Finding The Tribe Yoga
I started looking into teacher training courses in 2010 and found Tribe through a website featuring all great yoga teacher trainings in India, as I dreamt about doing the training in the motherland of yoga. Tribe caught my eye as it said it was based on Asthanga but with a more individual approach. At the time of looking for a course I practised Mysore, but felt as if I needed a softer approach as I was struggling with traditional Asthanga (In traditional Mysore practice you're not allowed to move on to an asana unless you've mastered the one before so I got stuck in the middle of the Primary Series lacking arm strength to lift myself off the floor in Tittibhasana).
I love the Primary Series, but I wanted to teach yoga that wasn't as rigid and strict as orthodox Asthanga (in which you can only become a certified teacher in Mysore anyway). I had some questions regarding the modified Primary Series that Tribe used, so I emailed Scarlett - the head teacher - who came back with a very thorough reply and an offer to chat on the phone so I could ask her all my questions. She made sure that the Tribe training had a solid spiritual and philosophical foundation and would teach all 8 limbs of yoga and not just the physical aspects. And then I was sold. It took me another year to be able to come to India but when I got the chance I knew that I wanted to do the Tribe training.
Whispering Lakes is in a village in between the more touristy Arambol and the laid back Mandrem in north Goa. We were a five-minute walk away from the wide, sandy beach and about 20 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Arambol. The area was lovely but fairly packed with people - some of them eager to party - as January is the peak season with lovely warm and dry weather during the day and cool nights.
As I joined the course only two weeks prior to the start I, as well as 3 other people, couldn't get accommodation at the venue but found a very lovely place a little closer to the beach (Go-Ym - go here if you just want a nice holiday in Goa). The owner Mr. Kumar will make sure that you have everything you need). I would have liked to have stayed with the others to avoid the walk back and forth all the time (especially at 5.45 in the morning passing pigs and dogs in the dark) but my nice hut at Go-Ym made up for it. It was lovely to be near the beach and spend our precious free time here, but I did wonder if the Goa setting encourages a more holiday/party vibe than you might experience in Rishikesh (where Tribe also does trainings) where both meat and alcohol are banned, where pilgrims come to visit the holy Ganga. The food at the course deserves a chapter of it's own so I'm just going to mention here that yogic nutrition and conscious eating was a part of the course, the food was vegan, based on live foods and caffeine, sugar, meats and alcohol were not available (to the disappointment of some students - who filled up on eggs and coffee next door :)).
The huts at Whispering Lakes
Tribe consists of various teachers from all over the world all representing different approaches to yoga. I am yet to find out how they all met and started Tribe but their dynamism and the fact that they all have something different to offer left us students with a broad understanding of asana, pranayama, yoga philosophy and meditation. The teachers didn’t always agree on what part of your head to place on the floor in head stand or what part of the spine you want your backbend to go into, but this just shows that there are thousands of answers and traditions and that different teachers will tell you different things. It also helps you realize that, as a teacher, you will be telling your students things that differ from what they’ve heard from other teachers.
The asana classes varied widely. There were very traditional Astanga classes with half vinyasas between each side, taught by experienced and quite orthodox Asthanga teacher, Mark Anasari; more feminine flowy Vinyasa classes taught by the lovely Raquel Salvador and Agama-inspired classes taught by Scarlett Dee. We had the whole spectrum from the very down-to-earth Mark who would make us laugh when everything became just a little too intense, to full on wonderful hippy healer, chant- and pranayama teacher Sequoia, who could teach us everything there is to know about pranayama based on her own vast experience - and who would heal us using sounds - and make relatively abstract concepts as Prana, chakras and energies quite tangible.
The Tribe teachers have life figured out: they travel to gorgeous locations around the world to pass on their passion for yoga to eager students, while witnessing them grow and heal, until finally, they part, heading into all corners of the world to spread their love for yoga.
Verity, Mark, Sequioa, Nicola, Scarlett, and Raquel
We did our first 30 minutes one-on-one yoga class a week into the course while being assessed by a teacher. This made us jump right into finding our own teaching voices and build up the courage to teach, use Sanskrit and tell other people what to do. We’d have a written assessment every week to make sure that we’d understood the theory. Entering week two we’d teach each other pretty much every day, and during our morning practice, we (the people who were OK with it) would be pulled to the front one by one to teach a Surya Namaskara or an asana to the class. The anatomy classes taught us what the asana do to our bones, nerves and muscles and during Teaching Methodology, we learned to give coaching points and verbal and hands-on adjustments to each asana. By week four we taught a full 90 minutes class to three fellow students including chanting, pranayama and asana. We were encouraged to use our own practice so I decided to stick with (modified) Asthanga and came out feeling very confident in teaching the Primary Series with modifications and backbends.
Final 90 minutes teaching exam
The course has left me feeling more at home in my own practice and ready to teach yoga to others. The yoga was brilliant and was just what I came for, but along with learning how I can pass yoga on to others, I found myself grow on a personal level as well. Something that I believe could only happen in a safe and spiritual environment, and with a very loving group dynamic that occurs naturally when 30 people with the same passion and openness come together for a longer period of time. I would very much recommend this experience to anyone who wants to go deeper into dynamic yoga and I thank all the people that were a part of my journey. The Tribe Yoga Teacher Training Course is one of the best things I've ever given myself.
With Tribe Yoga Diploma
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