Tag: yoga teacher trainee

Yoga teacher trainee

Graduate Story: Marion Just – Graduated 2020

From Gym Junkie to Aerobics Instructor to Yoga Teacher

Written by graduate of the 500-hour Yoga Teacher Training Diploma, Marion Just

It was in my early 20s that I embarked on a path to get healthy and fit, learning about good nutrition, eating less and exercising in the gym…. ALOT!  I was a serial gym junkie.. even becoming an aerobics instructor for a few years.

Then one day (still in my twenties) while working in the city I checked out the Adyar Bookshop in York Street where I discovered an entire wall of yoga books.  Intrigued I decided to try this yoga although there were very few studios in which to practice.  I dabbled in a few classes, but it didn’t excite me enough, so I stuck with sweating out in the gym until my late 30s.

It was at that time I discovered the first Australian Bikram studio had opened up near my home on the northern beaches.  I knew about this Bikram yoga as it was the only book I purchased at the Adyar Bookshop.  So I gave up the gym for another sweat filled room in Bikram’s studio -aka- the “torture chamber” for almost 10 years.  Then another type of strong and strenuous yoga landed on our shores – Vinyasa Yoga.  Woohoo!

When I realised yoga was more than just physical exercises

After some 25 years of sweating it out and contorting the body in hot yoga rooms I felt there must be more to the practice than just asanas. 

During those years, Sanskrit words were sporadically used to describe asanas.  Words such as the ujjayi breath, the bandhas and drishti were mentioned.  What did it all mean anyway?  Who was Patanjali?  What were the Yoga Sutras and the 8 Limbs?  Did Patanjali have 8 limbs?  What had I been practising all those years?

What brought me to teacher training?

I can’t really pinpoint what compelled me to seek out teacher training.  There were many opportunities to sign up for teacher training at the heated yoga or the vinyasa studio, but something intrinsically kept holding me back! 

Then one day, I was ready to finally put all the pieces of the puzzle in place – to learn more about yoga’s history and philosophy. 

Oh My Goodness – I signed up!

After scanning the internet I found The Yoga Institute, phoned them, attended the information session and just like that – I signed up! I was very excited. And then the excitement turned to fear.  

What followed were feelings of anxiety, hesitation, regret, uncertainty that I had embarked on an intensive course of which I knew very little and which required a huge commitment. 

My fear rapidly subsided when I had my first session with my fabulous mentor who re-assured me and helped me focus on an important component of yoga – breath control and chanting with a little bit of asana to keep the mind focussed!  Wait…what?

Initially, the practice of chanting, pranayama and gentle asanas to help me release thoughts of attachments while quietening the mind seemed very strange and I didn’t take to it immediately.  I quickly realised and felt the benefits of slowing down and practising breath awareness.  My mentor knew best. 

I learned the importance of not only practising asanas, but also to learn and practise the entire 8 limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.  No, not Patanjali’s limbs – the 8 aspects of the Yoga Sutras – a philosophy about how to live life harmoniously.

Post Teacher Training

Since completing my training, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to go back to where it all started for me and to teach a yoga class on Mondays for a short time in the Cammeray Yoga studio, back on the premises of The Yoga Institute!

I currently have a home studio set up where I teach my corporate clients online via Zoom, as well as group classes, and one to one personal yoga training. 

How does yoga fit in my life now and how has it changed me?

Many stages of my life have been filled with sometimes overwhelming challenges.  If I had found yoga in the early stages of my life, I believe I would have learned how to better handle these challenges – I’m certain I would have been a calmer, less stressed person for it.

Any obstacles and annoyances that I encounter now are a lot more manageable when I stop and take time out to practise pranayama and meditation.

To anyone considering doing Teacher Training at The Yoga Institute

I am so pleased that I chose The Yoga Institute for my teacher training.  Each of the teachers are world class, incredibly supportive and thoroughly knowledgeable. 

The co-founders, Dr Michael de Manincor and Lisa Grauaug studied for many years with the son of the father of modern yoga (Sri Krishnamacharya) TKV Desikachar.  My assigned mentor studied meditation with A G Mohan who was a personal student of Sri Krishnamacharya for 18 years. 

The best part of the journey for me has been learning to sit quietly, drawing inwards to meditate, learning to become un-attached to things that aren’t so important, to gain contentment within myself and to connect to my inner light of consciousness.  Hopefully one day I will attain the 8th Limb of Yoga, SAMADHI – to experience bliss and enlightenment!  YES!

You can contact Marion via her website Just Yoga By Marion


How can we support you?

Our Teacher Training Course isn’t just for aspiring teachers, but for anyone who wants to deepen their personal practice and gain a better understanding of yoga.

Need more information?
Get course prospectus
Join our next information session

Get in touch:
Email: teachertraining@yogainstitute.com.au
Phone: 0477 021 219

Join us, together we will grow, learn and inspire.

Yoga teacher trainees

“Do I need to be flexible to teach yoga?” and other commonly asked questions about yoga teacher training

Have you been thinking about deepening your yoga practice for a while, but didn’t feel you were flexible enough or maybe experienced enough, to become a teacher?

Or perhaps you’d love to get started just don’t know how to fit it in to your busy life?

We answer a few of our teacher trainees’ commonly asked questions, and maybe even debunk a few myths along the way!

1. Do I need to be flexible to study or teach yoga?

Do you worry you need to be able to bend your body like a pretzel or hold a head stand for hours to qualify for yoga teacher training?

We’re here to say you don’t need to do either of those!

The truth is, your body, with its infinite possibilities of combined capability and limitations, is already perfect. 

The body is what most people think of when they think of their ‘self’, but it is only the obvious and tangible layer of ourselves. This makes it a good place to start a practice of self-inquiry.

When we start to learn more about Yoga, we being to understand that Asana (or the physical aspect of yoga), is actually just one element in a series of tools in practicing yoga.

Other elements such as meditation, breathing techniques and philosophical considerations are all part of a well-rounded yoga practice. The body is a tool, allowing us to begin to connect body, breath and mind as we journey deeper, into what we refer as the ‘subtle body’. It is in these inner layers that true transformation occurs.

Asana is an important part of yogic practice, but is only one aspect. Teaching yoga is about inspiring transformation in others and ultimately helping people change the way their minds work.

There are many examples of wonderful yoga teachers who teach from wheelchairs or simply sitting on their cushions! Being able to do the splits or stand on your head does not necessarily make an effective yoga teacher.

We sense someone is ready to study yoga teacher training when they themselves have felt some of the transformative benefits of yoga, particularly those benefits that go beyond simply ‘the physical’.

2. How much yoga experience do I need?

Maybe flexibility isn’t a concern for you, maybe you’re more concerned you don’t have enough experience practicing yoga, whether yoga postures or perhaps meditation?

Many people defer the joy and transformation of studying yoga, waiting for a day when they feel they will be “good enough at yoga” before they will give themselves permission. 

Think about why you love yoga.

Have you started to see glimpses of something beyond the physical?  Perhaps you noticed a shift  – however temporary – on a mental or emotional level.  Maybe you felt calmer, maybe lighter in step, perhaps a problem suddenly looked less consuming. 

You feel curious, you want to know, why is that we tend to float out of yoga practice?  And could it be possible for those shifts to last longer and longer until we ourselves are no longer quite the same person?

If you’ve experienced the positive effects of yoga for yourself, and you feel drawn to understand what’s going on, if there’s a little voice inside calling you to look for a more satisfying way of living, and you seek to better connect with your authentic self, guess what? You are probably ready!

3. Why should I consider doing a 500-hour yoga teacher training (course)?

If you’ve been looking at yoga teacher training, you would have no doubt come across 200-hour courses. So what is the main difference between a 200-hour course and a 500-hour course?

We are often approached by students who have completed 200-hour yoga teacher training courses beforehand. These students have loved their experience and the knowledge they’ve gained, but often don’t feel confident enough or ready to teach. We can definitely help people feel more confident to teach and we offer 200-hour trained teachers a special discounted fee to access our leading training programme.

In our 500-hour course, we look at topics including the history and evolution of yoga, asana (physical poses), pranayama (breath work), meditation, anatomy, viniyoga (customising yoga to specific needs), sutras (yogic
philosophy), sound & mantra, yoga nidra, practice design, teaching for groups and teaching one-on-one, and communication skills for yoga teachers.

This knowledge is diffused across a variety of learning mechanisms such as classroom attendance, live and recorded webinars, self-study and experiential home practice, assignments and homework, reflection, one-on-one mentoring, and a step-by-step practicum to help you cement your learnings and actually practice teaching, bit by bit.   We do so in small intimate training groups, nurtured by a panel of expert teachers and mentors, and supported by a caring faculty and community.

In addition, our course meets the Yoga Australia requirements, enabling graduates to register as a Level-1 yoga teacher in Australia. Why is it beneficial to be a member of Yoga Australia? Learn more here.

4. How can I fit a yoga training into my schedule?

Do you work full time/have kids/have other commitments you need to work around? Busy people can be nervous about big commitments.  

Our training provides flexibility with scheduling to complete the course through our Friday, Weekend or Immersion groups, with flexibility to move between the different schedules and even mix and match. We also know “life happens” so we offer flexibility in attending alternative classes (whether live or recorded) and upon request, can provide flexibility in the completion of assignments and meeting deadlines.

While the diploma can be completed as quickly as one year, it doesn’t need to be. We have students who opt to take longer, enabling them to complete the course at their pace.  

Like any training, the greater your commitment, the more benefits you’ll receive, but rest assured teacher training doesn’t feel like school and you don’t get ‘in trouble’ for not lodging assignments by suggested timeframes! This is adult education and we know that the more you enjoy your studies, the more you will absorb and retain.

In addition to classroom attendance (whether that is in the studio or online), there will be some kind of work of you to carry on with at home each week, such as reading, completing quizzes, or simply practising experiential learning and journaling your experiences. This at-home commitment can vary week-to-week, but if you can see yourself carving out perhaps 2-6 hours a week, in addition to attending classes, you are well-placed to flourish!

By integrating yoga study into your normal daily life – instead of, for example, simply taking a month out of your life in one condensed block – you have the time to process information better, to practice at home and reflect.

5. What are the job prospects for a yoga teacher?

If you’re wondering if the world needs more yoga teachers, the answer is yes!
The world is changing more than ever and with it, is the yoga industry. The yoga movement is expanding and diversifying every day. More and more people are embracing yoga and turning to this ancient practice for health and healing. 

The pandemic has opened people’s eyes to the importance of looking after one’s physical health, but also, importantly, our mental health. More industries and organisations are welcoming yoga into the workplace, more schools are implementing yoga and mindfulness based programs into the curriculum and more families are welcoming yoga into their homes.

In these challenging times, the uncertainty around the world is having a severe psychological bearing on the masses. Positive health practices are emerging. Self-healing techniques such as yoga and meditation are being used to support psychological and physical wellbeing. When practiced regularly, yoga and meditation can lead to emotional strength and mindfulness. With the uncertainty and fear in our future, yoga helps us stay grounded in the present moment.

Some of our teacher trainees have gone on to be yoga teachers in conventional yoga or gym studio settings, or more recently, have flourished with online teaching. We also have students who have been able to use yoga as a complementary practice to their existing careers or businesses, such as allied health or complementary medicine.
Others have found roles working in healthcare, schools, corporate, online or even volunteering to give back to the community to organisations such as the Yoga Foundation. Some students have found a niche teaching meditation, chanting & mantra, or running retreats.

You can read more about some of our great graduate’s stories here.

6. I’m not sure if I want to teach/change careers. Is this course still for me?

Are you passionate about yoga, but not 100% sure if you want to be a teacher? While we have helped many students change careers, we have plenty of students who come to us simply to deepen their personal practice and learn more about the true depth and breadth of yoga.

Our teacher training isn’t just for aspiring teachers, but also for those with a passion and interest in exploring the benefits of yoga for themselves. We know that the more people whose lives have been touched by yoga, the better the world is. Our mission is to help people deepen their understanding and love of yoga, and for those who feel called to teach, to help people become confident and capable yoga teachers.

Ready to get started?

We love to chat, so get in contact with us here!
Email: teachertraining@yogainstitute.com.au
Phone: 0477 021 219

Need more information?
Get course prospectus
Join our next information session

Join us, together we will grow, learn and inspire.

Graduate Story: Silvia Cagorski – Graduated 2019

Making that big career move from the corporate world to Yoga teaching

Silvia’s Yoga Journey

I started 11 years ago at a local studio in a group class setting. At the time, I was seeking ways to improve my mental and emotional health – this was the beginning of my Yoga story.

Yoga Teacher Graduate Silvia

Ever since, I have been on and off with my practice which mainly consisted of group classes in a Yoga studio or gym. I always was drawn back to Yoga and decided in 2018 that I would partake in studying Yoga.

After thorough research on where to do my Yoga teacher training (YTT), I narrowed down two potential places.

Why The Yoga Institute?

I went to The Yoga Institute information session at Cammeray and immediately knew I was at the right place. I fondly remember my chat with Kirstie Christensen who spent her time in the kitchen guiding me through the course – she ended up fittingly being my mentor during my studies!

Studying Yoga Abroad

Since completing my 500hr YTT in 2019, I have also fortunately travelled to do further studies abroad in India – Developing a Personal Practice at Yoga Vahini with Saraswathi and Yoga for Mental Health at Baulkham Hills Yoga Studio with Michele Sierra.

My trip to India was beyond my expectations, and if it were not for the lovely Lisa Grauaug who organised a group connected through The Yoga Institute, I would have been unaware of this opportunity.

What Silvia loves about Yoga

First thing that comes to mind are the practices or poses. Those who know me are aware I love Warrior poses and sequences, particularly “Warrior 3” (Virabhadrasana III).

I also love strong poses such as “Chaturanga” and “Upward facing dog” (Urhva Mukha Shvanasana) in a sequence.

I enjoy pranayama techniques that are calming and focusing in nature. Initially, I struggled with designing class plans (mainly because of my drawing skills!) But now I genuinely enjoy creating class plans bearing in mind intelligent sequencing, as Michael would say, and tailoring to student’s needs by researching online and through books.

A career shift to teaching Yoga

I have had a colourful working life, where I’ve dabbled in various careers ranging from childcare work to 8 years as a Senior Consultant in Personal Injury Insurance.

Towards the end of my YTT course, I was working in my insurance role and I knew I “hit the wall” mentally and physically as I was no longer able to continue working. After a career break, completing my YTT studies, my new “career” aim was to be a full-time Yoga teacher – which I fortunately currently do.

Initially, I thought my path would be Yoga for children, and I was interested in further studies to teach Yoga at schools. However, my path detoured down to Yoga for mental health, and I am truly happy.

Silvia’s experience as a Yoga teacher

As a Yoga teacher, I have taught at various gyms, outdoor yoga as a part of a bootcamp, teen yoga at a girl’s Catholic high school, teachers at a Muslim high school, physiotherapy and remedial massage clinic, and classes at a community hall run via the Liverpool council. I still teach 3 classes at a gym and one outdoor class on Sunday mornings.

Now, I predominantly work at a Private Mental Health Hospital where I teach Yoga to inpatients and outpatients.

Yoga was included as a part of the inpatient and outpatients’ treatment program. During the COVID lockdown, they would only have group therapy sessions and art therapy, while the gym and walking group were temporarily stopped.

The patients really embraced the classes – it is an amazing feeling to know patient’s and management at the Hospital recognised the benefits of Yoga to the patients’ health.

Whilst it can be challenging at times, it is completely rewarding seeing patients who, for instance, were jittery and anxious at the beginning of class and by the end were calm and centred. I had a few patient’s say that they no longer needed to take Valium and no longer experienced side effects of certain medications they were on. Yoga had allowed them to feel at ease.

How did Silvia obtain this teaching job?

Yoga Teacher Training Sydney

I was in a consult with my treating Psychiatrist who mentioned the Hospital was looking for a Yoga teacher. During the consult, he called the Allied Health Manager informing her that he had a teacher and an hour later I was having an interview with the Manager and Chief of Staff!

This occurred pre-COVID and I began teaching 3 classes a week, post-COVID my classes jumped to 14 a week! Now, I teach 11 classes at the Hospital. 

Overall, I teach 15 classes a week, for me personally it is manageable and can earn a solid living.

Advice for aspiring Yoga teachers

It has taken time, a good self-care regime, and support from loved ones along with a Yoga mentor and my psychologist to adjust.

My advice regarding opportunities for Yoga teachers is to think outside the box. Approach not only gyms and studios, but schools (for students and teachers), physiotherapy or other allied health clinics, hospitals, sport clubs (e.g. soccer teams) and bootcamps.

Yoga is a gift

I have been lucky to be guided by few mentors, including Lisa and Kirstie from the Yoga Institute. Another is Laurin Vassella a YTT graduate as well, and she mentioned a statement that really resonated with me – “Yoga is a gift”.

Each time I teach and particularly when I receive feedback from a student on how my class impacted them, I think of this statement and how Yoga is truly a wonderful gift that I enjoy sharing.

Contact Silvia

Feel free to reach out to me via Instagram


How can we support you?

Our Teacher Training Course isn’t just for aspiring teachers, but for anyone who wants to deepen their personal practice and gain a better understanding of yoga.

Need more information?
Get course prospectus
Join our next information session

Get in touch:
Email: teachertraining@yogainstitute.com.au
Phone: 0477 021 219

Join us, together we will grow, learn and inspire.

Yoga teacher training graduate

Student Story: Stacy O’Connor – Graduated 2020

Yoga teacher training student seated

Stacy’s Yoga Journey

I had been working in the Events industry for over 12 years and had always excelled in high pressure, high stress environments. Or so I thought. 

Over time, it was evident that the stress I had repressed for so long, manifested physically, in my body through debilitating neck pain, regular migraines and always getting sick. I was also into HIIT (high intensity intermittent training) quite regularly because I had been obsessed with wanting my body to be ‘just perfect’. In hindsight, what I thought was a stress reliever, actually became a stress enhancer.

The Switch to Yoga

I turned to yoga initially for the physical benefits – to help ‘stretch’ out my tense neck, shoulders and back. To help me feel ‘physically OK’. What I didn’t realise was that it actually had a profound effect on my capability to calm myself, to relax my mind, which is something I had always struggled with. 

Fast forward three years, I was feeling more self aware and in less pain! (I even changed roles so I was no longer running events), I was determined to discover more.

Stacy’s Year (2020)

Ah 2020! A year for the history books that’s for sure. 

My partner and I found ourselves on ‘stand down’ indefinitely as the parent company we worked for was in the travel business – something that overnight disappeared. What had initially been my year to balance a full time job and full time study to become a yoga teacher, it became simply ‘full time study to become a yoga teacher’.

I would love to say I threw myself completely into the course, but as many of us have experienced during this pandemic, it has been a rather anxious and unknown time, so there were many days when it was just simply all too much. However, little by little, I began to make yoga a regular part of my month, then my week, then my day. 

The Shift

And something shifted. As someone who was identified as an atheist, I had found a ‘God’. Not the usual God related to a religion, but I had developed a deep appreciation of Mother Nature – my God. My ‘being’ that I could completely and blindly place all faith in to look after me. My sense of gratitude – for the strength and health of my body, the warmth of the sun on my skin, the beauty of the oceans and bushland that surrounds my home town – has never been stronger. 

And it’s made me a better version of myself, helping me to ‘let go’ of perfection, and greatly influencing my relationship with others, the environment, and most importantly, myself.

Stacy’s Future

I am looking forward to graduating at the end of the year and continuing my studies further in Yoga Therapy. What started out as a ‘life enhancement’ (which it certainly was!), I have now decided that yoga is too good not to share. 

I am hard of hearing and have found that not all yoga classes are suited to those who can’t hear too well. I hope to teach yoga to those who need additional support, in aged care and mental health programs, along with any other areas that are in need of speciality yoga.

I believe that yoga is to be shared amongst all of us, so that eventually we end up with a calm, already perfect, self aware community in love with Mother Nature. 


Inspired by Stacy’s story?

Our Teacher Training Course isn’t just for aspiring teachers, but for anyone who wants to deepen their personal practice and gain a better understanding of yoga.

Need more information?
Get course prospectus
Join our next information session

Get in touch:
Email: teachertraining@yogainstitute.com.au
Phone: 0477 021 219

Join us, together we will grow, learn and inspire.

The Yoga Institute acknowledges the Cammeraygal people of the Eora nation as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which our centre is based.

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