what my mentors mean to me

Ahead of the start of her inaugural triyoga teacher mentoring programme, Mia Togo shares about her personal mentors (including Seane Corn, Annie Carpenter and Maty Ezraty) as well as her experience as a mentor at Yoga Works. She also touches on the importance of mentors and what students can expect from the upcoming six-month programme. The application deadline for the mentoring programme is Wednesday, 04th September 2019 – so if you’ve completed a 200-hour teacher training, have about two years’ teaching experience and would like to join Mia on a journey of self-discovery, we’d love for you to join us. Booking details are shared below. 

Many years ago as I was working on my degree in psychology at UCLA, I felt disheartened by the amount of self-loathing I carried with me. I knew so much about how to change my thoughts, yet the feelings of low self-worth were incessantly standing guard to block real happiness. Through a troubled relationship in my 20’s I stumbled into the house of Mona Miller who became my therapist, teacher, guide and my mentor. My work with her changed the trajectory of my life from circling in fear to stepping forward into the truth of what needed healing.

Shortly after I made my way to Yoga Works where I began my practice with many senior and wise teachers. Maty Ezraty who was a founder of Yoga Works along with teachers like Seane Corn, Lisa Walford, Annie Carpenter all shaped the direction of my practice and eventually my teaching. The thing they all have in common is they helped me see my blind spots with truth, no BS, a lot of compassion, then it was up to me to do the inner work to transform and find my authentic voice.

What is a mentor?
A mentor is a person who has addressed their struggles, walked down a path of their own healing process, and has had the courage to transform their life. It is an ongoing process and every day we show up on the mat to strengthen our body, open our mind, and live in this world with more love and connection. The main directive of yoga is avidya – to lift the veil of illusion so we are not ignorant of who we truly are. As yoga teachers we are instructing more than poses, we are facilitators of the essence and principles of yoga. The yoga world has blown up and with it comes the accessibility to more people, awesome! The shadow side is that the roots of this discipline are being watered down into physical fitness.

Maty, who we have recently lost was a teacher’s teacher, once told me:

 

“If we come to yoga with a goal-oriented mind, we inhibit our growth and enlightenment.”

Yoga has taught me to slow down and create space for my development on and off the mat. I have been a mentor in Los Angeles for over a decade in the 300-hour professional programme for Yoga Works. It was a space I felt passionate about holding so newer teachers felt supported and challenged to untangle their blocks, dig into their perceived weaknesses and grow their unique teaching voice. One of the modules I created and taught was “No mud, no lotus.” Through our honest dive into the good, bad, and the ugly of life, we heal and own shame-based voices of lack and own our brilliant light.

Our job as teachers is to hold space with integrity so our students feel safe to explore their challenges, look at their own limited beliefs about themselves, and feel into the sensations that arise. It is not a fast track, it is the patience to tune in, and breathe. Often the reactive tendency to check out will shift as we stay present with our unconscious thoughts and feelings that have been driving our choices. This puts us back in the driver’s seat so we can direct our practice and life with more skill and authenticity. As teachers we must stay on course with our practice so we can show up not taking on the projections or adorations of our students. We are not there to heal anyone, they’re already whole and need to find their own way back home in a supportive, safe space.

I am honored to hold this space for the next six months as we embark on a journey together. The work with my mentees in this program will include refining:

– how to sequence intelligently and being clear with teaching cues that enrich our students’ experiences

– how to approach hands on adjustments

– developing a home practice

– trusting your inner guidance and teaching from your truth

– how to handle your triggers as a teacher and the self-work it takes to remain a facilitator of truth

– how to welcome everybody, story and experience level in your class with kindness and non-judgement

Doing advanced poses does not mean your mind is advanced. The path of yoga involves looking at how our minds as teachers needs to be cleared so our work is not about feeding our ego and fears. We are all human and can get caught in the confusion of how and what to teach. My work is to help you see what it’s teaching you and how to transmute that into wisdom and growth. This adventure is a deep dive into your own temple and welcome the alchemy of transformation. In the messiness of our own stories, we separate, learn, grow, own what has splintered off, and come back to source wiser and embodied in the unique voice that is ours. This is the lotus and blossoming that allows you to stand in your center and teach from your truth with love and compassion.

Are you ready to discover and refine your unique voice? The application deadline for the mentoring programme ends on Wednesday, 04th September 2019. Click here to learn more about the triyoga teacher training programme with Mia Togo.

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