Six Considerations When Choosing a Yoga Teacher Training Program

Note from Tracy:  If you live in the Seattle area, Whole Life Yoga’s next yoga teacher training begins September 25.  Early registration discount ends July 31. E-mail me at Tracy@WholeLifeYoga.com to set up an information session.  Detailed information about the program is at this link.

Although I’m truly fond of the yoga teacher training program at Whole Life Yoga, Seattle yogis have a wide variety of excellent programs to choose from. So how do you decide? Reflecting on the questions below may help.

  1. What style of yoga meets your needs and the needs of your students? Consider the style of yoga you personally like to practice, as well as the style that serves the audience you want to teach. Some programs (including Whole Life Yoga’s teacher training program) adhere rigorously to a given lineage. Others offer a blended approach.  Either way, it’s important that you understand and can support the style(s) of yoga you will be studying. Never enroll in a teacher training program if you don’t appreciate what you will be learning.
  2. What are the  physical requirements of the program? Some yoga teacher training programs  require that their graduates be able to perform a wide range of vigorous yoga poses.  Others, like the program at Whole Life Yoga, embrace all practitioners, regardless of physical capability.  Can your body safely meet the requirements of the training?  If not, you might be setting yourself up for failure.
  3. Does the structure of the program meet your learning style? Some students learn yoga best when they are removed from the demands of daily life. This happens most effectively in residential trainings. Others do better with what I call a trickle approach, in which bite-sized pieces of information are provided consistently over a longer period of time. I designed Whole Life Yoga’s training utilizing the trickle approach.  We meet Monday evenings and one Sunday afternoon a month for 11 months, which gives students plenty of time to absorb what they are learning.
  4. Can you realistically meet the program’s requirements? Ask about the the program’s complete costs, time investments, and other commitments.  Cost calculations should include any extra classes you’ll be required to attend, mentoring costs, materials, registration fees, and lodging. When you’re budgeting time, include the hours you will actually spend in yoga teacher training classes, personal practice, teaching time, and written homework. Whole Life Yoga’s program has significant homework requirements, though we liberally extend deadlines and work individually with students who need extra help.  Be honest with yourself. Choose a program that has the flexibility you need while still offering a rigorous learning experience.
  5. Are you drawn to the primary teacher(s) of the program? Some teacher training programs are led almost exclusively by a single teacher; others use a panel of instructors, each of whom leads classes on different topics. If you’ll be studying with multiple teachers, who will be responsible for helping facilitate your success? If there is a primary teacher, do you respect them? Do you trust them? At a minimum, you’ll spend 200 to 500 hours of your life with this person. Make sure the student/teacher fit is a good one.
  6. Do you want/need a certification that is nationally recognized? What other licensing requirements are important to you? Yoga Alliance is currently the only nationally-recognized regulatory body in the yoga teacher community. If your program is registered with Yoga Alliance, you may have career opportunities that others do not. In Washington State, a handful of yoga programs (including Whole Life Yoga’s) are licensed as private vocational centers.  In addition to Yoga Alliance’s quality requirements, licensed vocational centers pass rigorous tests of financial stability, longevity, and contractual fairness.  Additionally, every employee of a WA state licensed vocational center passes in-depth background checks. How important is certification and licensing to you?

As with most questions in life, there are no right answers, only answers that are right for you. If you’re interested in learning more about Whole Life Yoga’s program, I’d be happy to meet and discuss our program in detail.  Email me at Tracy@WholeLifeYoga.com to set up a time.

Best of luck to you in your yoga journey!

Tracy

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, learn about our Yoga Alliance Registered yoga teacher training program, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series. 

Love Can Change a World

I’m still recovering from a car accident a month ago, so I need to significantly limit my time at the computer. This blog article is too important to postpone writing, however.

I need your help.

We all get requests for our attention, support, and financial donations regularly.  I — like most of you — do as much as I can, as often as I can. Now is one of those times.

Claire Ricci is a graduate of my yoga teacher training, a former employee, and a friend.  She and her husband Chris have weathered — and thrived — in conditions that would destroy most of us. Many years ago, Chris survived a violent attack that left him with a traumatic brain injury. Two years ago, he fought — and won! — a battle against throat cancer.  A few months after achieving remission, he had a stroke. The road they’ve traveled since then has been long, littered with obstacles, and often lonely.

Through it all, Claire has been his advocate, his cheerleader, his caretaker, his love. Chris has spent the last two years in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities several hours away from their home.  Claire has stayed by his side through it all, and the costs have taken a toll on their savings.  Enough of a toll that they are in danger of losing their home, which would mean giving up their beloved dog, Rocket.

Recently, Claire gave a few of her friends permission to share their story.  We’ve raised enough money to keep their home safe through the end of the year, and Chris has simultaneously made some remarkable strides that make it very possible that he will return there.  Once that happens, he will need specialized support, including expensive wheelchairs, visiting nurses, and other rehabilitative services as he continues healing.

Can you help?

If possible, please read, share, and consider donating to the GoFundMe campaign at this link.  There have never been two people more worthy.

As a thank you, anyone who donates $10 or more and lets me know by either commenting on this blog or e-mailing me at Tracy@WholeLifeYoga.com will receive their choice of an autographed copy of my 4th Downward Dog Mystery, A Fatal Twist, or 10% off their next class pass or series class at Whole Life Yoga.

Thank you!

Tracy Weber

All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

A KILLER RETREAT Audiobook Launch Party!

July marks the official launch of my second audiobook, A Killer Retreat!  Although the official launch is in July, it’s available for purchase on Audible now.   Join me at the Facebook launch party on July 13 at this link!

I hope you give the book (audio or written) a try, and love it!  For a short excerpt, check out my article today on Inkspot, the blog for writers of Midnight Ink.

Tracy Weber

All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

Announcing A KILLER RETREAT on Audiobook!

Hi all!  Today’s post will be short but sweet, as I’m limiting my computer time while I recover from a recent whiplash injury.  But I wanted to tell you that my newest audiobook, A Killer Retreat, is now available!  Check it out at https://www.amazon.com/Killer-Retreat-Downward-Dog-Mystery/dp/B071JG4SJ9/

Even better, if you already own or purchase the Kindle version of the book, you can get the audiobook for only $3.47!

An official launch party and blog tour will be held in July.  In the meantime, I hope you give it a try and love it!

Tracy Weber

copy-of-facebook-event-cover-untitled-design

All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

Cover Revealed!

Thanks to everyone who participated in my birthday-week cover reveal contest for PRE-MEDITATED MURDER last week.  The full cover is below!

My publisher opted to go with a different cover artist this time, so the book has a different look and feel than the first four.  I’ll miss bright-and-happy Kate and Bella, but on the plus side, the new image is less likely to be confused with a children’s book.

More about the book:

Yoga instructor Kate Davidson is ready to marry her boyfriend Michael, so she’s disappointed when a special dinner doesn’t end with a proposal. But disappointment turns to dismay and outrage as she learns the real problem: Michael is already married and his green card-seeking wife is blackmailing him.    

When his wife’s body is found—by Kate and her dog, no less—Michael is strangely unable to remember where he was the night she died. Since Michael has no alibi, Kate steps up to uncover what happened. What she walks into is a tangled web of deceit, obsession, and immigration fraud . . .  with Michael trapped in the middle.

So what do you think?  New cover yes?  New cover no?  Tell me why in the comments.  And if you’re interested in pre-ordering the book, you can do so at this link.

Enjoy!

Tracy Weber

copy-of-facebook-event-cover-untitled-design

All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

It’s Tracy’s Birthday (aka Margarita Day!) How About a Cover Reveal Contest?

Two fun pieces of news today!  First, it’s my birthday!  Whoo hoo!  Margaritas for everyone!

Second, my fifth Downward Dog Mystery, Pre-Meditated Murder is available for pre-order!  Kate has really gotten herself into trouble this time.  To see how, take a look at the book’s description at https://www.amazon.com/Pre-Meditated-Murder-Downward-Dog-Mystery-ebook/dp/B0711WY9ST/.

Which brings us to the contest.

My publisher decided to go with a new cover look this time, and I’m excited to hear what you think of it.  Since my past cover reveal contests have been so fun, I’ve decided to reveal it through a similar contest this year!  Here’s how it works:

Each day for the next five days, I’ll post an element of the cover on my Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/TracyWeberAuthor.  Before midnight that day, leave a comment naming the object pictured and you’ll be entered into that day’s contest.  Sharing the contest, liking my author page or friending me on Facebook are all good karma, but not required.

While you’re there, be sure to make a note of the object for the grand prize round.

Then, any time between when I post the final object on Friday, June 9 and Sunday, June 11 at midnight, send me an e-mail at Tracy@WholeLifeYoga.com with all five objects.  Once I receive your e-mail, you’ll be entered to win the grand prize.  The full cover will be revealed on this blog and on Facebook on Monday, June 12.

Here are the prizes! 

  • Monday: Your choice of the audiobook or an autographed paper copy of my Agatha Nominated first book, Murder Strikes a Pose. If you already own it, remember:  books make great gifts!
  • Tuesday: A Downward Dog Mysteries coffee mug.
  • Wednesday: An autographed copy of the fourth book in the series, A Fatal Twist. If you already own it, remember:  books make great gifts!
  • Thursday:  A $15 Amazon gift certificate.
  • Friday:  An advanced copy of Pre-Meditated Murder when it’s available sometime in August.
  • Grand Prize:  A Dog and Crossbones book bag, a Downward Dog Mysteries coffee mug,  and an advanced copy of Pre-Meditated Murder when it’s available.

The first cover element is pictured below.  Visit today’s post on my  Facebook Author Page and make your first entry!

NOTE:  By entering, you acknowledge that Facebook is not liable for any part of the contest.  The contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.  😉

Namaste and good luck!

Tracy Weber

copy-of-facebook-event-cover-untitled-design

All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

Memorial Day Greetings and Family Photos

Happy Memorial Day!  I’m taking the day off from blogging, but I wanted to share this recent photo of some of my yoga teacher training students and graduates.   The man seated in the chair is my teacher, Gary Kraftsow.  Gary was in Seattle teaching a weekend seminar on yoga for anxiety and depression, and these lovely yogis represented the Whole Life Yoga family.  It’s so cool to see my students continuing to learn, teach and grow.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday.   Talk to you next week!

Tracy Weber

copy-of-facebook-event-cover-untitled-design

All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

What’s in a Name?

 

Unending joy through the eyes of a puppy.

Today’s my day to blog at Inkspot, the blog for authors of Midnight Ink.  I’m discussing the power of names, both in fictional characters and our loved ones.

http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2017/05/whats-in-name.html

Enjoy!

Tracy Weber

copy-of-facebook-event-cover-untitled-design

All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

Can You Do Yoga Over 50? You Bet!

Please welcome Sheryl Stich back to the Whole Life Yoga blog today.  Sheryl teaches four (!) classes each week specifically designed for students over 50.  Continue reading to discover what makes so many students come back week after week.  It’s never too late to start a consistent yoga practice!

As students were chatting and stacking their mats and blankets after the Monday Yoga for Over 50 class, I started to reminisce about how the class began seven years ago with three dedicated students. After a few months, attendance began to flourish and in response we added a class on Wednesdays and Fridays. The classes have continued to grow, so we recently introduced a 4:30 PM class on Wednesdays.

Why is this class so popular? The Yoga for Over 50 class is very similar to an All-Levels class with modifications to accommodate the over 50 body. There are countless benefits of yoga for people over 50, including staying active, improving quality of life and slowing down the aging process. I teach a variety of strengthening postures, always include a balance posture and exclude postures that could possibly compromise bodies with arthritis, osteoporosis and other issues we may face.

When I asked my students what specifically draws them to the class, one student approached me immediately, saying the class matches her energy level, and that Viniyoga is great for the body, and just feels right – this class is perfect for people over 50.

Several students shared that they appreciate working around any physical limitations but still getting benefits from the postures. They recognize the importance of the individual modifications and they feel safe because they are not pressured into positions. One student proclaimed that the practice and postures helped her recover from breast cancer!

One recurring theme was that the class helps with every day things like increasing strength, flexibility, balance, body awareness and a sense of serenity. And the practice helps students be more confident and have an increased ease of movement throughout the day. Stress management, minimizing physical discomfort and preventing accidents also came up several times.

The class has helped one student feel stronger when skiing and another said it has increased her time in the garden from one to three hours. One student shared that she couldn’t walk very far because her hips hurt – this class has helped her be more flexible and strong and has taught how to move so she can spend more time walking.

The Yoga for Over 50 class also has a great sense of community. Catherine Williford has coordinated monthly luncheons for students in all the Over 50 classes, and this is what she had to say:

I love Over 50 Yoga at Whole Life Yoga because Sheryl is a gifted teacher who teaches with clear language and she keeps the pace perfect for those of us who might need a little more time. The poses seem to always be just what my body needed that day. I also love the community that is being created with monthly luncheons for whomever wants to join. I highly recommend this class!

Sheryl Stich is a certified yoga instructor through Whole Life Yoga’s teacher training program and is registered with Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT 500. Sheryl came to Viniyoga after recovering from disc hernia surgery in 2002. She also had hip replacement surgery, and found that yoga and breath work not only helped retain her health physically, but also helped mentally and emotionally. She finds much joy and happiness in sharing this “calm awakening” connecting the mind, body and breath with her students.

Benefits of Yoga for Chronic Pain: A Practice of Conscious Movement, Breath, and Meditation

Please welcome Whole Life Yoga instructor Katie West to the blog today!  Katie is such an inspiration to me and her students. Yoga is an incredible tool to help manage chronic pain, and I’m delighted to offer a new drop-in Yoga for Chronic Pain class by Katie on Thursdays at noon starting May 4.  Please join us!

The Body (movement/asana):

When living with chronic pain, one often develops a negative relationship with the body. If the body is limited and causing distress, frustrations, depression, or anxiety, the natural reaction is to disconnect from it. Many people want to suppress those emotions that are provoked by a chronic condition, so one might try to silence it, when all that is needed is to listen and respond with compassion.

Self-compassion is paramount when it comes to yoga and chronic pain. To be able to look at our own dysfunctional body, feel and nourish it, takes great courage and persistence. Our normal is a different kind of normal from those who do not have physical limitations. It is more delicate and special in that way. It is important to see this, to create a baseline for yourself and adapt from there. What differentiates Viniyoga from other lineages is its adaptability for different bodies and conditions. Correct movement for your body helps manage and minimize chronic pains, change old movement patterns, and build a more positive connection to your body. Viniyoga practices breath-centric movement where the breath is the core of conscious movement and builds a deeper connection to the body.

The Breath (pranayama)

One evening, I was on my side in the middle of the living room floor in crippling pain. Just a typical Friday evening. I began to focus my awareness on the expansion and release of my breath. I felt the warmth and vibrations of my breath within my body and the subtle contraction and relaxation of my muscles as I directed gentle awareness to achy areas. My exhale made my body feel at ease, and the control I had over the expansion in my body through my inhales left me feeling empowered. I slowly breathed life back into my body and realized I have the power to change my responses to what I had been labeling as negative physical sensations. Rather than wallowing in pity and complaining about my physical problems, I just breathed with intention and control, easing my achy joints and busy mind.

To breathe is to live. To consciously breathe is a persistent practice and affects our systems and energy on different levels based on the conscious control of the lengths, segments, pauses, and accentuation of the breath.

The Mind (meditation):

The mind is the control room, reigning over breath and body. Meditation can provide tools to change your thoughts, emotions, behavior, and habitual patterns allowing you to control your mind’s process.  If you choose to focus your attention fully on something, and catch your mind as it is wandering, the act of bringing your attention back to that original focal point is the practice of meditation. If you choose to focus on more positive things such as building a more positive relationship with your body, it will begin to become a habitual pattern. The same goes for negative habitual thought. Meditation teaches us how to listen and respond to the patterns in our mind and change them if desired.

The combination of correct gentle movement, conscious breathing, and focused intention or visualization creates an empowering practice for those with chronic pain.

Katie West has completed 500 hours of yoga teacher training via Whole Life Yoga (WLY) and continued as a TA for WLY’s 200 hour training. She believes yoga is a gift to share with all, having found Viniyoga after years of chronic conditions stemming from structural and muscular issues.The lineage’s teachings yielded the tools to begin her journey of reintegrating body, breath, and mind. This exploration of connection helped minimize and manage her chronic pain and revealed a constant practice of balance to life as a whole. Her teaching style highlights the accessibility, therapeutic, and rehabilitative aspects of yoga. Katie honors the Viniyoga lineage as an instructor and finds any way for students to integrate yoga into their daily lives. She holds that yoga is for everybody and adaptable to all.