As yoga teachers, we're often asked by students how they can deepen their practice; some express the desire to teach, while others hope to simply expand their understanding. Teacher trainings offer an ideal situation for either intention, though often classes are held outside of the Vail Valley. This spring, the Vail Vitality Center is offering its first Yoga Alliance registered 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program, taught by Gina Caputo, of Boulder, and Julia Clarke, of Vail. Gina and Julia have provided a brief Q&A below to answer common questions about the benefits of teacher training and what students can gain from attending any continuing yoga education program. Q: What is yoga teacher training?A: Teacher training programs - no matter the discipline - help students gain a more comprehensive understanding about the roots of yoga, the philosophy, the techniques of meditation and pranayama, and why you feel the way you do in a yoga pose. Teacher training is the best way to deepen your yoga practice beyond a one-hour yoga class experience, regardless of whether or not you'd like to teach. Q: Do I need to have an advanced yoga practice to take a basic teacher training?A: No, but you do need to have a dedicated and devoted practice. Great classes come from our own introspection and self-study on the mat, so it's vital to nurture your practice at home and with teachers. Q: What makes a great yoga teacher?A: Great teachers don't need to be able to tie their bodies in knots. Many master teachers stick to more basic sequencing but offer powerful presence, inspiring themes, instill a quiet confidence in their students and are able to be dexterous in a room full of students at different levels. Q: What inspires you to teach others?A: There is a huge gap in the modern understanding of the relationship between mind and body; the body-mind feedback loop in not being adequately addressed either in caring for ourselves on a regular basis, or healing schisms that occur. We're so busy treating and medicating the mind and body's woes separately that we've lost sight of their relationship. Hatha Yoga, if taught full-spectrum and not just as a stretchy workout, is an opportunity for people to experience a reunification of the powerhouses that are our minds and our bodies and to understand how intricately intertwined their functioning is. This tends to lead to a greater valuation of presence - of life and living today. Q: Will I be ready and able to teach after training?A: Yes. This training is designed to leave you confident and empowered to teach skillfully. If you choose to teach in Eagle County, the opportunities are growing boundlessly, though Yoga Alliance certification is recognized everywhere in the U.S. and beyond. Q: What is unique about the Vail teacher training program?A: "Colorado is what I'd call a 'high prana zone,' where prana is life-force, living energy," Caputo said. "It's not enough for people who live here to experience life second-hand via the Internet and television. Self-discovery and living requires engagement in life. And, I've found that these mountain-living yogis are well-poised to be leaders in a movement to inspire others to be more engaged in the art of living." Join Caputo and Clarke for an empowering and dynamic Integrated Vinyasa Yoga teacher training taking place over seven long weekends, beginning on May 3. Class times are Fridays from 5-8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Cost is $2,100 if registered by April 1, and $2,400 after. For exact dates or an application visit www.vailvitalitycenter.com or call 970-476-7960. Gina Caputo is a respected teacher of vinyasa flow yoga and former director of Kansas Siddhi Yoga, which she founded in 2004. She is an experienced registered yoga teacher at the highest level (E-RYT 500) through Yoga Alliance and has had the privilege of studying and apprenticing with some of today's most renowned teachers. Her teachings are infused with her studies in the Krishnamacharya lineage, yogic philosophy, mindfulness, vitality and humor. For more information, go to www.ginacaputo.com.Julia Clarke, E-RYT teaches vinyasa flow yoga and Anjali Restorative Yoga and is the yoga director at the Vail Vitality Center, and a Certified Ayurvedic Wellness Consultant. Having studied under some of today's most renowned yoga teachers, she offers soulful and dynamic yoga classes to serve this mountain community that stir a deep sense of embodiment and self-participation. For more information, go to www.friendlyuniverseyoga.com.
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