We are big fans of yoga here at The Happy Pear, and we love nothing more than a good handstand! Our gorgeous Graphic Designer, and self-confessed yoga-addict, Gerlinde, recently completed a yoga teacher training course, and is now a fully qualified yoga teacher. We caught up with her, to find out about where her love of yoga began, and to get an insight into what teacher training is really like…

Tell us about how you first got started doing yoga?

I started doing yoga about 8 years ago. My life was very busy at the time; I was studying and I knew that I needed to find some balance for myself. My friend had just returned from a yoga teacher training in India and offered to do a yoga session with me. I didn’t know much about yoga at that stage, so I decided to give it a go. After the class with her, I immediately felt more peaceful and lighter in my mind, and I knew I wanted more of it! From there, I signed up to a beginners yoga course in a studio near me and, over time, one class a week became two, and then I started to do yoga at home myself. Yoga has always been my go-to whenever I have felt that I needed some head space.

What style of yoga do you enjoy doing?

I really like vinyasa flow (a dynamic style of yoga that is sequenced with the breath), but I also like to do hatha yoga (a gentle and slower-paced style of yoga), as it allows me to clear my mind and get in tune with what is going on in my body. My job can be quite hectic and requires a lot of focus, so I find that slower types of yoga give me time to reflect on what is going on within me and around me.

What made you decided to do a yoga teacher training?

I have taken part in many yoga workshops over the years, and I have always been fascinated by yoga and the effect it has on the body; so a doing a teacher training had always been in the back of my mind. One of my teachers set up a teacher training course last year, so I felt that this year was the perfect time to do it. I wanted to do the course mainly to dive deeper into the world of yoga and expand my knowledge, rather than aiming to teach it. When I first signed up, I was really nervous, but that soon changed, and I was feeling very excited about it and eager to start!

Tell us about what the training was like?

I did a month-long, 200 hour course called ‘The Art of Teaching’, run by Sibylle Dallmann and Naomi Sturdy, in Yoga Dublin Studios. It was intense, as our hours were 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, but I really liked that aspect of it. It was great to be fully immersed in yoga on a daily basis, for a month, and not to have to return to work or the normal routines of life. Every day started with a two-hour yoga class, then we would examine different poses, yoga history and philosophy, as well as meditating and learning more about breathing techniques.

What parts of the training did you enjoy the most? Were there any aspects that you found challenging?

I really loved being with a group of like-minded people who had the same desires and focus as me. There were days that I found challenging, particularly one day, when I didn’t feel very well, but I was able to push through because I had the support of the group around me. There was a lot of information to take in, which at times was challenging. From the physical practice, to meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises), to all the information about history, philosophy, and anatomy. It was brilliant to have so much information but also difficult at times to absorb everything. My boyfriend, Laurence, told me that I even tried to teach our cat how to do a pose one night while I was sleeping!

Have you taught any classes since becoming a yoga teacher?

Yes, I have! I recently taught some of my work friends and I really enjoyed it! I definitely plan to teach some more.

What would your advice be to others who may be considering doing a yoga teacher training course?

I would advise people to go to some workshops and explore yoga a little deeper, before committing to a training. Get to know the styles of yoga you enjoy and do your research on what courses are out there. It’s a really amazing experience and I would highly recommend doing a training. You come away with so much great knowledge and understanding of all aspects of yoga.

Finally, Gerlinde, what is your favourite yoga pose, and what pose would you recommend for helping to relieve stress during the busy winter months ahead?

I really love doing handstands, even though they are super-difficult to do and I have had to work on them for years! I enjoy doing all the inversions (yoga poses where the body is upside down), as they are great for boosting energy levels. However, for me, the ultimate stress-relieving pose is simply putting my legs up the wall. It’s a lovely way to relax the legs and quieten the mind. To do the pose, lie down on the floor, with your legs rested up against a wall. Close your eyes, relax the whole body, and focus on your breath. You can stay in this pose for just a few breaths, or anywhere between five and fifteen minutes.
Thanks so much, Gerlinde! We hope you enjoyed learning more about what it takes to become a yoga teacher. If you would like to find out more about Gerlinde’s yoga journey, check out her recent blog post for Yoga Dublin Studios, or follow her on Instagram at @lindylovestuff. To find out more about The Art of Teaching Yoga Teacher Training, check out @theartofteaching on Instagram.