Learning to teach yoga

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Claire Darby will be one of the participants at a yoga teacher training course in the basement of the Ptarmigan Inn from Aug. 1 to 24.

The Town of Hay River is hoping to establish a group of yoga teachers in the community.

And to accomplish that goal, it has organized an intensive yoga teacher training session from Aug. 1 to 24.

“The plan is to build a base of instructors,” said James Darby, the recreation director with the Town of Hay River.

Darby said, once there are trained teachers, yoga courses can begin to be incorporated into the town’s recreational programming as early as September.

At the moment, there is no yoga instructor in the community.

The August session will be instructed by Sylvie Boisclair of Edmonton in the basement of the Ptarmigan Inn.

She is the owner/operator of Do Something! Yoga, and lived for 15 years in Yellowknife and opened the first yoga centre there before moving south about two years ago.

Boisclair said there is a need for yoga training courses in the North because it would be very expensive to fly south for a complete yoga training course.

She said the Town of Hay River asked her to offer a training course in the community, adding it is great for a town to be so proactive.

“And I said, if there’s enough people, I’d be glad to come because I think it’s an amazing opportunity for people to get a very professional yoga teacher training course in Hay River or Yellowknife or anywhere else in the North,” she said.

As of last week, Darby said four people have signed up for the 200 hours of training, and two more are required to fill all the available slots.

The registration deadline is July 25.

Boisclair said the training will involve diving into yoga for 21 days with classes beginning at 8:30 a.m. and finishing at 5:30 p.m. six days a week.

“It’s very intense, but it’s amazing,” she noted. “For some people, they say it’s a life-changing experience.”

Participants will have to do some preparatory reading before the training starts.

While participants will likely have some background experience with yoga, Boisclair said that really depends on the person, who may just have a positive mindset to really want to learn.

“That is the key element,” she said.

Boisclair will be travelling to town along with an assistant to offer the training.

“I’m demanding,” she said. “I don’t want to give this diploma lightly at the end.”

Upon completion of the training, the participants will be certified yoga instructors and recognized by the Canadian Yoga Alliance.

Boisclair said having six trained yoga teachers would be great for Hay River.

“Because yoga is so much more than what people think it is,” she explained. “It’s much more than exercise. It is about community-building. It is about healing. It is about many, many different things that people need in our society.”

One of the participants in the course will be Claire Darby, who is the wife of the town’s recreation director.

She has done yoga in the past, and is looking forward to becoming a trained teacher.

“I think the actual philosophy behind yoga can reach all types of people, whether it’s physically, mentally, spiritually,” she said. “You can go into schools and teach yoga to young kids. You can go to the seniors’ centre and teach yoga to the older people. And it’s doable. You don’t need to be extremely fit to do it. It’s about getting in touch with the mind, the body and the spirit all at once, to be honest.”

Claire Darby has discovered yoga to be personally beneficial.

“The benefits I have found are compared to other sporting activities it is low impact,” she said. “So there’s no strain on the joints at all. It’s strengthening the muscles. Every muscle group in the body is strengthened from yoga.”

She added that yoga also makes a person mentally strong, and becomes more of a lifestyle.

James Darby noted the training session in August is open to men and women, and to residents of other communities.

-Paul Bickford