Imagine finding yourself on a tropical island overlooking calm aqua blue seas, listening to the sound of nature all around you, absorbing all the healing energy. This could be the change your life has been waiting for.
One Yoga Thailand Teacher Training
This 28-day, 200-hour yoga teacher training took place at One Yoga Thailand, on a tropical island called Koh Phangan, AKA “The Healing Island.” Rich in Roze Quartz, a crystal renowned for it’s healing energy. Surround by like-minded people, healing retreats left and right, vegan, vegetarian, Thai, organic and gluten-free restaurants!
A Yin & Yang atmosphere and breathtaking natural beauty!
The dreamy sunrises as you wake up before 6:30 every morning to make your way to the ocean shala for morning meditation.
Accommodations weren’t all that important to me, put me in a tent on the beach and I am happy! We didn’t want to spend a lot of money on accommodations. John and I went together, so we were hoping to just share a room. One Yoga has many different accommodation options, but we went with the cheapest option for ourselves.
We stayed in the Sea View Wooden Bungalow. Overlooking the calm ocean, with a perfect view of the sunrise every morning, and beautiful views all around. And right over the beach! It was absolutely perfect. I could have stayed forever!
It was basic and small, but more than we needed as we were barely in our room!
During our 28 day stay, we were fed a vegetarian diet. Yogis practice nonviolence (ahimsa) which prevents them from eating animals. (Not every yogi practices this, and you definitely don’t have to give up meat, but you may during your training!). And they say that meat-eating inhibits us from achieving deep states of meditation because it negatively affects the energy body.
The food was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!! I miss the fresh fruit and coconut yogurt!
The Kitchen staff were so incredibly friendly and giving. They were understanding about food allergies or different diets, such as nuts and gluten allergies, and veganism. They always made sure to be accommodating for everyone!
The Three Guna’s
We learned about the three Guna’s, which are classifications of quality of energy in all things used in yoga science. The three Gunas being Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. These describe our behavior, thinking, health and diet.
Sattva means balanced, harmony, purity, health, and wellbeing. These foods raise our consciousness, inspire us, open up creativity and allow us to go deeper into meditation. Sattvic food is cooked with love and eaten with full awareness and gratitude. (Pure vegetarian nourishment, including; eggs, ghee, fresh fruit and vegetables, juices, wholemeal bread, nuts, seeds, honey, herbs)
Raja meaning activity, energy, restlessness, stress, and anger. A Raja diet destroys the mind-body equilibrium, feeding the body at the expense of the mind. (Spicy, hot foods, onions and garlic, eggs, coffee, sugary foods.)
Tamas meaning darkness, dullness, and laziness. A Tamas diet tends to pull us downward into laziness, carelessness, and unmotivated. (Dead food such as meat, stale food, processed food full of chemical additives, fast foods, reheated food, alcohol, cigarettes, and other addictions.)
The aim is to increase sattva to raise consciousness through a healthy body and a peaceful mind. The food we eat has an enormous influence on us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Increasing Sattva will play a roll in our meditation practice.
The schedule includes an early meditation practice, a 2-hour yoga practice every morning, and a 2 hour evening practice most days, yoga philosophy, the art of teaching, and anatomy and physiology. You get Sundays off! I thought it would be a challenging and intense training, but did not at all intend to be in class from 6:30 a.m to sometimes 7 or 8 p.m!
Learning Asana’s, pranayama, meditation, Kriyas, mudras and bandhas, and relaxation techniques. Teaching methodology, including demonstration, observation, and adjustments. Class sequencing and layout with different asana’s, meditation and breathing exercises. The human skeleton, Chakras, Nadis, Energy bodies & Kundalini. The 8 limbs of yoga, the history, Yama & Niyamas, and the Guna’s and Ayurveda.
The course focus was on authentic Hatha yoga and Vinyasa Flow but we were also introduced to Yin/Restorative, Ashtanga, and Prenatal.
Hatha meaning willful or forceful. And includes most yoga styles. Practicing both asanas and pranayama, preparing the body for a deeper, spiritual meditation practice. Hatha yoga is designed to align and calm your mind, body, and spirit, but also allowing heat to build up in the body by holding poses for a longer time.
Vinyasa Flow, which is moving from one posture to another, seamlessly, using breath. It’s more flowy, hence the name, and classes are always different! And Vinyasa is typically designed to build heat in the body.
We also learned briefly the Ashtanga Practice (ashta=eight, anga=limb) (eight limbs of yoga). (The eight Limbs including, Yama (Self-Restraint), Niyama (Observances), Asana (Physical Postures), Pranayama (Breath Restraints), Pratyahara (Withdrawal of Senses), Dharana (Concentration), Dhyana (Meditation) and Samadhi (Absorption/ Self-Realization).
“The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear”Rumi
From the moment we woke up until our first class at 10:00 we were silent. Our breakfast breaks were silent. And in our yoga practice, the only one speaking was the instructor.
We also did one entire day of silence, no cell phones or other electronic devices. We were wakened by a Tibetan Singing Bowl. And Practiced a lot more meditation during this day to allow the silence to carry us throughout the day.
The benefits of silence are that it saves us a great amount of energy. It is an essential element of cultivating awareness through meditation and allowing us to go deeper into that practice. To withdraw ourselves from self-expression. Mauna (Sanskrit word for Silence) is about training our minds. It also helps us become more aware of our surroundings, nature, and world. It helps us realize that there is so much aliveness outside of our inner worlds.
I believe more people need some time to become silent. Time away from social media, e-mails, and phones.
Our new life long friends are seated, in a circle, sharing gratitude, emotions, and experiences we all may be feeling. Offering a safe and gentle space for every single person. Understanding and connecting with one another. It’s an absolutely beautiful experience.
A sacred fire ceremony, chanting mantras 108 times, offering our intentions from the heart to purify and empower our souls for the reality that we would love to live in. Offering gifts of grains, ghee, herbs or seeds as specific mantras are repeated.
The sacred fire joined with prayerful intention eliminates fear, spreads joy, burns karma, purifies the environment and generates surroundings for peace and prosperity. The fire ceremony is amongst the most powerful of spiritual practices because it indicates the burning up of the ignorance, delusion, and obstacles that restrain us from the success of knowing our own divinity.
The fire is a channel of consciousness.
When we look into the flame with an open heart, we connect to the Divine
Sending energy and transforming power where it is needed most.
Kirtan is the practice of yogic chanting.
The Sanskrit word Kirtin means “narrating, reciting, telling, describing” of an idea or story. It also refers to a genre of religious performance arts, connoting a musical form of narration or shared recitation, particularly of spiritual or religious ideas.
This was a “yoga high”! I was a little worried about the chanting of mantras, I did not think it was something for me. But, I could not believe the emotions I felt after. It was amazing, beautiful and joyous. Opening the heart and feeling the energy of every single person in the room was pure Love.
Teaching our first class
Many people (not all) in their yoga teacher training tend to fear teaching their first class. I, being one of them! Yea, I’ve learned all of this over the past month, but actually putting together my own sequence, knowing how to correctly cue, aligning students and standing in front of a class for an entire hour..! That’s frightening!
In reality, the first few minutes, you’re likely to be nervous, but after the initial start it just becomes more natural, your nerves fade, and you just start flowing! At the end of your practice, you will see how relaxed everyone is as they lie in corpse pose. You’ll few accomplished, joyful and at ease. Your fellow classmates, students, and supporters will share so many kind words and will celebrate your success with you!
It’s an amazing feeling!
All the Yoga Feels
It was intense. Challenging. And Emotional. Some days I felt frustrated and felt I wasn’t good enough. Other days I felt connected, to my body, to nature, and the world around me. Surrounded by people from all over the world, there to pick you up on a bad day, and there to learn and grow with you! We all had our ups and downs. Even in the moments of struggle, I appreciate that this was all part of the journey. And was exactly what I needed.
We were fortunate to meet amazing, thoughtful, open-hearted people to share this experience with. It felt like we already knew each other. Becoming family so quickly. We laughed. We cried. And we flourished together.
It was a journey; a spiritual, enlightening, eye-opening journey. We practiced meditation, asana’s, chanting of Mantras. Fire Puja, Kirtan, Dharma Talks. Learning philosophy, anatomy and physiology, and the art of teaching. The days were long, but being immersed in yoga for 4 weeks was exactly what I needed. And exactly what John needed. It was beyond transformational. And so amazing how much you learn in 4 weeks, and how much there is to still be learned!
You expect to come home being as flexible as these Instagram yogis. Let me tell ya, that is not the case.
But you do come out feeling rejuvenated, transformed, and more connected. To yourself, to nature and to the world around you. You will leave, feeling like a new being.
A better version of yourself.
It felt like a dream. A dream that I wasn’t ready to end. A dream to grow and evolve. To understand your true self.
Certified 200-Hour Yoga Teachers
Graduation Photos Taken By Hee-Jeong Ko.
Upon Graduations, you also have the opportunity to become an intern at One Yoga and teach free yoga classes to the local community. If I didn’t have animals back home waiting for me, I would have stayed in a heartbeat! Other classmates stayed and took advantage of this opportunity!
Where We Are Now
2 weeks after becoming a certified yoga instructor:
John had no intention of teaching yoga upon arrival of the YTT, but since then he has been immersing himself in yogic philosophy books like The Bhagavad Gita and The Upanishads. He has been guiding me through guided meditation at home, which is incredibly helpful for myself! And I believe he will eventually look at guiding meditation practices and he would like to work one-on-one with people.
I, however, go to Oneonta Bootcamp Extreme (OBX), a couple of time’s a week, and after our hour-long, intense workout, I instruct yoga to help slow our heart rate down and to stretch all the muscles we just worked. Bringing in mindfulness and fast recovery. I am teaching it to people who intensely workout and have never really done yoga. And as they thank me at the end of practice, and note that they didn’t realize how much they actually needed this, and how relaxed it makes them feel, that makes me feel so blessed to be able to share my knowledge and experience with all them.
I am still working on my confidence and teaching methodology before moving forward with other teaching opportunities. I have also been asked to teach and speak about yoga at different events on campus, so this will be in the near future. And will allow me to build relationships with new faces.
One Yoga Teacher Training Review
Would I Recommend One Yoga?
John, who wasn’t really into yoga, per se, he just did stretching at home, and went to 2 yoga classes in his lifetime, said it was the best investment he has ever made. And, I couldn’t agree with him more! The location was paradise, and there is nowhere else I would have wanted to complete my yoga teacher training! The food was incredible. The diversity of teachers and their knowledge, energy, and inspiration they brought to the course was everything I needed. The staff’s smiling faces and positive energy made you laugh on your worst day.
The 200-hour yoga teacher training is a foundational course for ANYONE who wants to deepen their knowledge of yoga.
With the number of different YTTC I looked at before choosing One Yoga, I am so grateful for the choice that I made and would experience it all over again. This was the most incredible journey! I am so grateful for the love and support and this space One Yoga has created. The dedication, passion, knowledge, and inspiration from all the teachers was so amazing!
Starting your day, every morning in the Ocean Shala, as the sunrise comes up, listening to nature as it surrounds you, is the best feeling in the world.
Koh Phangan was the absolute perfect Island to complete my YTT, and I am ready to go back and experience so many more of the healing benefits it has to offer. Everyone who is on a healing journey needs to experience Koh Phangan!
I have never been somewhere that I was so sad to leave. 4 weeks go faster than you think! I wasn’t ready to go home. And could have stayed there forever!
This was the best experience I have ever had.
Expectations & Self-Doubt
Let go of your own expectations and self-doubt.
- You don’t have to be advanced, practicing yoga every day of your life since you were 6 years old… For a 200-HR YTT, your level of experience doesn’t really matter.
- You don’t have to know how to do a handstand. Or be extremely flexible and fit.
- You don’t have to want to teach, most people there didn’t want to teach initially. After your YTT, you may change your mind.
- You do have to be open.
- You do have to be willing to learn and take on new challenges.
- And know, you will be stepping out of your comfort zone.
How to Know What to Expect
You won’t. Every course is different.
During this YTT, we learned the different asanas, pranayamas, and the Sanskrit language. We learned how to sequence, build and teach our very own class. And of course, yoga philosophy and anatomy and physiology.
During our last week at One Yoga, part of the final is teaching a 1-hour class. (Don’t Panic!) It will come so naturally! And the teachers will build your confidence to be able to teach! Secondly, we had to take a written exam, which the amazing instructors will also prepare you for!
And at the end, you can register with the Yoga Alliance!
- An abundance of gratitude
- Lots of studying, practicing, and teaching
- Lifelong friendships and so many memories
- Expect to step out of your comfort zone
- Expect a transformational journey
- And expect emotions of all kinds!
- To have a lot of downtime as if this was your holiday!
- Don’t expect everything to be comfortable and come naturally to you
Check out our other post on our Yoga Teacher Training Experience (A lot is duplicated in this post, but this tells a little bit about where I started)