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03 Jan
Posted by Nikola Ellis

WHY YOGA TEACHERS NEVER STOP LEARNING

I've been training yoga teachers for fifteen years, and I can guarantee one thing. About two thirds of the way through their  yoga teacher training, most students have an ‘I’ll never be good enough to teach!’ moment. In fact, I worry about the ones who don’t. 

Teaching yoga is a big responsibility – students trust their yoga teachers with their bodies and their minds so it’s no wonder new teachers can feel a little overwhelmed.

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26 Dec
Posted by Nikola Ellis

5 things you need to know before you enrol for yoga teacher training.

Congratulations! You’ve decided to take the plunge and become a yoga teacher. With new yoga teacher trainings popping up each year, all you have to do is sit back and choose the right course for you, right? But hang on a minute. Do you really know what you’re getting yourself into? It’s time to get behind the marketing hype and discover some home truths about becoming a yoga teacher. Here are 5 things you need to know before you sign up.

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08 Sep
Posted by Nikola Ellis

I’M NO YOGA GURU. AND THAT’S A GOOD THING.

I’ve been practicing yoga for 25 years and teaching for 15 years. And I’m a long way from being a guru.

I’ve got plenty of diplomas, degrees and postgraduate qualifications as well as many thousands of hours of experience. But the gaps in my knowledge are as wide as the ocean.

And that’s a good thing. For two reasons.

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17 Aug
Posted by Nikola Ellis

WHY YOUR YOGA TEACHER TRAINING DIDN’T TEACH YOU ONE SKILL YOU REALLY NEED.

What’s the single most important skill you need to be a good yoga teacher? Proficiency at Asana? Expert knowledge of yoga philosophy? Great sequencing?

Well, all those things are helpful, but you can be the most flexible, knowledgeable person on the planet and still be a rotten teacher. Because teaching isn’t about how good you are at something. It’s about how well you can connect and communicate with others. Let me just define communication here. I’m not talking about the clarity of your verbal cues, or your body language, or your tone of voice. I’m talking about a way of being with others that fosters deep connection, trust and hope.

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06 Aug
Posted by Nikola Ellis

a day in the life of a yoga teacher

As a yoga teacher, I’m often asked “do you practice yoga every day?” The answer is yes, but not always in the way that you think!

6.30am
My morning yoga practice used to be quite elaborate.  Then I had kids. These days I enjoy 20 minutes gentle stretching followed by 10 minutes meditation - just enough to get me on track for the day. And, of course, even that's subject to the unpredictable schedules of the rest of the family...

7.00am
Ruby (11yrs) and Eddie (8yrs) join me for a few down dogs (which usually ends up being more of an all-in wrestling session on the yoga mat) before breakfast followed by the school run.
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03 Aug
Posted by Nikola Ellis

7 WAYS TO MAKE YOGA ACCESSIBLE TO ALL BODIES.

I received an email recently from a woman called Michelle asking if yoga could help her with insomnia. When I called her to explain how yoga can help manage sleep disorders, she replied “That's great! I've got a couple of kilos to lose and then I’ll sign up.”

Happily, I managed to persuade Michelle that fitness levels and body weight have nothing to do with being able to practice yoga and she started enjoying the benefits of yoga straight away. Michelle is not alone in thinking that yoga is only for fit, slim, bendy people – that’s certainly how it often appears in the media. One of the problems with media images of super flexible yogis doing advanced poses is that many people think “I’ll try yoga when I’m thinner/fitter” or even worse, “yoga’s not for me”.

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06 Jul
Posted by Nikola Ellis

MAKE YOUR STUDENT THE TEACHER

It's tough teaching general yoga classes. Have you ever watched new students struggling while wondering if the more experienced students were bored? Perhaps you've felt bad at the end of class because you didn't get around to offering an adjustment or modification to every student who would have benefited from one.


If that’s a familiar scenario, it’s time to change your approach to teaching open group classes and learn how to put your students at the very heart of the practice.

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18 May
Posted by Nikola Ellis

the not-so-perfect yoga teacher

I’ve been privileged to work as a yoga teacher trainerfor more than 12 years. It’s rewarding work that is both challenging and exhilarating and I’ve met some extraordinary people along the way.

However, about 3 years ago I started to notice something different about the students signing up for the trainings. The broad diversity of ages and body types that I had encountered in the early days of my teacher-training career had almost disappeared. The people signing up now were overwhelmingly young, bendy and body-conscious. 

To be fair, the vast majority of trainees have always been female. But within that population, there were people of different sizes, ages, backgrounds and experience. In recent years, that profile has changed.

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