Tribal Belly Dancer to Yogini

Emma attended the March to July 2012 intensive 

Emma now works full-time as Yoga Teacher in Wrexham and runs Yoga workshops for Dancers in the UK.

At sixteen years of age, I was first  introduced to Yoga through an exercise DVD. I had spent my childhood attending dance classes and wanted to maintain flexibility and tone. I soon found with more practice that there was a whole lot more to Yoga than I realised, my general well being had improved. A few years later I  joined a Belly Dance class and later a Tribal Belly Dance class. Yoga really helped to strengthen my dance practice and let me progress further in my dance. I enjoyed Yoga so much that I wanted to share it with others, and my wish was to be able to teach other dancers who would benefit from Yoga not just physically but also mentally and spiritually. On a personal note I wanted to learn more about the background of Yoga.

Before I started my training I had spoke to a friend who was nearly at the end of her Yoga teacher training. She had confided in me that it would be a real journey and she was absolutely right. I thoroughly enjoyed the training and found that as a group of teacher trainees we bonded really well and helped each other out. Prior to coming onto the course I  had been practising Yoga for just over 10 years and I felt very ready to start.  

I found it challenging. Sometimes I found studying the spiritual texts about Yoga challenging as I began to question and reflect how I viewed Yoga and myself. Overall the general discipline required was challenging at times, especially getting up early on a weekend and making sure I had a regular practice and then logging it in a Yoga journal on a daily basis. The training was challenging in a good way and required discipline. There was a lot to learn and also it questioned me on how I felt about my self e.g not judging myself. I think all the teacher trainees in my group had moments where we all wondered whether we could finish the course and become Yoga teachers. But we all kept going and by the end we all passed! This was just part of the journey really.

Emma Wheel Ian Woodward Photo nWhat I learnt about myself is that I needed to have faith in myself and the world around me and to relax more into life and let things be.

One of my  favourite parts of the course was our discussions about ethics which really made me think. In addition I loved the drumming sessions from  a guest teacher Biant. I also enjoyed the Yoga lunches I had with my fellow teacher trainees and teachers, such a good way to get to know each other and share some yummy food too.

My biggest surprise was how much more there is to Yoga than just Asanas (Yoga poses). They really are just the tip of the iceberg. I’d also say how much of a Journey it has been for myself and my fellow trainees as well. The course has changed all of our lives in different ways and we have come out of it happier and more relaxed.

Any tips / advice for Yoga Teacher Trainees? Make lots of notes! I still look back on my notes to refresh my mind for making plans for classes and for my personal practice. Also make sure you have plenty of time for your Yoga work outside of the course including a personal Yoga Practice. Your learning doesn’t stop when you leave the studio.

Since the course finished I have moved to Wales to live with my boyfriend. I have set up weekly Yoga classes and I am also teaching workshops on Yoga for Dancers in various parts of the country and also at Belly Dance events. I still meet up with the other teacher trainees on the course and talk about what we have done since. We are all now teaching Yoga in different ways and we have all said we are glad we made to decision to do the course.

My one final tip to anyone embarking on the course Enjoy the course don’t focus on the end result, instead enjoy the journey.

Note: Permission to use the photograph of Emma has been kindly granted by Ian Woodward .