Are you interested in learning more about Yoga?
If you are looking to pursue Yoga Teacher Training or add to your current knowledge, I have some suggestions. Most importantly, find a Mentor Teacher that resonates with you.
My journey of becoming a Yoga teacher was more organic than it was structured. I truly consider the teacher-instructor connection, rather than the learning materials, per se, as the most important factor in choosing a Training Program or course.
Find the right Mentor Teacher for YOU!
When I look for a Mentor Teacher to learn from, I look for two things:
1. Do they walk the talk? Have they had some physical issues, mobility challenges and/or aging related conditions where they used Yoga as a healing modality? That is why many of my mentor teachers are of the demographic I teach to… 50+. Theory and education is great, but I believe we learn SOOO much more from having personal physical issues.
2. Do they think outside the box? Are their teachings are not all medical terms and concepts? If I had wanted to go the western medical route, I would have become a Physical Therapist. However, I truly wanted the mind-body-spirit connection to healing.
Find other sources for learning.
In addition, I also read a lot of articles and blogs, watch video lectures and take workshops from teachers that resonate with me. In conclusion, much of my learning is a combination of taking workshops (online and in person) with my favorite teachers and from resources that I find interesting.
Teacher to Teacher: The Passing of the Baton – Sherry Zak Morris & Mary Cavanaugh
As Yoga Teachers and Students, we take the time to honor our Teacher and our Teacher’s Teacher… and so on down the chain of many Teachers that have come before us. To each and every one of the Yoga Teachers who share our passion for Gentle, Senior and Chair Yoga…. the passing of the baton continues on.
Mentor Teachers near and dear to my heart:
- Mary Cavanaugh – Creator of Chair Yoga. She was 79 when I met her and graduated from her Teacher Training Program. She opened my eyes to the world of aging with strength, confidence and joy.
- James Knight – Creator of Gentle Somatic Yoga. His work really changed my perspective on movement. It is certainly outside the box of typical Hatha Yoga. He is a colleague and dear friend. His 4-hr Introduction to Gentle Somatic Yoga® course can be found on the Yoga Vista Academy website.
- Justine Shelton – My partner in the Yoga Vista Academy. As a collegiate basketball player, she suffered many knee and back injuries. As a result, she specializes in Low Back and Joint issues. She trained with Gary Kraftsow in an approach to Yoga called Viniyoga. In addition, she gave me the love of anatomy! And I nurtured that Love by taking deep dives to learn more about it!
- Erhard Rohrmuller – Soma-Kinetics Physiologist. He combines Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Pilates, Yoga and Somatics. He is soooo creative with his movements and I absolutely love his work.
- Paula Montalvo – My dear friend and fellow Yoga teacher. In 2005, she graduated from Chair Yoga training at the age of 79. I learned a lot from her on aging with Yoga during the time she was a teacher at my Yoga studio for many, many years.
Other Influential Teachers:
- Pete Egoscue – Anatomical Physiologist and Author of Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain, the book that totally changed my perspective of pain, aging and movement!
- Rodney Yee – Pioneer of Yoga in the US. He’s great because he is not super competitive in his Yoga. And he has a calm presence about him.
- Leslie Kaminoff – Anatomy master! His book Yoga Anatomy, (co-authored with Amy Matthews) is brilliant! Need I say more?
- Brian Dorfman – Kinesiologist Extraordinaire! He is the BIGGEST influence on my teaching. I had the honor to be the videographer for 20 of his lectures. Oh my… I Love that man! Check out his Holistic Yoga Therapy workshops.
- Nischala Devi – Masterful teacher and healer. If you read about her, you will see why she resonates with me.
Look for them Locally or Online!
So, if any of these folks come to your area, I would highly recommend going to meet them. But if not, look for their offerings online. Remember the first 2 items I mentioned above and keep them in mind when you look for training. Because, believe me, all Yoga training is not alike. You want knowledge that touches the essence of how you think and believe – not some “expert” to show you the way.
Last bit of advice… be inquisitive in everything! Hope that helps!
Sherry Zak Morris
Founder, Yoga Vista
CREDITS: Author, Sherry Zak Morris, Certified Yoga Therapist
Editor, Maria Perez, Certified Yoga & Group Fitness Instructor