebrate by Madonna

What is your favorite food?

Pizza

What is the last movie you watched? (or your favorite movie)

Being There

What inspires you?

I find Chi and understanding Chi very inspiring as well as when people consciously try to be better at living their life.

Rich’s Teaching Schedule:
Fridays and Sundays 12:15-1:45pm Align and Flow

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide 

Hot Yoga 101

Some Like it Hot, Some Not.

Hot yoga classes are one of the most popular styles of yoga in the U.S. today. Without debate, those that like hot yoga, really like hot yoga. Hot yoga isn’t everyone’s favorite, however. Whether it’s your thing or not, studies are showing while there are some amazing benefits to perspiring in your poses, it is important to understand how heat affects the body while exercising.

How hot is Hot?

The temperature of a hot yoga class isn’t a fixed number, it varies from studio to studio. Some studios call 85 degrees hot, while at the hottest end, Bikram classes are at 105+ degrees. Asheville Yoga Center defines our hot yoga classes as 90+ degrees. We also offer “warm yoga”, which has a thermostat reading of 80-89 degrees, because sometimes that feels more comfortable.

Hot yoga got its start from Bikram Choudary, founder of Bikram yoga. This style of yoga involves holding postures for one minute in room with 105+degrees plus 50% humidity. It took root and grew in the U.S. (Hollywood, CA), in the 1970s and is still a widely popular style today, with Bikram himself still leading classes. Ashtanga yoga was probably the next style to adapt to a hot environment, as old school ashtangis wanted to replicate the birthplace of Ashtanga yoga: southern India, where it is 90 degrees by 8 AM! This style caught on in America in the 80s. Power yoga birthed from Ashtanga, so some power yogis decided to take the heat with them, thus the growth of Hot Vinyasa (flow) yoga. And this trend grew and grew to its mega popularity today.

Benefits

Hot yoga has a variety of benefits including: deeper detoxing, increased flexibility, improved cardio, and may even help with depression. Yoga postures themselves are detoxifying for the muscles, glands and organs and sweating increases that greatly. The heat increases joint lubrication as well as safer and deeper flexibility of muscles. Your heart can achieve great cardiovascular benefits in a yoga class (hot or not), whether holding and contracting muscles in postures, or moving through a Vinyasa flow class. The heat can help stimulate your metabolism so you are burning calories outside the room as well. Sweating has been proven to boost endorphins and boost immunity. The Massachusetts General Hospital Depression Clinical Research Program says that, “regular practice of hot yoga may regulate certain physiological functions that could contribute to the reversal of a depressed state.” In addition, those that suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder could get some respite from yoga as it increases blood flow to the brain, increases energy. Anecdotally, some seasonal sufferers have reported a sense of warm weather well-being while in a hot yoga class; perhaps tricking the body into thinking it is somewhere warm and sunny?

Precautions

A study by the American Council on Exercise in July 2013 found that core temperatures for both the typical and hot classes fell well below the critical zone of 104 degrees. Although study participants perceived that the hot class was more difficult, researchers concluded that the hot yoga class was not dangerous for the average exerciser.

While hot yoga offers great physical and mental benefits, some things to be mindful of are dehydration, dizziness, headache, mild nausea. If any of these symptoms occur, it is recommended to remove yourself from class and go cool down in the lobby. For dehydration-prevention: drink, drink, drink! This includes before, during and after class. Drinking coffee is not recommended as it is naturally dehydrating. To help with dizziness, try moving slower up and down, it is not imperative to keep up with the class if your head is spinning! Headaches can be caused from dehydration, detoxification or a myriad of other things. Often, exercise helps, but not always. Sometimes, exiting class is best. For nausea, try lying down, the floor is often cooler. Drink water. And perhaps exit the class as well.

While these symptoms can occur in any style yoga class, all are common results of detoxification and are intensified in a hot environment. They are usually not harmful, just uncomfortable, so ultimately it is up the student to decide what is best for them: Hot, intense, detoxifying practice? Medium, warm, detoxifying practice? Cool, gentler, detoxifying practice? Luckily, Asheville Yoga Center offers all of the above.

 

Teach Yoga While Attending College

Yoga is a path to find your true self and to honor that journey in your life. As you know, yoga teacher trainings can help you strengthen and deepen your yoga practice, delve into your bliss and discover your true nature. Perhaps your daily practice and yoga teacher trainings have guided you to return to a more conventional educational journey.

Teaching yoga while you attend college can serve you well in many different ways. It can help you reduce stress and maintain your focus, while earning money to support your goals.

Whether you’re undertaking a stringent medical school itinerary or paving your way into the arts through a four-year degree, your yoga teacher trainings and a yoga lifestyle will help you to:

  • Maintain focus during lectures
  • Improve your memory
  • Relieve stress
  • Help you sleep soundly
  • Remember your purpose in life
  • Pay the bills

Continue Yoga Teacher Trainings

If you’re a registered yoga teacher (RYT) attending college, you can pursue additional yoga training to both boost your credentials and enhance your class offerings without cutting into your academic schedule. Yoga schools such as the Asheville Yoga Center offer classes on weekends, in the evenings and for brief periods of time.

  • During spring break, take a weeklong children’s or senior’s certification course
  • Immerse yourself in a 3-week intensive program during summer vacation
  • Earn advanced credentials on weekends
  • Sign up for flexible weekday and evening courses

Moreover, as a yoga teacher, you can create your own schedule. Whether you offer classes though your own business or work at an established yoga studio, you have the flexibility to teach when your school and study schedules allow, a benefit not always available with other part-time jobs.

Yoga Teacher Trainings to Enhance Curriculum

Yoga is a practice that aligns very well with a number of other career paths. Another benefit of teaching while you attend college is that you can apply much of what you’ve learned to your studies.

Fields of study that are enhanced by your yoga teacher trainings include:

  • Chiropractor
  • Doctor/PA
  • Nurse/Medical Practitioner
  • Psychologist/Counselor
  • Schoolteacher/Academic
  • Nutritionist/Chef
  • Business owner/Manager

Doctors and other medical care providers turn to alternative medicine on a regular basis, particularly when they run out of options in their traditional healing methods. By entering into the healthcare field with a deep understanding of how stress affects the body — and how much relief patients can achieve through yoga, you will become a well-rounded physician.

Working in the mental health field, you can enhance your coaching and guidance skills by relying on the discipline you achieved through your own yoga teacher trainings, as well as through the daily practice you enjoy. During and after your college coursework, you’ll possess a wealth of information to share with clients seeking relief in a stressful world.

Caveats to Consider

While going to school and teaching yoga can provide a meaningful and prosperous way to fulfill your dreams, there are challenges and consequences to consider. Remember Buddha’s Five Remembrances that refer to the nature of being human and the frailty that is our reality. Prepare yourself for setbacks, failures, loss and change.

Like many people who wear many hats and take on significant responsibilities, you may find:

  • You have trouble concentrating on your studies when you are immersed in yoga practices
  • You may be too tired to stick with your yoga routines
  • It may take you longer than expected to study
  • You may question your resolve
  • You could get burnt out

While these all are common challenges that can strike any yoga teacher, students pursuing other paths may encounter contradictions and complications more than others. The call of the secular world may create an inner struggle that becomes difficult to overcome. The challenges may wear you out.

Yoga is a practice that aligns very well with a number of other career paths.

Coping for Students

Fortunately, because of the skills you gained from a registered program like those offered at the Asheville Yoga Center, you know how to cope. When pressure mounts, stop and breathe. Remember why you chose the path you’re on and what you hope to achieve.

Before you burn out, try these tips:

  • Carve out time for mini-yoga sessions
  • Practice chair yoga while you’re in long lectures
  • Reduce the number of classes you teach
  • Ask another yoga teacher to take an occasional class when you have a big test
  • Wake up 30 minutes earlier each day to meditate
  • Reduce or avoid caffeine, nicotine and other stimulating substances
  • Go to bed earlier
  • Eat warm, healthy meals
  • Carve out time to be with supportive friends

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide 

 

The Components of Yoga Teacher Certification

When you begin your path toward becoming a yoga teacher, you may find that a variety of the requirements test your body, mind and spirit. Yoga teacher training will push you to the edge of your abilities. It’s necessary to bring out the best yogi or yogini in you. A yoga teacher certification program presents a number of yoga styles, practices and philosophies for you to learn and embody. Before you can even begin your training, however, you must be ready to embrace the most basic components of the practice.

Get Your Head Together

Author Joseph Campbell inspired readers to “follow your bliss.” Is your bliss to become a yoga teacher? Once you feel moved to follow this path, you will know it and be able to give yourself fully to the task. After you make the decision to do whatever’s necessary to earn a yoga teacher certification, then all the pieces will fall together to enable you to make the dream a reality. Certified programs like those offered at the Asheville Yoga Center provide the classroom environment and qualified teachers. They give you opportunities to learn. They evaluate you every step of the way. Only you, though, can truthfully assess your desire and temperament to follow your training through to the end. Only you can determine your dedication to yoga as a lifestyle. Only you can appreciate your devotion to continue and succeed.

Learn the Fundamentals

If you want to work toward yoga teacher certification through a certified yoga teacher training program like Asheville Yoga Center’s, you must start with a 200-hour program. This basic course teaches the essential components that you will need to become a yoga teacher. This level of instruction will improve how you approach your own daily practice, but it also will help you learn important skills:

• The ability to communicate clearly

• How to teach basic alignment

• The connectedness of the musculoskeletal structure

• How to touch your students

• The importance of a stable meditation practice

• How yoga philosophies can impact your practice

Study Basic Anatomy

In a class you are leading, you must protect your students’ health. It’s up to you to know their health concerns and how your instruction may put them at risk. Therefore, you have to have a deep understanding of human anatomy, including how the body moves. Throughout your yoga teacher certification coursework, you’ll become familiar with your own anatomy through your daily yoga practice and from participating in classes. Working with a yoga class partner, you’ll quickly learn to set appropriate boundaries and sense the limitations of another’s body. You’ll come to recognize fundamental musculoskeletal anatomy. You’ll develop a vocabulary to teach yoga poses using language that takes its cues from your anatomy. You’ll study some basic nutrition to better understand why diet is important in your daily life.

Learn How to Teach Basic Alignment

Proper alignment is the key to a safe yoga practice. As a teacher, it’s up to you to assist your students so they can find the posture that best serves their abilities and potential. By positioning their bodies properly, your students will be able to move their practice into a comfort zone. If they can safely move their practice forward, you will gain devoted students. Yoga teacher certification involves learning a vocabulary to help your students find the alignment and stability they need to accomplish difficult poses. The certification program will teach you the techniques to help students figure out their comfort zones within each posture.

Understand When and How to Touch Your Students

As a yoga teacher, you have to become comfortable enough with the human body to be able to touch your students. If you can gain their trust by touching them in non-threatening ways to help them improve their practice, they will appreciate your technique and learn to trust you. During your training program, you’ll have to adjust your class partner in specific poses. You’ll have to make hands-on adjustments. Your yoga teacher certification coursework will provide you with practical expertise so that when you lead your first class, you can approach it with experience and confidence.

Enliven Your Meditations

In addition to having a daily yoga practice, you must already be meditating regularly when you start your yoga teacher certification classes. During the program, you’ll enliven both practices. You’ll be expected to participate in class discussions about the role of meditation in a yoga practice. As you learn to appreciate what meditation can do for you, you’ll naturally strengthen your devotion to your meditation practice. You’ll also be more willing to share your experiences with your students. Throughout the length of your program, you may have to keep a daily meditation journal, a practice that may give you the words to encourage your students to start meditating.

Learn How to Communicate Effectively

The training you’ll receive will cover the most effective ways to communicate yoga pose nuances. You have to be able to explain how to do the poses; otherwise, you won’t be able to communicate the importance of mindfulness in yoga or the relevance of a good diet and a healthy lifestyle. As a yoga teacher certification student, you must learn to communicate with confidence and clarity. Yoga teachers who do this inspire their students to challenge themselves. Skillful communication is one of the most important lessons you’ll learn because it’s one of the most apparent. You can know all there is to know about yoga, but if you can’t communicate it, you won’t keep students.

Learn Yoga History and Philosophies

Well-rounded yoga teacher training programs, like those the Asheville Yoga Center offers, often require you to learn the history and the philosophies of yoga. Reading yoga philosophies will help you understand the traditions and practices that you previously hadn’t even considered. That’s why yoga teacher certification courses require it. Some programs include chanting, mantras and chakras into the coursework. All can deepen your spiritual appreciation of your yoga practice while strengthening your mind-body connection during your daily practice. Your yoga teacher certification program may encourage you to read from the rich and varied history of yoga, including the Bhagavad Gita and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. These books may spur you to read more to better comprehend yoga’s role in a balanced lifestyle.

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide