I had been teaching yoga for five years and wanted to take my understanding and teaching to a new level. As I looked around on the internet, I came upon Crofton Yoga Studio and their programs, which led me to Pranakriya School of Yoga Healing Arts (PKSYHA).
I was a little apprehensive at first, not knowing if this would be the YTT teacher training that I would want to follow to complete my 300-hour training. But the training was presented in workshop modules and could be taken at my own pace, which really piqued my interest! Also, I could freely choose workshops based on my interests to complement PKSYHA’s core curriculum. Another point in their favor! Finally, I knew that if the program did not satisfy my needs, I could still use the hours for Yoga Alliance CEUs.
I decided to sign up! My new journey started in May 2017.
My first training was Deepening the Asana Experience: Gentle Yoga 1 by Jacci Gruninger. Through this training I learned how to modify poses for my students. Jacci included the koshas, brain states, and the idea of exploring and using inquiry to deepen the experience for others. This was something I immediately loved and later learned was woven through all the PKSYHA programs and yoga classes.
I was hooked!
One of my strongest memories of this class was the practice that we did on that first Friday evening. I did not know one other person in the training and am shy by nature. During that class, we practiced oscillating techniques. Well, I have never done this before and as I wiggled through my experience, I thought “What the heck have I gotten myself into?”
By the end of the weekend, I knew this was the yoga school for me.
To do this day, I use oscillating techniques and the joint freeing series that Jacci taught us that weekend.
My next courses (Meditation: Theory and Teaching, Asanas as Spiritual Doorways, and Pranayama: Theory and Teaching) were taught by Yoganand Michael Carroll, the founder of PKSYHA. Each of these trainings was filled with historical teachings and the relevance of yoga from the past to the present. Yoganand dispels many myths about yoga and teaches the deep roots of it. He introduced me to the powerful experience I found adding breathwork to my poses. If you have not taken a course taught by Yoganand, you need to seek this out- even if you are not into the 300-hour track. He is full of information, stories, and is an inspiring and authentic yoga teacher!
The subsequent yoga courses allowed me to grow and develop, both as a yoga teacher and in my own practice. I learned ways to help my students find relaxation techniques that they could use in their lives off the mat in trainings led by Steve Wolf, Krissy Simon, Shelbi Miles, and Jacci Gruninger ( Yoga Nidra and Shavasana, Deepening the Asana Experience: Meditative Postures I, Restorative Yoga, and Gentle Yoga). While I truly enjoy leading students through these practices, many of these practices are also used in my own life and have helped me to handle and release stress and to handle it more effectively.
Continuing my journey with PKSYHA, the next trainings helped me develop a better understanding of anatomy and how to use that knowledge to teach and help my students. Each training allowed me to fine-tune my observational skills and look at bodies differently, with a sharper eye. I learned how to shape asanas to fit my students instead of fitting my students into shapes. My new toolbox of fine-tuned postures helped me to guide my students to build strength. And this included my own body! These amazing trainings included Anatomy for Yoga Practitioners & Teachers and Musculoskeletal Assessment (taught by William Hufschmidt, Emily Gretz, and Laura Liberatore).
When the PK Yoga for Kids program was launched, I decided to join in and take the following trainings: PK Little Kids, Making Yoga Philosophy Accessible for Kids, and PK Tween to Teen.
The lead director of PK Kids is Emily Gretz, who has taught children’s yoga for many years and has a wealth of knowledge to share. Also, Amy Necci, Usha Lakshmi, and William Hufschmidt are directors of the trainings. The final class, PK Kids: Growing a Body: Anatomy and Development from Two to Teen will be taught in August! When these four classes and the accompanying fieldwork are completed, I will be qualified as a Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher (RCYT) with Yoga Alliance and I will proudly implement all that I have learned to help children find and develop more peaceful lives and communities!
My love of children has followed me throughout my life, as I have spent the last 30 years teaching Prekindergarten and Kindergarten. I trained to teach yoga to children before I became a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). I used yoga in my classroom for the last nine years and I feel it is so important to give children avenues for expressing and growing their love, ways to express their feelings and to have some plain old fun! I taught my sweet grandchildren yoga as well.
The PK Kids program has revived my passion to share this ancient practice with children in today’s world where there are so many complicated issues that face our youth and their futures.
To complete my 300-hour Pranakriya program, I took The Client Relationship: Cultivating Intuitive Presence, Ethics & Boundaries and Holding Space. The directors, Shelbi Miles and William Hufschmidt presented meaningful workshops that led the participants through exploratory exercises and discussions of ethical practices, which ultimately prepared me to work with my students in a caring, safe, and respectful way. Holding Space, in particular, guided the participants through much self-reflection; allowing me to develop the skills to hold space more genuinely for others.
As I wove through these trainings for the last three years, my love of yoga has grown. I have traveled in my mind from ancient times to the present with the guidance of Yoganand Michael Carroll. I have fine-tuned my observational skills, explored my own beliefs, changed how I see asanas, and found the beauty of them with the inner work that I have learned and practiced. I have expanded my breathwork and intertwined it into my practice more fully, and I have sat ever so quietly with my soul.
I have studied, grown, and expanded my knowledge of teaching yoga to others, from children to older adults. All this was accomplished by the guidance of the amazing directors and the founder of Pranakriya School of Yoga Healing Arts.
This experience is uniquely mine, and yet, there is an experience here for you to embrace as well!
What you learn from it will be uniquely yours.