Yoga Mama: Edna Barr Discusses Her Upcoming Teacher Training

April 19, 2012 / Aaron

I haven't met a single YB yogi or yogini who isn't a huge fan of the insanely talented, warm, focused, and hilarious Edna Barr. I recently moved to San Francisco, and have been dropping in at different studios just for fun, and NO ONE holds a candle to my beloved Yoga Belly. The instructors here have spoiled me, I'm not just impressed with any old yoga class anymore!

Anyway, as many of you know, we will be hosting an upcoming teacher training this spring. I was curious about it myself, so I asked Edna to sit down and answer a few questions about what the training will cover. Here are her insightful answers, and I thought I'd pass them on to anyone who's still on the fence...


-What will this class cover/involve?

This course is accredited with Yoga Alliance so we have to cover everything they require in order to register with them. Yoga philosophy, history, all eight limbs in detail.

-Who would benefit from taking this class/training?

Anyone & everyone! I have been on staff teaching this course internationally for the past 3 years & I fall in love with it over & over again. Even though we are covering the same information; it is so profound each & every time. Information ministers to us on different levels during different times in our lives. It is always an awakening as well as a reminder of what is truly important.

-What will a typical class look like?

The course is broken down into 3 hour sessions that cover a variety of topics so there no real "typical" session. The teaching style is repetitive so we will do a daily review of Sanskrit to ensure memory retention. Other than that, each session will be a new experience!

-How did you train to become a yoga teacher?

Haha! I have never heard this question before but the more I think about it, the more I feel that they should be a very common question. Yes, we absolutely must train to become a yoga teacher... There is a misconception that once you complete your YTT course; one is ready to start teaching but nobody trained them to teach...
You train by first being taught how to teach. Then you practice, get feedback, practice some more & get more feedback. A teacher training course is a safe space to learn, practice, get feedback & sharpen your skills before making a public debut. Too many courses out there do not prepare you for this. Rather they leave you to debut as an amateur instead of a professionally trained instructor. Becoming a teacher takes time & experience, but one should have a solid foundation from which to build upon.

-What do you hope to share with your students?

Wow, everything. I hope to share yoga... The full meaning, the full experience, the complete satisfaction & joy of yoga. That samadhi, even a tiny morsel of it, is wondrous.

-How is this program different from other teacher training programs out there?

Well, I mentioned some of it above where this course will prepare you to actually teach. There is a difference between an instructor who calls out cues & instructs and a teacher who can asses the room & actually teach. Once again it takes time & experience to learn to teach but standing in front of a crowded room reciting a generic script is not going to help anyone deepen their practice. I have students who have been practicing much longer than I have; never would I assume that I could teach them something but I do have the ability to assist them to go deeper.

This course is different because it is completely interactive. We don't just give you a reading assignment & hope that you fully comprehend it. We come back & discuss it, find out if & how it resonated with you. We don't want you to simply memorize the philosophy; we want you to understand how to live by it & make this life the best it can be.

We spend each day going over hands on assists & adjustments. I was speaking to the owner of an award winning studio last week & she said mentioned that they don't teach assist in their YTT because of the liability. I responded by saying, "well even more so the importance to teach instructors the proper way to assist." She nodded her head in agreement...

-How is teaching this program different from teaching your regular asana classes?

Oh gosh, another fantastic question! When we teach an asana class that is what we are there for. Too many teachers insist on cramming every element of yoga into a 60-90 minute class. Many students also expect a full yogic experience in this same amount of time. The truth is none of it can be rushed... If you want to learn philosophy, study it. If you want to learn meditation, study it. If you want to learn more pranayama techniques, study it. You come to an asana class to learn asana. Sure we practice a bit of pranayama but only as it pertains to the asana. Perhaps we throw in some calming, restorative breathing or meditation techniques but to think that 5 minutes of pranayama, 10 min warm up for asana, 30 minutes of asana, 5 minutes of restorative, 5 minutes meditation & 5 minutes of savasana with the instructor constantly talking you through each minute is a complete yogic experience... *sigh* That isn't it...

More often than not people say that my classes are not spiritual enough which makes me laugh because I have practiced yoga my entire life. I grew up with meditation, the wonder & awe of life, spent a lot of time in the Hare Krishna temple as a teenager. Just because I don't feel the need to preach one thing in the classroom & turn around & live another doesn't mean that I do not live in a constant state of truth & bliss... How I can teach others to obtain this same bliss? I cannot... It is their journey to learn to surrender, seek knowledge & accept.

This is what I truly hope to share in this course. I hope that it will change everyone who attends the way that it has changed me. I have always been able to see the divine light in others but it took a lot of work to finally see the divine light in myself.