Last month, we wrapped up our three week intensive 200hr Namaslay® Yoga Teacher Training in Tennessee. It was the first US-based training we’ve done, and it was a great experience, so it definitely won’t be the last.
Just like with our Thailand training, we brought in guest teachers to teach various supplementary classes like Yoga for Kids, Yoga for Bigger Bodies, Yoga for Athletes, Yoga for the Elderly, and Laughter Yoga. The strength portion didn’t change, as that is one of the foundations of our program, and I’m happy to say that all of our students realized how beneficial including strength training is to their yoga practice.
From (before) sun-up until sundown our students and instructors were working hard to make sure their teaching, learning and practice were met with success. And you were able to follow along on their journey through on my IG account, our @namaslayytt account, and also through the blog posts we did with the students-turned-graduates along the way. But, there are so many facets to this training that were not shown, so I wanted to break down all of the components to give you a glimpse into what makes it purely Namaslay® 200hr. Teacher Training. And if Namaslay® YTT looks like something you’d like to do, there are still some spots open in our April YTT in Santorini, Greece so be sure to reserve now!
Food at Namaslay® Yoga Teacher Training
One of the things I liked most about this training is that we really felt like a family, and as a nod to that, we did our own breakfasts rather than having them catered. At our training each day, we had two people on seva duty. Seva is a Sanskrit word meaning selfless act in the name of community. Our seva people were responsible for various tasks throughout the day, including prepping breakfast for our group. We also had incorporated a bit of nutrition and gut health into our curriculum and we wanted to share products with our students that we believe in and trust. Each day was different, but I wanted to say thank you to the sponsors we had:
Purely Elizabeth - They provided their Original Ancient Grain Granola, which is gluten-free and the perfect combo of salty and sweet.
Cappello’s - Cappello’s makes insanely delicious vegan, gluten free, grain free, Paleo-friendly cookies and we used them to celebrate milestones throughout the training and people’s birthdays! They sent chocolate chip cookies dough (my favorite) and double chocolate chip (also delish) - and I love them because it’s so easy to just cut and bake, or - because of their simple ingredients - you can eat them raw!
Kuli Kuli - We featured all of their smoothies at our training: a dark chocolate, vanilla and a green smoothie.
Blendtopia - What a cool company! They sent frozen pouches of smoothie ingredients which we loved.
Daily Harvest - These breakfast blend smoothies were a big hit with our group (use code yogabycandace for 3 free smoothies).
Good Dee’s - They generously sent us sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan pancakes and muffins. We used a chia egg instead of a real egg so our vegans could eat them and they were a hit!
NestFresh - They were nice enough to send the YBC® Team and our students coupons that we used at a nearby Publix. We love that they’re committed to working with regional family-owned farms who care about their hens and provide non-GMO, American Humane Certified/Certified Humane Raised and Handled eggs.
Runamok Maple - They sent over the most to die for flavors you’ve ever heard of - are you ready for this?! Cinnamon and Vanilla infused Organic Maple Syrup, Smoked with Pecan Wood (great for cooking and baking!) and Fresh Ginger Root Infused. SO good!
Workshops at Namaslay® Yoga Teacher Training
One thing that really sets Namaslay® 200hr. Yoga Teacher Training apart, and which really sets our graduates apart, is the diverse and in-depth workshops and instruction they receive and that they can then pass on to their students. One of the beautiful things about yoga is that it’s not a one-size-fits-all practice and therefore I created a curriculum to reflect just that. Our instructors have varied backgrounds in varied knowledge and everyone brings something different to the table.
For instance, Dan is the anatomy guru and sheds light on how and why your body moves the way it does and how and why, as an instructor, it’s important to take this into consideration when sequencing students through a progression of poses. Jen has experience with yoga for PTSD, pre- and postnatal clients, and bigger bodies and athletes. Dana knows how to teach yoga for kids. Each instructor contributes something different and impactful and helps round out the students knowledge base in a distinct way. We also cover sequencing, assists and adjusts, and written exams and hands-on practicums.
Knowing how to effectively demo, offer adjusts and assists is key for a yoga teacher. Here is Dan, explaining to the group how he helps people into wheel pose with trainee Leota as our volunteer.
Dan and I partnered up to teach a sequencing class. Sequencing is one of the most challenging aspects of the training, but being able to properly and appropriately sequence is vital for a yoga teacher.
Guest teacher Dana came in for a few days to lead a self-care workshop, and a module on Yoga for Kids. Our students learned what goes into teaching a yoga class for kids, and how to run a basic kids class. The best part? They got to participate in a kids class with Dana!
Having Buckles there was such a treat for everyone. He’s got the most expressive face, as you can see here! He really fed off everyone’s good energy and aside from the barn cat sightings, was so calm and well behaved the whole time! For some of the time, we were out in the pavilion, and Buckles often joined us for outdoor classes like anatomy which you see here. Here I was about to start leading an aromatherapy class, and Dan was just finishing up his anatomy lesson.
My mom, a certified laughter yoga teacher, came and led the group through a workshop. My cheeks and abs hurt from laughing so hard. Very good, very good, yay! (You mighta had to be there to get that joke.)
Strength Training at Namaslay® Yoga Teacher Training
YBC’s® Strength and Conditioning coach Danny joined us for the start of the training to lead our strength classes. At Namaslay®, we firmly believe that strength training to build muscle around the joints is vital to a healthy body and complements the physical yoga practice. Our intention with the strength program is to teach our trainees tools they can use for themselves to continue to build their own strength, and also so they can offer ideas to their future students when they see poor form due to lack of strength. Again, each teacher brought something different to the students’ experience. Danny teaches strength training from a CrossFit background and LG teaches strength from a personal training background. Whereas Danny gave in-depth background on how the joints were moving and which muscles were activated, LG got right into a dynamic warmup, followed by HIIT-style workouts, and a cool down—for a full 45 minutes. One of the reasons I hired LG was because I knew she brought so much to the table. Aside from stepping into the role as Editorial Director, where she edits posts, works on scheduling and makes sure all things blog-related are running smoothly, she is also a certified personal trainer and is passionate about health and fitness. She came to Tennessee to help our students gain a deeper understanding of workout form and strength training, but also supported YBC® behind the scenes by taking photos and editing blog posts.
Practicums and Introspection at Namaslay® Yoga Teacher Trainings
At Namaslay® YTT, we have practicums throughout the training. Some trainings do practicums at the very end, but I think it’s most beneficial to the trainees to have them spread out over the course of the entire training. This way, our trainees can get ample feedback, perfect their craft, and try again, multiple times over.
Our curriculum requires deep introspection from our trainees. In addition to the obvious (asana classes, anatomy, etc), students in Tennessee also get experiences like yoga nidra, and supplemental activities like laughter yoga, yoga for kids, etc. In addition, we had a number of self enquiry workshops to help them go deeper and get to know themselves better. We believe that the best yoga teachers are the ones who are 100% authentically themselves, and you can only be 100% authentically yourself when you know yourself very well.
I am so proud of our trainees and their hard work for the three weeks we were together! It was an unbelievable experience and I can’t wait to do it all over again in Santorini, Greece this spring!