18 months ago, we began our very first Teacher Training Course. This summer, we welcome two of our graduates to the Yoga Kula teaching team! We’ve taken some time out with Gillian Felton + Liz Hurd, to hear about their new Yoga // Begin class which starts on Wednesday 3rd July at 11:30am. The first class is F R E E so ensure to book your space by clicking here.

Congratulations on graduating our TTC and on joining the Yoga Kula Teaching Team! 

Tell us about your class? Will you be teaching it together?

Both: Yoga // Begin works around a 6 week programme called GROW.  GROW is a new concept class for Kula and one that gives students the chance to try out different styles of yoga. Each week we’ll introduce you to a type of yoga, where one of us will take the lead with the other one there to provide help and encouragement. We want students to feel comfortable and confident to try something new in a safe and supportive environment.

Who is the class aimed towards?

Both: The class is an ideal stepping stone for students who have completed one of Kula’s beginners courses. Equally it is an opportunity for existing students to try out different styles of yoga.

What is the concept of the new class? Tell us about GROW.

Both: We often hear from those new to yoga that they are not sure what the difference is between the different types, styles or levels of yoga on offer at the studio and so are unsure as to which class to go to. We want to make that choice easier, and that’s where the idea for GROW came from. The programme is designed to run for six weeks, with each week focusing on a different type of yoga. You don’t have to attend them all, you can just drop in if there’s something that interests you. It’s all about introducing you to what’s on offer at the studio so you can continue to grow your practice in a way that suits you.

Liz: Beginners courses tend to be taught in a particular style, such as Hatha.  The idea behind the concept of GROW is to offer students an opportunity to try out different styles of yoga so they feel ready to come along to any class.

How have you found the transition from student to teacher?

Gillian:  A really exciting journey! And a little nerve wracking at times. It has given me a whole new appreciation of the work that goes into planning and delivering a great class. It is also one of the most rewarding experiences. Yoga Kula has amazing and very talented teachers and to be part of the team is like a dream come true.

What I would say is that the learning never ends. You learn something every time you teach and as a teacher it’s really important to plan and teach thoughtfully, listen to your students and never lose sight of your own development so that your teaching stays fresh and interesting. I don’t think we ever stop being students!

Liz: Amazing and exciting! It’s actually felt like a smooth transition as we’ve had the opportunity to gradually build up our teaching over the last six months of our TTC.  I feel really fortunate to be part of such a supportive team of teachers at Kula and to have trained with equally supportive TTC peers. It also helps to be teaching such lovely, welcoming Kula yogis.

Tell us about your yoga experience?

Gillian: After many years as a runner I felt like all my muscles had tightened up, lost all flexibility and were in need of a good stretch. That’s how I found myself in a Hot Yoga class at Kula! I have never looked back, and as my practice developed so did my understanding of the holistic benefits of yoga. A life changing yoga retreat to the foothills of the Himalayas started a deeper appreciation of the transformative powers of yoga on an emotional, physical and spiritual level. This sowed the seed of becoming a yoga teacher. I have a regular Hatha, Vinyasa and Yin practice, and can sometimes still be found in a Hot Yoga class!

Liz: I went to my first yoga class 20 years ago!  For the next 15 or so years, my practice was pretty sporadic as I dipped in and out throughout a busy career and three children.  It was around 5 years ago when something ‘clicked’ and I realised the transformative benefits yoga can bring to body and mind when juggling the everyday demands of work, children and family life and I haven’t looked back since then. Deepening my practice through workshops and intensive courses, completing a 40-hour Yoga Alliance accredited Kids yoga teacher training in 2018 and my 250-hour Yoga Kula Yoga Alliance accredited yoga teacher training in June 2019.  I love in particular to practise Vinyasa, Hatha Flow and Restorative yoga.

Liz + GillianIf you aren’t on the Yoga mat, where would we find you?

Gillian: As well as being a yoga teacher I am a Life Coach. My whole career has been spent working with people, developing them, coaching them, and encouraging them to be the best version of themselves – whatever that might look like. My approach to teaching yoga is compassionate, supportive and realistic and this is exactly the same as my approach to life coaching. It’s all about people getting to know themselves better and following the path that is right for them. And when I’m not doing that you’ll probably find me outside!

Liz: When I’m not on the mat, I’m usually either working on freelance projects in media and publishing or at home with family and friends.  I gain much of my inspiration for teaching when I’m outdoors, surrounded by nature and especially love the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, or being by the sea in one of our favourite places, Whitby.

How has your experience been as a student on our first TTC, and do you have any advice for someone considering doing a Yoga Teacher Training Course in the future?

Gillian: Life changing! It is such a well thought out programme lasting 18 months, lead by truly inspirational and experienced teachers. Like anything that is worth having it’s hard work, and of course you only get out of it what you are prepared to put into it. I found the first three months very challenging as I settled into what lay ahead.  Once I allowed myself to embrace the programme, give it the time it deserved, and take up any opportunity that came my way I really started to enjoy the experience. I have met some amazing people whose paths I wouldn’t otherwise have crossed, and I have really got to know myself. I am extremely proud to be a graduate of the first cohort.

Liz: It’s been an incredible, life-changing journey for me too.  It was a huge commitment for me to balance work, family, study and practice over the past 18 months but it was absolutely worthwhile.   I’ve felt so grateful for the opportunity to learn alongside such inspirational teachers and peers and proud to be a graduate of the first Yoga Kula TTC.  My advice for someone considering a Yoga TTC, would be to first establish a regular yoga practice, look out for workshops to deepen your practice and come and talk to the team and TTC graduates about getting started on your own teaching journey.

Who or what inspires you and your teaching?

Gillian: I always find this question really hard to answer as I am inspired by many things and many people, rather than one person or one thing. That said a huge inspiration is Clare Kerrigan, a truly wonderful, patient and talented yoga teacher. I have learnt so very much from her and continue to do so. I still maintain that if I can be half as good a teacher as she is I’ll be amazing!

For me it’s about always having an open mind, being curious, listening carefully and embracing all that comes your way.

Liz: Ooh, like Gillian, I’m inspired by many things; people, places and experiences.  All my yoga teachers have and continue to inspire my teaching.  Early on I found inspiration from Joey Miles’ Ashtanga teaching, Nichi Green’s Vinyasa classes and Adriene Mishler’s down-to-earth YouTube videos!  More recently I’ve drawn a great deal of inspiration from Yoga Kula teachers, Angela Sykes, Susi Wick and Binny Sandaal.  My sister and yoga teacher, Steph is a continuous inspiration to me and my teaching.

What part of joining the Kula timetable team are you most excited about?

Gillian: Being part of an amazing team in a studio that is vibrant, part of the community and accessible to all. The studio already offers a wide variety of classes from beginners right through to the more challenging. Something for everyone regardless of where you are on your yoga journey. What I love is that Angela is always on the look out for something new and is so open to fresh ideas. That’s exactly what GROW is all about. I’m also excited to be teaching a Beginners 4 week express course. What a privilege to support those just starting on their yoga pathway.

Liz:Gillian has pretty much summed up how I feel about joining the Kula team, I’m so excited!  I’m also very grateful to be given the opportunity to teach such a welcoming community of ‘Kulis’, alongside an incredibly talented and supportive team of teachers.

Would you like to add anything?

Gillian: Yoga is so much more than what happens on the mat. It has the potential to be a way of life, particularly in today’s ‘always on society’. I love the fact that it’s not competitive, it’s non judgemental and it doesn’t have an age limit on it. I am often asked how yoga has benefited me and my life? My answer is always the same ‘I just feel better. On every level.’

Liz: I’m so looking forward to teaching at Yoga Kula where I hope to inspire and encourage people to practice what feels good.  I feel so passionate about sharing the positive benefits that yoga can bring to all – it’s going to be fun – see you on the mat! ♡

To join Gillian Felton + Liz Hurd on Wednesday 3rd July for the launch of Yoga // Begin, ensure to book your space by clicking below.

Yoga // Begin

Starts // 3rd July, 11:30-12:30pm

Where // The Yoga Kula Studio