YAP Interviews: Avani Yoga Academy

avani yoga academy

Have you ever wondered how Teacher Training Courses can be different from one another?

We interviewed Debbie from Avani Yoga Academy (Trainer Plus) to find out more about what makes their Yoga Teacher Training Course unique. Continue Reading if you ‘d like to find out more!

You say that you encourage people that honour a traditional and authentic yoga teaching to come together as a supportive community.  What do you mean by this and are the traditional teachings of yoga core to your own teacher training? 

The traditional teachings of Yoga are very much core to my teacher training.  The whole course is based around the eight limbs of Yoga, starting at the very beginning with the Yamas and Niyamas.  We study these even before we delve into any asana, sequencing or anatomy lessons …  Each student is encouraged to explore, consider and embody each of the 10 Y&A’s as part of their teacher training – they get to take one home with them each month to integrate into their daily lives and yoga study.  I have found this to be a profoundly life-changing practice and have had similar feedback from students on the course.  My teacher training course is about living Yoga not just learning about it … The word Yoga is often described as to yoke or unite – once this is understood then quite naturally a sense of unity forms within the course itself and the participants grow into a Sangha or Tribe and are able to support each other on their individual journeys.  I feel so blessed to be able to witness this natural sense of unity that people have when coming to gather in truth and yoga …

Do you believe that spiritual practices are necessary as part of a life of teaching yoga?

Most definitely YES!  Spiritual practices enable us to discover the essence of our being and the deepest values and meanings by which we live … They, like the Yamas and Niyamas, are the very bedrock that our teaching rests on.  Without them we are at the mercy of social media, and what everyone else seems to be doing so well which may lead to feelings of not being or doing enough… Developing a dedicated spiritual practice allows us to see this as Maya and keeps us connecting to our essential nature and true dharma.  From this place, we teach from our deepest values rather than the latest trend – and so keep yoga an authentic and enriching experience for ourselves and our students.

What asana and spiritual practices do you follow?

I love to move and feel myself being moved.  I simply play on my mat with no formal approach, letting each posture flow into the next – letting it be fluid, but also resting and maintaining a posture when I feel drawn.  For me this develops the art of “listening” – to my body, my breath and any feelings that may arise – it keeps my perfectly balanced between the outer and inner world.  

I also love turning my Mala – it travels wherever I go – Japa is one of the loves of my life 😉 

As is playing my harmonium, chanting and morning pujas …

You have developed an online community for yoga teachers.  Can you tell us some more about this?

As part of my teacher training course, I offer an online portal full of handouts, audios and videos – students that have been part of the course have lifetime access to this.  Over the years of offering this course, the feedback I’ve had is that students often feel at a loss when the course is over. TBH its where the learning really begins in terms of teaching … 

So my vision is to support newly fledged teachers as well as offering experienced teacher inspiration with monthly class plans, online courses, ebooks and a teachers portal full of detailed information on Yoga philosophy, Asana, Anatomy, Pranayama and Meditation

I would also like to encourage teachers to share blog posts, asana practices and meditation/yoga nidra practices through my free content page as I feel it is important to build community amongst teachers supporting each other through sharing …

You are registered as a Trainer Plus with Yoga Alliance Professionals. How is this different from a regular Trainer membership?

The difference is that the emphasis throughout the teacher training course is on “teaching”.  I feel it is vitally important for trainees to find their own teaching style and the only way to do this is to practice – to try it on for size 😉  So from the very first monthly meet up and every month thereafter students get the opportunity to teach.  They are offered detailed guidance and support but are also given lots of space to “make it their own”.   This applies to teaching every aspect of yoga – students share teaching of asana, pranayama, meditation, talks on philosophy and much more …

How long is your course and what kind of teachers do you produce at the end of the course?

The course is over 12 months starting in January with a week-long immersion retreat which gives us a chance to lay a strong foundation in terms of personal practice, bonding and to explore the Yamas and Niyamas.

It continues with 8 monthly weekend meetups from February to November with a pause in July and August for reflection and specific teaching assignments

The course closes with a graduation retreat/celebration in December where we explore next steps …

My only wish in sharing this course is to inspire authentic and heartfelt yoga teachers to find their own voice whilst paying deep respect to the origins of yoga – and supporting those teachers to continue to share yoga and inspire change in the world … 


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