What Makes an Extraordinary Yoga Teacher?
By Michelle Cordero
There is a trap in teaching in a place like the Bay Area where there is so much yoga: you begin to pander to your students, they expect X so you deliver X. I feel some teachers just checking off the ‘to-do’ list:
- Sun salutations, check
- Something really hard, check check
- End with a backbend, check
- Namaste, check.
Does this sound familiar? Have you wondered how to make your classes more authentic and resonant? Stay inspired? Avoid burnout? Stand out from the crowd?
I am in love with the art and science of Hatha Yoga, and I love teaching teachers – it’s when I’m at my best. Time seems to stop, I’m completely focused and present. Together we get to go deeper and create magic in the combined flow of our energies. I want everyone who teaches to be able to offer this kind of unconditional love to their students if they so desire. It’s an incredible gift for both the teacher and the student.
If you’re feeling called to uplevel your teaching skills, including class planning and sequencing, assists and working with energy, as well as finding and sharing your unique voice, this training, spread across 3 weekends may be for you.
Extraordinary Yoga Teacher Training
Open to 200-hour certified yoga teachers of any style or lineage
January – March 2108
Learn more about Michelle on her website: www.michellecordero.com and read on to hear more about what makes this training unique and relevant to today’s teachers and world.
What’s going to be unique to this training because of where you are at now? What can’t you wait to share?
I’ve studied Visionary Craniosacral work with Hugh Milne for almost two years now. This practice has showed me the path toward trusting myself and my intuition. First, just learning to use my hands to “listen” to energy and trust where I feel someone needs my touch. In a yoga class, this could be to create more space, more energy flow, or to release emotional stuck spots. I take more time with assists now, and I’ve learned to keep my eyes open when making energetic hands on assists – it’s so cool, to stay present and ‘listen” where I previously had to close my eyes and go inward first.
When I first started teaching yoga I didn’t touch my students, I kept my distance in fact. It’s indicative of where I was in my 30’s: still figuring out intimacy and how to have an open heart and allow myself to be truly vulnerable and open in relationships. I’m not just talking about romantic relationships, I was very shut down with my family and friends – those closest to me knew the person I chose to put forward. If you get to know me now, I believe you experience a more fully present and caring Michelle. This is part of what I want to offer teachers to help take their teaching to the next level. The world needs each of us to show up and bring our gifts fully.
What sparked your interest in and ongoing delight in this topic?
I want to grow an army of teachers that I’d like to take class with! I really don’t like the direction that I see the yoga world going in…with the rise of social media challenges and instagram where all we see are beautiful people doing beautiful poses in exotic locales sometimes scantily clad. When friends tell me they think yoga is competitive – I have to pause. It hurts my heart, but I can’t say that they are having a misperception. It’s true: for many people yoga has become a platform of youth and beauty. The wise elders, which I hope that I’m becoming, are currently being pushed aside or worse, ignored. That is incorrect. We are the wisdom keepers, and we (those who have been teaching or practicing for twenty years minimum) are the ones that need to rise up and define where yoga goes from here. I want to be on the cutting edge of crafting the future of yoga. It’s fine for people to take fast yoga classes with music and no attention to alignment, but ultimately they are likely to come back to classes and teaching like mine for two big reasons: 1. injury 2. age. You might not get injured, but as you age I believe a certain amount of ego, competition, striving, goes by the wayside.
There is a softer way to be in the world. I’m not suggesting that we stop working out, breaking a sweat and staying fit. I love my body and being fit. I also love to meditate and to be still much more than ever. The high intensity endorphin producing workouts may be a temporary solution to feeling stressed and wanting to be fit. However, the slower more mindful movement of a yoga practice combined with understanding of the 8 limbs of yoga philosophy is a more lasting shift. In the age of Trump and climate change, we are looking at a marathon of stresses coming at us almost daily. I believe that a mindful approach to fitness with a component that brings us into feeling mode as opposed to “go” mode, is critical to our longevity.
What’s exciting you right now?
Creating and being in community. My communities have never before felt so important to me. Life as I’ve known it feels very uncertain right now, and daily attacks on my values, my people, and women in general have me very concerned to put it mildly. The importance of a spiritual practice at this time is immense. We also need to move our bodies, and feel what’s really going on underneath the surface. It feels more important than ever to do more as a teacher than guide a physical experience.
About Michelle Cordero: An expert sequencer, Michelle is currently most influenced by Ana Forrest and the Forrest Yoga principles of teaching and sequencing. In over two decades of practice, Michelle has studied almost every influential modern style of hatha yoga in depth. She loves vinyasa flow that is creative and physiologically sound. Her experience includes studies in Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa Flow, Bikram and Anusara. She has been teaching in the Bay Area since 2002, and has built her career on her integrity and passion for teaching skillfully and mindfully. Over the years, Michelle has honed her personal style and aims to show up to each class authentically and with a sense of humor, curiosity and compassion for her community.