Vidya Jacqueline Heisel On Becoming A Yoga Teacher

Vidya Jacqueline HeiselVidya Jacqueline Heisel is originally from London and has lived all over the world, extensively in India, Bali and the USA.

Vidya has been joyfully studying, practicing and teaching Yoga since 1975. She is an inspiring master teacher, with a deep experiential knowledge of Yogic philosophy and meditation, having spent many years in ashrams in India and in the USA. Her physical practice is strong and inspirational. She is a gifted teacher and shares her vast knowledge with depth, clarity, compassion and humor.

Vidya is the founder of Frog Lotus Yoga Studio in Massachusetts, the Director of Frog Lotus Yoga International Yoga Teacher Training Programs and the co-founder and Yoga Director of Suryalila Retreat Centre in Andalucia, Spain. Vidya is also the founder of Envision Yoga, a profoundly transformational practice combining Kundlaini Yoga and NLP techniques.

Vidya has developed a unique style of Vinyasa Flow Yoga, which skillfully and seamlessly weaves together her understanding of Iyengar, Ashtanga, Kundalini and Forrest Yoga into a joyful and intelligent practice.

Vidya has taught yoga in countless diverse places, from an ashram in India to the most exclusive spa in the USA, Canyon Ranch in The Berkshires. She has taught her Yoga Teacher Training Programs globally in 10 different countries around the world. There are now well over 1000 graduates of her Yoga Teacher Training program.

Vidya’s ongoing mission is to continue to spread the life-transforming teachings of Yoga and the joyful physical practice around the world, with as much love and wisdom as possible!

What is yoga to you?

Yoga is my reference point and my anchor. It is a holistic discipline and spiritual practice that keeps me sane and healthy and explains the meaning of life in a way that gives my life true direction and real depth.

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

Yoga is a phenomenon right now and is exponentially flowering and evolving in the western world because it is the right remedy for the dis-ease of post-modern humanity.  I think it will continue to grow and evolve, as more and more fledging teachers carry the torch.

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

I first became interested in Yogic philosophy when I was 18 and it so changed my perception of life that I chose to go live in an ashram in India for 6 years to study meditation and eastern philosophy.  I started studying the physical practice in India and it was a love affair from the beginning. I had been studying ballet extensively as a child and had already embraced a physical discipline. I had tasted the joy of aligning the body, mind and spirit, so it was an easy transition.

I have studied and trained with many teachers over the past 40 years including Patricia Walden, David Swenson, Rodney Yee and Ana Forrest.

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

A big challenge for me was really taking on and cultivating interest in the whole business side of things, including marketing and and running a yoga studio. It’s a shock to realize that unless you are a skillful business woman, it doesn’t matter how good a yogini you are, you won’t succeed.  I had to learn quickly through trial and error. It has been a steep learning curve but now I can safely say that I have succeeded, and I run a thriving and successful yoga business and feel completely aligned and fulfilled with my career.

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

My ongoing mission is to continue to spread the life-transforming teachings of Yoga and the joyful physical practice around the world, with as much love and wisdom as possible! I love to transform other people’s lives and help them to open up to the mystery and wonder of being alive. The more people I can get to join me on this mission the better.

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

I think my level of life experience and spiritual understanding from my years of living in ashrams, and my own extensive spiritual practice, allow me to share with depth from a real place. I have also taught over 50 of these programs at this point, so I have a lot of experience. Every training I teach is more refined than the last. I learn and grow through teaching. I am also blessed with outstanding assistant teachers, who teach anatomy and support my trainings in all ways.

What type of students would best fit your programs?

My trainings are not a holiday. I appreciate students who are serious, who really want to learn and work hard. The training is a journey and you have to be prepared to participate fully and to give yourself one hundred per cent to the experience. My students leave inspired, on fire and ready to teach.

What qualities do you feel make a good yoga teacher?

I think you have to be fully present and passionate about teaching. I also think you need to practice fully what you preach and to be interested in continuously growing and learning.  And most importantly you need to strive to have humility.  

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

Yes, if you want to become a yoga teacher, it is totally possible. Go for it. Follow your heart. There is always someone who knows less than you do.  A good teacher is not necessarily someone who is super-flexible and gymnastic. A good teacher is someone who is always present, humble and good at communicating.

To learn more about her school and teacher trainings please visit Frog Lotus Yoga International

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