Ahead of our next Teacher Training Course, we caught up with two of our current students, Tiia Ourila-Thorpe and George Ruddiman, to see how they’re getting on.

We’re so pleased you chose us as your training school for your Yoga Teacher Training. What made you choose Yoga Kula?

Tiia – Before the training started I was already attending classes at Yoga Kula. I have always felt very welcomed and comfortable in the studio, and I knew it would be a supportive environment for teacher training. I also work with Fabiano Culora, one of the course leaders at Northern School of Contemporary Dance and I knew how excited he was to share the course.

George – I’ve been coming to Yoga Kula for a few years and I really like the teachers, they’re all so friendly and welcoming, I love the studio and the range of classes and workshops. When I saw that they were offering teacher training I knew straight away that it was meant to be!

If you were at the start of your course now, would you have done anything differently?

Tiia – I would probably try to get a taste of a range of yoga styles before starting the course. My main experience was in Ashtanga, and although you experience a wide variety of styles through the course, I personally feel I would have benefitted from having a wider experience base to start from.

George – I would have created a dedicated space to practice and study a bit sooner, having somewhere I can leave books open, leave my mat out and have everything in one place is really helpful. Give yourself as much time on the mat as you can.

You’ve just reached the halfway point in your course. (Congratulations by the way!) How have you found the course so far?

Tiia – It has been hugely inspiring for me in so many ways, I have loved being a student again and having such knowledgeable and inspiring teachers on the course has made all the difference for me. I have learnt so much about myself though the course and the yoga buzz in me is growing every session. I have met so many lovely people and seen everyone grow and gain confidence as we have progressed.

George – Really good, enjoyable, the weekends are good fun and I’m learning a lot. It’s a very supportive environment and great to learn different styles of yoga with such experienced teachers. I particularly like the yogic philosophy talks we get to be part of.

Most of us were a bit nervous about it but the build-up of teaching practice has been progressive, done in small groups, nice and friendly with no pressure.

Has the course so far been as you expected?

Tiia – I tried to have no expectations as I entered the course, as having expectations narrows the potential of possibilities. I have loved that each weekend has a different focus and each weekend opens a slightly new viewpoint into Yoga, and the level of the teaching has been amazing. Having the opportunity to work with such great teachers is definitely the highlight of the course for me.

George – I didn’t know what to expect, but it has been a great experience so far.

What are your plans for after the course? Is it too early to say?

Tiia – I will start teaching Yoga primarily for dance students, but my plan is also to start teaching to the general public.

George – I want to start teaching a regular Hatha or Vinyasa class, I’m hoping for a career shift but don’t have any fixed plans or attachments to any specific outcome. I love the saying that “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity” and this is my preparation!! I would like to open a studio maybe, who knows…

What part does yoga play in your life?

Tiia – Yoga has become my every day treat. I now have more knowledge of various practices so that I can tailor my daily practice to meet my needs on the day. I have also started to meditate, a practice which was new to me prior to the course. Since starting the course, not much has changed in terms of what I do, but perhaps how I do it has changed. I try to be more present in whatever I do and also listen to myself and give myself space and time. I feel I am more in tune with myself and I am learning to listen to my needs. I feel I am more observant in my every-day life and see my role in the bigger picture.

George – Yoga has become much more than a physical practice, I have become very interested in the whole philosophy and have started to try and live my life by it, so I feel a bit like I’m always doing Yoga no matter what I’m doing! I am always trying to be conscious of my thoughts, breathing and posture when off the mat, and I’m constantly singing mantra!

What advice would you give to a prospective TTC student?

Tiia – This course lasts for 18 months but you will be learning for the rest of your life. You will do it at your pace, learn as much as you can right now and then continue learning. Don’t panic.

George – Experience as much yoga as you can. Explore different teachers and styles and start noticing the differences.

Would you like to add anything?

Tiia – I am very happy that the course lasts for 18 months rather than 1 year. I personally need that time to digest and reflect and learn, and it’s so lovely that there is time for open discussions and sharing of views and experiences. I have learnt so much from everyone on the course, not just our tutors. Because the training happens only once a month, it gives me time between each TTC weekend to reflect on what I learnt and also to start preparing for the new study area. You are guided and introduced to wonderful experiences which help you to understand Yoga in a broader sense.

George – Yoga Kula has a real feel of respecting the roots of yoga whilst welcoming innovation which I resonate with. Doing the course over 18 months makes it much easier to fit into your life and you have more time to explore the teaching in between the weekends.


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