Teaching Concept for Yoga Studios and Teachers
The main problem for yoga studios can be yoga teachers. There are so many styles taught in so many ways by inexperienced teachers that are transient and unreliable. Students are not learning to do their own practice by teachers and studios that don't want them to as they are afraid the student wont come back to yoga classes. There is no direction, consistent method or purpose in most classes with the exception of Ashtanga Yoga. Students are not being corrected as the teacher is usually standing at the front like an ‘instructor' and not a teacher. There is very little hands on adjustments as they have rarely been taught this important aspect of yoga and the ones that do can be over aggressive and injure students or are ineffective. When the teacher is unavailable to teach a class they have to find a ‘sub’ that is not usually a student of the teacher or has a completely different style.
Another problem is Money. It is nearly imposable to make a good living teaching Yoga today unless the teacher has a Private Student base. This is now getting more difficult with the ‘200 hour’ certification of ‘completion’ causing an influx of inexperienced ‘teachers’ being used to teach inexperienced students. Studios should not have to rely on one or two teachers as the basis for there business. Many students are lost when the main teachers move on. The room is empty for most of the time.
The Tristhana Vinyasa Yoga Teaching Concept
Yoga is a Therapy and a Breathing practice and should be approached this way. More harm than good, both short and long term, can be done if students are not corrected properly or are introduced to yoga that is unsuitable for them at their present condition.
Summery of the Tristhana Concept
New students are taught individually or in small groups until they can practice alone. The Basic Practice is covered over time and progression depends on the individual practitioner. The student teacher begins to teach ‘1 on 1’ under the guidance of a qualified Tristhana Yoga teacher once a full understanding of the Practice and Method is gained. All students / teachers learn the same Method regardless of there experience, expertise or style.
The goal is preparation for Tristhana Yoga Classes for both student and teacher. Student Teachers work along side a Leading Tristhana teacher and are taught to teach all 7 Elements of the Tristhana Yoga Method. Once this stage is completed the Student Teacher is then qualified to lead Tristhana Classes and teach Student Teachers. They then become part of the payed Teaching staff of the studio and are incorporated into the weekly schedule. There may be several student Teachers working along side the Leading Tristhana Teacher, moving around the room assisting students and learning to adjust in all postures. Each Tristhana class can be focused on one of the 7 Elements, e.g. Sun Salutation, Strength and Conditioning, Standing Sequence etc. but all still working on the same Method focusing on the development of the Basic Practice. This allows for variation and creativity for the teachers and students. Students have a choice as to which Element they need most help with, it can be for motivation or the development of there own Self -Practice. These classes can be taught by different Teachers at different times but are all still working on the Basic Practice. This gives all teachers a chance to teach depending on there availability, commitments and experience.
‘Mukta’ classes can also be conducted were students that have there own Self -Practice can attend and work at there own pace but still under guidance. ‘Mukta’ is a sanskrit word meaning open, relaxed or set free. This method comes from Ashtanga Yoga were it is called Mysore classes. My experience teaching and practicing this powerful yoga style for the past 15 years has given me valuable insights into Vinyasa Yoga and Yoga as a Therapy and has led to the establishment of the Tristhana Vinyasa Yoga Method. Student Teachers then get the chance to work with students individually. There could be 5 student teachers in a room with 20 students and one Tristhana Teacher to oversee the session. These classes are not led and can be open for 2 - 3 hours as students and teachers come and go at there convenience. This way studios have an ever evolving clientele as well as continuous availability of teachers at all levels. Student Teachers are not payed until they become qualified Tristhana Yoga Teachers. There is no time limit or period of the Teacher Training. The Students teaching transition depends entity on there own ability to learn and practice and participate in classes. Teaching Yoga emerges from Self - Practice and hands on experience. When the student is ready the ‘teacher’ emerges from within.
This way Student Teachers get the experience needed to not only teach classes but to teach ‘1 on 1’ Therapeutic Yoga to those most in need of the benefits of Yoga but not ready for classes. These private sessions may be scheduled at a studio or can be conducted at the students home or in a Yoga Therapy room at the teachers own space. There is really no defined point as to when a student becomes a teacher, it is a continues evolution, the Teacher is forever a student. Yoga is more about ‘sharing’ knowledge and experience than ‘teaching.’ All aspect of the Yoga Alliance ‘200’ hour TT are covered extensively. This approach ensures students begin to teach at there own pace and are not looking at standing in front of 30 people in a Yoga class completely unprepared after just completing a 200 hr TT course and have no experience working ‘1 on 1’. I personally taught over 3000 ‘1 on 1’ private session in USA before I taught a class. The Tristhana Teacher Training Course is payed for by the student to the studio every 3 months until a certification to teach The Tristhana Yoga Method is granted. The student teacher is then given an open invitation to all classes and can use the studio for there own private students and to practice. Free introductory private sessions are offered in the studio by student teachers once they are approved, this way new students are introduced to yoga in the studio and the Method is explained on a personal level. The student teacher must be proficient in all 7 Elements of the Basic Practice and have his / her own private student base. These private students can eventually join studio Tristhana Yoga classes as well as continue to develop there own Self-Practice as all classes are focused on teaching the student to continually improve there own practice. Only certified Tristhana Yoga Teachers are authorised to teach Tristhana Yoga classes. The aim of this System is to ensure all student teachers have the opportunity to make a full time career from teaching yoga and studios have a consistent and evolving pool of teachers and students at all levels.
HOW IT WORKS
I personally conduct classes, courses and workshops at participating studios to introduce The Tristhana Vinyasa Yoga Method to both students and teachers assisted by Tristhana student teachers. Courses covering the 7 Elements of The Basic Practice for students and workshops for teachers are also conducted. Private Sessions can also play an important roll for new teachers. Yoga as a Therapy is explained to enable application to begin. On-going regular workshops and courses are organised to suit the studios requirements. Regular Tristhana Yoga Retreats and workshops for Students and Teachers, as well as private lessons are also available either at the studio or student / teachers chosen location. The home of Tristhana Vinyasa Yoga, Shivalaya Yoga Centre in Nepal also offers ongoing training, workshops and courses. Qualified Tristhana Yoga Teachers are also offered the opportunity to teach in Nepal at Shivalaya, one of the most spectacular Yoga shalas in the country. This valuable experience gives new teachers the confidence and expertise to implement the Tristhana Yoga Method into there own environment. This method can be introduced into a studio over time as it will evolve organically depending on the ability of student / teachers and their dedication and commitment. Yoga Studios may run this as a stand alone Method or incorporate it into there schedule.
PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE
Vinyasa Yoga is now the most popular and progressive style of Yoga and Yoga Therapy is emerging, and will soon become a well respected method for the maintenance, health, wellness and conditioning of the Human Mind / Body. The Tristhana Vinyasa Yoga Method is a holistic approach based on Yoga Therapy and develops the foundation for advanced Vinyasa Yoga practice. The blending of Vinyasa Yoga with Yoga Therapy is the key to unlocking the potential within. The entire medical and health / healing industry must begin to look at what really works, especially long term. Chiropractors, Physiotherapists, Doctors, Psychiatric professionals, Fitness trainers, Couches, Athletes, sports professionals and many others have a lot to gain by experiencing Vinyasa based Yoga. What begins as a therapy evolves into a powerful Vinyasa Yoga Practice that the practitioner will continue to reap the benefit from for a life time.
This program is the first step to not only becoming a Yoga Teacher but a Yoga Therapist that can work with anybody, anywhere and help people that are not ready for yoga class begin there own practice. Mukta or Tristhana Yoga classes with fellow students at the same level and following the same path can then be joined. This approach allows the Tristhana Yoga Teacher to teach classes as well as privately ‘1 on 1’. This experience enables a very good living to be gained from sharing this valuable knowledge with those that really need it. I have traveled the world doing just that for the past 20 years and feel blessed to have had this enriching and rewarding life experience.