This is the third in the series of blog posts by Mukti Mani exploring aspects of the Mandala Yoga Ashram Teacher Training programme. In this post she looks at connections and community at the Ashram. The next YTTC is accepting applications now and starts in September 2019. For more information see here.

Connection and Community

Some yoga teachers feel that it can be a surprisingly lonely job, especially if you’re used to working in a large organisation before moving into being a yoga teacher. Even though you work with a variety of students, the process of setting up, managing admin and planning classes are all solitary activities. For this reason it is really important to have a network of people you trust that you can turn to when you need support. Your (not quite) colleagues will be needed when you hit one of life’s inevitable bumps whether that be yoga related or dealing with wider life.

For this reason doing a longer teacher training course allows you time to develop really strong bonds with the group of fellow student teachers. In my first blog post I talked about mentoring through the teachers at the Ashram but almost as valuable as teacher input is ideas, support and encouragement from the peer group. These two resources are slightly different. You might not want to confess your nerves to the teachers (although they are very open to talking to you about it) but friendly words of encouragement from your peers can be just the ticket in that moment before you go into teaching your first class.

Whilst the people that come on the course are typically spread around the country, course work involves a bit of group work and many people find they spend extra time together outside of the Ashram at other yoga events or even sharing lifts to and from the course weekends.

In addition to the peer network you develop, the Ashram provides a consistent community that many of the graduates of the trainings choose to return to again and again to re-connect with their teachers and refresh their teachings. It felt like a mini reunion at last summer’s music and mantra festival when there was a good turnout of graduates from the previous two YTTCs. The teachers who have trained here and former residents form a network of Mandala inspired teachers which covers the UK and beyond.

Many people choose to train in exotic locations abroad which can be a wonderful experience but when it comes to continuity and staying inspired beyond your initial training it can be more challenging. The Ashram training has a great deal of depth and my teaching changed dramatically in the time I studied at Mandala, but as any good yoga teacher will tell you learning yoga is a lifelong process. It is through this development and ongoing learning that you stay fresh and inspired in the process.