We asked Amy to tell us about how she first decided to enroll in the 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga North ISYI, and what she’s been doing since her Teacher Training experience. Here’s what she told us.
I found my way to yoga in my early 20s and fell in LOVE with faster paced Vinyasa style classes. I was energized by the flow and the feeling of synchronizing my breath with movement. It felt like the perfect way to unwind after long hours at work.
Reaching into my 30s something seemed to shift within my body. Although I continued to practice yoga regularly, I began to experience frequent migraines and had persistent pain and tension in my back, shoulders, neck, and hips. I regularly visited a chiropractor for adjustments and had frequent massages, but I was unable to find long lasting resolution.
I started the Yoga North ISYI 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training program in September of 2017 with hopes of learning more about yoga philosophy and strategies to deepen my personal practice; but I gained so much more.
At Yoga North ISYI, I found a supportive community and a rich yoga practice grounded in wisdom from the Himalayan tradition. Their unique approach incorporated gentle somatic exercises to support the release of unconscious muscular contractions. These exercises were new to me and were so gentle that I couldn’t imagine they would be beneficial, but within a few weeks of practice I felt a significant shift happening within my body. Pain and tension that had lingered for years was melting away and my heels spontaneously hit the ground in a downward facing dog (what?!?! a first for me even after years of yoga practice). My headaches also became less frequent and I found more ease in my life off the mat too.
Yoga North’s 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training program taught me how to weave the ethical principles of yoga into my daily life (as we studied the Yamas & Niyamas). I also learned simple techniques to better manage the stress of life (such as breath practices and meditation). The training taught me to how to be more in touch with what was happening in my body and strategies to bring myself back into balance. I learned how to create a customized practice that I can easily adjust to meet the needs of my body and mind day to day. Rather than looking outside myself, the training at Yoga North ISYI taught me how to turn inward and connect more deeply with myself (or my little “s” self as they would say at Yoga North). My personal practice has shifted to become much more intuitive. Some days it’s primarily slow and gentle movements and other days I explore larger more expansive postures (but now with more awareness and intention). In addition to yoga, the 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training program also included training in Ayurveda lifestyle wisdom, outlining a personalized daily lifestyle routine and strategies to nourish our bodies according to the seasons.
As I progressed through the 200 hour training, I realized I definitely wanted to share what I was learning with others. As a part of our training, we were encouraged to contemplate and explore if there was a niche within the yoga that was of special interest to us. Maybe it was because of my nursing background, but I realized I had a strong desire to guide yoga practices in less traditional settings. I also wanted to blend Yoga North’s SomaYoga methodology with the trauma-informed approach I had been introduced to through nursing. This was an easy thing to do as SomaYoga emphasizes interoception (sensing the body from within), utilizes language of inquiry or exploration, and applies a gentle invitational approach in each practice.
Near the end of my teacher training experience, I attended an intensive weekend with Molly McManus from Yoga North to learn additional strategies to support those struggling with stress, anxiety, or depression. I also completed a 40-hour training in Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) with David Emerson and Jenn Turner at Kripalu.
Soon after graduating from Yoga North’s 200 hour program, I was hired by The Emily Program to guide yoga groups in their intensive outpatient eating disorder treatment center. I enjoy being a part of an interdisciplinary team at The Emily Program and find it rewarding to share gentle yoga practices with people who are working to recover from an eating disorder. Last year I also began working as the National Director of Yoga Services at The Emily Program and it has been wonderful to connect and collaborate with so many incredible yoga teachers around the country.
In addition to my work for the Emily Program, I co-own Yara Yoga LLC in Duluth, MN. Under Yara Yoga, I work 1:1 with private clients. I also guide yoga practices at a variety of locations in the Duluth area including: The Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment, The Duluth Bethel, and for the South St. Louis County 6th Judicial DWI Treatment Court. I often attend DWI court after yoga and I couldn’t be more inspired by the program or the participants. When asked about the impact of yoga, one DWI court participant explained, “I feel less stressed, more relaxed, happier, and healthier.” In March, I’ll also begin guiding a few practices a week at the new Full Circle Yoga Studio in the Lincoln Park Craft District. It’s a beautiful bright space in a vibrant little neighborhood.
Last year I transitioned out of hospital work, and now sharing the practice of yoga with others is my full-time job. It’s wonderful to say that my schedule and my heart are both full. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to complete my 200 hour program at Yoga North ISYI and I’m currently enrolled in their +350/500 hour Level I Yoga Therapy Training program (and I’m loving that too).
Watch Amy’s Testimonial video and learn more about our 200+ Hour Therapeutic Focus Yoga Teacher Training