A Sneak Peak into an Innerstellar Teacher Training
With Michelle Cordero, Marisha Doan, and Colleen Millen
Signing up for a yoga or Pilates teacher training is a life-changing decision, and an important moment in your physical, emotional, and spiritual evolution. Whether or not you ever intend to teach, we believe that you will be able to go deeper in this journey if you’re supported by teachers who are committed to their own ongoing practice and growth as humans, who care deeply about their students, and who treasure the opportunity to pass along their wisdom.
This fall’s Stellarflow Yoga Teacher Training brings together several such teachers. We caught up with three of them to hear what they have to say about our fall training as well as about their personal journeys practicing and teaching yoga. Read on to hear from Lead Teachers Michelle Cordero and Marisha Doan, and Guest Teacher Colleen Millen, who will be teaching the Psychology of Yoga Module!
What do you most hope that people will learn from this training?
MICHELLE: You are only as good a teacher as you are a human being. Teaching isn’t about you, it’s about your students. Get out of the mindset that your love of yoga will change lives. Truly it’s your love and respect for your students that changes them. When you share your knowledge from a grounded place, and learn to see your students, and to teach to who is actually in the room in front of you – that will create a transformative experience for your students.
1. To move, breathe and feel in new, positive and exciting ways
2. To grow self-compassion and compassion for others, in that order.
3. To feel more confident in your ability to connect with and help others.
4. To own your unique gifts and voice, especially if you get nervous in front of people.
5. To discover what you are most passionate about doing in the world, and do more of that, even if that means not teaching regular yoga classes or having the most advanced physical yoga practice.
COLLEEN: That being a yoga teacher is attending to your own presence and regulation all while you are doing the very best you can to build relationships with your students.
What does SFTT offer that others don’t or that you wish your TT had?
MICHELLE: We teach you how to touch your students with great care and skill. We don’t teach you to make “corrections” or “adjustments”. We call it hands-on healing touch and hands-on assisting for a reason. We teach you how to “listen” with your hands and with your heart.
MARISHA: Our Yoga, Race, and Accessibility module!
What if I don’t want to teach? What will I get from the Stellarflow training?
MICHELLE: Our teacher training focuses on skillful sequencing, how to put the yoga poses together in a healthy way for maximum safety, deeper poses and healing. This will in turn help you to create a very exciting and deep home practice….I practice more at home than I do in class because I can give myself exactly what I need.
What’s going to be unique to this training because of where you are at now?
MARISHA: My experience with motherhood has evoked in me an intense desire to deconstruct my habitual ways of being and integrate my past. It has been a big two years of reevaluation: trying on what used to fit, seeing what still does, and seeking new input. In my teaching this means bringing in more of my movement self beyond the realm of yoga. I have years of training and exploration as a dance improviser, and general creative movement enthusiast. In 2017 I finished the Innercore Teacher Training for Pilates and I am now in my Pilates Apprenticeship. I am currently experimenting with the container of the yoga practice. I want to provide the familiarity and tradition of asana, vinyasa and pranayama, while also creating a laboratory environment for practical anatomical exploration as well as experimentation with energy, quality, dynamics and personal intention.
COLLEEN: For the past 10 years I have been studying and practicing somatic psychology. In that time, I have acquired my master’s degree and developed a therapy practice at a community mental health center….I continue to integrate helpful psychological theory in my teaching of yoga and offer yoga and mindfulness practices for those therapy clients who are interested. All this work has shown me the power of presence, compassion and relationship.
What do you love about teaching teachers?
MICHELLE: I love training teachers because I get to work very deeply within the setting of a teacher training. I have so many years of experience to share, and it gives me great satisfaction to be able to share my own pitfalls and triumphs with others. I appreciate the passion our trainees bring with them, and I feel so inspired to be able to encourage them and mentor them.
What brought you to your first teacher training?
MARISHA: A distant whispery voice I hadn’t heard before that said, “you should really study this and teach this because you need this.” It was around 2005 when I felt my ambitions shift from needing to accomplish and stand out, to needing to pause and connect.
What’s exciting to you right now?
MARISHA: I’m really excited about redefining “corework.” I still have lingering diastasis recti after pregnancy and birth and all of the abdominal exercises I taught and practiced for years and years don’t work in my body right now. I have had to coax all of my deep abs to work together in a softer, slower and more gathered way. If I work too hard or too quickly my condition worsens overnight. This has been difficult for me because I used to be able to pounce on arm balances, inversions or backbends without much preparation. I love crafting new language to help my students engage dimensionally to their own centers, and encouraging core aliveness and sensitivity rather than just core intensity and strength.
What unique gifts do you bring to the training?
COLLEEN: I have extensive training in somatic psychology and in the application of yoga to support nervous system regulation and trauma recovery, as well as experience meeting depression and anxiety.
MICHELLE: I have 16 years experience teaching yoga in a variety of different settings and forms: group classes, private sessions, corporate yoga, and workshops to different populations. Over the years, I’ve become so adept at sequencing that I can change an entire class in the moment if what I’ve planned won’t work for the people who show up. I have advanced studies in dance, craniosacral and dramatic art. I have studied voice, breathwork and how to skillfully make hands on assists. I’m very proud to have logged hundreds of hours of assisting my teacher, Ana Forrest, who is a Master Yoga Instructor. As an assistant, I was able to fine tune my ability to see/read energy and different bodies, to trust my intuition and to make both anatomical/physiological assists as well as more subtle energetic assists.