On the importance of continuing education for yoga teachers.

I’ve reached a little bit more than 1000 hours of yoga teacher training. I’m not bragging with this article, I’m just trying to explain why I feel it is important for us, yoga teachers, to keep educating ourselves even though we are working full times and have enough students to survive.

First of all it would be very presumptuous to think that 200 hours is enough to learn and share a practice that is more than 1000 years old (even though at that time there were only 5 or 6 asanas), and that is not only physical but also philosophical, and that contains in addition of asanas practice, meditation, breathing, chanting…. It’s a true way of life.

Of course in our society the yoga that is taught is mostly asanas but to my opinion 200 hours is not even enough to contain all the anatomy and body knowledge necessary to keep our students safe (and I’m talking here about our western anatomy not even the eastern anatomy who also includes energy, chakras, Nadis…)

The more I’ve taken trainings the more I can feel my ignorance in so many fields, it’s exciting to know i have so much more to learn.

I also think it’s important to be a good student, in order to be a good teacher. To stay open to different kind of yoga, just to be aware of what is offered by other teachers.

Yoga is evolving. With science and practice we have realized that we should change the way we teach some asanas (squaring the hips in Warrior 2 anyone?), so it’s important to learn, and to practice as a student, to explore, and not be ashamed to say: I was wrong when I was teaching this, let’s do it differently. (That’s one of the many reasons why I love my teacher Annie Carpenter, I’ve seen her evolving a few times, and say the words: I was wrong)

For those reasons, I will keep taking trainings every year, because, yes, even with 1000 hours I still have a lot of things to learn. I owe it to myself, and I owe it to my students who trust me. The more I learn, the more I have knowledge to share.

I teach SmartFLOW yoga! What is it?

Methodology and Philosophy behind SmartFlow yoga and why I’ve choosen to teach this yoga.

Somebody once asked my teacher what is SmartFLOW yoga, she answered: If Iyengar yoga and Vinyasa yoga had a baby, it would be SmartFLOW (Yes we do use props!! and we love it) . I always smile when I think about it.

The philosophy of SmartFlow is based on the fact that every living being is unique and because of this, every aspect of yoga practice is presented as an inquiry, so the practice allows each of us to ask questions to self without any excpectations for outcome.

Every practitioners is in a state of observation of itself.

We, as yoga teachers, always ask our students not to look at what their neighbors are doing since every body is different, and they should only care about their own practice. SmartFlow yoga really emphasizes that, and encourages every students to experience her full potential, and to be connected to her practice.

The philosophy of SmartFlow is to allow any practitioner to understand the language of the body and to recognize the meaning of any sensation it creates.

It allows them to communicate with their body and to accept it as it is. It also helps bringing their mind to stillness by focusing on their practice.

Most of the time this will lead the students to a deeper practice of yoga, meaning they will start to apply (or at least have an interest in) the other limbs of yoga.

Understanding the language of our own body allows us to avoid injuries. It’s important to know its boundaries, know when we have to soften and rest or, may be know when we need to be more present. In SmartFlow classes acceptance is always encouraged, acceptance toward what is and what is not today. The student is always aware that every day is different and that what is happening or not happening today might be different tomorrow.

This state of mind allows us to honor the present moment.

By this practice of inquiry SmartFlow embraces all type of yogis.

What makes it easy to celebrate the fact that every human being is individual is the (shall I say it ?) smart methodology of SmartFlow. Instead of giving rigid one size fits all cues, the sequences are created through the lens of Movement Principles, which allows to understand asanas through lines of motion.

Instructing asanas this way avoids the implication that they should look a specific way, it’s quite the opposite, it allows to create an atmosphere of exploration and inquiry.

The student is given a clear and specific movement that has a direction toward an asana and a clear route that leads her back to center.

There is a full expression of effort and a return to center.

Everybody has, because of this mechanism, a safe practice that creates spaciousness and stability in the joints. It allow the breath and prana to flow clearly.

The movement principle mechanism is the exploration of the direction that each asana moves us away from the center aka Tadasana, mountain pose.

By understanding the movement, the effort, that takes us away from center and how to return to center, we can create balanced transitions into and out of each pose, and everybody can create its own full expressionof the pose.

This mechanism allows the student to know herself, and that’s one of the goal of yoga to my humble opinion.

I have chosen to teach this style of yoga because of this. I want to teach my students how to be aware of their body, to get to know their body and accept it as it is.

In our civilization we are obsessed with our apparence and therefore we are obsessed with how our body looks like, but we are incapable of communicating with it.

We are incapable of travelling into the Self.

The practice of SmartFlow allowed me to feel parts of my body very clearly and therefore helped me to move more precisely into the asanas, without the risk of injuries, and that’s exactly what I wish for my students.

I’ve met SmartFlow yoga at a hard time of my life and It has also drove me to do some Introspection and to be more opened to meditation, it helped me to control my breathing during practice which was very hard for me.

All that benefits I got, I want to share them with my students, that’s the reasons why I want to teach this specific practice. I have experienced it, I know it works and it’s worth sharing !

It took me a little bit more than 2 years to get my certification, I could have just participated to the training, but being able to call my class SmartFLOW is a plus. Yoga practitioners know the seriousness of Annie’s teaching, and I benefit from that.

(Although beware SmartFLOW classes are given by yoga teachers certified by Annie Carpenter, and implies that this teacher has at least 500h of teacher training with at least 300h in SmartFLOW yoga, the title is SmartFLOW, do not mistake that with Smart yoga, smart vinyasa or other similar designations.)

Bye Bye 2018

It is with no regret that I let you go. You were tough. I’m a different person than 365 days ago that’s for sure. The good thing is I’m more focus on my yoga practice. Not that I wasn’t before, but I’ve realised that it is the main thing that makes me happy.

Good things happened though!

I’ve been to India! And I loved it. (you can read my previous posts about it.)

I’ve trained a lot and with fantastic teachers and I feel very lucky! Annie Carpenter, Maty Ezraty, Dona Holleman and Krista Cahill. I’ve studied yoga philosophy with Dr John Casey and Richard Rosen.

The french Yoga Journal likes my articles and publish them on their blog. 5 of them so far!

I had the best burning man ever. It was my 10th burn and it was epic. I went there depressed and fill with dark thoughts, I left with a light heart. I’ve volunteered more than the years before and it filled me with joy.

And… I am now a certified SmartFLOW yoga instructor which makes me very happy. I’ve started to study SmartFLOW with Annie two years ago and it has deeply changed my practice and my way of teaching. I was already certified in power vinyasa and Prana flow, but I felt incomplete, it was not the yoga I was looking for. Annie’s method resonates with me, and with what I expect from a yoga practice.

All this good things helped me to step away from what brings me anxiety, pain and darkness, even when those things or persons were part of my life. I had to rethink my expectations for the future. Truth is, everything can stop in 1 second, so I will not expecting anything from anyone anymore, I’m stepping away from toxic, selfish and narcissistic people, and I will just walk my path and see how it goes.

I have many projects, but I do not expect anything from that either, I will take things one hour at a time.

I wish you all a great new year to come.

Namaste