The practice and study of yoga are rooted in the knowledge that we are multi-dimensional and holistic beings. We can’t separate out our mind from our body or our body from our spirit. We take what is happening in our lives onto our mat, and what we work out and transform on our mats translates directly into our lives. What is most important is that we show up on our mat with dedication to our practice and a sincere intention. There’s no better way to say it than “Mind the Mat.”
You don’t have to know how to do a headstand to join our program, but you will learn how to teach it!
Many students enroll in Mind the Mat’s Yoga Teacher Training in order to deepen their relationship to their yoga practice, because they know yoga has the power to transform their lives in rich ways. Reasons such as personal growth or stress management may be the primary reason, above wanting to be a teacher. Some choose to go on to teach and some do not. Molly Green, a recent graduate says:
Looking back, I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I HADN’T decided to do my yoga teacher training. Yoga has been an important part of my life ever since I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. I wanted to complete this training to dive deeper into my personal practice and learn how to be able to share the practice with others. The transformation that occurred and the things that I gained from teacher training are priceless. Being immersed in my practice for a month really changed my perspective on my practice, my life, and myself. I will be forever grateful for the knowledge, support, and community that I gained at Mind the Mat during the teacher training.
As was true for Molly, when we experience different conditions in our bodies, it can motivate us become more serious about our health and to become more dedicated to our yoga practice. Similarly, Sarah Montgomery, another recent graduate shared with me:
One week before I started the teacher training, I found out I was pregnant. I was concerned about not being able to do my ‘before pregnancy best.’ Almost every day of teacher training I was exhausted and nauseous. Over the course of four weeks, striving to do my best transformed into awareness of who I truly am. This awareness helped me learn that who I am in the present moment is all I need. The feeling of being satisfied with who I am, just as I am sprouted from instruction by Mind the Mat teachers, conversations with fellow students, and diving within myself. Overall, teacher training taught me that yoga is learning who you are in the now, without judgement. It is this sense of non-judgmental awareness that I continue to take with me, off my mat, and into the world.
Sarah’s pregnancy and how it changed her understanding of yoga has motivated her to take her teaching in a specific direction. She is now mentoring with me to learn how to teach specialized classes such as prenatal and post pregnancy.
Michael, our Director of Yoga Teacher Training is serious about yoga, but doesn’t take himself too seriously.
The desire to share our own personal experiences and help others is strong in most people who chose to teach yoga. Here’s what Pamela Sullivan, another recent graduate, had to say:
Becoming a yoga instructor was a life goal for me. I spent the better part of a year researching the best resources for my journey. I chose Mind the Mat after getting to know some of the instructors through classes. It was the best decision I could have made. The Summer Immersion embraces a holistic approach to yoga and presents a deep dive into the history, philosophy, and postures. This training gave me the tools to understand myself and clarify my path to helping teens through yoga.
Through Mind the Mat’s charity Mind What Matters Program, Pam is now developing a yoga curriculum for pre-teens at Hammond Middle School in Alexandria, who may not otherwise have that opportunity.
This summer, Mind the Mat offered our first Yoga Teacher Training Summer Immersion, six days per week, 7am – 5pm, for one month. It went swimmingly, so much so, that we are bringing it back again next summer!
Goofing off and bonding after graduation.
Meanwhile, we about to start our Fall 5-month Program, which meets every other weekend. If you’d like to deepen your yoga practice, transform your life, and/or become an exceptional yoga teacher like the ladies above, Sign Up Now! A $250 discount on tuition is available with this coupon from Alexandria Stylebook.
Sara VanderGoot, CMT, e-RYT 200, RYT 500, is Co-founder of Mind the Mat Pilates and Yoga and Director of Mind the Mat Yoga Alliance certified teacher training program. Sara is an experienced Registered Yoga instructor with Yoga Alliance. She studied Interdisciplinary Yoga with Don and Amba Stapleton in Nosara, Costa Rica and at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Sara is Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, licensed by the Virginia Board of Nursing. Sara has been practicing massage therapy, including specialties Prenatal Massage, Postpartum Massage, Deep Tissue Massage and Thai Yoga Massage, in Del Ray, Alexandria for over 15 years and a yoga instructor for 7 years. At Mind the Mat she specializes in Prenatal Yoga, Postpartum Core Yoga, Mommy and Me Core Yoga, Partners Yoga, and Hot Flow Yoga. Sara frequently acts as a birth companion for many of her clients, doing massage and yoga during labor and delivery to facilitate comfort during both medicated and unmedicated births. Before becoming a massage therapist and yoga instructor, she was a lawyer in the Washington D.C. area and found that the healing practices of massage and yoga brought a balance to her life that she had been searching for.
Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga was founded in 2008 by Megan Brown, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Polestar Certified Practitioner of Pilates for Rehabilitation and Sara VanderGoot, Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher (e-RYT 200, RYT 500). In their private practices as physical therapist and massage therapist respectively Megan and Sara observed that many of their clients were coming in with similar needs: relief for neck and shoulder tension and low back pain as well as a desire for more flexibility in hips and legs, stability in joints, and core strength.
Together Megan and Sara carefully crafted a curriculum of Pilates and yoga classes to address needs for clients who are pregnant, postpartum, have injuries or limitations, who are new to Pilates and yoga, and for those who are advanced students and are looking for an extra challenge.