Easter weekend saw the successful completion of the first ever Yoga Garden teacher training programme.
Fourteen students from all walks of life embarked on the 200 hour course last October 2013 and graduated at the end of April 2014. Despite some highs and lows and a few wobbles along the way, all 14 graduated with flying colours.
The teacher training programme was founded by Yoga Garden owner Nina Fowkes and its principal teacher Toni Roberts. The seven month course was designed to fit in with a busy lifestyle and to exceed the minimum standard required by the Yoga Alliance UK.
Course leader, Toni Roberts, assisted by Ana Marcela Wakeham and Lucy Lindner, took the students deeply into yoga philosophy and history, anatomy, physiology and self-enquiry.
Students learnt to teach dynamic vinyasa flow style classes as well as restorative yoga, pranayama and meditation. The course awarded a 200 hour teaching certificate, which enables graduates to join Yoga Alliance and REPs (Register of Exercise Professionals) as well as providing them with a solid foundation for the future.
Many students also valued the depth of self-discovery and the bonds of friendship that came from sharing such an experience. And, rounding the circle, graduates were invited to deliver classes at the Yoga Garden, to begin their journey as teachers.
Following on from the resounding success of the first Teacher Training Programme further courses will commence in May and October 2014.
The Yoga Garden was created to provide a dedicated place for the practise of yoga and fitness in a harmonious and tranquil environment. Founder Nina, inspired by her love of practising Yoga in nature, opened up the centre to create a peaceful healing space as an alternative to a noisy gym or crowded sports centre. Both the studio and the treatment room are homed in beautiful hand-crafted Mongolian-style Yurts.
The organic, breathing structures create a light and airy space, which are both warm in winter, thanks to the wood burning stoves and felted wool lining, and cool in summer.
The Yurts have smooth wooden floors and are fully-equipped with top-of-the-range, ethically-sourced organic yoga mats, bolsters and blankets.
Situated at the very foot of South Downs near Storrington, the Yoga Garden nestles amidst the fields, horses and wildflowers and evokes a sense of calm and wellbeing to all who visit.
Graduate, Michelle Goodwin who has been practicing yoga for 15 years, explained: “Initially I enrolled in the Yoga Garden teacher training because of my love for Yoga and to deepen my practice further. Having completed the course I have come away with so much more than a teaching qualification. It has been a life-changing experience, which will stay with me forever, as will the friendships made during the course.
“I couldn’t think of a more perfect space and surroundings to do this course. The teachers are inspiring and motivating. It is an investment not only in myself but one that will positively touch all around me.”
Michelle will be taking some of the new Tuesday evening classes at the Yoga Garden and will be teaching in the Shoreham area.
The Yoga Garden also hosts regular charity events where students practise together, in order to raise funds and awareness for charitable causes. Currently the Yoga Garden is supporting a Mysore based Anti-trafficking organisation and children’s home in India (www.odanadi.org) as well as a local conservation project (www.sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk).
Report and picture contributed by Deborah Hammond.