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Deepening Their Practice: 2 inspiring stories of yoga teacher trainees

Back in 2006, after going through one of the most transformative experience of my life, my first 200 hr. yoga teacher training, I asked myself 'What's next for me?' I didn't think I'd ever teach yoga, but I just wanted to further my practice. That's when I really fell in love with yoga, and I couldn't help but teach it. I wondered if other new teachers felt the same way. Also, with Covid 19 causing everybody's plans to change in 2020, I figured it must be double the uncertainty for these new graduates. These two amazing women just completed a 200 hr. yoga teacher training and both of them are teaching and kicking ass! Both are signed up for our upcoming online 20 hr. training, Envision and Manifest Your Creative Successful Yoga Business, so be on the lookout for great things coming from these two teachers!


Interview with Geneva Vander Poel!


Geneva is from The Central Valley in California, and began practicing yoga with her mom at the age of 15. Over the years she realized how much the practice had enhanced her quality of life which led her to a yoga intensive training in Peru's beautiful Sacred Valley. During the training she experienced the total yogic lifestyle - living in an ashram, an ashtanga practice, and vegetarian diet. Since then she's taken Prenatal trainings, 200 HR Barefoot Training, and a 20 HR Shakti Kids Yoga's Fundamentals of Teaching Kids and Family.


What brought you to yoga teacher training?

While the intensive in Peru was a transformative experience, I felt like it was difficult to cram in all the knowing of yoga in a short window and come out feeling like a confident teacher. I knew wanted more training to be able to teach as often as I wanted to.


What are you finding or have found out about yourself by going through the yoga teacher training process?

I've always been drawn more to the philosophical side of yoga so it was nice to ground into the Yamas and niyamas, reflecting on the sutras, but the Barefoot Training gave me more understanding of anatomy and my own body. I'll quote a teacher that said, "Yoga is an ocean," it just keeps going, there's always more to learn, and I truly feel that through teacher training.


How did your practice deepen or change during/after this time?

My relationship with my body and how I carry myself totally changed. I went into the training with opinions of what type of practices I liked. For instance, I never gravitated to head stands. I've always enjoyed a more yin/restorative style of yoga. Now from understanding my spine and anatomy, I have a greater appreciation for back bends that have completely altered my posture. Feeling the small changes within my own body has cultivated a deeper understanding of the benefits from practices I previously didn't think I needed. I gained tools to make myself feel better. It helped change my relationship with gravity.


What is your intention now that you are doing/done with teacher training?

I wanted to teach beginner yogis, and that's who I had been teaching. I've since left my public school teaching job, but that's still a goal of mine. I've started teaching prenatal and kids. I just want to be teaching. I'm embracing the concept of “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” I greatly enjoy having a diverse skill set and trying to push all of them forward. I'm excited about most styles except for hot yoga. That makes me tired.


Do you feel confident as a yoga teacher?

No. I feel more confident than I did when I started, but you realize there's so much more to learn and you realize how much you haven't learned yet. I've come to like and understand my style. I know what I want to hone in on and cultivate. I'll feel a lot more confident when I start teaching more than once a month. I want to be teaching three times a week regularly. Finding opportunities to teach is challenging especially while trying to make a living wage.


Are you teaching now? Where?

I'm teaching a donation based class once a month. It's an opportunity for recent graduates of the Barefoot Yoga Teacher Training. I'm teaching a private prenatal class for a friend once a month, and I'll be working with her throughout her pregnancy. The goal is to offer classes through my business and the brand I'm building by marketing towards tarot card readers and spiritual communities. I want to start making prerecorded yoga videos, and looking for families that are interested in backyard social distanced yoga classes for kids.


Do you prefer teaching one on one or to groups?

I prefer one on one. Groups are overwhelming for an empath like me, but that being said, one of the challenges of doing teaching training virtually was that we didn't get to experience hands on modifications or moving around a room with a group.


Who are your ideal yoga clients?

Ideally, women in their mid 20s-30s that have some experience with yoga, but don't have a regular practice yet. My goal is to assist women in cultivating a self care practice and knowing their worth. I love teaching yoga, reading tarot, holding space, I'm trauma informed, and passionate about encouraging others to create a balanced intuitive/reflective practice as well as a physical practice. I'd love to reach teachers especially because a large component of the job is holding emotions for others and having good boundaries.


Do you connect or would you like to connect with yoga clients online?

I would like to. I have some strategies around connecting online that I'll be working on, but I haven't connected with anyone online yet. Still figuring out how to market myself and engage with people so they want to work with me.


How did yoga teacher training change your life? Your views?

I remember when we sat in the opening circle with Barefoot, they talked about it being a transformative experience that could be really unpleasant. They told us we may lose relationships and it's totally true. I've changed completely. It feels like I'm not the same person. I've shed a lot of beliefs that I used to have about myself and how the world works. That's the philosophy piece that goes beyond asana but my body assisted in the process. I'm moving my life in a different direction that I never thought I would be able to or even want to. It's powerful. It's certainly powerful, scary, and hard but that's what yoga is.


Is there a specific niche within the yoga field you like teaching the best right now? Is it the same what your predicted?

I think my niche is still developing quite a bit, but there's a lot of opportunity. Kid's yoga is something I'd love to do, and I definitely consider prenatal to be a niche as well.

Interview with Gretchen Courting!

Gretchen is a lover of hot yoga, mom of two, and living proof that your dreams can come true. She's a true believer in the power of manifestation, and always known deep down, she wanted to help people. And 2020 was the stepping stone to make it happen! With 8 years of sobriety under her belt, she's motivated to give back the very practice that she always knew she was supposed to teach. "If you can visualize it, you can have it. My hopes and dreams took over 8 years to manifest into my life, but they are here. I cannot wait to see where all this takes me.”


What brought you to yoga teacher training?

I always wanted to do it since I got sober. It wasn't until this year that I felt confident enough to enroll. Covid happened and it gave me the opportunity to take a lot of classes from my studio, which gave me the prerequisites I needed to take their teacher training. Diving Timing <3


What are you finding or have found out about yourself by going through the yoga teacher training process?

I was afraid to get up in front of people. After teacher training, things I thought were scary, weren't so scary anymore.


How did your practice deepen or change during/after this time?

I had this ego thing with props/blocks. Always thought, "I don't need it." Once I set my ego aside, and actually tried them, they helped me grow.


What is your intention now that you are doing/done with teacher training?

When I teach, it's my "me time" away from the kids. I'm hoping to grow Y12SR (yoga for 12 step recovery) into something bigger.


Do you feel confident as a yoga teacher?

I do. I still get anxious, but it's more of an excitement.


Are you teaching now? Where?

I teach at Juice Box Yoga.


Do you prefer teaching one on one or to groups?

I definitely prefer groups.


Who are your ideal yoga clients?

Sober women are my ideal clients. I'd love to build a spiritual community.


Do you connect or would you like to connect with yoga clients online?

Yes, that is how I do everything right now. It's all online.


How did yoga teacher training change your life? Your views?

It gave me confidence to show up for myself. Do scary things. Like a nudge from the Universe. I say YES!


Is there a specific niche within the yoga field you like teaching the best right now? Is it the same what your predicted?

I look forward to taking the Envision and Manifest Your Successful Creative Yoga Business training with you and taking what I learned from the Yoga for 12 Step Recovery training and helping others on their recovery journey.