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
As soon as I was able to walk I was kicking a football around the house driving my mother mad and making my father proud - especially at the age of 3 when I opted for a City kit for my birthday when my grandmother offered me the option of either a spaceman outfit or the football kit. The dream of becoming a footballer stopped when I discovered music around the age of 13. During the footballing years I'd managed to captain both the mighty Junior Blues and Manchester Boys - no mean feat considering I was about a foot smaller than everyone else, but I heard David Bowie's Hunky Dory and that was it, the football dream was over.  I hung up the boots and strapped on the guitar - rock stardom was my next dream. After a modicum of success playing in and around Manchester in local bands in the mid-eighties suddenly the house music scene was sweeping the nation and it swept me along too - exchanging the guitar for technics decks to become Matt Ryan DJ . Although I can add DJ at the Hacienda to my life's CV , the djing career was short lived and I've written about the inner chaos that followed here. But as the saying goes that every cloud has a silver lining my particular silver lining was in the discovery of yoga, and the beginning of a life long journey that has got me where I am today - healthy and happy. When I started teaching yoga my life suddenly started to make sense, and as it has turned out became the most important day of my life - footballer, rockstar,  DJ were all red herrings! Along the way I've set up Yoga Manchester - which has established itself as one of the leading Yoga centres in the North-West - it's sister studio Yoga Express and also the unique yoga prop 'The Nee-ji - the knee guru' -  the safe knee support for Yoga and Meditation. I've been busy! Throughout my Yoga teaching career I've always been asked about teacher training and would I consider setting something up - in the past 5 years or so this request for teacher training came more frequently so I decided to do something about it. Yoga Manchester Teacher Training (YMTT) has been 5 years or so in the making - not because I've been lazy more so as it's taken me this long to get all the pieces of the jigsaw in place. And also more importantly I didn't want to knock out some sub-standard training programme - it seems there's already plenty of these around. I truly believe the YMTT to be one of the best teacher training programmes in the UK today - I wouldn't have set it up if I didn't feel that way. The YMTT will feature some of Europe's leading yoga practitioners and academics - including yours truly and Yoga Manchester's Marie Harris & Charlene McAuley. I've even secured the skills of  the brilliant Yoga Academic Matthew Remski who will be teaching the philosophy module. The course involves in depth study of yoga asana, pranayama, meditation, yoga philosophy, yoga anatomy and also the skills needed to launch a career as a yoga teacher. It's pretty full on - we've thought of everything. There's also the added bonus of trainees passing the course to come and teach classes for Yoga Manchester. And I know not everyone wants to become a yoga teacher and this is the beauty of our course as it allows students to deepen into their own practice and understanding of yoga, providing you with all the necessary tools to become an ever-evolving student too. Click here for more info on YMTT.   * Note to the wife. Obviously the most important day of my life was when I met you my dear, but I'm referencing my working life here not my personal one - hashtag smiley face.

Class : Yoga for Sports Chorlton every Monday 6.30pm-7.30pm

Teacher : Marie Harris

 

The Class

Yoga Manchester’s ‘Yoga for Sport’ class is aimed, rather surprisingly, at people who play sport or have physically active lifestyles. Now, I wouldn’t place myself into either of these categories. I haven’t played an actual sport since my 13 year old basketball days (before I discovered boys and lip-gloss), but I do run for fun and on top of my usual yoga practice, also have a steady gym attendance. The closest I get to ‘sport’ nowadays is the 0.5-mile walk from car to desk in 4inch heels. So, would I actually benefit from attending a class designed specifically for the sporty types amongst us? As I drive up to the school venue in Chorlton I’m thinking this class will be a walk in the park. After all, I’ve had a daily yoga practice long enough to hold my own on the yoga mat, this class is 30 minutes shorter than my usually class and I can do sun salutations with my eyes closed (although you shouldn’t). I find the school with ease, located at the end of a side street, just off Longford Road. The first hurdle complete! I usually get lost when attending new classes so I’m already quite pleased with myself. However, true to form I did not read the very clear instructions on the Yoga Manchester website (the ones that state the class is held in the sports hall at the back of the school) and proceeded to try and enter the school through the, now locked, main entrance. Finally noticing the sign on the fence that read ‘Sport Yoga’ I make my way round the back on the school and into the sports hall. Not my usual yoga venue but what better surrounding for a sport focused class then a basketball court! The room is warm and just the right size (not full basketball court size luckily). I roll out my mat and wait for the other students to arrive.  

The Teacher

Marie, the teacher, stands at the front of the class and introduces herself to her students. She talks briefly about last weeks class focus and then goes on to tell us this weeks area of focus; calves and hips. She talks anatomically about the body and I instantly trust her. During the opening stretches she asks the class to acknowledge where in the leg we are feeling each stretch. Not only does she teach us how to adapt and develop the muscles but she’s also teaching us how to understand those muscles ourselves. For months I’ve been convinced that I have an issue with certain postures because of lack of flexibility in my hamstrings. Just one class with Marie and I now realise the issue is my calf, not my hamstring. So now I can work on developing that muscle because I’ve been taught, in just one class, how to listen to what my muscles are telling me. As she walks around the class she adjusts postures with a quick description as to why she’s going to do it; ‘I’m just going to rotate this shoulder so you get a nice opening in the chest’. Full demonstrations are given at the front of class so each student knows exactly how to perform each posture.  

The Ambience

I expected this class to be quite male heavy in number because it’s ‘for sport’. In reality the gender balance was equal, there were no big burly blokes or gymnast-esc women. Most people arrived on a bike, wearing luminous gear and a willingness to learn. As I looked around the class I could see everyone’s genuine eagerness to understand their muscle groups and how to benefit each. Everyone is here with one aim, to rectify and resolve any current physical niggles and to make their bodies more able to perform the desired tasks.  

The Challenge

As I flung my arms into the air at the start of the practice ready for ten sun salutations I quickly realised this wasn’t that kind of class. No sun salutations, no chants and definitely no ‘Oming’. This is definitely different for me. The class is very much focused on building strength and stretching the muscles. Marie gave two variations of each posture, one more challenging than the other, students are free to choose any variation they like. We stretched our calves, elongated our hamstrings and opened our hips before moving onto the upper body and twists. The class is somewhere between a yoga practice and a session with your favourite PT (not the scary boot camp kind but more the ‘you can do this! type). I can definitely see the attraction for people wanting to enhance their sporting ability or nurse an injury. With Marie’s guidance I learn how to work on the areas of my body that needed a little extra help. Not bad for an hour on the mat. So whether you’re a pro-footballer, an amateur cyclist, a casual swimmer or, like me, have an addiction to stilettos I think everyone can benefit from a little yoga for sport.           Review by Sarah Later I was 19 years old when I took my very first yoga class – not only because I wanted to be uber fit and bendy but because I was anxious and stressed about everything I could find to be anxious and stressed about. For a little over a year now I’ve been a student of Matt’s and each day I grow a little more obsessed with this practice. So, I obviously jumped at the chance to practice with every Yoga Manchester teacher and then write about my experiences with each. I hope one of these reviews ignites enough curiosity in you to try a class; maybe you’ll fall in love too.
A comprehensive 200 hour teacher-training course with an internationally acclaimed faculty fully accredited with The Independent Yoga Network. The course will start on Saturday 26th Jan 2019 with an eight day intensive and continue with six weekend sessions over a total period of seven months. Increase your knowledge of yoga with some of Europe's leading yoga practitioners and academics. The course involves in depth study of yoga asana , pranayama, meditation , yoga philosophy, yoga anatomy and also the skills needed to launch your career as a yoga teacher. The Yoga Manchester Teacher Training programme has been developed whether you want to become a yoga teacher or not. It will allow you to deepen into your own practice and understanding of yoga, providing you with all the necessary tools to become an ever-evolving student and teacher. To visit the Yoga Manchester Teacher Training website click here