Just to start, “burning share” is a term we used in the group when we had to say something we felt was important!
To get to the point, it rocked!
This is big. Huge. For me, anyways. See, I was very nervous, and somewhat dubious, about attending a YogaFit training. I have been researching yoga teacher trainings for quite a while and am drawn toward the more traditional, vigorous forms of yoga. While all forms lend themselves to developing and enhancing strength, endurance, and flexibility, I am most drawn toward ashtanga vinyasa, which to me looks most gymnastic and graceful in nature. The poses remind me of dance, the people in those poses of dancers. (My first sport love is gymnastics; my other first movement love is dance.)
When I first signed up for the YogaFit Palm Spring Mind-Body Fitness (MBF) Conference, I did so because it was affordable. But I was soon distracted by an opportunity to acquire a scholarship to study yoga by another company. (I may still take them up on this at some point in the future.) The lure of this was huge for a few reasons: they were offering a scholarship; one of the co-owners was a former military wife; they instructed in the exact style I wanted to first learn, plus explored other styles I enjoy; and I could get my 200 hours all at once.
By this time, however, I had talked a friend and co-worker into attending the conference with me, and felt terrible about backing out on her. She’s interested in yoga but newer to the idea of teaching it (though she rocks as a Zumba instructor). Plus, she worries about her English, as she is Japanese. I’m really glad I did not, and that attending the other yoga training was not feasible for me at this time.
YogaFit embodies the lessons a yoga lifestyle aims to achieve. It actively incorporates the yamas (5 “shall-not” practices incorporated into our dealings with external affairs: non-violence, truth in word and thought, non-stealing, abstinence/celibacy/faithfulness in marriage, and absence of avarice/greed) and niyamas (5 “shall-do” principles applied to our internal affairs: cleanliness of body and mind, satisfaction/contentment in one’s life, austerity, study of scripture, surrender to/worship of God) into the corporation, from the top on down to those in their trainings. (NOTE: although the yamas and niyamas are of Hindu/Buddhist origins, the ideas are found in any ideology/belief system where life is valued. More simply put: do unto others as you would want done unto you. Also note, the number of yamas and niyamas traditionally are 10.)
My instructor, Carol, was spectacular and sparky. She brought a sense of community–the same sense I got from other staff members present–to the training. This is huge for me. As I told her during our closing circle, I have had a long history with competitive yoga teachers (although not all; two very good teachers come to mind), who know they are teachers and you are students, and let you know it off, and on, the mat. Furthermore, the fitness industry is a highly competitive work place. People are cutthroat and oftentimes rude. There is a “me first” mentality. This was noticeably absent from the entire conference.
Also, I had an opportunity to meet (sit next to) Beth Shaw, the founder of YogaFit. This was rather intimidating, to be honest. She is a tall woman, one with a huge heart. When she said that the company was working on lifestyle certifications (i.e. organization certifications; classes to help instructors help their students declutter their lives, homes and minds; nutrition; etc.), as well as a better therapy pathway, I got excited. The staff had a passion for what they do, and I realized that this company was not just talking to sell their way of teaching. They meant what they said.
I have decided to stick with YogaFit through the 200 hours. I may continue on with them toward 500 hours when I am ready, but I may also experience other ways. As Carol, and other staff members said, there is no wrong way in the yoga lifestyle. The YogaFit aim is to produce “the safest way for the general population.” This, after all, was Beth’s original aim: to bring yoga safely to the masses.
I was really touched this weekend, not only by my instructor, but also the other students in the room. From a lady who just wanted to learn more about yoga; to another who had practiced for over 40 years and, after enduring brain surgery, thought it was time to start her teaching career; to another who had been teaching for 10 years and finally decided to finish her YogaFit certification; to my dear friend who joined me. If you are at all interested in teaching, or just learning more about yoga and finding what path is best for you, I highly recommend taking Level 1. I do not think you will regret it.
I did not.
For more information on YogaFit’s 200- and 500-hour programs, and the directions in which you can take them; their affiliations with Yoga Alliance and the American Council on Exercise; their goals and intentions for the business; their yoga shop for products; YogaFit’s venture into Canada; and so forth, see their website.