Yoga Teacher Training Tips From Paula Tursi of Reflections Yoga

yoga teacher training

Paula Tursi Of Reflections Yoga

Paula Tursi of Reflections Yoga offers us some insights on becoming a yoga teacher. Paula started her yoga teacher training twenty years ago at Integral Yoga where she studied Hatha and restorative yoga and has had the great fortune to work with such teachers as John Friend, Rodney Yee, and Angela Farmer. Paula is certified with the Yoga Alliance at the 500-hour level and will now share her insights with our community on yoga teacher training and becoming a yoga instructor.

What style of yoga do you teach?

Reflections Yoga is a slow flow vinysasa class, based on feeling the inner body and thus promoting health. It is more of a healing practice than a exercises class.

What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?

Its hard to say what actually inspired me to become a yoga teacher. It feels more like a calling now. I never planned to be a yoga teacher and take a yoga certification program. I wanted to become a psychologist. Then I found myself dropping out of my PhD because the pull of yoga, not just asana ,was so true to me. Something deep within me (like a calling) was saying “this is the way to go” and I went.

Who did you do your Yoga teacher training with?

I took multiple yoga teacher training programs and trained with many well known yoga teachers.  I would say my real teacher, the woman who taught me to feel my body and understand its nature was Bonnie Bainbridge-Cohen. As a yoga teacher she had an amazing impact on me and really opened the flood gates to becoming a yoga teacher.

What did you love most about the yoga teacher training course?

My teacher Bonnie. She is one of the deepest yogis I have ever met. She doesn’t teach you anything but guides you to the lessons the body would like to teach. She has an intuitive sense about her which was very subtle and calming and really made my yoga certification experience beautiful.

What was your biggest challenge in becoming a Yoga teacher?

Becoming a yoga teacher was easy for me. It pulled me in. I was asked to teach before I graduated from my first yoga teacher training. What I see is that the new yoga teachers suffer from burn out. They are trying to make a living teaching yoga and find they do more running from place to place then they do teaching. I think it is best to keep a steady income  and making the transition slowly in a more sattvic way. This way you don’t add all the stress and burden of “need to make it” right away and you can allow the process of becoming a yoga teacher be a more natural process. It is really helpful to see whatever job you are doing as yoga and meet it from that place … because yoga is a state of mind not how well you can do or teach a triangle pose.

What has been your biggest challenge in continuing your craft as a yoga teacher?

I would say that keeping my own yoga practice has been the real challenge for me as I teach yoga more and more. But I know without my practice I have nothing to teach and nowhere to teach from so I have made it work. Its a dual edge sword but in the end I find my balance.

Is there any advice you would give a new yoga student who wants to become a yoga teacher?

Becoming a yoga teacher is not that glamorous. You must love it deeply and that isn’t even enough. You must also want to show up for others, meet them where they are and know how to listen. Patience is one of the main ingredients in being a yoga teacher. You cannot always teach what you want to teach but you better serve your students when you teach what they need. Less is more! Showing some restraint and respecting where people are at in their process is crucial. Don’t worry about what you want to teach, focus more on what it is they need to learn now to make it to the next rung in the ladder of their yoga practice. Simply put, remove your ego when teaching yoga.


Useful Links

Yoga Teacher Training Schools – Are you interested in becoming a yoga teacher and taking a yoga teacher training? Then check out our list of schools from around the world offering yoga certification programs.

Yoga Teacher Training Scholarship – Learn more about our scholarship program where we offer one lucky student the opportunity to win a free yoga teacher training.

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