Frequently Asked Questions about Yoga Teacher Training

Do I have to be an advanced yogi to be in teacher training?

If you’re being called to pursue yoga at a deeper level, then you ARE an advanced yogi. Yoga Teacher Training has nothing to do with your ability to accomplish advanced postures. It offers the framework to (a) help you explore a deeper practice; (b) understand your body mechanics, capabilities and limitations; and (c) help you work with others to empower them to understand their bodies, capabilities and limitations. During teacher training, you may feel motivated to work towards advanced postures — and that’s great but definitely not a requirement. You may instead discover that certain poses don’t work for you, and that’s an important part of the learning experience. It is through this deep discovery into your own practice and your own body that you can then become an informed and empowered guide for others.

I have an injury that limits my practice. Will I be able to keep up?

Again, this is a valuable opportunity to explore how you can accommodate your yoga practice to meet your body where it’s at. You’ll learn about modifications using props, walls, chairs, or posture variations — and you’ll discover through deep inner listening and practice how to maintain a yoga practice even when limitations arise. This will develop the knowledge and skillset to help you become an experienced and informed teacher for others who may be coming to yoga with an injury.

I’m not sure I want to be a yoga teacher. Should I still consider this training?

Absolutely! In fact, I never pursued teacher training with the intention to be a teacher. I just listened to my intuition and then life unfolded in magical ways. When I was in teacher training, I was working a full-time management position, pursuing a master’s degree, traveling for work several times a year, had no intention of changing any of that… and then the practice opened my spirit in ways I never expected. This commitment to study and physical practice will shift your body, energy, and mindset. It’s life-changing. And whether you want to be a teacher or whether you want to discover yoga’s magic through devotion, you’ll never regret following your intuitive guidance.

What kind of yoga are we learning?

This program primarily teaches traditional Hatha yoga using Iyengar-based alignment cues and sequencing. However, my personal practice and body of knowledge is very broad, and it’s important to me that you also receive a broad insight into different styles of yoga. We’ll cover Vinyasa and its origins, Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Meditation, Pranayama (breathwork), and much more. My hope is that you feel comfortable exploring and teaching the style(s) that resonate with you.

I might have to miss a class. Should I still apply?

Yes! If you think you might miss more than one class, please contact us, and we can discuss how to make it work. :)

What is the Yoga Warriors program?

Yoga Warriors Teacher Training offers a specific body of knowledge and tools to help you teach evidence-based hatha yoga to manage or alleviate symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) or Combat Stress (COSR), particularly for veterans, military, first responders and others who have experience PTS or high stress. It is the first and largest program of its kind, and you’ll learn it directly from its founder and developer, Lucy Cimini. In addition to becoming a 200-hour yoga instructor, you’ll also be a certified Yoga Warriors International Instructor.

If you have more questions, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer them! :)

Mandi GarrisonComment
Your growth is a priority

It’s not selfish to focus on yourself. In fact, it’s absolutely necessary. We’re conditioned to believe that our worth is determined by our ability and capacity to meet everyone else’s needs at all times. But you can devotionally meet your call for service and attend to yourself at the same time.

Lately I’ve been in this energy of inner awakening — knowing something is shifting but not sure what or how. And I know that many of you have been feeling the same thing.

This space is incredibly frustrating for an impatient Gemini, especially since I’m usually clear about my wants and how to attain them. The lack of motivation has me questioning everything. Am I doing the right thing? What should I be focusing on? Where are the signs? What am I creating space for? There seems to be a powerful force field separating me from the computer, and I keep gazing at this pool of untapped potential saying, “not today.”

Early this morning, feeling fed up, I opened my journal and prepared to make a list of priorities, assessing where I need to make space and what my focus should be. But before I even had a chance to hold the pen, that familiar internal voice chimed in, loudly, “Your spiritual growth is a priority.”

And then again.

“Prioritize your growth. Everything else will fall into place.”

I know the message was for me, but I think everyone else needs to hear it. If you’re being called to pause, if you feel unmotivated, if you want to take time for yourself — then please, take time for yourself. If something is shifting, growing, changing, transforming — that energy needs your attention and love. Your growth IS a priority, because it is the exact process that prepares you for bigger things, for serving others, for fulfilling your dharma.

The lows arrive to prepare you for the highs. You simply can’t receive the expanded energy for next level stuff unless you’ve created the space and emotional fortitude necessary to do so. Honor your word, your commitments and responsibilities, but take the rest of the time to focus on yourself, even if it’s sitting on the couch for a while to process your thoughts. Your growth doesn’t have a to-do list. 💙

Mandi GarrisonComment
Cultivating Joy

What is the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning? If I were to guess, you’re probably cycling through your to-do lists, clocking time, ensuring everyone’s needs are met, stressing about a future event, etc. But what if you woke up every morning and immediately went through the lists of things you WANT to do? The things that bring you joy? I know, I’ve probably already lost you, because you have responsibilities. People can’t just do what they want to do. Well, let me ask you... why the hell not?

Maybe you can’t do everything on the joy list today. But at least start your day figuring out how. What do your wants look like in comparison with the have-tos? Are they starkly different? How can that shift? Can they be aligned? If so, how? If not, why? If I’ve created a life that eliminates my ability to fulfill my joy list, then I know something needs to change. And maybe change is scary, but wasted time is scarier.

Joy comes with the ability to experience moments that bring INNER fulfillment. Joy doesn’t care what something looks like on the outside. Validation is a very temporary, addictive form of pleasure that can take you from the path of pure ecstasy to the dangerous path of expectations. Other people’s expectations have nothing to do with me. So why should they affect my life or my ability to experience it? I’ll let you in on four very powerful words that have the ability to transform your life: Nobody owes me anything. Read that again.

The expectations that do belong to you are your own. They are those niggling feelings and desires that bring you closer to what you want and what you’re here to experience. Challenge yourself to create moments of joy and meet your own expectations. See what blossoms as a result. 💜

Mandi GarrisonComment
When it comes to Leo, Love rules

Most of us are captivated by lions. They emit such a regal presence — proud and confident, beautiful and fierce, strong and fearless. They carry such largess. It’s in their paws (the walk), the mane of golden hair, the love and loyalty to their tribe. When a lion spirit animal enters your life, you know it’s your time to shine.

This is the magic of Leo. For Leo, it’s okay to be seen, appreciated, and loved. It’s okay to be confident, passionate, and empowered. We should want these things — for ourselves and for others. Yet, oftentimes pride and a beaming ego is seen as negative. Too showy, too self-centered, too selfish. When did confidence become a bad thing?

For much of my life, I was conditioned to feel shame if I achieved success in any way. Announcing my good grades was seen as bragging. Wanting to look nice was seen as vain. I experienced a great deal of mocking whenever I felt confident, pretty, smart, or excelled at something. It was easier to live in harmony if I remained quiet, and for many years I preferred to be invisible and behind the scenes — using my skills to help others achieve recognition, rather than seek it for myself. It took me a long time to recognize this and understand the root cause. To this day, I still have anxiety when I put myself out there. It’s not easy to open up, trust, and be seen. And as I write this, I know there are many of you out there who can deeply resonate.

Partly because of a great deal of self-work and spiritual exploration, and partly because of my progressed sun transiting into Leo (roar), I understand that true happiness and fulfillment comes from not only being true to yourself, but being true to yourself AND EXPRESSING that truth in a powerful, confident, and fearless way. We should never have to feel shame for shining our light. We should never have to hide from self-expression. We should never have to feel like we can’t be who we are, and we should never deny the self our love. True connection and purpose begins with self-love. Leo is the sun that radiates from the heart, with plenty of love to give and receive. The only way that love can radiate outwards is if the flame is lit from within.

Leo is the flame that never goes out, and unexpressed love feels like a painful internal fire that only damages the person holding it in. Your fire should be able to light up the world around you and not be quenched by fear or shame. Let it be powerful, let it be intense, let it be your truth. ROAR!

Leo: July 23 - August 22

Symbol: Lion

Planetary Ruler: Sun

Element: Fire

Quality: Fixed

Body Part: Heart, upper back

Major Arcana: Strength

Mandi GarrisonComment

Waiting rushes time,
Grasping is a hopeless fight.
So I release, and watch.
The days past, the clock ticking,
The silence, the opening.
Sparks of inspiration
That fire and fizzle.
Exploration and shadow
Thriving in the space.
Serenity my anchor.
Motivation a fickle lover.

We know the answers,
And yet we fight them.
We feel the pull,
And yet we deny it.
It’s an endless loop.
Love or dharma
Love AND dharma
Everything desired comes easily.
But it’s all superficial, a game...
The real truth behind everything
Is the one truth I cannot grasp.

This is not about distraction.
This is not about tests.
Or so I hope...
This is about dreams,
The moments of knowing,
When it all comes back.
What never left.
A part of me.
A part of you.
The game, the promises,
Our choices.

Mandi GarrisonComment
Pave the way through devotion

You have the ability and power to determine how and where energy is utilized. You have the ability to expand and magnetize abundance. And you can decide whether you choose to be controlled or whether you choose to be free. Devotion is a choice. So where is your devotion? What are you doing consistently that creates the circumstances you truly desire? And what are you doing consistently that doesn’t support this manifestation? These are tough questions, but by simply being aware, you already take the necessary steps to bring power back to yourself.

All you need is within you. The way isn’t paved by external validation, substances, outside influences, or material achievements. You are a free and sovereign being. When distractions are eliminated and when you attune to the frequencies beyond what the ego perceives, all that remains is pure and divine Love. And that Love activation resides within, and is magnetized by harnessing your personal power.

Pave the way through devotion to your dharma. Remember why you’re here. Embody that radiance and expand it for the world. We need it. 

Mandi GarrisonComment
The wisdom in surrendering

There is as much wisdom in stillness as in movement, in harmony as in change, in retreat as in expansion.

When things become unclear, when the heart becomes diverted, when the ego is unsatisfied — the answer, more often than not, is to regain a sense of balance. To make small adjustments and intuitively guided calibrations. To honor the physical body, the vessel, and expand from a place of stability. To bring a deeper level of devotion to your choices and trust the process. To release from distraction and retreat into space of self-healing and inquiry.

Upheaval and change may be tempting — a short-term solution to what seems like a long and deeply imbedded lesson, and necessary in some cases. But devotion and a commitment to harmonizing your choices and path will allow expansion from a place of trust. And TRUST is how the seeker becomes the sage. DEVOTION is how the magician becomes the alchemist. HARMONY is how the teacher becomes a pillar.

The harmony of nature teaches us how to evolve and gain wisdom by surrendering to the cycle. We can fight the process. Or we can trust and gain wisdom from it with eyes and heart fully open and aware.

Mandi GarrisonComment
What does TRUTH mean to you?

I’ve been exploring the theme of satya, or truth, all week — and through this practice, many deep conversations and insights have emerged. Authenticity, for example, often comes with difficult choices. Sometimes it’s easy to grasp onto things we think we want, or think we should want, but these attachments keep us from expressing authentically and expanding into truth. We spend so much time exploring the outer layers of personality, that the inner truth goes unnoticed. Lately I’ve been noticing my reactions to things/situations as keys to uncovering deep desires and truths that lie beneath the layers of conditioning, rather than dismissing those reactions as behavioral traits that need to be adjusted.

Authenticity doesn’t need to be proven. It simply is. You can grasp, hold on, define, attach — but the truth comes from releasing the story and simply allowing the radiance within to express. It’s the inner work of learning to be within and allow, and it’s the outer work of accepting how the self manifests and creates.

And when you feel it within, the “I AM,” can you be with that truth and love it unconditionally?

Mandi GarrisonComment
A Love Song to the Sun

Drums beating,
Fires roaring,
Golden skin and bright eyes.
She dances in the meadow,
Communes with the butterflies,
Moves to the sway of light.

I am yours, she tells the sun.
Always have been,
Always will be.
I’ll let your wisdom guide me.
Just meet me here,
For a moment.

She lays in the thick, warm grass,
Remembering times long ago,
When she and the sun were one.
When they promised to return,
In cycles and lifetimes,
Lessons in light.

The sounds of summer vibrate,
The earth bathed in beauty,
And in this space of light, she sings.
Her voice echoing
In the tallest mountains,
In the deepest oceans.

The clouds disappear,
And the sun beams,
As bright as his undying love.
Keep singing, he says.
When you sing, you call to me.
When you sing, you call to God.

Will you meet me here, she asks,
For just a moment?
In this space,
In this love,
In this vibration,
Let me hear your voice.

But rather than wait,
She dances.
In the meadow,
At the river,
With the butterflies,
By the trees.

And the sun watches
From his highest height.
Giving her longer days
Of warmth and energy.
Drums beating,
Fires roaring,
She dances, she sings
A love song to the sun.

The Precipice

On the precipice of life, there is a stirring.
If you put your ears to the ground, you can hear it.
If you put your hands to your heart, you can feel it.
Earth is awakening.
Solar streams with creative inspiration,
Painting over hardened soul.
Love’s symphony pulsing through the ground,
Growing in the light.
Eyes opening like wings ready for flight.
Arms reach out, creaking tree branches towards father’s warmth.
And with the power of sun’s life-giving rays,
The wind sweeps through,
Clearing old stories, carrying the seeds,
Positioning clouds with spring’s nourishing rain.
Reminding the cosmos that life (Love) blooms with things unseen, but felt.
And although this invisible force cannot be tamed or grasped,
She will always move towards truth.
Towards growth.
Towards life.

Mandi GarrisonComment
Chiron in Aries: Healing the Self

As I’m writing this, the planetoid Chiron is in the last critical degree (29th degree) of Pisces where it traveled for eight years. Chiron may be considered a minor planet in astronomy terms, but from the astrological perspective, Chiron is highly significant, and every transit and aspect brings incredible shifts. If you feel like you’ve been going through a purging of emotions/energies or have suddenly awoken to new perspectives and/or developments — you’re not alone.

Chiron is termed the “wounded healer” in alignment with its legendary mythos. It was first discovered in 1977 during a period of intense collective healing and cultural acceleration. When Chiron travels through a sign, it surfaces hidden wounds and stimulates healing of those wounds in powerful ways. The past eight years of Chiron in Pisces reframed our relationship with Source, the ways in which we are globally connected, the rose-colored glasses some of us wear (and others remove), new methods of escapism, and our ability to connect energetically and explore unseen realms. As an example, the use of mind-altering substances and plant medicines reached new heights. And — while it’s not something I have any experience in — plants such as ayahuasca or cannabis have become much more prevalent as a resource for healing. The surge of global connection through social media and online learning offered new opportunities for exploration and self-healing, while also opening up an interesting conversation around electronic addiction and escapism (some of the wounds of Pisces). Collective healing was the primary energy of Chiron in Pisces, and now that shift focuses on the self.

Aries is all about the self, the ego, and personal identity. It corresponds with the first house of the natal chart and the newborn age, in which the identity is moldable, fluid, and begins to take shape based on genetics, karma, and external influences. It is the beginning of the natal wheel, so the transit into Aries TOMORROW (Feb. 18, 2019) represents a new karmic cycle of healing. Aries is a fire starter and a trailblazer. It is a highly masculine sign, and those with Aries influence tend to be leaders with a strong presence and ability to inspire others. I expect Chiron in Aries (where it will be until 2027!) will bring some much needed healing to the masculine and ego, and shed light on areas where these energies have been out of balance.

There is a notion that because the masculine has gone through a period of imbalance, that somehow the energy is negative or needs to convert to a feminine energy, or that somehow feminine energy needs to be more masculine and dominant in order to retain balance. In my opinion, perfect balance is achieved when both energies rediscover their true essence and exist in respect and harmony. I don’t think it’s helpful to project negativity on either side — rather it’s time to shed a positive light on aspects of both polarities: masculine and feminine, yin and yang, light and shadow, etc. That is how healing begins to truly take place. And it’s all beautiful.

I also believe our existence is about to go through an identity crisis of sorts. This is beginning to happen as awareness increases and we become more curious about who and what we are, where we come from, and the basis of existential reality. There could be big decisions on the horizon, such as: How much influence do we give technology over our everyday lives? How do we reclaim our personal power? How can we best use our gifts to benefit society? How can we embrace our authentic nature? How can we become more connected to what is real and tangible? Those who are more aligned to leadership roles will likely have to step up and accelerate their path quickly. It will feel like things are moving fast, and opportunities and connections will seem to appear out of thin air.

This is a good time to release any negative influences/patterns and surge forward with confidence and strength. I can already feel the changes begin to percolate both personally and collectively. It has been a difficult few months for many people, but it’s helping us prepare for this new shift and cycle of healing. The journey of self-exploration and discovery is here — and it’s going to be a powerful time.