Radiant Life School YTTC Review

Radiant Life Yoga School, El Coco Loco Resort, El Manzano Uno, Nicaragua, May 2013

At this time two years ago, I would have been getting comfortable in my shared dorm room with my two new roommates in the eco-resort where we had all separately chosen to complete our yoga teacher training course from our three respective home countries. For myself personally, it was a big decision on where to do my training, in which I took largely into consideration things such as: cost, location, service, style of yoga, and class size. There is a lot I could say about my course, most of it very positive, but I’ll keep it short-ish and outline the majors.

Course Generals

Location – EL Coco Loco Resort, El Manzano Uno, northern Nicaragua El Coco Loco is an enchanting little eco resort located in the northern part of Nicaragua. Of course, I loved that the resort is eco with compost toilets and little in terms of the high energy use items like air conditioners/TVs. Accommodation included private bungalow’s and a shared dorm room (where I stayed.) There was a main, open-air dining/meet up area where meals were had and some practical learning was done. The fresh, home made food has to be mentioned as a highlight of my experience. And the staff were friendly, locals whom I was able to practice my Spanish with. The yoga platform where asana practice was done was a large, raised platform covered with a natural roof. The mostly isolated beach is only a minutes walk from the resort.

The Training For me it was important to find a yoga teacher training that focused on alignment and utilized props, as that is the sort of yoga that has always given me a lot of enjoyment and I knew I wanted to share with future students. Radiant Life Yoga School is led by Kimberly Waugh, ERYT 500, an American yoga teacher with well over a decade of experience. (It was important to me to find an instructor who was a native English teacher and related to me culturally as an American.) More about Radiant Life RYS 200 hr training that I experienced in May 2013:

The Good

  • Lectures During my course I studied yogic philosophy and history and learned a lot of a new information which I have utilized often in my teachings. Two examples of books of study included: TheBhagavad Gita, the Yoga Sutras,  and also a well put together training manual that I have come back to time and time again. As quite a studious person, I took very detailed notes and continuously carry my training notebook with me around the world as I lesson plan.

    My notebook, complete with sketches.

    My notebook, complete with sketches.

  • Teaching/Business Knowledge Kimberly shared her vast knowledge of the industry with us and gave very practical tips and insights. Not all of the tidbits that I learned have been put to use as I have been teaching internationally and not in my home country of the U.S., but I will remember what I learned whenever I do relocate back to the U.S. I’m not sure that other training courses, especially those abroad and by instructors of other countries, would include such detailed and practical learnings.
  • This little bugger wanted to join asana practice.

    This little bugger wanted to join asana practice.

    Prop Use I love using yoga props, and although the rustic setting of the yoga platform didn’t include a plethora of props, there were the basics and I felt that I learned a lot of adjustments and modifications with the props. A word of warning, scorpions loved to nestle in the shadows of the pile of props, so be careful when you collect them for practice!

  • Workshop Study Kimberly taught multiple different and unique workshops to take away and be able to teach immediately. While learning
    Workshopping in the common area.

    Workshopping in the common area.

    these themed workshops,there was a lot of practical study, working with other trainees to practice putting students into poses and finding adjustments.

  • Focus on Seva (Service) This was the big deal breaker for me when choosing this course. I knew that I wanted some karma yoga to be included in my course and this was the right course for that. El Coco Loco Resort established and continues to run a great non-profit organization, Waves of Hope. While completing my training, I was able to get hands on and volunteer to work with local students practicing their English and get in deep and dirty by helping to build the new local high school. Find out more about Waves of Hope here.

The Not So Good

  • Anatomy There was an anatomy segment in the training course, but it was not my favorite part. Since anatomy was one of my weakest areas of knowledge going into the course, I was hoping for more of a focus on it.
  • Teaching Practicum This did happen, stepping in as the teacher to guide the other trainees in sun salutes and poses, but it didn’t happen as much as I wanted. To counter this, I took it upon myself to practice teaching the intern working at the resort at the time.

All-in-all, I highly recommend my YTTC to others. The setting couldn’t be better, the training itself was superb and left me feeling prepared to begin teaching straight away, and the food was enough to write home about.

Mmmm.

Mmmm.


Are you considering training for your 200 hr yoga teacher certification? If you are, check out my very first post, which includes great tips for doing just that.

Choosing a Yoga Teacher Training – Where to Start?

Becoming a yoga teacher is a popular thing to do these days. Sometimes a training is attended simply to better personal practice or with the hopes of going out into the yoga world and teaching. With increase in demand comes an increase in supply. Studios and retreats offering yoga teacher training courses are innumerable, which makes the decision process of where to train quite daunting. Not only is there the question of where, local or even international, but what style, what time of year, is it yoga alliance certified, etc. Here are some considerations that helped me chose a 200 hr yoga teacher training.

First, decide when in is the right time to do your training. With a simple google search, you’ll be able to find a training at any time of the year, so there’s no pressure about when you’ll be able to get off work or what aligns with your schedule. In my case, I had a two month window to work with which I am grateful for because it narrowed down my options right away. Time-wise there are a few options. There are intensive trainings which range from two weeks to a month or six weeks. Personally I think, anything less than a month would really be rushing it with thousands of years of knowledge to skim. The other option, which would have to be local, is to find a long-term training. I have seen these look something like this: 9 months of training on Saturdays for a few hours with breaks for holidays.

The next consideration if it isn’t already blazingly clear to you is to decide upon a style of yoga to train in. Ashtanga, Anusara, Hatha, Vinyasa, Bikram, and the list goes on. Maybe you already have a preferred style of practice, and even better, a well-loved studio, great! Decision made. But if you just read that list with a wrinkled brow, then I suggest you do a little research. Chose a style that you enjoy practicing and one that you think will be employable in your area (teaching Bikram to seniors isn’t going to fly.)

Once you have your heart set on a style, seek out a well-respected studio or teacher. Again, google searching is oh-so-helpful. This is where location plays another key role. If it’s feasible and you’re fortunate enough to have abundant studios in your area, then hopefully you can find a training close to home so that you can save money on room and board. On the other hand, you could turn your training into a little vacation in some beautiful place (Costa Rica or Thailand for starters.) Do a cost analysis, in my case it made more sense to buy a plane ticket and train in a far away location than in the US.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few- do more google research! Check out who your potential trainers have trained with and in what styles. Send emails or call and ask as many questions as you wish. You’ll be investing a large sum of money, so get some facts. If possible, by all means go attend some classes and then stay after class and ask more questions! If you can’t go in person then search for an online class on YouTube or iTunes or email and ask for available resources.

Most importantly, after all of the research, contemplating, pros and cons lists, emails, long talks with yoga teachers and friends, and you have made a decision, then the final thing to do is to let it go. This was the best advice given to me before my training by a former yoga teacher. We had a long talk in the parking lot after class and I think she could tell that I was nervous to train, wondering whether I was personally ready, worried how I would compare to other students (I know I shouldn’t have , but it’s natural,) and she simply told me to go into it with no expectations. That really calmed my mind and anxiety.

Hopefully these tips have helped you in your path to a training. It’s an amazing thing to do and with so many trainings out there, you’re sure to find the right fit for you. Take it seriously, but at the same time remember that you’ll be doing and learning about what you love.