Yes, You Need Yin Teacher Training to Teach Yin Yoga
If you have ever thought to yourself, do I really need a Yin Yoga teacher training? In this episode, I wanted to talk a little bit about Yin Yoga teacher training.
Specifically about why you need one if you’re gonna teach Yin, and then some things to look at when you are deciding what Yin yoga teacher training to take.
So yes, you do need a yin teacher training. If you’re going to teach Yin Yoga.
For example, If I were to say, Oh yeah, I can totally teach that Kundalini Yoga class.
Cause I mean, I’ve got some Kundalini DVDs. I’ve been to workshops. No problem. I can teach that.
Or let’s look at the lineage of Ashtanga Yoga. If I were to say, Oh, I’ve done some Ashtanga Yoga and I’ve got some books. I mean, I can totally teach that Ashtanga class.
Most of you would think that that sounded pretty arrogant or just incredibly naive.
And yet this comes up all the time with Yin. I will hear teachers say, ‘Yeah, but isn’t Yin yoga, just like regular yoga, but with longer holds’, is not the case.
There are so many little details that are different when you start transitioning into teaching a more quiet, still style of yoga, like Yin, that it really becomes a case of you don’t know what you don’t know.
So that’s to get that out of the way, that if you want to teach yin, if you have a crush on yin, if you’ve fallen in love with yin, you want to go deeper, both in your own practice and you want to start teaching it and offering it, please seek out good training and don’t teach it until you have. Okay?
Yes, You Need Yin Teacher Training to Teach Yin Yoga – Listen
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Dear yoga teacher, if you have ever thought to yourself, do I really need a yin yoga teacher training? I wanted to talk a little bit about Yin Yoga teacher training. Specifically about why you need one if you’re gonna teach Yin, and then some things to look at when you are deciding what Yin yoga teacher training to take. So dear yoga teacher, if you have ever thought to yourself, do I really need a yin yoga teacher training? So that’s to get that out of the way, that if you want to teach yin, if you have a crush on yin, if you’ve fallen in love with yin, you want to go deeper, both in your own practice and you want to start teaching it and offering it, please seek out a good training and don’t teach it until you have. Okay. The answer is yes. And now here’s a little bit of a bone of contention. My teacher, Paul Grilley, whom I adore has been quoted many times as saying, you do not need a yin yoga teacher training to teach yin yoga. Myself and several of his other, experienced students who studied with him regularly, respectfully disagree with this. And because my teacher does not expect you to dogmatically follow everything that he says, he’s totally okay with us disagreeing. So yes, you do need a yin teacher training. If you’re going to teach yin yoga, let’s use this as an example. If I were to say, Oh yeah, I can totally teach that Kundalini yoga class. And yet this comes up all the time with Yin. I will hear teachers say, and I have had teachers say. Yeah, but isn’t Yin yoga, just like regular yoga, but with longer holds, not the case. I remember back maybe about six or almost seven years ago while I was studying Chinese medicine at Pacific Rim, shout out to Pacific Rim College, another gal who was also in the Chinese medicine program and knew that I had, studied extensively with Paul Grilley. Came up to me because a studio had offered her a yin class simply because it followed right after the flow class and studios. If you’re listening and you run a studio, stop doing that. Stop offering classes to teachers just because it’s convenient to check their training. Because of course, if you say to a teacher, Hey, do you want this class? They’re going to say, yes. They’re not usually going to have, the wisdom to say, actually, you know, I don’t think I have enough training in that style. They’re just so desperate for a class. They’ll take it most of the time. And so this was one of those examples. The gal was offered the class for Yin because it came up right after her morning flow class. You know, we all as teachers, I mean, having two classes back to back in one location is the dream, right? And so she said yes to taking this yin class. And then came up to me at the lockers while we were in our Chinese medicine school studies, and said, hey, um, I’m just taking over this Yin class. And, I know you’ve got a lot of yin training and experience. I’m wondering if you would mind uh, you know, helping me out a little. And I said, yeah, sure, I can recommend, a bunch of books, a bunch of DVDs, and also we could just go for coffee, if you’ve got any questions or confusion, you know, I’m, happy to help out kind of thing. Now this is before I was offering formal Yin teacher training programs. And so I touched base with her again at school and was like, Hey, so did you want me to still bring you like those resources or set up a time to chat? And she’s like, Oh no, I’m fine. I mean, I can teach yin yoga. Yeah. So if you’re a teacher that has said that. And thought that this really is a case of you don’t know all the things that you don’t know. There are so many little details that are different when you start transitioning into teaching a more quiet, still style of yoga, like Yin, that it really becomes a case of you don’t know what you don’t know. I think we can all look back maybe unless you are a teenager listening to this, at, you know, something that we thought we were super smart about as a teenager and in hindsight to be like, Hmm, okay. So that’s to get that out of the way, that if you want to teach yin, if you have a crush on yin, if you’ve fallen in love with yin, you want to go deeper, both in your own practice and you want to start teaching it and offering it, please seek out a good training and don’t teach it until you have. Okay.
Now, I wanna be clear, my intention here isn’t to go over this episode as one long sales letter for my Yin yoga teacher training program, although, of course, my training will be mentioned, and the reason I’ll be mentioning it is in basis of comparison to other trainings. But also because when I decided to leave all of the other, studios.
And colleges and things that I was offering my yoga teacher training through and had free reign to create as I saw fit, what I saw was needed, what I thought was important. I took a lot of time did a lot of soul-searching and put a lot of effort into deciding. What it was that I wanted to be in there, the format, what I didn’t think was important, et cetera, et cetera.
So, although my intention here is not to have this be one episode, that’s a whole long sales letter for my training. Of course, I’ll be mentioning my training, in this as a basis of comparison and just so that, you know, All right, let’s get started.
Cause I mean, I’ve got some Kundalini DVDs. I’ve been to workshops. No problem. I can teach that. Or let’s look at the lineage of Ashtanga Yoga. If I were to say, Oh, I’ve done some Ashtanga Yoga and I’ve got some books. I mean, I can totally teach that Ashtanga class. Most of you would think that that sounded pretty arrogant or just incredibly naive.
I was training Yin teachers, but I was doing it in an apprenticeship model. So one on one. And so I offered that to her as well. I said, if you want to dive deeper into this, we could do an apprenticeship. And then about a week later, I hadn’t heard anything from her, no texts, no emails, no nothing.
There wasn’t a lot of wisdom there. There was not a lot of humility. I probably should have kept my mouth shut and not done the thing until I had studied it a little bit more so it’s the same thing with Yin. Your Hatha training, even if it included a tiny little yin section, is not enough training for you to be able to teach yin yoga classes.
But then I wanted to also say that, of course, not all trainings are created equal. So what actually sparked this idea for this episode was seeing a post in a yin yoga group that I’m a member of, which is an awesome group, by the way. If you’re not there, go check it out. Yin Yoga Network, it’s called.
not all Trainings are created equal. And what sparked this episode was I saw somebody post and I quote, I want to take a yin training in Bali. Who knows of one? Okay. So here’s the problem with that question. When you’re looking for professional training, now it’s different if you’re just, if you’re a member of the public and you just want like a yoga vacation, well, first of all, why would you take a teacher training?
Just go on a retreat. But let’s just say you did. Take teacher training, then maybe it’s not so important and the location might be important more so than the training. But if you are a yoga teacher, then being in an exotic location should be the least important thing to consider when you’re looking for training.
Another thing I often see is people kind of shopping around for training that works perfectly with their schedule and having so many of these trainings available exclusively online. And I’m not knocking online training, mine’s online, but having so many of them exclusively online has actually just made this worse.
And I hate to say it, but it’s created a bunch of yoga teachers who are a little bit spoiled, right? We’ve got all of these options. And so we get kind of spoiled, and now I’m going to out myself as a Gen X kid here. So, if you don’t know what Generation X is, you can Google that. We’re the forgotten generation between boomers and millennials.
But when I was a kid, you know, we had a decent amount of cereal selection. Like if you went to the cereal aisle, there was a decent amount. We definitely had some choices. But if you look at it from when I was a kid until now there are so many choices that it’s almost overwhelming. And I don’t really think any of those cereals are better than the ones that we had back in the day.
So I’m going to sound like, an old person here when I say back in the old days, but I’m going to say back in the old days or back in my day, if you wanted to take a training in a style of yoga, whatever the style may be, if it wasn’t offered by a really good teacher in your city, please Then guess what you did.
You booked time off of your work. If you were already a full-time teacher, that meant you got your classes subbed out. If you have a part-time or full-time job and you teach on the side, it means you booked vacation time and you travelled to where the training was and then you paid to stay there and you paid your expenses.
So now I’m not saying, this to negate my… Earlier statement about only choosing by location. I’m talking about choosing to book the time off and travel because you wanted to study with that teacher. So just shopping around for a training that happens to perfectly fit your schedule, where you won’t have to take any time off or make any sacrifice.
Isn’t very wise in my opinion, instead, try to find a teacher that really speaks to you, that you are excited to study with, and then take the time off to study with them, whether that’s online or in person. If some of their course runs during your work week, well, maybe you take a vacation day or you work from home that day so that you can attend.
I know that I’ve had, teachers, work from home so that they can attend some of my trainings. So rather than just take whatever random training, because it works for your schedule without knowing, is it a good training? Is this training going to be helpful in my career? Am I going to have to go take another training because this training actually wasn’t so good and I was just taking it cause it fit with my schedule.
When I went to study with Paul Grilley repeatedly. I live in Canada. So not only did I have to book the time off and miss out on the income of that time off as a self-employed person, I had to pay in U.S. funds, which is no small feat right there. I had to get on an airplane. I had to take a little bus from the San Francisco airport all the way, a little bus with some of my other school participants.
My other yin teachers were coming to study with Paul. All the way to The Land of the Medicine Buddha, and then we would be there for, I think some of them were 10 days or two weeks or whatever they were, and then we would have to take the little shuttle bus again back to the airport and fly home.
That’s what we did to study with the teacher that we really wanted to study with because the teacher really spoke to us, being you know sort of Mr. Yin Yoga. And we took that time out of our busy life and we committed to it and we dedicated ourselves to it because we valued it and we said it was worth it.
So rather than just taking whatever random training because it works for your schedule, wait or take time off. Whether the training is in person and you do want to fly somewhere or whether it’s online and it requires you to maybe book some vacation days. Some of my European students have stayed up a little later than they would normally stay up.
These are the things that we do, the sacrifices we make when we really value the teacher and the training that we’re studying.
Another thing I want to mention is the length of training. Now, if you really love yin, I think you are going to end up taking several different trainings, perhaps, over the years. With different teachers, or you’re really going to look for longer training. But here’s one thing I will say for sure.
20 hours is not even close to enough. And how do I know this? Because I used to teach a 20-hour training in a yoga therapy program. And 20 hours wasn’t my choice. It was the fact that all of their modules were 20 hours because they were on a weekend. And so that’s what we did. We did a 20-hour yin training.
The problem with that was. It somehow gave those yoga therapists then the impression, not all of them, but some of them, that they were now air quotes certified and qualified to teach yin yoga after only studying it for 20 hours. So 20 hours is enough to maybe give you a little taste of yin, but I wouldn’t consider that anywhere close to enough, time to actually say that you are qualified and will be comfortable and ready to teach yin yoga.
So one thing you want to look at is when you’re looking at a training is how long is the training at the time of this recording? My training is 60 plus hours, 60 hours with me. And then. Assignments and homework. However, by the time you listen to this, that may have changed knowing me, the training will start getting longer and more in-depth.
So taking a little quickie training, I wouldn’t waste your time. Just wait and take a longer training. If you really know that you love yin yoga and you want to teach it. Here’s another thing to consider. Who was the teacher that is offering the program that you’re looking at trained by? For example, can you trace their training back to the founders of Yin?
Or is it so 10 times removed from anybody who studied with one of the founders that it’s no longer even really a yin training anymore. So that’s one thing to look at. Who was the teacher trained by? Can you trace their training back to Paul Grilley or Polly Zink? If you want to go that way.Another question I would ask if I were you is how long have they been teaching yoga? How long have they been teaching yoga? I once had somebody reach out to me who saw me posting on the yin yoga network on Facebook. And a DM and ask me, Hey, I want to start training in teachers.
I want to start offering yoga teacher training. And you tell me, how I would do that. And so I just asked some questions. I was like, Oh, cool. How long have you been teaching? It turns out now I don’t buy into the Yoga Alliance standards, but that’s a podcast episode, that I’ll do in the future, We’ll not talk about Yoga Alliance per se in this one, but according to Yoga Alliance standards, she was a.
200 hour teacher. She wasn’t even an experienced 200-hour teacher. She was certainly not a 500-hour teacher. And she’d only been teaching for a couple of years and taken a very small yin training. And I don’t think she liked my answer because I politely, but just told her that she’s looking to do this too quickly.
First, she needs to immerse herself in yin yoga. She needs to immerse herself in the practice itself. She needs to read all of the books, do all of the DVDs, take as much training as she can from diverse teachers, or take longer training from a good teacher. That I wouldn’t even consider her ready unless she had done 500 hours of yin-specific training to start training teachers.
It’s just my opinion, but oftentimes I’ll see this attitude ever since Yoga Alliance came out and they put these numbers and letters on things. It’s like a teacher thinks as soon as they have an E in front of their 200, that now all of a sudden they should start teaching teachers. It doesn’t work that way again.
Where is the humility? There’s too much hubris there, and it’s not ill-intentioned. It was just that she literally was so naive as to all that she didn’t know and all that she would need to learn before she could train other people to teach that style.
So how long have they been teaching yoga and can you trace their training back? Are they connected to, you know, someone in that yin lineage? And how much have they studied with them? Because I will just say this, I’ll go out on a limb, and this is just my opinion. If you’ve taken one 50-hour yin yoga teacher training, that is not enough for you to start training teachers.
So I’m going to say that again, if you’ve taken one 50-hour yin yoga teacher training or 20 or 30 hours, that is not enough experience, understanding and depth of knowledge for you to now be teaching a yin teacher training. So how long has the teacher been teaching? Can you trace their training back through the line of yin yoga?
Here’s some other things to consider. Do they have other applicable training that will add to the experience in the training? So maybe not specifically, you know, yoga, but maybe they’ve got A wealth of anatomy studies, or they’ve studied Taoism or Traditional Chinese medicine, or they’ve really dove deep into fascia studies, things like that.
So those things are all key parts, in my opinion, of a good yin training, right? Anatomy, Taoism, Chinese medicine, perhaps only if the teacher’s qualified to teach that students of mine have taken before mine that didn’t even include basic yin yang theory. So you’re teaching a style of yoga that is called yin and they not actually walking the students through what yin even is.
Other than a style of yoga,
Another thing that’s worth considering is if the teacher is including elements of traditional Chinese medicine in their training, and they are not either a Chinese medicine doctor, acupuncturist or practitioner, nor have they ever actually studied traditional Chinese medicine. That’s a problem for me.
If they just read a book on meridians and now that’s what they’re throwing in their training without any more in-depth study, that’s a problem for me. Now, I’m not saying that person is not qualified to teach yin. They might be, they might’ve done many, many, many hours of yin training, but Should they be including traditional Chinese medicine and things like that in that training if they haven’t studied that my answer would be no.
So could they still run a training? Yes, it just wouldn’t include things like meridians, the elements, etc, etc. Because I see a lot of training out there in which they’re training teachers. theories of meridians that are not really accurate. I see it all the time. I’ll see, you know, videos posted in Facebook groups that are like, Hey, this is my sequence for the kidney bladder meridian.
And they have no understanding of why would you do a sequence for the kidney bladder meridian? What are the points behind the kidney and bladder Meridian? So they haven’t done any in-depth study other than to know these poses are for the kidney and bladder Meridian. So that’s not skillful.
It would be better to just say, Hey, this poses for your spine and your hamstrings. So if someone only has a 50-hour yin yoga training under their belt, in my opinion, they should not be leading a yin training. They should take more training. If somebody has not studied Traditional Chinese medicine in depth.
Or at least fairly in-depth, or if they’re not already a Chinese medicine doctor and acupuncturist, et cetera, then they shouldn’t be including those elements in their training. If they’ve just read about them in a book, this is where these sorts of pop culture things happen. You know, I often will joke that, you know, when you take training and you learn a tiny little bit about chakras.
Then as a young budding teacher who doesn’t have the wisdom yet to know how little you don’t know you go around psychoanalyzing everybody and figuring out which chakras are blocked. So it’s the same thing with meridians, right, you don’t really actually have an understanding of the meridians, or more importantly Yin.
The sinew channels, because that’s actually what we’re working with in the yoga are the sinew channels, not so much the meridians in the way that you think of with acupuncture. So if they’re offering things that they don’t actually have any training in, that’s a red flag to me. And if you aren’t sure of these things, if you can’t go to their website and find somewhere to find what their training and certification is.
If that’s not publicly available, that’s a red flag to me. If they’re training teachers and they don’t have a list of the applicable training they’ve taken and who they studied yin under, that to me is, that’s a warning bell. Now you could of course email them and ask them, but I would really question why that’s not on their webpage.
Another one to think about is have they really immersed themselves in yin yoga? There’s a big difference between taking training from somebody who’s primarily a vinyasa teacher, but also does a little yin on the side, or maybe their core power teacher and they’ve done a little yin on the side.
That’s going to be a very different experience than studying with somebody who’s really immersed themselves. Into the practice very deeply, not just with their teacher and their studies, but with their own experience and their own body. So for example, I had some in training. I had started studying with Paul.
And so I was starting to feel more and more comfortable and more and more in-depth and getting more and more information. But I hadn’t done all of my training with him yet at a point in my life when I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue and I was a full-time yoga teacher. And so all of the energy that I had, I was using to get to classes and to demonstrate poses and then come out.
And then I was exhausted, especially on the weekends. And so my home practice, my own practice had to shift from primarily Hatha practice. With a little bit of Yin when I was on my moon cycle or not feeling well or tired, which is what I was doing when I first started studying with Paul, it was primarily Hatha with a side of Yin.
And when I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue, that all shifted. Then my practice became primarily Yin. With a little dash of restorative or yoga Nidra. And I was like that for at least two years where my practice was Yin, because that’s all I had the energy for. And over those two years of primarily studying Yin, And practicing in my own body that was a total game changer.
So what at the time I felt was a bit of a curse was actually a real gift because it gave me the time to really dive deep into practicing on my own in addition to my studies with Paul. Because there’s an embodiment that happens when you do that, that doesn’t happen if you’re just not practicing Yin
so, if a teacher hasn’t immersed themselves in yin, if it’s not a big part of their practice, if they haven’t taken the time to really study it deeply, that would be an alarm bell for me. And then, this one might sound like I’m saying two opposite things at once, but bear with me. I’ve been talking this whole time about honoring and studying with the teachers that, started this tradition and how important that is, and that is very important.
But there also has to be a bit of a harmony between honoring your teacher and their teachers and their teachers, and then being so rigid and dogmatic that you don’t ever think out of the box that the teacher gave you. For example, [00:26:00] I remember actually seeing this. This is back when it was on DVD. I think it’s just streaming now online that Paul talks a little bit about this at the very end.
It’s in kind of some of the bonus materials about how eventually you have to ask enough questions and do your own practice. And grow beyond what your teacher gave you. It doesn’t mean you’re not honouring or disrespecting your teacher. Of course you are, but you are a unique human being. And so you will have a unique way of, um, talking about these things, practicing these things, teaching these things.
It will feel unique to you in your body. You will have words that maybe your teacher never used.
So to me, there should be a harmony between honoring your teacher and not being so rigid that you don’t ask questions or continue to study past your teacher or dive into your own self and your own practice. To get these little gems of wisdom. So for example, I studied for 500 hours, formal teacher training with Paul.
And then I also had a workshop long before he was doing teacher training in California with him. I spent a weekend workshop back in 2007 with him and near the end of the training because I was also completing my yoga therapy training, I started to feel like some of the words and the language that I was being taught in these Yin Circles, not only didn’t feel very skillful, they didn’t feel trauma-informed to me, which was really important as a budding yoga therapist.
But they also didn’t feel accurate to what I experienced in my own body and with my own practice. And so I talked about this with Paul the last time I saw him in the flesh. And I just said, you know, some of the languaging kind of isn’t landing for me. And, you know, talked about a little bit about why.
And he looked at me very matter of factly as Paul usually does and said, Well, you should use whatever words work for you and your students. So. You can see there how, even though Paul is incredibly knowledgeable and wise, he is giving his student permission to make this practice Her own and yet.
I can still honor respect and adore my teacher. So there has to be harmony there between those two. And so I did start shifting some of the words, I’ll put a link in the show notes below for that one. You can hear more about the, how my languaging shifted as I became a yoga therapist with teaching in.
And part of this was to be more trauma-informed, but part of it also was just. The word that, that you’re using doesn’t feel like what I’m feeling in my body. And this word instead makes more sense to me. So for example, using the word resonance instead of rebound or linger instead of rebound, just felt more accurate to me.
Then there are questions that we want to think about, like the format is this training online? Nothing wrong with that. But if it is, how much access do you have to the teacher? Is it being taught live online or are you expected to watch a bunch of prerecorded material and then just show up for Q&A calls?
What are the class sizes? Are you able to get personalized attention and have all your questions answered? So I’ll talk a little bit about this in detail. So I was actually a teacher before I became a yoga teacher, I was a hairstylist for many years and I taught advanced hair colour techniques in workshop settings and classroom settings, and I travelled around the room and did stage shows where I did hair on stage and all of that.
So I learned. How to teach back then. And then when I started teaching yoga, I just moved all I’d learned about how to teach into a new subject matter. And I know that there is a point when I’m teaching my teachers. And they’re there live because that’s what I expect when I’m looking at them, whether it’s in person or in a Zoom room, and I’m watching their faces as I’m presenting the material, or when I’m done presenting the little section that we’re going to do.
And then I stopped the slideshow part, and I asked if there were questions. I’m actually looking at their faces. And what I’m looking for is. Eyes glazed over in confusion, or, Oh my God, so much information, I’m totally overwhelmed. Or am I seeing that little spark of, Oh my God, I got it. That is the difference between teaching and instructing.
So I could sit in front of my computer and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, talk about all the theory and then just email it out to people and then just only have Q and A calls. But how do I know? And how do they know that they’ve understood the information? Sometimes students don’t ask questions because they just don’t dare to ask questions.
Sometimes students are so overwhelmed with the information that they don’t even know what question to ask. They’re just so overwhelmed with all the newness that it’s like their brain is frozen and they get that deer caught in headlights look. And so, of course, they’re not going to ask a question in a Q& A session because they don’t even know what question to ask.
They’re so overwhelmed with all the stuff. Okay, so those are a couple examples of where the student probably does have questions. The student probably does need things clarified, but they don’t have the opportunity to unless the teacher can look at them and see. Ah, okay. I see what’s happening here.
Here’s some overwhelm. Let’s give it, let’s take a break. Let’s come back and review it. Or, Hmm, I see a lot of confusion. Is there another example or a different way that I could present this information that might land better with these students? None of this can happen when you are watching a prerecorded video.
So for example, you can tell, I feel very passionately about this as a teacher of yoga, but also as a teacher before that there is a difference between a teacher and an instructor. An instructor can make a video, send it out, and then just show up for a Q& A call. But a teacher is looking at their students for their cues as to, what do I need to go over more of?
What do I need to review? What do I need to express differently? What do we need to move on from? Because they totally got it. Now we can spend more time on other things. None of this can happen unless you’re actually looking at your students. So this is the reason that I have chosen to do small groups on Zoom where you show up live.
Instead of pre-recorded Q&A calls I actually want to be able to see everyone’s face on my screen. And I want them to feel like they can just randomly blurt out questions in Q and time, even if they’re not properly formed and that they’ll get answers rather than when it’s a really large group.
If you’ve got two or 300 people in that training, all going through it at the same time, there is no way. That you can give the students the individual attention that they need. So again, to me, that’s the difference between instructing people. And teaching people, okay, little soapbox there, but this is why I have chosen to format my training.
The way I have, I thought about all of this and ahead of time, should I just do prerecorded and Q&A calls? No. Another thing I’ll say on that is if the course is really condensed, I know as yoga teachers, you all think you want [00:34:00] to just do it in an intensive. I want it in 10 days. I want it in seven days.
I want it in one week so I can just like get in, get her done and get on with my life. Here’s the problem, especially if it’s not, um, in a setting where you can let go of your responsibilities. So for example, when I went to go study with Paul, these were intensives in, you know, 10 or 14 days or whatever they were.
But we were at a retreat center where we had no responsibilities. I did not have to make my meals. I did not have to do my laundry. I did not have to, if you know children, I didn’t have to take care of children. I didn’t have to, I didn’t have to do anything. Other than get up, feed me, shower myself, and get to the training.
So in that kind of environment, an immersive experience can be wonderful because you really do have the time to digest it and process it. After all, you’re not doing your regular life. But when you try to take a course online or in person while you’re still trying to do your life, and you’re going to try to squish that into a week or 10 days, I can tell you right now you are missing out on a ton of the information.
The brain can only take in so much information at a time.
I’m sure most of us have had an experience where we’ve studied with a yoga teacher for a long time, several years, months, whatever it is. And you’re in their class and all of a sudden they say something that totally lands with you. And you’re like, Oh my God, that makes so much sense. And then you ask them, you said this thing today that really just made sense.
And then sometimes they’ll tell you, actually, I’ve been saying that the whole time, but you weren’t able to hear it and absorb it because you were already still on all the other stuff they said, right? So repetition and having time to really allow these teachings and practices to sink in. is important if you actually want to understand the information, right?
We as Westerners, our universities, our schools, our colleges, all of them are not actually teaching people, they’re instructing people. So if you actually really want to understand the information, Not only in your head from what you just learned in the lecture time, but then you go and you go practice that and then you think about it more and then you journal about it perhaps and then you practice about it more and then you come to realize, Oh, I have some questions actually about that material because now that I’m practicing it or I’m thinking about it more, I’ve got some good questions.
And then you can come to the teacher and present those questions. But if you do your training in a short, condensed time, seven days in a row, back to back, long days, ten hours, back to back, long days, especially if that’s on Zoom, because Zoom fatigue is a real thing, and I can watch, I can see when my students’ brains are just like, checked out.
So if you, I know that dear yoga teacher listening, I know that you want to do it in seven days or 10 days, and you want to just cram all that information in, but I would ask you to question that. Does that want come from you just being really impatient and wanting to get on with the next thing? Cause that’s our culture, right?
Finish that. Okay. Let’s move on to the next thing. Oh, what’s the next thing we’re often thinking about the next thing before we finish the current thing. So that mentality then comes in when we’re looking for training programs. And I will tell you that when you have had the time to process these things, to sit with the teachings, to re-go over your notes, to do the practices again, you will understand things on such a deeper level, and you will come back to the teacher the next time you gather with some really well thought out, soulful questions.
Questions that you wouldn’t have even known that you would have in a condensed training until after the training was over. So if you’re in a condensed training that’s like seven days crammed together, you don’t even have time to process the information and come up with questions before the training’s over.
So this is just a personal pet peeve. But it’s also based on the science of how the mind actually learns, not how we think it learns, not how we want it to learn, but how it actually learns and how we actually learn new information if we take it in in smaller doses. We get repetition and review, and we have the time to sit with the information and practice with it and process it so that, we actually have a real deep embodied understanding of the information and possibly questions or things that need to be clarified.
Here’s another example of this. When I took my very first teacher training program, which was a 300 course, and I know that makes no sense to those of you that are, you know, in the cult of Yoga Alliance, but it was a 300 hour. And what we did was 200 hours of classroom studies together. And then we did 25 hours of assisting and observing a teacher.
And then we did 75 hours of apprenticeship so that’s how that 300 hours came about, but that 200 hours. of study that we did was spread out over a whole year. So we would have a weekend where we would do all of our training. And then we got to just do our home practice, and attend public classes at that same studio.
We had a chance to read our philosophy assignments and journal about things so that when we got together, the next time we had really good questions. And we had time to absorb the information and I’ve seen the models go from that to like, oh, here’s two weeks and now you’re a yoga teacher. It’s a problem.
It’s a big, big problem. So even though I would encourage you, dear yoga teacher, you think you want to just cram it all in in seven or 10 days. Here’s my question to you. Do you want a bunch of theories swimming around your head and a whole bunch of stuff that you didn’t actually catch because your brain was already overwhelmed?
Or do you want a deep understanding and knowing of the material because you’ve had the time, the practice and the ability to dive deeper and ask questions? So do you want to be really comfortable with the material and start to feel like you have some expertise or do you just want to cram a bunch of stuff in your head that you’ll halfway forget?
This is another reason why I stopped teaching. , now I’m not saying I wouldn’t teach through another yoga program. , if it was set up the way I wanted, but this was one of the reasons that I stopped teaching in other programs, because trying to cram in all that information in 20 hours in a weekend, it’s like not possible, especially on Zoom.
I started to see the point where the teachers in the group were glazed over. They got Zoom fatigue. They were not understanding or listening anymore. They would ask me a question based on something I literally just said because they had zoned out because of Zoom fatigue, right? It’s a real thing. So that’s my little soapbox on that.
Here’s another one. Does the teacher welcome questions, even if they don’t have the answers. So in my opinion, it takes a wise and humble teacher to say, you know, I don’t know, actually. That’s not something I’ve studied in depth or that’s not something that I have a lot of information on. And then they can maybe direct you somewhere, but even a very skilled, very knowledgeable teacher is not going to know everything.
And it takes a certain amount of grace and humility as a teacher to say, You know what, I don’t know, actually, I’m not sure about that. Either let me get back to you or here’s a resource where you might want to look deeper into that, right? Okay, here’s another thing to consider when you are looking at yin training.
Does the yin training include Skeletal variations, and functional anatomy, as taught by Paul Grilley. That’s a very big question, because if Paul Grilley is Mr. Yin Yoga, and if skeletal variations and functional anatomy are the foundation of the physical parts of Yin your training does not include that.
Is that a big problem, or does the teacher have more of an air quotes here alignment focus that they are bringing into the training. So if your teacher and again training is talking all about the alignment of the knee and this and that I would question whether or not that teacher has actually studied in depth.
In the Grilley method.
So for example, in my training, Paul Grilley an original DVD, although it’s now an online presentation of anatomy for yoga is required pre-watching for the program. They have to watch all, I think it’s like five or six hours of it. And then I have specific questions that they have to answer, to move into even to start the training.
So their first assignment is, watch this, answer these questions because I can’t start talking to you about the asana or the shapes. And the many variations of them and how you can adapt them for different bodies. If you don’t already acknowledge that, you know, there are plenty of different bodies out there.
So how I take care of that in my training is they all buy that that’s their required textbook for the training. They buy Paul’s anatomy for yoga and presentation, and they go through it in their own time. And then they have to do specific questions that I have laid out for them, sort of like a book report, if you were.
Um, and then of course we’d talk about it a lot in the training and there’s plenty of room for questions there as well.
Here’s another one. Do you resonate with the teacher? Like at a heart-to-heart level, do you resonate with the teacher? Have you bothered to even check them out? Have you listened to them be interviewed on podcasts or taken classes with them? Or if you can’t take classes with them live, have you practiced with some of their videos?
Have you read their blogs? So when you start shopping for teacher training based on location and fitting it into your schedule, then you’re not going to necessarily be studying with a teacher that you resonate with. And then, in my opinion, it’s a waste of time and money. There are teachers that I have had in the past that I would never study with again, not because they’re bad humans.
Luckily, I haven’t experienced any of that, but just because the way that they teach did not work for me at all. And then I have teachers that I would in a heartbeat study with again, and again, even if the information was not air quotes new to me, because of the way that they teach and who they are as a person and the resonance that I feel with them.
Here are some more red flags that I would encourage you to look at in teacher training. Does the teacher and the training clearly understand the difference between yin yoga and restorative yoga? So both yin and restorative are often sort of used in yoga circles in air quotes without anyone actually having an in-depth understanding of either of those what they are and what the difference is.
So does the training actually talk about that because you’re going to run into that with students. You’re going to have students saying to you, I don’t get it. What’s the difference between Yin and restorative? And if you don’t know, that’s problematic. Does the training have an element of accessibility?
So most trainings can’t be made accessible to everyone, but we can do a lot of accessibility for different bodies. Or injuries or medical conditions or things like that, simply by learning how to skillfully use props. Also, when we learn, you know, what the functional point of a pose is if it doesn’t work for someone’s body based on an injury, we can give them a different shape that’s going to access that same area and have the same function.
Right. Or can we just put a prop under that knee to make it more comfortable? So does the training include an element of accessibility and skillful use of props? That’s another thing I would look for.
Does the training teach you and talk about how to allow for quiet?
I’m pausing intentionally for that one because this is something I see all the time when I attend other yin teachers’ classes. Or when I have teachers that I’ve trained or am training that are new to Yin, there’s a discomfort with how much quiet there can be in a Yin class. So does your teacher know how to hold brave space for those quiet times?
And can they pass that on to you? Can they talk to you a little bit about what is it like as a teacher to sit in front of a room full of Yin students in silence? That’s a skill. It’s not easy, especially if you have studied and practiced mostly active forms of yoga, like vinyasa or power yoga, In those forms of yoga, there’s a lot of talking from the teacher.
And so when you learn to teach yin, it can be really challenging to learn how to reframe that. How much talking do I do? How much am I saying? How much is too much? Was that necessary? This is something that should be gone over in a [00:48:00] training.
Do they talk in the training about the mind in Yin? Because for many students, most students, actually, once they understand that they’re going to take some shapes and hang out for a while, the trickiest part of the practice for them is the mental and emotional realm. So does the training talk to you about that?
Does it address that? Does it give you tools and skills as a teacher, again, on how to hold space and help your students deal with the monkey going on in their mind while they’re in these classes?
A couple of other things. Would be breath techniques. So is there at least a minor amount of discussion of breath?
So for example, the breath techniques you might use in a Hatha class are designed to move the energy up the spine and out that are designed to be stimulating and energizing. Those are not appropriate for a yin practice. Do you as a teacher even know which ones those are and what you might do instead?
So is that addressed in your practice?
Another thing to look at is how are the energetics of a yin practice different from that of a yang practice? So I’ve already discussed some of them here, allowing time for quiet, the mind, and the breath, but this comes from having a deeper understanding of yin yang theory and understanding what yin is.
And then here’s one that I want to talk about and I want to finish with this one, but I want to clarify this. So the word equity is thrown out a lot [00:50:00] nowadays. So when I say equity, I’m just going to describe what I mean by this.
So let’s just say you have two teacher programs that you’re looking at. You really like them both as teachers. You think they’re both qualified. It’s similar. Let’s just say they’ve got very similar, if not identical qualifications. They both have a lot of praise and testimonials. That’s another thing you should look for.
Are there testimonials on their website from past students? So let’s say they have equal training and relatively equal experience. They both have a lot of praise for their program on their website. They’ve both been teaching for a long time. They have similar training. So all things created equal, you have two options here.
Sometimes you might want to consider equity in this case. Now, I want to be really clear, I’m talking not about taking training with somebody because they identify as a particular group of people, just because they identify as that group of people, right? I’m talking about, first, we have to look at, are they qualified?
Do I resonate with them? And then if you have many options still on your buffet platter, maybe you choose to work with somebody who you feel kind of supports your bigger mission in life. So, for example,, are you part of a marginalized group? And it really makes sense for you to study with a teacher who embodies that.
Maybe, maybe not. It’s just something to think about. And again, I want to be really, really clear here. I’m not saying you should study with a teacher just because they are part of a marginalized group. I do not think that that is skillful. But if all things considered, you’ve got two choices. That might be a deciding factor.
So, for example, in my own, I’ll, I’ll explain how this works for me, other than my teacher, Paul, who I will study with as often as I can, as long as I can, whenever that happens again, for me, as a female,, if I have the choice, let’s say there are two trainings in something that I want to take. And one is offered by a man and one is offered by a woman.
And they’re almost identical. You know, they’re equally qualified. Et cetera, et cetera. I might choose as a woman to study with the woman, not because I’m trying to give a woman that is less qualified than the man, a leg up. That is not what I’m talking about here. In fact, that’s insulting speaking as a woman that’s insulting.
I don’t want people coming to me. Um, just because I’m a woman if I’m not qualified to do what I’m doing. What I’m talking about here is let’s just say everybody’s equally qualified. I know that women historically still make less money. And so for me, I’m going to go that way. Maybe it’ll be different for you.
Or maybe if you are somebody who is, indigenous and by indigenous here, I’m referring mostly to First Nations. Maybe you’re indigenous and. You know, you’ve got like three or four teachers and they all kind of seem really good, but one of them is an indigenous teacher. Maybe you choose to go that way.
Maybe, maybe not. This may or may not be important to you. It may or may not even be something you’ve considered. And again, I want to be really clear. I’m not talking about equity for equity’s sake. I am not talking about, oh, I’m going to study with this teacher because they are part of this marginalized group.
That is not what I’m talking about. In fact, I think that’s insulting to the teacher. What I’m talking about is, if everybody’s equally qualified, and they all look really good, all these programs, and I got a decision to make, that’s when, for me, and this is just for me, I might choose a specific group based on that principle, or you may not.
So I’m certainly not saying you should not study with male teachers. That would be a stupid thing to say. I’m not saying because women make less money you should only study with female teachers, even if they’re less qualified. That’s not what I’m saying. So just to be really clear, I’m just saying if all things are equal as far as training, experience, etc
You really like both teachers, maybe that comes into effect, or maybe not. And one last thing I’ll mention is I know. I think I said the last thing was the last, but this is like the really last thing for real is when on the subject of equity, does the teacher themselves and their program acknowledge that we do not live in an equal world.
Now I am not saying that yoga teacher trainers should not earn a good living and should not charge, a decent amount of money for their program. I’m not saying that. Let’s be very clear. Because I think that’s very important. I think that most yoga teachers, including teacher trainers, are not making the money that they should be, but do they have an option for someone or someone who really could benefit from that program, but don’t have the money.
This is something that I started instilling into my business, way, way back, like we’re talking over 10 years ago, maybe even 12 years ago. And not just in my teacher training, but also in my. Public classes. So at the time of recording this, my public classes are offered on a sliding scale and each one has a scholarship spot.
So if there’s somebody in my community or somebody applies. That, you know, maybe they’re on disability or whatever the case may be. They just don’t have the funds, but they could really benefit from the yoga. Each one of my classes to the public has one scholarship spot, and then the rest of it is offered sliding scale.
Now my teacher training is not offered sliding scale because to be honest, I can’t do that financially. But what I do offer in my teacher training is a work trade spot. So, you know, if someone’s got some admin skills. But they don’t have the money. I could definitely use that help.
So, you know, either a work trade or a scholarship spot. And I also offer a discount code for the first, at the time of recording this, it’s for the first five people that sign up. So it’s not a discount code that like everybody can take advantage of until a certain date. It’s like the first five people that sign up, get that code.
And that’s another way of me trying to make it. The training is more accessible financially.
So just some thoughts on equity and just to summarize again, because I know everybody misquotes everything. Nowadays, I am not saying that you should study with a teacher just because they are a person of colour or a woman or they are, indigenous to India or any of that.
That is not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is if all other things are created equal, if you’re looking at three to five options of really good training with highly qualified teachers, and Maybe one of them speaks to you a bit more on a heart-to-heart level. Maybe one of them represents a change you’d like to see in the world.
So for example, I’d like to see female yoga teachers making some more money. So if I’m going to do some advanced study, first, of course, I’m going to look at all their qualifications, all their certifications, all of their testimonials, the program itself, et cetera. I’m going to do all of that research.
And then if at the end of that, I got a couple options, I’m probably going to myself at this point in my life, um, sign up with the, with the woman, just because I want to, I want to raise women up, but that’s just my own personal definition and you may have your own. And to be clear again, If a woman was less qualified, I would not do that, right?
I wanted to choose the person who is the most qualified, for what I’m looking for. That’s my priority.
So we can’t just look at, you know, skin colour. That would be naive. And I also don’t believe that it’s equitable to sign up for someone’s training just because they’re part of a minority group. I, for one, as, as someone who identifies as female, would be insulted if somebody only signed up for my training because I’m a woman.
, another example is, that I have a small amount of First Nations blood in me. Not enough that any of you are going to see it. Although, other First Nations folks do see it. Often, I would be insulted if somebody chose my training only because I had some indigenous roots in me. I hope that’s clear.
So there’s some of my thoughts.
On both why you should take a yin teacher training. So if you are a teacher and you want to learn to teach yin yoga, why in the world you should take good yin training, it is a matter of you don’t know all the things that you don’t know. In your hubris and your oversimplified thinking of, I mean, yin is just like regular yoga, right?
But with longer holds, or I mean, yeah, I can teach yin. Really. You don’t know all the things that you don’t know until you take a training. And then also some of the things that you might consider when looking at training. Exotic location and how quick and condensed the training is, in my opinion, are the least two important things.
about investing in teacher training. If you want to go away to an exotic location and do something there, go to a yoga retreat. Sure. Have fun but choosing a training just because it’s in that location without doing all the research on the program and the teacher and all of the things that I’ve talked about.
That’s not skillful. And it’s a waste of money because you’re probably going to end up having to take another training and another training down the road. After all, you didn’t get what the first one had because all you did was look at the exotic location. The same thing goes with when you’re only going by what is convenient for you.
So if you’re only going for a program that is condensed into seven days or 10 days because you think you just want to get it done and get it over with. It’s not wise. This is why in my training, I have a combination of people who are skilled teachers already who already have taken yin training, some of them even more than one.
And then they come to my training and they’re still like, Oh my God, I never, none of this was in my first training or my first two trainings. So the reason for that is because there are either folks that are unqualified leading those trainings or they’re too short or they’re too condensed. So those are some things to think about.
Now, I also teach teachers that are brand new to yin and I love giving them that nice solid foundation of what I think should be in a yin training. So just in brief, I’ll talk about my yin training. At the point of recording this, it is a 60-plus hour training that could change by the time you listen to this.
If you listen to this in the future. It could be longer. It probably will never be shorter. Um, so it’s a 60-plus hour therapeutic training, which is nervous system-based. I focus on the nervous system being a priority, making Yintherapeutic, making Yin accessible, and it’s steeped in traditional Chinese medicine.
So I won’t go over every single bullet point that is on my training page, because you can do that if you want to check that out in more detail, I will leave a link of course, in the show notes that goes to my training page. One thing to notice if you’re on that page and the current dates listed don’t work for you.
Thank you. Or if there aren’t any current dates listed, it’s cause I’m deciding when the next batch is going to be, make sure that you go down to the bottom and add your email. There’s a little bar there that says to add your email, make sure that you do that. When you do, you’re going to get some kind of a little free yin yoga gift.
Because anyone who’s on the waitlist. We’ll get the first notice that the training is open for registration. So before I put it on social media before I put it in any groups, I email my waitlist and say, Hey, here is advanced notice. You have until this date to jump ahead of everybody else.
That’s also the only people who get the first five discount codes or get a scholarship opportunity. All of that is only available on my waitlist. So if you’re not on my waitlist, you’re not going to get access to any of that. So if you click the link, you’d like the training. It sounds good.
You’re interested, but the timing doesn’t work for you or there aren’t dates listed. Make sure that you add your email address below so that you find out exactly when they open and you can take advantage of all those things. And then in the meantime, I’ll still send you other yin goodness, like podcast episodes or podcast episodes that I’ve been interviewed on or little sneaky peeks behind the scenes of the training.
So you’ll still get little nuggets from me along the way until the next training opens. Okay. Thank you so much. Yinnes. If you’re still with me if you are a teacher, I just told you how you can check out my training. If you are not a yoga teacher and you listen to all of this, wow, hats off to you.
You want to join my public yin Zoom classes, which are open to teachers and students. I’ll also put a link below for, those run in 12-week semesters. , so they’re not a drop in class. They are a seasonal registered semester. The reason I do that is so that we can go on a progression we can learn some seasonal information and have a seasonal focus on our yoga practice.
So if you’re curious about those, I’ll also put a link below so that you can check them out. And the same thing goes again. If you don’t see the current dates listed. Make sure you go down to the bottom and join my email list, because that’s when you will find out when the registration opens. Now, if you are a teacher, you don’t need to go onto my student side and enter your email there for classes, because I’ll email it out to you as well.
If you’re already on the waitlist, you’ll get invitations to join my classes. Okay. I think that’s enough for now. Thank you so much for listening to those of you who made it all the way through to the end and bye for now.
Dear yoga teacher, if you have ever thought to yourself, do I really need a yin yoga teacher training? I wanted to talk a little bit about Yin Yoga teacher training. Specifically about why you need one if you’re gonna teach Yin, and then some things to look at when you are deciding what Yin yoga teacher training to take.
So dear yoga teacher, if you have ever thought to yourself, do I really need a yin yoga teacher training?
So that’s to get that out of the way, that if you want to teach yin, if you have a crush on yin, if you’ve fallen in love with yin, you want to go deeper, both in your own practice and you want to start teaching it and offering it, please seek out a good training and don’t teach it until you have. Okay.
The answer is yes. And now here’s a little bit of a bone of contention. My teacher, Paul Grilley, whom I adore has been quoted many times as saying, you do not need a yin yoga teacher training to teach yin yoga. Myself and several of his other, experienced students who studied with him regularly, respectfully disagree with this.
And because my teacher does not expect you to dogmatically follow everything that he says, he’s totally okay with us disagreeing.
So yes, you do need a yin teacher training. If you’re going to teach yin yoga, let’s use this as an example. If I were to say, Oh yeah, I can totally teach that Kundalini yoga class.
And yet this comes up all the time with Yin. I will hear teachers say, and I have had teachers say. Yeah, but isn’t Yin yoga, just like regular yoga, but with longer holds, not the case. I remember back maybe about six or almost seven years ago while I was studying Chinese medicine at Pacific Rim, shout out to Pacific Rim College, another gal who was also in the Chinese medicine program and knew that I had, studied extensively with Paul Grilley.
Came up to me because a studio had offered her a yin class simply because it followed right after the flow class and studios. If you’re listening and you run a studio, stop doing that. Stop offering classes to teachers just because it’s convenient to check their training. Because of course, if you say to a teacher, Hey, do you want this class?
They’re going to say, yes. They’re not usually going to have, the wisdom to say, actually, you know, I don’t think I have enough training in that style. They’re just so desperate for a class. They’ll take it most of the time. And so this was one of those examples. The gal was offered the class for Yin because it came up right after her morning flow class.
You know, we all as teachers, I mean, having two classes back to back in one location is the dream, right? And so she said yes to taking this yin class. And then came up to me at the lockers while we were in our Chinese medicine school studies, and said, hey, um, I’m just taking over this Yin class. And, I know you’ve got a lot of yin training and experience.
I’m wondering if you would mind uh, you know, helping me out a little. And I said, yeah, sure, I can recommend, a bunch of books, a bunch of DVDs, and also we could just go for coffee, if you’ve got any questions or confusion, you know, I’m, happy to help out kind of thing. Now this is before I was offering formal Yin teacher training programs.
And so I touched base with her again at school and was like, Hey, so did you want me to still bring you like those resources or set up a time to chat? And she’s like, Oh no, I’m fine. I mean, I can teach yin yoga. Yeah. So if you’re a teacher that has said that. And thought that this really is a case of you don’t know all the things that you don’t know.
There are so many little details that are different when you start transitioning into teaching a more quiet, still style of yoga, like Yin, that it really becomes a case of you don’t know what you don’t know. I think we can all look back maybe unless you are a teenager listening to this, at, you know, something that we thought we were super smart about as a teenager and in hindsight to be like, Hmm, okay.
So that’s to get that out of the way, that if you want to teach yin, if you have a crush on yin, if you’ve fallen in love with yin, you want to go deeper, both in your own practice and you want to start teaching it and offering it, please seek out a good training and don’t teach it until you have. Okay.