Archives for posts with tag: Lakshmi

Pregnancy is the largest emotional and physical transformation a woman’s body will undergo. A woman also becomes more aware of her body and of the many physical and emotional changes that come with being pregnant. She may start experiencing lower back pain, nausea, slower digestion, fluid retention or muscle cramps. These do not affect all women though they all are fairly common symptoms of pregnancy.

Deep steady breathing such as ujjayi will increase mental focus and deep internal strength.

With the appropriate yoga practice, however, many of these issues can be addressed and slowly the mother will feel more balanced as she harnesses her energy and her body begins to function at a more optimal level.

Gentle and rhythmical movements for the lower back and pelvis ease back and hip pain whilst supported savasana will help with disturbed sleep patterns and give the mother some uninterrupted time with her baby. Deep steady breathing such as ujjayi will increase mental focus and deep internal strength. Focus should always be placed on asana that are grounding and work with the Apana Vayu, our downward energy.

This encourages the mother to stay grounded and helps her body prepare for birth, as this is all about physically and mentally letting go and working with nature’s forces, and not against them.

The mental act of ‘letting go’ and the acceptance of ‘what is’ is useful as it helps to nurture a sense of peace, allowing what is not needed for the next chapter in a mother’s life to simply drop away.

Making space for a baby and for mothering is a yoga practice in itself and should never be under-estimated.

Yoga teaches us to be mentally strong and encourages us to go with the flow. It helps us to realise we cannot control everything and prepares us for the unexpected, allowing us to adapt to unforeseen situations. These skills can be applied at any time of life but are especially effective during pregnancy and birth; it leaves us with more space to enjoy the journey from pregnancy into motherhood.

Sally Parkes

As featured in the September 2014 issue of OM Yoga Magazine

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What core skills and competences do students need to teach? 

There is so much choice these days that when it comes to choosing a yoga teacher training programme that making that the right decision can be quite a challenge. Once you have decided what style of yoga resonates with you the next question a prospective student teacher should ask themselves is ‘am I planning to teach at the end of this course?’

Whilst some people do teacher training purely for self-development and feel that they may like to teach somewhere in the future, others definitely want to teach directly after their course finishes and build a solid career doing so. If the latter is the case for you then you need to consider if the course you are looking at contains guidance on how to actually teach. Whilst this sounds like a very obvious aspect to be included in a course not all teacher trainings prepare you for work afterwards as the emphasis is more on developing your yoga practice. Yes, this is obviously invaluable, but teaching yoga as opposed to doing yoga is massively different and requires a very specific set of skills.

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Communication skills

A great teacher training course should teach you to communicate with students of differing personalities, abilities and levels of yoga knowledge. And it should teach you to be accepting of your participants’ various stages of their journey into yoga.

Teachers should be able to empower their students to accept themselves on the mat as well as be encouraged to progress their practice and enjoy themselves in the process. This can be achieved by teachers whose skills set includes being able to teach in a visual, auditory and kinaesthetic manner whilst incorporating differing levels of each asana into the class. To make your class all encompassing, knowledge of modifications and progressions and how to integrate them is required as is a general knowledge of common conditions such a lower back ache, high blood pressure and knee injuries.

Teaching yoga as opposed to doing yoga is massively different and requires a very specific set of skills

Sequencing asana

Sequencing asana is also a huge subject that should be covered in your chosen course and how sequences should vary depending on what the teacher is trying to convey and achieve. It is ideal that, following a teacher training, you have several sequences you are familiar with so you are ready should you be asked to teach.

In addition to the order in which asana are taught in, the style they are taught in can dramatically alter the emphasis of the class. For example, the same sequence can be taught strongly with a fast pace and with an authoritive tone of voice and this class will come across as challenging. The same sequence can be taught with a softer voice and a much slower pace with an emphasis on relaxing into the postures, and this will again give a different edge. Both ways of teaching the sequence are effective but in different ways and an effective teacher will know how to change it up when it’s required.

Teaching practice

So, if you are considering teacher training with a view to teach soon after the completion of your course, ask the programme leader about these skills and whether they are included within the course contact hours. And find out how much emphasis is given to teaching practice. It’s also very useful to see how many teachers from a particular training school are actually working as yoga teachers as this is very telling of the course content.

Sally Parkes runs 200 hour Laxmi Yoga (Hatha and Vinyasa) teacher training and pregnancy yoga teacher training. She runs courses in England, Wales, Spain and Dubai (sallyparkesyoga.com)

As featured in the june issue of Om Magazine www.ommagazine.com

Blending The Art Of Teaching With The Science Of Yoga

I have been fortunate enough to learn with some great teachers and have done some wonderful teacher trainings including courses with the Sitaram Organisation and Centred Yoga in Thailand. I loved what I learnt on these courses and felt that it would be fantastic to have a yoga teacher training that blended elements of Sports Science and Pilates principles with yoga asana practice, philosophy and Auyerveda, along with sharing effective teaching and communication techniques I have learnt along the way. And if I could also assist student teachers to set up as self employed teachers and actually earn a living doing what they love, even better!

if a client were extremely flexible, Laxmi yoga would work to create strength and stability within the joints 

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My Journey In Yoga

After several years of hard gym workouts and in fitness instruction and personal training, I had knee and shoulder injuries as well as persistent back pain. So I started attending a weekly class the gym I used to work at. I was instantly hooked and yoga asana practice soon replaced my daily gym workouts. Over the next three years or so I healed my injuries and built a solid practice in both Iyengar and Ashtanga yoga. I also fell in love with the spiritual side of yoga and really feel that should be at the heart of our daily practice. I have been practising and teaching yoga asana and pranayama in earnest for 10-years now, and am still really blown away with how life changing a simple daily yoga practice can be.

It is a comprehensive, all encompassing, thorough and honest approach to yoga and how to teach both Hatha and Vinyasa 

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My Journey To Laxmi Yoga Teacher Training

I have been fortunate enough to learn with some great teachers and have done some wonderful teacher trainings including courses with the Sitaram Organisation and Centred Yoga in Thailand. I loved what I learnt on these courses and felt that it would be fantastic to have a yoga teacher training that blended elements of Sports Science and Pilates principles with yoga asana practice, philosophy and Auyerveda, along with sharing effective teaching and communication techniques I have learnt along the way. And if I could also assist student teachers to set up as self employed teachers and actually earn a living doing what they love, even better!

And So To Laxmi Yoga….

And so after much thought I put together Laxmi Yoga 200 hour teacher-training. Named after the wonderful goddess of abundance, Laxmi yoga is a new teacher-training program, which after running successfully at the Dru Yoga centre in Snowdonia, is now heading to the beautiful mountains of the Andalucia and will be held at The Hacienda Retreat Centre. It is a comprehensive, all encompassing, thorough and honest approach to yoga and how to teach both Hatha and Vinyasa. It is both rooted in yoga philosophy and subtle anatomy, as well as including the latest research in exercise physiology and anatomy, and demonstrates how certain approaches to yoga can be used to marry traditional yoga techniques and approaches with modern day exercise science.

As a teacher-training provider, Laxmi yoga promise to:

  • Treat all teacher-training students with love and respect.
  • Deliver both traditional and new approaches to yoga asana and pranayama practice.
  • Teach traditional yoga philosophy and Ayurveda.
  • Provide on-going support and provide work placements where possible.
  • Provide students with solid and effective teachings and the tools to ensure they are the best teacher they can be.

Testimonial from a current Laxmi Yoga student:

For me Laxmi Teacher Training has been transformative. I am already teaching yoga so I came to this course having attended other teacher trainings. This training delivers what it promises and more! Sally’s depth of knowledge, wealth of experience, inclusive and non-dogmatic style has encouraged each of us to find our unique voice and develop our own style, and also the ability to adapt to teaching different markets. Added to this, with Sally’s ongoing guidance and support I have gained invaluable advice on the business of yoga and actual teaching work – teaching on Sally’s retreats and gaining work with clients. I am incredibly grateful to have found this course and shared this experience with a wonderful group of fellow yogis! Paula Hines. 

Applications for 2013 training courses are now open. For enquiries please visit sallyparkesyoga.com 

Early bird discount: Book now and save £300!

As featured in the January 2013 issue of Yoga Magazine www.yogamagazine.co.uk

The Goddess Laxmi

Hi yogis,

I have spent that last several months thinking really hard about how and what my first teacher training manual is going to say, how it is going to reflect on the yoga tradition and whether or not I am being true to what I feel the world of yoga is to me. It has taken a lot of mental energy but it has been really wonderful to get back to the core of things. I have been so busy teaching and setting up retreats these past couple of years that it has been so easy to not reflect as much as much as I used to, so the process of writing the teacher training manual has been a big learning curve and a process that I have enjoyed and learned from.

The first thing I realised is that to be true to what I have learned over the years is that I would need to amalgamate everything that resonated with me and that I felt could be useful to others, for the training to be coming from the heart, as this is the only way to instill an honest yoga practice. Now that has been challenging! I love all yoga and to whittle down the information I want to share with future students has probably been the most difficult part. At the same time though I wanted the way the postures are taught to be different from other schools of yoga and work from the perspective of stability being as important as flexibility, but more importantly that all the eight limbs of yoga are of equal worth. And that this awareness of the eight limbs should be demonstrated on and off the yoga mat.

And so I have devised a yoga teacher training called ‘Laxmi Yoga’. Laxmi can also be spelt ‘Lakshmi’ and according to the Vedas, Goddess Laxmi is the one who has the object and aim of uplifting mankind. She is the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity (both material and spiritual), light, wisdom, fortune, fertility, generosity and courage; and the embodiment of beauty, grace and charm. I doubt I need to explain why I felt Goddess Laxmi was a great symbol for my yoga teacher training course.

My teacher training start in the beautiful setting of Snowdonia in Wales on 10th July 2012. And I will be writing small blogs about different aspects of it over the next few weeks so please do have a read. I would love to hear your feed back or any questions you may have at all. I will also have more information on my website: http://www.sallyparkesyoga.com

Sally Parkes BSc, Sally Parkes Yoga

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