On a regular teacher training, you are studying from sunrise to sunset and a typical day includes two yoga practices, a meditation session, teaching methodology, anatomy and lectures. Six days a week, for a whole month. Your body is in pain, your mind is overwhelmed, and your emotions are boiling. My 200 hours YTT was a full immersion in yoga practice and yogic lifestyle. It was a real challenge. It was insane. Why would I like to go through it again? Despite all that painful details, it was like going on a journey to the land of wonders!
So, a year and a half later, I am ready for a brand new adventure and yoga journey. Being lucky enough to cross my path with Thai Child Development Foundation, I had a chance to share my love and passion for yoga and yogic lifestyle with children. Fun as hell, right? Hard job as well! At the peak of my excitement of raising Jedi Knights, I found out that animal and super hero-themed asana with imaginative sounds effects, are not enough to keep kids interested in staying on the bright side. Neither is it enough to go beyond the physical aspect of yoga and make it truly holistic and beneficial for their entire lifetime. And who needs that more than kids?!
What to do, when the Force is not on your side and uncle Google's tips are failing you in attempts to spread the Good and little yogis are crawling away to the dark site? Call for the Jedi Master.
I met one in the very same place, as I met my challenge - in TCDF in the middle of the rainforest. Laura, of Divine Light Yoga, was an international primary school teacher prior to teaching yoga and so, she is very passionate about incorporating yoga and mindfulness into the lives of young children and teenagers.
Laura leads weekend and week-long intensives as well as playful trainings in various specializations, focused on practical aspects of using movement, music, interactive story-telling, art, dance and play, so that children can fully embrace yoga and its message. Sound good to me!
Meeting worried looks from my little students, after performing roaring lion pose in front of them, I had no option but to sign up for Laura's 11-day Children's Yoga Teacher Training. I chose this training in particular because it covers a wide range of topics such as educational and Yoga philosophies, the Chakra System, Asana, Pranayama, meditation and visualization techniques for children of different ages as well as, games and play, music, relaxation, story-telling, arts, nature and mythology, therapeutic approaches and yoga for children with special needs. I hope to learn how to connect with children of all ages and how to give them the tools and support to take care of themselves and their surroundings... to be a mindful, compassionate individuals... healthy and active members of their community... to become new Jedi Knights fighting evil with the power of their minds! Or just to find a less embarrassing replacement for lion pose...
Why did I choose Divine Light Yoga's CYTT? Seriously, without too much honey-coating...
* The course represents a unique approach to the subject; the program goes beyond Asana, Pranayama and Meditation, how to teach the physical aspect of yoga is a just small part of it. The aim of the training is to give the teachers the tools and techniques needed to educate children to become balanced, creative and open-minded individuals.
* They host a range of trainings from which, I could choose the one that corresponds with my experience (there are courses especially for certified yoga teachers and also trainings for educational and healthcare professionals) and it fits my area of interest (yoga and art for children and teens).
* Most of the courses are organized in places that are supporting development of children and / or local communities. As with the training I have chosen, it's organized in Eco-Logic Resort in Paksong and 30% of tuition fees are contributed to Thai Child Development Foundation which supports development of unprivileged children in the Ranong district.
* The course takes place in the middle of the Thai rainforest, in beautiful surroundings where I can disconnect from outside world and be fully dedicate to studying.
* Last but not least, I just like Laura as a person and as a teacher, and knowing her experience and her view on children's yoga, I just had to do it with her.
Looks like I am going back to school...