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Today's Meet the Graduate interviewee is Fiona Sutherland:

She's an Accredited Practising Dietitian & Nutritionist with a diverse working background including international clinical work, private practice, sports nutrition, corporate consultancy, research & working extensively in Dietetic training. 

Fiona is one of Australia’s leading specialists in Mindful Eating and the Non Diet Approach (read more about it HERE) & supports eating in an individually tailored way that supports every person’s unique needs, in alignment with the HAES (Health At Every Size) (R) paradigm.  I have a long working relationship with her business partner from Body Positive Australia, Sarah Harry, and to say I love what these ladies are about is an UNDERSTATEMENT.

But here's the weird thing: Fiona didn't know I'd been working with Sarah when she applied to this training! The world works in strange ways sometimes.

What attracted you to this teacher training?

I had signed up for the Yoga in Melbourne newsletter for a while before my idea to pursue teacher training became more than an idea. As a health professional, I always really found the communication from Nadine and Karen not only informative but also compassionate and thoughtful. 

Why did you choose this training over an intensive training (locally or abroad)?

I'll admit that yes, there was a part of me that wanted to "get it done" so I can understand why intensives are so attractive, but I honestly don't think yoga teacher training is something to be done quickly. In theory yes, but in practice, I really believe that being a "wise" teacher (rather than someone who can teach) requires plenty of time and reflection. Having the opportunity to come together and learn, then go and practice (and attend other people's classes) offered me a valuable opportunity to absorb and integrate the training.  Additionally, fostering a sense of patience, resilience and persistence during the course really provided an incredible opportunity for me to bring that into my classes now as a teacher.


What was your favourite thing(s) about this teacher training?

I loved the opportunities to explore the many aspects of yoga, particularly that beyond asana such as the experience and diversity of course participants, yoga philosophy and just everyday practical challenges such as running a business and time management. I really appreciated Nadine and Karen's openness to each course participants experience, and the way they were so respectful and welcoming to our different personalities, interests and strengths. I really appreciated the way feedback was offered in a very authentic, warm and genuine way which encouraged us all to learn, reflect and grown without being discouraged. It's a steep learning curve but with Nadine and Karen, I always felt 100% supported even when I was taking risks or doing things for the first time.

What was the most challenging thing for you in this training?

As a parent and health professional, my life was already very very full so it was a lot of juggling for me to attend each training weekend. I appreciated the compassion, support and guidance of Nadine and Karen throughout the course. Making, and taking the time between training weekends was also tricky at times but I always felt supported to do the best I could from month to month which meant that when I could do more, I was able to, and other times when life was busier I was able to just do what I could.

YTT: More Info
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Did you see over on instagram that I tidied my yoga corner? And yes, I do sometimes wonder if I'm the only one with a spine, a skeleton, and Buddha sitting side by side.

Which summarises what I am craving when I go to yoga class (because I can't go to my own classes you know?). 

I want classes with conversation AND movement. But not classes that are too technical because then I end up all in my head.

I want to feel embodied in movement but also learn something new. It might be a big ask. Maybe I'm fantasising about it more now than usual because I was in a car accident over the weekend (I'm fine, just a bit banged about. My car? Not so much. And my partner sustained a small injury but is being really well cared for. We are so lucky. It could have been so much worse. But events like this do make you stop and think about life and your priorities.)

I don't want classes that sometimes make you feel like an idiot or incompetent because you can't do something.

I remember when I did my first teacher training, and I was chatting to one of the teaching assistants (who was 22 years old) and was shocked that I've been practising for 6-7 years and couldn't do a headstand. In that moment, he made me feel so little. And no, I still don't practice headstands even though I can, but I choose not to for safety reasons. And more so now that my neck has had more trauma! 

I want classes that can teach us how to use our bodies more efficiently and with more ease and comfort on a day to day basis.

Never mind about being upside down, there are many people out there who struggle to get up and down from the floor. How can our yoga practice help us bend over and put on our shoes and tie our shoelaces without groaning about back pain? How can our squats in yoga help us when we have young children and need to get down to their levels to play or pick up toys and have bath time in the tub without being in pain? 

These are the things I want to see more of in the yoga world. MUCH more of.

How about you? Is there anything missing in your yoga world?

 

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In this next 'meet the graduate' interview, I talk to Dr. Sarah Jane Perri, chiropractor extraordinaire (I see her for treatments actually) and yoga teacher. Sarah undertook teacher training with us during her last year of chiropractic study which was truly impressive, as if a difficult degree at uni wasn't enough! Here she shares what she found tough but also what she found rewarding about our course.

INTRODUCING DR SARAH JANE* Dr Sarah Jane is a Chiropractor, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Holistic Counsellor and has an extensive interest in learning about world religions, culture, nature, animals, food, art, self-improvement, spirituality and ultimately living in alignment with her true purpose. Her goal is to empower you on your health and wellness journey through light yet powerful touch, breath work and by honouring your body's communication in a gentle and evidence based approach.

What attracted you to this teacher training?

I was looking for a teacher training course that offered flexibility yet did not compromise on quality. The anatomy focus resonated with me as a chiropractic student and it was also close to home which was a bonus!

Why did you choose this training over an intensive training (locally or abroad)?

I chose mm Yoga because I could go one weekend a month and pay monthly instalments which made it so much more accessible for me. I did not have the opportunity to take a period off studying nor did I have the money up front. Without mm yoga I never would have been able to financially justify completing the training.

What was your favourite thing(s) about this teacher training?

I loved that we actually got teaching experience! So many other courses do not offer the amount of teaching hours and community teaching opportunities that mm Yoga do. 

I also liked that we touched on all aspects of Yoga from the philosophy to the art of teaching. We had guest teachers that were incredible. 

I loved the community we built within the group, friendships that I will treasure for a lifetime.

What was the most challenging thing for you in this training?

It can be nerve racking teaching at the start! I was not expecting to be challenged in this way, but I learnt a lot about clear and concise communication. Practice definitely makes this easier along the way and the environment that mm Yoga creates is safe and welcoming.

At times it was tiring do the weekends as they are intense, but I also really enjoyed them.

Find out more about our training
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Like I mentioned last week, it's SO GREAT when I run across people - like Lucy - who believe as I do that yoga is for everybody. It's also great when they can put their belief into practice by modifying their classes for people's needs. It's a skill that comes from knowing how human bodies work.

Which brings me to the 5 reasons all yoga teachers should educate themselves about human anatomy and biomechanics:
  1. We are health professionals and we work with human bodies!
  2. The more you know about how bodies work, the better equipped you are to refer on when needed.
  3. A yoga teacher with a good working knowledge of human anatomy can provide an excellent complement to physiotherapy and other allied health interventions, as many of our students already know.
  4. Knowing how bodies work means you can educate your students to do ‘self-maintenance’ and that can really help people move out of pain and manage their chronic conditions in an empowered way.
  5. If we want to be taken seriously, we need to be serious about our profession and that means getting educated. Especially about anatomy.

What do you think? Have I missed any?

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Lucy Hayward

is an architect, a rainbow-coloured bright spark, world traveller, yoga teacher, and a graduate of our teacher training course! In this 'meet the graduate' interview, she shares what is was like for her and why she wants to teach as she does.

 

She actually teaches for us when she's in Melbourne too, which I feel super lucky about.

What attracted you to this teacher training?

MM Yoga teacher training was recommended to me by several people that I respect. Initially I was attracted to the course because of its emphasis on anatomy and practical skills of teaching yoga in a small class size. After contacting Nadine I received a beautiful supportive and engaging response and I was sold.

Why did you choose this training over an intensive training (locally or abroad)?

I chose this training over an intensive as it allowed me to continue to work full-time and the length allowed me time to learn and absorb the information we were learning. It gave us lots of time to practice teaching giving me the confidence to teach when we were qualified.

What was your favourite thing(s) about this teacher training?

The small class size created an inclusive and intimate learning space. Nadine and Karen are great teachers, very encouraging and supportive. The training was practical and had us teaching from early in the training. There is an emphasis on creating inclusive yoga for everyone, this was really important for me as I want yoga to be accessible to everyone.

What was the most challenging thing for you in this training?

The most challenging thing for me during the training was continuing to enjoy my own practice with other teachers as I learnt the skills and language of teaching for myself. I found myself judging other teachers against what I was learning which at times was frustrating and unenjoyable. I eventually learnt to be able to focus my practice on myself and take away what was beneficial.

Want to know more about teacher training? get in touch now
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And no, I do not mean that you have a soul in a jar somewhere. That would be weird. And gross.

What I DO mean is that some people are natural born teachers.

They love helping other people learn. A passion for and knowledge of the subject matter is helpful to teaching of course, but the skills - and dare I say talents - that make someone a good teacher don't have much to do with what they are teaching.

Most people who take yoga teacher trainings love yoga, so we've got the whole passion for subject bit covered.

But not all of start off actually wanting to teach.

I've found that there are two main reasons people choose to do Yoga Teacher Training: they want to teach yoga, or they want to deepen their own practice.

Now, you'd think the folks who want to teach all fall into the 'soul of a teacher' category, wouldn't you?

Or do you already know I'm asking you a trick question?

See the thing is this: a love for yoga often grows into a desire to teach yoga. Not a desire to teach people but rather a desire to delve deeper into yoga.

I've known so many yoga teachers (and other kinds of teachers for that matter) who have a HUGE passion for their subject but just aren't so keen on - or skilled at - the teaching part.

And I also have a confession to make: I did my first yoga teacher training without knowing whether I actually wanted to teach.

What made me do YTT without being certain I wanted to teach?

I'm honestly not sure, but I needed change. I felt lost and I felt like I needed to do something else…not sure what but knew I needed different career, knew I loved yoga, why don’t I try and see. SO yes. I was one of those people. Love of yoga = doing a yoga teacher training.

I was well into my first training when I realised I actually wanted to be a teacher.

Lots of friends were struggling to understand the concepts/homework we had so I was tutoring - I had some more understanding of what we were meant to be learning because I’d already done a thorough month-long intensive and practised for long time.

Eventually, I became the go-to person for a group of people when they didn’t understand - and it was then that I realised I really enjoy teaching. I still wasn’t sure it was yoga I wanted to teach but I knew I definitely want to teach.

The point is this:

Yoga Teacher Training is still one of the best ways to learn more about yoga and that is why people - including me - sometimes choose to take it even when they aren't sure they want to teach.

Courses structured like ours are also a great way to find out whether you actually like or want to teach too, because we ask you to do that from pretty much the first weekend.

I had that experience by accident in my first training because it was, frankly, bad enough that large numbers of people didn't understand what was being taught. 

You can have it as a structured and deliberate part of your training. 

Win win eh?
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This time of year though. It's ALWAYS so stressful and busy, with trying to juggle the end of year parties and concerts and events and deadlines. Argh.

I like to have a few things up my sleeve to help me cope (although of course it's probably going to be too hot to wear sleeves, ha!)

My top holiday season survival tips:I love a holiday getaway, particularly one that involves getting closer to nature and away from the city to unwind.

I’m going to New Zealand this December. I’ve only been there once but it’s one of my favourite places in the world. NZ is so beautiful that I didn’t even mind the cold weather and driving a ridiculous amount!

That said, peak season can be a rather expensive time to travel.

What about going somewhere nearby? A friend told me about a New Year Retreat at Rocklyn Yoga Ashram, if you want a more chilled out wholesome new years, and something that doesn’t break the bank! 

Don’t want to go anywhere at all? Too many family commitments to go anywhere too far?

If you have 20 minutes to spare, you can do our our nurturing yoga video.

I swear this is not a sponsored post!

But my favourite grocery delivery service Hello Fresh has a Christmas box!

They deliver the ingredients along with the recipes, so no stressing about what to cook, and no mad rush to the supermarket with the crowds! I love knowing that my meals are planned all week and all I have to do is a bit of light cooking.

Last but not least, how about a social media detox?

You might be surprised at the amount of space it takes up in our lives. I will be trying this holiday to take a short break from social media, so see you all in the new year!

Happy holidays everyone, and thanks for your support this year.

Karen and teamm...yoga! 

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