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Teachers’ Training Course Experiences

Yoga Vidya International Yoga Teachers‘ Training - 4 weeks’ intensive -

Acharya Harilalji of the Arsha Yoga Gurukulam in India led a 4-week Intensive English Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga Vidya in Bad Meinberg, Germany. We thought it might be interesting to find out how it felt to take part at that training and what kind of changes it brought to people’s lives.

We asked Sarah Fulton participant in 2015 and Margret Ballinger participant in 2016 a few questions and got some inspiring answers.

Interview with Sarah Fulton

Yoga Vidya: Hi Sarah! Thank you for taking the time to take part in this interview. As a participant in last summer’s intensive English Yoga Teachers’ Training, we are interested to know about your experiences. Could you begin by introducing yourself.

Sarah FultonSarah Fulton: Hi! My name is Sarah Fulton; I actually turned 27 whilst on the course. I’m originally from England, but moved to Berchtesgaden Bavaria four years ago to live with my partner.

YV: Thanks for introducing yourself. When did you start practicing yoga and how did you come into contact with it? Could you please tell us what yoga means to you?

SF: To me, Yoga is my savior. I stumbled upon the practice of asana whilst suffering from Anorexia Nervosa, and quickly found solace and comfort within it. I have always been spiritually attuned, and I found that yoga, as a whole, embodied many of my own beliefs. I first tried asana as a teenager but only began practising seriously during my mid-twenties.

YV: How did you hear about Yoga Vidya and the 4-week Intensive English Yoga Teacher Training? What motivated you to take part in it?

SF: I saw an advertisement for Yoga Vidya in a yoga magazine and requested a brochure, which included details of available courses. At first I contemplated taking part in the German course, but when I saw that an intensive English course was available, it was ideal. As a mother of a young son, I didn’t have the time to take on a longer course. I realized after being so unhappy at work that I should do something that I not only enjoy thoroughly, but through which I could also introduce others to the healing benefits of Yoga, being someone who had experienced those benefits first hand.

YV: What were your experiences of the practical classes? What about the theoretical talks?

Teacher Training Course Experiences

SF: I loved every minute of every day. I loved the fact that we had two asana classes to break up the periods when we were sitting for the lectures, so we were not restless and figety and able to take in all of the information comfortably. I loved the lectures because Harilalji has a wonderful way of making things relatable, and it is clear that he really was passionate about Yoga. Radhika was so lovely and communicated wonderfully with us. She had time for each and every one of us, and I felt completely safe in her hands.

YV
: What did you enjoy most about the training? Do you have certain favourite subjects or preferences?

SF
: I loved the entire experience over the four weeks, so much so that I could not put a finger on one particular aspect. I met some wonderful people. I had a chance for a month to push aside the ´real world´ and live the way I believe we should, and I was able to spend the whole month doing what I love.

YV: Were your expectations of the training fulfilled? Would you recommend it to others?

SF: I would most definitely recommend the experience! I believe that investing in yourself and what you enjoy is one of the most important things a person can do. I have never felt healthier than I did throughout the month. The course as a whole completely exceeded my expectations. I often look back to my time at the Ashram fondly, and think about when I can return!

YV: What did you enjoy most about Yoga Vidya?

SF: I love the calm, friendly atmosphere at Yoga Vidya, the wonderful food, the opportunities and the resources. I think the shop is very practical and well-stocked. I made some lovely friends during my stay, as well as attaining a magnitude of useful, vital information about the practice of yoga and spirituality.
YV: What has changed in your life as a result of the training? Did your own yoga practice get more intense? Do you feel that the training has helped you to grow spiritually?

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Interview with Margaret Ballinger:

Yoga Vidya: Hi Margaret! Thank you for taking the time to take part in this interview. As a participant in last summer’s intensive English Yoga Teachers’ Training, we are interested to know about your experiences. Could you begin by introducing yourself.

Margaret Ballinger: My name is Margaret Ballinger and I am a Mexican/American living in Germany for the past seven years.  

YV: Thanks for introducing yourself. When did you start practicing yoga and how did you come into contact with it? Could you please tell us what yoga means to you?

MB: I began practicing yoga almost 18 years ago on and off.  Yoga to me has always been a private journey.  I’ve never enjoyed group sports as much as individual ones. I tend to focus on practices that require individual effort.   

YV: How did you hear about Yoga Vidya and the 4-week Intensive English Yoga Teacher Training? What motivated you to take part in it?

MB: I had been searching for an English teacher training course in Germany. I was looking for a program that explored a variety of different styles of yoga such as Hatha yoga, and also focused on the meditation practice.  

YV: What were your experiences of the practical classes? What about the theoretical talks?

MB:  I enjoyed the variety of classes by experiencing them hands on.  For example, the kundalini classes, which focused on chakras, were explained and discussed. But more importantly, we practiced them.  So even though they were intense, I had a stronger appreciation and understanding for that specific type of practice because I had my own experiences to reflect on.   

YV: What did you enjoy most about the training? Do you have certain favourite subjects or preferences?

MB: I most enjoyed the hatha yoga practices and getting to know the other students. There were also things that I enjoyed after I was able to reflect on them after leaving.  Believe it or not, I miss the early morning meditation classes.  That was an incredible time to learn more about myself and become more self-aware.  I learned to quiet myself, and be more focused.  This is the kind of practice that builds more mental and physical strength.  

YV: Were your expectations of the training fulfilled? Would you recommend it to others?

MB: My expectations were met. I learned a lot about the theoretical parts of yoga.  However, I also learned that there is so much about yoga that can’t really be explained in four weeks, or four years.  It can truly be a lifetime of study to understand it all.  I would recommend it to others but I would want them to know to remind themselves to be open-minded and try not to have expectations so that you can absorb more from the experience.  

YV: What did you enjoy most about Yoga Vidya?

MB: Living in a yoga ashram was a unique and spiritual experience.  I’m glad that I took the course in an ashram instead of at a resort or building somewhere.  Being in the ashram rejuvenated me so many times because it was peaceful and I was among people 24 hours a day who were all looking for the same knowledge or experience.

YV: What has changed in your life as a result of the training? Did your own yoga practice get more intense? Do you feel that the training has helped you to grow spiritually?

MB: The yoga experience changed my life in many ways.  Not only did I begin to take my practice more seriously but I began incorporating more of the techniques I learned from Yoga Vidya.  I’ve become more in tune with my body spiritually and physically.  If I discontinue my meditation or hatha practices, I begin to feel unsettled.  Additionally, I also want to think more positively, because I realize that our words or thoughts do have emotion.  So if I want to stay happy I need to keep a positive outlook on the things and people around me.  I try to look at others in a positive light.  

YV: Are you presently teaching yoga? What is your main inspiration?

MB: I opened a yoga studio and began teaching yoga two months ago.  My main inspiration is that I want to share what I know to help other people begin to enjoy their lives more through the use of yoga.  I hope that my students can become more self-aware and less neglectful of their bodies and mind.  

YV: What are your plans for the future? What part does yoga play?

MB: I want to continue to learn about yoga either through workshops or more teacher trainings.  I would like to continue to teach so that I am among other yogis and have that be more of my lifestyle.  

YV: The food at Yoga Vidya is 100% organic and almost totally vegan. How did you like it? Are you vegan? vegetarian?

MB: I enjoyed the food at yoga vidya a lot, not just because I didn’t have to cook it myself, but because it always felt very nutritional and filling.  I have not made the switch to completely vegetarian but it’s rare that I do eat meat.  

YV: Do you have a particular motto, inspiration or philosophy of life?

MB: I don’t have a life motto because just when I think I may have a good understanding on things, I may get a different perspective on things.  Therefore, I’d have to say that I’m always learning and know that I have to stay open-minded.  

YV: Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

MB: If you are a student who is thinking about taking the course, then realize that some of the most important things you learn from the course go unrealized until after course completion.

YV: Thank you Margaret for sharing your experiences. We wish you all the best in the future. OM Shanti

Yoga Vidya Yogalehrer Ausbildung English

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