Authentic Yoga Teacher Training Evaluation
May 22, 2007
I am a recent graduate of the Authentic Yoga Teacher Training Program with Neel Kulkarni. I am a licensed Special Education & Early Childhood Teacher. I have taken various trainings on teaching yoga to children. Over the years, I felt I felt that something was lacking in my training. I wasn’t quite sure what that was until I took the Authentic Yoga Teacher Training. There is a plethora of teacher training programs available for yogis & yoginis to obtain a teaching certificate. After careful thought and consideration, I had decided I wanted to learn from a teacher that grew up practicing from childhood and studied yoga as an ancient science from the eastern perspective. When I found Neel Kulkarni and the Authentic Yoga, I knew this program would be the most suited for my needs. Neel’s training is composed of standards that must be covered in any yoga teaching program; however, he tailors the program to meet the goals and needs of his students. A teacher considering this program can request topics of interest in addition to the key concepts that are required to further personalize the training. I was initially apprehensive because of his non-traditional approach. Many higher education curriculums and yoga curriculums are predetermined by the instructor. In the Authentic Yoga School, the Teacher Training program deviates from the standard way of learning when Neel takes the students’ background and experiences into consideration and includes them in developing the syllabus for the training. The training will still have standards that must be met to be a qualified yoga instructor but you have the option of personalizing it to your own teaching and practice by being given the opportunity to make decisions about what you would like to learn. If you like to have input into your learning, this approach will meet your needs.
In the Authentic Yoga Teacher Training, Neel teaches yoga from a classical perspective. Based on his experience and years of study, Neel has developed a program to teach yoga to people of all abilities and backgrounds. Authentic Yoga’s teaching concepts emphasize the importance of setting goals and matching the goals to your yoga practice. Neel’s book, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Proper Chanting and Translation and Yoga Philosophy DVDs were key components of my teacher training. As a teacher in training, I learned yoga from a historical and classical perspective. Neel’s knowledge of Yoga Philosophy enabled me to develop an in depth understanding of the purpose of yoga and how I could apply it to my life and daily practice. In addition to yoga philosophy, Neel instructs students in chanting to help a humble student of yoga contemplate the meaning of the Yoga Sutras.
Another key component of the teacher training was meditation from a classical perspective and how to incorporate meditation into our yoga practice. Yoga is not simply defined as doing asanas. Its greater purpose is to unite ourselves with our highest nature. Through Authentic Yoga’s teaching concepts, an individual is able to begin a path to find their deepest potential through experiential self-study. Having taken Neel’s training, workshops, and yoga classes both as a participant and observer, I strongly believe his approach will help all individuals find a path of yoga towards peace and self-awareness.
Asanas as done from the Authentic Yoga style is approached very differently than what is presented in most studios and gyms. Asanas are taught from daily student practice and experience. A script to instruct a student in a pose is not provided to teachers nor are anatomy and physiology taught in detail. What is emphasized is how to break the pose step by step to prepare students for a pose. In addition to seeing the poses in parts, Neel teaches how the pose feels from within both with the mind and as a skeleton. His method of demonstrating step by step procedure and giving options for students of all levels allows students to find perfection of a pose from within not as it appears on the outside. Many individuals are apprehensive of doing yoga because they believe they can’t look like the individual on the cover of yoga magazine or book. I have personally observed students of all ages, abilities, and health backgrounds in Neel’s class are able to participate actively and benefit from this approach. Authentic Yoga emphasizes teaching the teacher in training how to teach a pose by demonstrating and becoming aware of key points thereby allowing the students to learn through experience not verbal directions of where the knees or hands should be in a given pose.
As a student, I have more confidence and am able to notice differences in my yoga practice. As a children’s yoga teacher, I have incorporated the Authentic Yoga concepts of teaching yoga into my class. As a result of integrating Authentic Yoga’s approach with other children’s yoga programs, I have notice my students are able to find center and maintain stillness in a pose by watching from within. Integrating specific concepts of Authentic Yoga allowed young children and preteens learn how to develop focus and concentration. I plan to continue incorporating the Authentic Yoga Program into my children’s yoga curriculum to find a balance of keeping yoga fun and teaching self-care & self- awareness.
I highly recommend Authentic Yoga’s Teacher Training Program. Although this certification program is not registered with Yoga Alliance, the Authentic Yoga program meets the 200 hours RYS standards in the following categories: Teaching Trainings & Practice, Teaching Methodology, Yoga Philosophy & Lifestyle and Practicum. I was proud to earn an Authentic Yoga Certification and am confident as teacher and individual knowing that I learned yoga and how to teach it from a classical context.
I feel fortunate for having met Neel Kulkarni and having the opportunity to be trained by him. Both his knowledge and experience have enabled him to systematize classical yoga for today’s world. I not only benefited from as a teacher and individual but my family has reaped the benefits of my decision to train with Neel. Now, my husband uses yoga to compliment his stressful management job as well as improve his flexibility to enhance his weight training program. I have two boys, 12 & 8 who have admire Neel’s strength in performing challenging yoga poses. Although they only see the physical aspect of yoga, Neel is teaching them to watch from inside and to find moments of stillness and focus with the mind during their yoga practice. My 3 year old daughter has imitated me doing yoga and is now chanting as a result of my practice. Our Sundays have now become Family Yoga time. It is wonderful that through my training, I was able to obtain more than a certificate. Neel Kulkarni & Authentic Yoga will now be a part of not only my life and teaching but my family’s as well.
Bridge to Learning –
Children’s Yoga & Fitness Programs
M.Ed. Special Education/ Curriculum & Instruction