Jill Sockman On Becoming A Yoga Teacher

jill sockmanJill Sockman is the founder of blue lotus and director of the blue lotus yoga teacher training programs. With grace and compassion she holds the space for her students to uncover a new way of being in their bodies and in the world, to uncover for themselves what may have been lost along the way: strength of will, flexibility of character, clarity of mind, and contentment of heart.

Movement arts have always been a part of Jill’s life along with an innate desire to physically express the energy of the life and Light within. Her practice and teaching range from the soft and meditative to the sweaty and vigorous. Jill has been student of meditation and yoga since the early 1990s, and she attained RYT status in 2000 and E-RYT in 2006. Jill offers profound gratitude to all of the teachers who have profoundly influenced her practice and teaching: Gordon Sharpe, Warren Grossman, Shiva Rea, and Tias Little.

Her lifelong journey to create true community led Jill to establish blue lotus. A place where people are welcome to arrive just as they are into a space of learning. A place of healing. A place of spirit and self-fulfillment. It is yoga for real life.

What is yoga to you?

My favorite definition of yoga comes from the Bhagavad Gita: Yoga is the breaking of contact with pain.  Yoga makes it possible for us to move through life’s challenges with strength and grace.

How do you see yoga evolving in the next 5 – 10 years?

I see a continuation of the growth of yoga in the West, as we look to regain what we have lost:  connection, integration and community.

What inspired you to become a yoga teacher and with whom have you done your trainings?

Initially, I had no aspirations of becoming a yoga teacher, but it unfolded in  a way that made it clear, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that this was my path.  I have done trainings at Ananda, Kripalu and the Himalayan Institute.  I studied with Shiva Rea in the years before Prana Flow, studied in the Iyengar tradition with Terry Brown and Suzanne Newton at Triad Yoga Institute, and most recently am working through Para Yoga training modules with Rod Stryker.

What have been some of the biggest challenges in developing your teaching career and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge in developing my teaching career was establishing and maintaining balance.  I wouldn’t say that I’ve overcome that obstacle so much as it is an ongoing challenge that makes me mindful of my day-to-day life and constantly forces me to look at my choices and take responsibility for the impact those decisions have on my well-being and the well-being of those around me.

As the director of your schools teacher training programs, what is your overall goal and objective?

When we first developed the program, it was because we saw a huge gap in the offerings available.  Our goal is to provide a comprehensive training program through which dedicated students are not only given the tools to be great yoga teachers, they are guided through the process of becoming great students of yoga and of life.

What do you feel is unique about your yoga teacher training programs versus other schools? Please tell us about your program.

I think that each school is different, based on not only the curriculum but the teachers who offer the trainings.  I urge all prospective trainees to take the time to really talk to the program director- if you don’t vibe with him/her, chances are good that it’s not the right fit.  On the other hand, sometimes you “just know” it’s right, when you don’t even know why.  That’s the best sign of all.

What type of students would best fit your programs?

Students who want to really dive into the practice of yoga, including work in the body, but more importantly, the inner work that will profoundly change them whether they ever teach a yoga class or not.

What qualities do you feel make a good yoga teacher?

The first essential quality of a good teacher is one who has a consistent home practice.  Without a dedication to tilling the inner soil first, one cannot hope to make a positive impact on others.  Likewise, the ability to be honest and work, speak and live with integrity and authenticity allow a teacher to bring something truly unique to the classroom.

Is there any advice you would offer to aspiring yoga teachers?

Be well trained.  A good training program will make you a better practitioner and a better person, in addition to making you a good teacher.

To learn more about her school please visit blue lotus yoga

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