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.
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?
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.
Feel free to reach out to me via Instagram
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