Pranayama & Meditation: The mornings up in the Buddha shala were magical. I think it is imperative that people realise that this is the entire point of their asana practise …to be able to sit in stillness. To learn from a master like Emil was fantastic. This was what I came for.
Philosophy: Completely outstanding. Such wisdom, and more importantly, imparted with clarity and precision. With any kind of philosophy there is the danger of confusion and this was never the case with the people who taught us. What’s more, the manner was encouraging and gentle and we felt completely as ease asking even inane questions. I’ve read lots of books on all kinds of yoga philosophy and concepts had begun to sink in but there was cloudiness. Learning with people like Emil and John, was a different ball game entirely. Listening to them was a real treat for me. I was very grateful for the opportunity. I can’t say that the clouds have lifted entirely…but there is a bit more sunshine.
Anatomy: Time flew in these 3.5 hour workshops. It’s fascinating …our bodies. I read whatever I can get my hands on, but just as with the above, the knowledge from books is half knowledge. I learnt lots …and it was fun …and he is a delightful person. Thoroughly enjoyed myself and found many ways to incorporate his teachings in the morning asana sessions.
Yoga asana: I wasn’t sure how my body, with so many past injuries …mostly from many years of riding neurotic racehorses and then more recently my wrist …would handle daily Astanga vinyasa ….but it did pretty well, which has not been the case in the past and I began to really enjoy myself. Maybe this was because my body is in better shape than before or maybe the wisdom that comes with age didn’t allow my ego to take over this time out …but definitely it was also because the teachers, all of them, armed us with knowledge. I learnt in the first few days how to protect myself from injury and this was to a large part because of Heather. I felt immediately that I could trust her judgment and it was obvious that our safety was important. She was quick to pounce on our weaknesses and constantly be at us to improve bad habits, which was exactly what I was looking for and I appreciated it. I learnt tons in our sessions together …asana or otherwise and am grateful for that. The adjustment sessions were amazing …I had no idea that one could learn so much from just adjusting another.
On the whole, the entire program was excellent… Quite frankly, I don’t know how Heather does it. I think I speak for us all when I voice my admiration for the way she managed everything.
I enjoyed the ‘different teacher format’…in fact, this was one of the attractions for me when I read up on the course initially. It was lovely meeting all these inspiring and intelligent people.
I loved our talking circles and the yoga quotes we read daily …small but wonderful touches. I think these had a huge impact on everyone and got us all much closer to each other. Tomorrow I am going away for the long Easter weekend to meet my parents …my favourite one from your quotes comes to mind : ‘If you think you are enlightened, go spend a weekend with your parents’ Ram Dass …that one made me smile for a long while.
Nena Schmitt (March 2015 TTC)
This was a ground breaking experience for me that I will always remember. It was a full immersion; classes went from 6am to 6pm six days a week and were often followed with movies or discussions after dinner. We covered pranayama, meditation, asana, yoga philosophy, anatomy and physiology, Buddhism and so much more. The Monastery is an inspiring and safe environment that enabled me to be fully present and surrender to my journey.
I learned so much because our teachers were open hearted, truly cared, and tremendously knowledgeable, lived what they taught and gave so much. Although at times I felt tired, my muscles ached, I was emotionally drained and had no dark chocolate, I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I endeavour to take these experiences and teachings forward to progress on my spiritual path, to be vitalised and to share this with others.
I found the course challenging and it really opened my mind to new perspectives. I believe I discovered an internal awakening. Needless to say I always felt supported throughout this course.
Abby Cilker, USA, graduate of Spring 2016 TTC with Heather Elton
I cannot say enough how happy I am with the quality of instruction. Just a week in I felt like I had learned enough to have a strong enough grip on the reins to pursue the necessary knowledge to build a strong personal practice. Now, at the end of the training, I'm rather surprised I ever doubted that I would one day teach yoga. I feel so certain that I'm on the right path and I'm empowered to have all the necessary tools to effectively teach others to practice yoga in a fun, engaging, and safe manner that will in turn benefit the world.
Louise Harvey, New Zealand, graduate of Spring 2016 TTC with Heather Elton
I want to say how grateful I was to have been a part of this TTC. One of the highlights of my life!! I have never experienced such openness, mutual understanding, unconditional love and support with group of people before. It is incredibly valuable to me to have the friendship of the people in this training moving forward in my yoga journey.
Learning form Heather was a huge reason I am happy in choosing this training. I enjoyed the integration of her diverse knowledge of yoga, religion, philosophy, poetry, and history into our classes, with incredibly thoughtful sequencing. I realise that this knowledge shared with us is many years in the making and am incredibly grateful that Heather delivered it in such a digestible way that we are able to start applying these teachings within a month.
One thing I noticed was that the sequencing of her classes prepared my body for the peak pose(s) perfectly, so I did not get any strains etc, despite going deeper into poses than I ever have before. I also noticed that a lot of general aches that my body had harboured for a long time disappeared (notably my Psoas and shoulder muscles).
I liked Heather’s honesty; there was no beating around the bush (and thank goodness because we didn’t have time for that). As a participant it was valuable to receive Heather’s honest opinion, on and off the mat, to reflect on our actions and grow in the right direction. I think the improvement seen in our class within a month is testimony to Heather’s intelligent and honest feedback!
Heather has a knack for creating an open and sharing sort of atmosphere. For example the sharing circles, which I found to be very useful in realising things about myself, that magically surface while in that space. Also an invaluable tool for deepening relationships between the members of the teacher training.
Emil’s passion for yoga philosophy and depth of knowledge about the topic was a huge asset to this training. I like how Emil presented the teachings in a way that opened the door to our individual pursuit of deeper knowledge within a topic of interest. I felt like I was encouraged to form my own opinions through further study rather than just relying on Emil’s word.
Cookie Renn, USA, graduate of Spring 2016 TTC with Heather Elton
The teacher training with Heather was unique. Her approach to all the intricate structure that make up the body of yoga is a well of in-depth and practiced knowledge, being non-dogmatic but coming from personal experience. Sharing the origins of the beginnings of this ancient and still thriving (at least in some parts) practice of self (or no-self) discovery. Keeping to the heart of what yoga is and can be. Mind being blown by so much (even if you have been studiously practicing for years) - there was always a new perspective on things.
Some of the most amazing experiences for me were:
1) Andrew!!! I love his teaching, his presentations, his integration of anatomy in a way everyone can learn and understand in an engaging manner! He really truly opened my eyes and body to the physical movements of asana practice.
2) Annie what a beauty! She was the sunshine on all things, the guardian angel to everyone's needs and concerns! Love that lady! She is the perfect amount of everything pleasant in this world.
3) The students that this teacher training attracts. I am still amazed about my fellow (soon to be teachers) students: their background, their goals, their practices and dedication to the course. The kindness we shared with upmost respect to each other. By everyone doing 100 percent and leading by example of what the course asked and required of us! Such support cannot be found easily.
4) Heather is the perfect teacher for me. There wasn't anything within the asana, Pranamaya, meditation and philosophy that I disagreed with or that she wasn't knowledgeable in. I have complete trust and respect of her opinions and aspects on yoga.
5) Emil! What a capacity of brilliance! He really really knows and understands this super complex history of yoga. He is gentle and kind, with the patience to help everyone try to get a bit of understanding of what and why yoga is.
Kat Owens (USA, based in Dubai) – graduate of spring 2016 TTC with Heather Elton
This Yoga Teacher Training went above and beyond my expectations (a cliche, I know, but a well-deserved one). Every morning I found myself completely undone by the experiences; sharing meditative space with monks, journeying to sacred sites, conversing with Rinpoches, communing with Nath & Aghori yogis, and being on the pulse of true tantra in Nepal. The care that went into each component was so meticulously crafted; no day was without purpose. The anatomy and physiology with Andrew McGonigle was rigorous, but accessible. The philosophy with Emil Wendel was detailed, deep and purposeful. Heather and Annie were consistent in keeping expectations high and holding each of us accountable to that level of excellency. By the end, I was in awe of how much information I had absorbed and felt wholly ready to share the precious gift of yoga with others. I can’t recommend a Yoga Teacher Training of this caliber enough!
Having the training at the Monastery helped the teachings and intention of the course come alive for me; from witnessing bhakti at sunrise with monks to hearing Buddhist teachings from our incredibly talented chef as we savored meals made with so much love & care. Neydo truly felt like home.