My 200hrs Yoga Teacher Training with Shanti Power Yoga
by Katie Snell
Taking the plunge
Having been along to a few of Austin’s classes and liking the tone and structure of the Shanti Power YTT programme, I decided to take the plunge and book myself onto the three month course. I’d decided this length of course would suit me as I wasn’t up for a 3 or 4 week intensive course abroad and didn’t want to stretch it out over a year – I’m far too impatient for that! This course – 10 hours on a Saturday and Sunday for 10 weekends (with 3 weekends off over Xmas and New Year and two other weekends off to break up the rest of the course nicely) was worked perfectly for me.
The hall in Wandsworth where the training was held was newly decorated, bright, fresh and clean and very accessible by public transport, which was a real bonus.
Structure and Style
Upon starting the course (with nerves just about in check!) I knew I’d made the right choice instantly. Austin and Simona put us all at ease and clearly explained what we should expect over the next few months. This clarity continued throughout the course so we always knew what was expected of us and were always given plenty of time to prepare for written quizzes (a much less scary word than tests!) and teaching practice. We were thrown in at the deep end on week one when we were asked to partner up and teach someone a short sequence – but this was definitely the best policy as we soon got over any anxiety we may have had about teaching and it meant we didn’t spend the first few weekends panicking about when we were first going to have to teach. A great tactic!
Our first go at teaching on day 1!
As well as learning how to properly hold and teach all the poses in the Ashtanga primary series (as well as the Sanskrit for all the asanas too!), the course was structured to include the history of yoga and yoga philosophy (including the chakras, the four paths of yoga, the bandhas, breathing techniques, mantras, the five Koshas and the 3 main nadis to name a few subjects) as well as a very thorough grounding in anatomy for yoga. Austin’s knowledge and recall of the Patanjali Sutras and the Bhaghavad Gita and Simona’s anatomical and physiological knowledge really were amazing. They just blew my mind! Having a solid understanding of human physiology and movement definitely allows you to teach the poses better when you know what parts of the body are being used and which muscles to engage. This has definitely helped me with teaching points now that I’m teaching my own classes. Thank you Simo, you anatomical legend!
What a studious-looking bunch
What was a typical day like?
The structure of the days had clearly been given careful consideration as there was always variety in what we did and no two days were ever the same or predictable. Each day’s learning and practice would start at 8am with a 75-120 minute class to help us learn the primary series inside out. After that we’d write a journal to keep track of how we were developing in our own practice and how our outlook, feelings and mood were changing over the weeks and months. After a break we would come back and have a session on anatomy and do some teaching practice, then after lunch some philosophy learning and more teaching practice. Austin and Simona always made the lessons as interesting and interactive as possible and allowed time for conversations or debate around certain subjects, which really added another interesting dimension for me. I loved these conversations and the insights into yoga teaching this gave us all and appreciated being in such an open environment that everyone felt comfortable contributing or having a say.
Crescent lunging in unison
The attention to detail in the classes Austin and Simo prepared was fantastic. They both have so much passion for and knowledge in the subjects they were teaching that it was infectious and meant learning was fun and interesting rather than a chore. These guys really know their stuff. We also had a manual that they had put together to aid our learning and use for reference, which was brilliantly put together and really helped keep us focussed.
The yoga teacher training journey and my fellow students
As the weeks went on, I felt my own personal practice coming on leaps and bounds, as well as my confidence and my desire to become a yoga teacher. This was due not only to the brilliant structure of the course, but also to the amazing women (and one man!) I was sharing this experience with. The support we all gave each other was incredible and at times, heart-warming and emotional. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer, more encouraging, genuine, devoted group of beautiful souls to have gone on this journey with – a truly special experience.
Christmas drinkies to celebrate reaching the half-way point
The beautiful mala bracelets we all received as gifts for passing from Austin and Simona
So would I recommend Shanti Power YTT to anyone wanting to become a yoga teacher? 100% yes. I would say go for it – you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll learn so much about yourself and other people, you’ll deepen your own practice loads, make some life-long friends and have reaffirmed what it is you truly love about yoga.
Follow Katie's blog at snellykat