Good teachers know how to bring out the best in students by Charlene McAuley

Teaching anything well takes limitless passion, commitment to continual professional growth, and meeting students where they are. It’s easy to bring to mind those school teachers who sparkled with knowledge, integrity, and faith that gently coaxed us to achieve what we thought was an impossible maths equation, see the underlying message in a novel, or simply be inspired to be better.

At school I talked too much to be an achiever, grades were average and I bumbled along. There were a few good teachers with whom I connected with, but one stood out. Mr Bourke was my PSRE teacher at various phases, but it was in the last two years I appreciated his warmth and willingness to transmit religious studies through his experience in Ireland. Captivated, I’d listen to every word, and when I queried, he’d meet my questions with passionate responses. When I struggled to understand concepts, he’d patiently explain, and if I still didn’t get it, he’d say with the utmost compassion “you’ll figure it out”. And I did. My RE grades went from C to A through being encouraged and inspired by my teacher’s warmth and interpersonal skills.

And this is a similar scenario with yoga. There’s a teacher who communicates in such a way that the essence of yoga is felt as the arms raise and gently their presence and our breathing helps to peel away the mind stuff and we receive a glimmer of quietude and connection that isn’t merely serotonin-induced but is this ineffable feeling of something greater. Just like the inspiring school teacher, the yoga teacher isn’t there to scare us into submission nor smother us with charm; rather, our teacher is there to share, understand, relate, and guide us on a path that is entirely ours. Not theirs, but ours.

This is, in a nutshell, the fundamental philosophy of Yoga Manchester Teacher Training.

When Matt asked me to take part in YMTT, I was honoured and humbled as Yoga Manchester is where it all began for me 10 years ago (I actually asked Matt about teacher training!), and to be teaching alongside an internationally acclaimed teacher faculty including  Marie, Christoph and Matthew Remski, people who are first and foremost committed to their own journey, is just wonderful.

Teaching the asana component on the course, I’ll be sharing the principles behind YogaMotion, an approach developed to take into account the physical and emotion needs of the student. The yoga world knows more now than it ever has about the physical effect of asana thanks to the accelerating biomechanics research, which puts us in an interesting place as we have to grow with these new gleanings.

Likewise, we aren’t emotionally static beings. What makes us human is the continual flux of life, the good and bad days, with yoga providing the tools to garner non-reactivity and non-attachment. This is why YogaMotion is an approach characterised by an ‘umbrella’ sequence as opposed to a set sequence: it has to be wide enough to allow growth and change, yet structured enough to foster regularity and familiarity with a firm grounding in beginning where we are

I never set out to develop YogaMotion, it simply happened through my own experience on the mat and teaching people from all walks of life. I wanted to peel away the filter, the attachment, and let go of this or that posture to meet myself where I am, and therefore meeting students where they are right now.

Yoga Manchester Teacher Training is for those people who have an intense interest in yoga and want to know more about this ancient yet adaptive science. Over five years in the making, the programme provides the tools necessary for trainees to delve deeper and develop their teaching abilities whilst harnessing their passion. We know what it’s like to feel so passionate about something that you’re actually nervous about sharing it, but this shows just how committed we are to our ever-evolving journey and how lovingly we hold yoga in our hearts.

This course is about cultivating your passion so that you can seed the passion in others or simply understand the science of yoga and its application to you.

Charlene McAuley will be teaching the Asana module on the forthcoming Yoga Manchester Teacher Training