BWY Foundation Course Tutor Training in Grantham

As many of you know we spent Tuesday – Friday last week in Grantham on the (British Wheel of Yoga) BWY foundation course tutor training course led by Belinda Emberson with Dawn Wesselby.

The BWY Foundation Course 1 is a wonderful personal development course for those who want to delve a little deeper into the rich tradition of yoga. It also will give a solid foundation in yoga for those who wish to become yoga teachers.

BWY Foundation Course Tutor Training
Paul & Steve with Belinda Emberson!

There were long days of training involved (9am-7pm) and we learnt a lot from the tutors and also from our peers on the course. It was a wonderful opportunity to share ideas and practice how we would deliver the BWY Foundation Course 1.

Practical Sessions

There were lots of useful practical sessions around planning the course and all the associated paperwork involved. In addition we shared and discussed our favourite yoga texts.

It was an assessed course and I am pleased to say that both of us passed. We will shortly gain the status of being BWY Foundation Course Tutors which is the next rung on the ladder in our yoga journey. Paul had the nerve wrecking slot of being the first to do his presentation on the first day and Steve was second a little later in the day.

On one of the days we were also treated to a fantastic yoga asana session from the lead tutor Belinda. Belinda is a BWY Diploma Course Tutor and also the BWY Foundation Course Officer. It is a privilege to train with such experienced and knowledgable tutors.

Networking with BWY Teachers

It was also great to meet and network with other BWY teachers from across the country and to see some familiar faces that we had met before.

BWY Foundation Course Tutor Training group

The BWY Foundation Course Tutor Training was a great learning experience.  We will be organising our first BWY Foundation Course 1 very soon and look forward to sharing the details with you.

You can check out further details of all the training we have undertaken to date here About

Links to the tutors

You can find more on Belinda and Dawn at their websites;

https://yogaingravesend.co.uk/

https://www.newdawnyoga.co.uk/

The British Wheel of Yoga Diploma journey

This weekend marked the last day of our British Wheel of Yoga diploma course up in Troon in Scotland with Carol Price. It also marked 3 years since we first met our wonderful tutor Carol Price and began training with her.

British Wheel of Yoga Diploma Yogasmiths
A serious end of course picture
British Wheel of Yoga Diploma Yogasmiths
Slightly less serious exuberance

Our first Yoga Teacher Training qualification

Our first teacher training course which we started in February 2016 with Yoga Alliance as the awarding body left us feeling unprepared to teach yoga. I am sure that there are some very good courses out there with Yoga Alliance as the awarding body. In fact I have been on some myself, however our first Yoga teacher training course certainly wasn’t one of them.

British Wheel of Yoga Certificate in Teaching Yoga

Feeling quite despondent, we were recommended to look at the British Wheel of Yoga. We found a certificate course running in Salford with Paul Fox (then BWY chair) and Carol Price. I had a chat with Paul and we decided that we would embark on another teacher training course that would actually teach us to teach yoga! The British Wheel of Yoga Level 4 Certificate course has BWY Qualifications as its awarding body which is regulated by OFQUAL. This was more like it! A qualification that we could be proud of. There was a lot of hard work, learning and academic essays to complete. We were also assessed teaching a real 90 minute class with real students. The final day of the course was very emotional and we felt very proud of our certificate. This was a world apart from our previous experience!

British Wheel of Yoga Diploma in Teaching Yoga

We then became aware that Carol Price had a British Wheel of Yoga diploma course which was part way through. It was possible we could tag on to the course and upgrade our qualification to the highest level of OFQUAL regulated Yoga Teacher Training available, the BWY Level 4 Diploma. We gave this serious consideration. The course was running in Troon in Scotland and obviously entailed a further significant financial and time investment. Both of us wanted to continue our learning with Carol and felt it was absolutely the right thing to do.

The British Wheel of Yoga diploma top up has been a fantastic experience. It covers 3 modules on Hatha Yoga & Pranayama, the teaching & philosophy of meditation and progression in yoga.

On the course we dived deep into the ancient texts and looked at how we could make them relevant for our classes and create rich layered lessons. The formal essay writing was the part that I found particularly enjoyable. It really encouraged me to read around the topics and to draw together references and importantly allowed me to work out my own opinions. There was also a further assessment of us teaching one of our real weekly 90 minute classes, and those who come to our classes may remember Carol sitting in the corner! Despite having been teaching for 3 years at the point of being assessed it was still a very nerve wrecking experience. I felt supported and buoyed by the lovely yoga students who attend our class.

Carol Price – Celtic Yoga

Let me just say a few words about Carol Price our Diploma Course Tutor. Carol has been a wonderful guide to us on our diploma course. She never fails to come up with either a wonderful pearl of wisdom, a lovely new mobilisation exercise or an intelligent imaginative sequence. Carol always provided constructive and helpful feedback. One of her catch phrases being “what could make you even better would be….”. She has been an extremely important teacher to us. We can’t thank her enough, we will always affectionately refer to her as our Yoga Mama!

British Wheel of Yoga Diploma Yogasmiths
Yoga Mama Carol Price with her two boys!

Here is a link to Carol’s facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Celtic-Yoga-264932390858722/

Continuous Professional Development

As an already qualified yoga teacher (at least twice over) when embarking on the Diploma top up I was keen to get as much out of it as possible. When deciding to do further training / CPD I want to gain extra knowledge that is going to make me a better teacher. This is certainly what we got in bucket loads from the diploma course with Carol. It has also been a greatly enriching personal journey studying in depth the ancient yogic texts and pulling together formal assignments.

We are both very proud to be British Wheel of Yoga teachers. With an OFQUAL regulated awarding body, you know that you are going to get excellent quality training and rigorous assessment. It may feel like a lot of hard work as you progress through the BWY training but this is exactly why it is worth it. You come out the other end of the training prepared and ready to teach yoga to all ability classes. The staged approach to teaching that the BWY train you in is all inclusive. We have in our classes students who are retired yoga teachers and others who are completely new to yoga. Both are able to practice side by side.

Choose Wisely

There are so many different yoga teacher training courses out there, I even saw one that was a correspondence course! Choose wisely. How long does it really take to learn a profession such as teaching yoga? In an unregulated arena go for regulated courses. Do your homework. Speak to previous trainees. Spend your money and time wisely and you won’t regret it.

Check out our bio’s for further details of all the training we have undertaken: https://yogasmiths.org/about/

British Wheel of Yoga Diploma Yogasmiths

Yoga Workshops – Sunday 13th October

Join us for our October Yoga workshop day at Westbourne Hall on Sunday 13th October at Westbourne Road, West Kirby, CH48 4DQ

We will have a full day of Yoga from 11:00 till 17:00.

In the morning (11:00 till 13:30) we will have an inversions workshop looking at;
* Foundations & strength building for inversions, e.g. headstand & handstand
* Safe practice tips for shoulder stand and plough poses
* Gaining confidence in your practice using a staged approach
* The chance to go upside down with teacher assistance! (optional!)

In the afternoon (14:30 till 17:00) we will have a partner yoga workshop where we will look at;
* Tips and tools for improving balance
* Practicing balancing poses alone and with a partner
* Working with a partner to develop your balance
* Have some fun!
You do not need to bring a partner to come to this workshop!

Cost : £37 for both workshops or £20 per workshop

(non refundable unless space can be filled) – Please book early as places are limited, you can pay at one of our weekly classes or by BACS. Please email us at enquires@yogasmiths.org or send us a Facebook message to book your place.

Please bring with you a packed lunch and a blanket. We have use of the kitchen at Westbourne Hall for teas and coffees and to heat any food you bring. There will be a long table for us to sit at and eat our lunch together.

You may wish to bring your own yoga mat and props, however, we will have plenty for people to use.

There are a good number of places in West Kirby where you could purchase lunch should you not wish to bring a packed lunch.

Westbourne Hall has a free car park with plenty of parking spaces.

We are British Wheel of Yoga and Yoga Alliance trained teachers, fully insured through the British Wheel of Yoga.

You get two friendly teachers which ensures safe practice and plenty of attention and modifications are offered so that the classes are inclusive for all abilities.

Please check out the event on our Facebook page;
https://www.facebook.com/events/376596526351229/

We look forward to guiding you through your yoga practice.

Paul & Steve Yogasmiths

Gentle Years Yoga Class online

A Great Start to the BWY Gentle Years Yoga National Research Trial

Hi Everyone, some of you may be aware that we are taking part in an exciting trial around our chair based Gentle Years Yoga class. Here is an article about the Gentle Years Yoga National Research Trial written by Laura Bissell who, along with Jenny Howsam created Gentle Years Yoga;

Gentle Years Yoga National Research Trial

On  30th June, nine northern BWY Gentle Years Yoga (GYY) teachers met at the Principal Hotel in York for the first Standardisation Training Day in preparation for Septembers launch of the NIHR Research Trial classes. The next Standardisation Day will be on 23rd November in Birmingham for research teachers involved in the second wave of classes in 2020 to take place in the southern half of England and Wales.

Laura Bissell and Jenny Howsam opened the day with a yoga centering session, followed by inspiring talks from Chief Investigator Dr Garry Tew and Professor Tim Rapley from Northumbria. Trial Manager Helen Tilbrook, Trial Coordinator Shirley Paul and Research Fellow Laura Howe from York went through the formal process that would be used to recruit patients from GP surgeries and the procedures the yoga teachers would need to follow in order to set up the classes. 

It was good to hear that the research so far has shown that yoga might be a useful intervention with the ability to address multiple health conditions at the same time, simply and at low cost to the NHS said BWY teacher Rachel Bayliss from  Chesterfield.  As yoga teachers, we may feel we already know this but if this Trial can prove this, then it may lead to more funding and more support for yoga teachers wanting to offer these classes.

After lunch, Jenny and Laura taught modifications required for a new Age-Related Condition section of the training in response to GPs suggestions for inclusion in the Gentle Years Yoga National Research Trial and they covered yoga sequences that teachers course plans would need to follow for research standardisation and consistency.

Feedback from Yoga teachers attending

“Undertaking the training was a fantastic CPD decision.  The training is inspiring and imaginative and equips you to create your own interesting and layered chair-based yoga sessions” said Yogasmiths Paul Smith and Stephen Smith from Merseyside. “We have been amazed at the change in the people who attend our classes. People with degenerative disease regain strength in their legs and improve their sitting to standing, those with lung diseases have reported their lung capacity checks have shown good improvement from the breathing exercises, but the most profound change is the mental health of the attendees. Some have reported that the GYY class is the highlight of their week.  It is lovely to watch the friendship groups forming.  They rally around in support of one another.”

Clare Gardner from Merseyside summed up the day, “l thought the Standardisation days was useful, fun and informative. It was a great day.”

Celia Grieve from Ripon reported “It was so good to meet the other Research Teachers and the organisers of the Trial.  It answered all the questions I had about delivering the classes.  The whole team are enthusiastic and excited about taking this forward.”

“It felt as though the Trial will make an important transformational change” Stephanie Braysmith from Beverley expressed.  “Hopefully one which will spread throughout the whole of the U.K.”

Further information:

You can find further details about the British Wheel of Yoga here: https://www.bwy.org.uk/ 

You can read our other blogs here: Blog

Mental Health Awareness Week 13th – 19th May 2019

Mental Health Awareness Week for 2019 has the theme of Body Image – how we think and feel about our bodies.

Their website (https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week) defines this as;

‘Body image’ is a term that can be used to describe how we think and feel about our bodies. Our thoughts and feelings about our bodies can impact us throughout our lives, affecting, more generally, the way we feel about ourselves and our mental health and wellbeing.

Body image concern itself is a relatively common thing to experience and is not in itself a mental health issue. However, it can be a contributing factor to mental health problems.

Whereas body satisfaction has been linked to better overall wellbeing and eating habits.

We live in a society that has become more and more fixated with the outwards image of the body. Social Media is awash with picture of people with what some people would view as the “perfect” body and lifestyle. Social Media has made so many people use their social media accounts as if they are celebrities and in doing so sharing edited highlights of their lives in an attempt to show the world that their life is perfect. Social Media is completely fixated with the external, both image wise and also in engaging with the external world, trying to obtain followers and get “likes”.

How does Yoga help us navigate our way through all of this?

As we have said many times in our yoga classes, Yoga is a work in not a work out. Yoga is about internalising our awareness via breath work, posture practice and relaxation / meditation. In doing so we realise that our true self is not our physical body, our true self is not the chatter of our minds. Our true self is deeper again and is the quiet place beyond the chatter of our mind, a place where we can find contentment, acceptance and calmness.

The Pancha Maya Kosha model detailed in the Upanishads sets out a model of the true self being encased in 5 wrappings that prevent us seeing through to the self. The outer most layer is the physical body and people can be stuck here and fixated with their physical ability and / or appearance. This philosophical model tells us that whilst we are stuck in the physical we will not progress to reveal the true self and the peace / calmness that comes with it. We are much more than our reflection in a mirror, an obsession with the reflection prevents us from seeing through the mirror to the deeper layers of ourselves.

Some factors that impact how you relate to your own body image are your family, peer group, pressure to look a certain way and social media. From a personal perspective, as someone who has worn glasses from an early age, I was quite self conscious of my glasses which is only natural. However, people said to me on a number of occasions, when I was in my teens, if I took my glasses off, “Oh you are handsome without your glasses on.” The inference that I made here is that I was obviously not handsome with my glasses on! This is something that certainly affected my confidence somewhat. However, with positive role models wearing glasses in music and the media as I grew older I embraced my glasses and enjoyed wearing them!

Scruffy mod circa 1997

Another personal experience growing up was that I loved sixties music and mod culture. I bought (and still own!) vintage scooters, a parka and desert boots. Once I had decided I was a mod then there was self inflicted pressure to conform to a certain style and look. However, I’ve always been a little on the scruffy side so it probably wasn’t the ideal thing to get into! When attending scooter rallies and mod nights I felt like I didn’t fit in because I was not quite so fastidious with how I looked. It is interesting to reflect how we strive to fit in when we are younger, trying to find the hobbies or groups that we can relate to and identify with. Body image is intrinsic to this idea of fitting in and how we portray ourselves to the outside world.

The health and fitness industry is probably one of the biggest purveyors of images of the “ideal” body, second only to the fashion industry. Magazines and social media are full of pictures of men and women with bodies that require an unhealthy addiction to the gym and the taking of ridiculous amounts of supplements. Pictures of people with six packs abs and veiny muscles don’t explain that the models are mostly in dehydrated states in order to look “optimal” for the photo shoots. The yoga world is the same, often using pictures of people with extreme hyper-flexibility or natural gymnasts as their pin-ups. This puts many people off yoga – how often we hear “I can’t do yoga I’m not flexible enough”! It also encourages some yoga practitioners to push themselves too far and to try to achieve ranges of motion that are far outside that which is normal and some would argue, healthy.

My own personal experience through Yoga has been to find a much happier relationship with my own personal body image. Yoga allows us to turn our attention inwards and to let go of our self-critic which drives negative body image. When we practice mindfully we obtain greater body awareness, listening to our own bodies, accepting all of our limitations and abilities in the same way. We can come to realise that the life force / essence of the self that it within you is the same as that which is within others. We learn that we are ok just as we are. With this acceptance we often find that we then make healthier decisions for ourselves and appreciate our bodies more, gaining a healthy relationship with your own body image.

Namaste – Paul