Chilling at Kripalu


Kripalu sunshine

Warm glow and pranayama

Found my Mother Ship


I am taking ten days for learning, chilling and Middle Ground nourishment.

May you too find space to expand and quiet to drop into this week.


Kripalu Training Awaits

Kripalu in springToday, I head north to Kripalu Yoga Center in the Berkshires. There’s still snow on the ground and cold winter temps to greet me. The perfect time to be nourished and restored.

I will stay in touch this time around.



Kripalu Training Awaits

Kripalu in spring
By the time you read this I will be at Kripalu Yoga Center in the Berkshires.

I am excited to be here for a five day program offered by Dr Timothy McCall (Physician and author of Yoga as Medicine) and Ginny Jurkin ( Physical Therapist and fellow Kripalu Yoga Teacher)

Ginny and I met at a module in our 300 hour Yoga Teacher Training, and we had a lot of fun together. I hope we get to play again in this wonderful learning environment😎

The intention of the program is to refine our ability to observe subtleties of anatomical alignment, breath, and even the elusive flow of prana, or life-force energy, in a wide variety of poses.
We will learn to view the body holistically, looking at the ways bones and muscles work together and how to assess tensegrity, which includes alignment, the smooth flowing of breath, and the balance of effort and ease in a posture.
We will also explore ways to work with imbalances and abnormalities, allowing us, our students, and our clients to go more deeply into poses for improved health, balance, and well-being.

Having a therapeutic approach to teaching yoga is so valuable, especially when working with older populations.
I’m looking forward to bringing back new insights into my classes and to share with my private clients, and fellow yoga teachers.

I will not be active on Find Your Middle Ground this week, but have scheduled some posts that I thought you might enjoy while I am away.

In the meantime, breathe easy my friends 💛

Finding the Right Yoga Teacher Training Program for you

kripalu yoga teacher trainingThe first level of Yoga Teacher Training recognized by Yoga Alliance, is 200 hours. Not all schools are the same, so its important to find the one that it is right for you.

There are three key aspects to take time to consider, before making this substantial investment of your time and money in becoming a yoga teacher.

1. Standards and Background
  • Take time to consider the standards and background of the training program on offer. Many studios offer teacher training programs in order to increase their revenue. The best programs exceed the minimum requirements; are in good standing with the Yoga Alliance; are clear in their payment structure; and have years of teacher training under their belt. Look for a Registered Yoga School that is in demand!
  • Traditionally, there is a lineage in yoga studios. The foundation of this is to honor the teachings of those who have gone before and ensure that the wisdom is carried forward. For example, my first 200 hour training was at East Eagle Yoga in Havertown. Joe and Nicole were experienced Hatha Yoga teachers who did their training at Yoga Life Institute, which is affiliated with the Yoga Institute of Mombai, India. Yoga philosophy, self inquiry, and meditating were emphasized, as well as asanas and some pranayama.
  • Different traditions have different approaches to Yoga, and what we would call nowadays “styles”. Here’s a link to a very helpful summary of the styles of yoga.
  • Choosing a style of yoga that resonates with you is important. Some schools are now “branded”, so you have to teach in a certain way or in certain locations. There is little opportunity for creativity or exploring different approaches.
  • Some schools are also strict on what is correct and what is wrong. This can lead to a rigid practice and a somewhat arrogant approach to teaching. In my experience, there is no right or wrong in yoga, as long as students honor themselves and are safe.
  • An other consideration in choosing a quality school,  is how many students are in the program, and even more important, the teacher student ratio. One-on-one time with an experienced teacher is incredibly valuable as you grow and expand your knowledge, skills and abilities as a yogi and a teacher.
  • Having a variety of teachers, in age, background, and style, can also make for a very interesting and stimulating experience.
2. Be Practical
  • Choosing the right program is more than finding the best deal. Studios wanting more cash flow may offer deep discounts, but may not have the standards or the personal approach that you are looking for. Be practical, and find the balance that is right for you.
  • Consider the length of the program and the amount of time required to become certified. Some programs may take several weekends out of your year, while others offer an intense few weeks in residence.
  • The experience of the teacher/s and how long the school has been teaching, is key. You will get so much more from the experience, and a lot more value for your money with teachers who have taught more than 1000 hours (which gives them the designation of E-RYT200 or E-RYT500). Teachers who have invested in furthering their own education also bring a depth of knowledge along with broader experience.
  • Look out for testimonials from recently certified teachers. Testimonials should be on their website, or their Yoga Alliance page. Even better, speak to yoga teachers and find out more about their personal experience.
  • Consider the format of the syllabus and classes. Is it practical for you and your life right now? If you are looking for less interaction and a quick certification, then an online training program or an intensive retreat in an exotic destination may be appeal. But seriously, consider how prepared and confident will you be when you get your certificate and teach in the real world with real people.  You may know the Sanskrit and be able to do a perfect Trikonasa, but do you know how to teach a class with different levels of abilities and experience, or what to say to someone who tells you they are pregnant?…
  • Research shows that we can only absorb so much new information at a time,  and it has to be reinforced or we lose what we learn. Time out for relaxation and reflection, as well as opportunities to journal are important ways to allow the information to be absorbed.
  • During and after the program there should be time for actual teaching. You may be surprised, but some schools don’t spend much time on how to teach at all! If you want to be a teacher, find good teachers and work with them on how to teach.
3. Be Inspired
  • The studio that you have been going to, and is close to home, may seem the obvious choice, but consider how many teachers there are now in your area who have been trained in the same way. Wouldn’t it be better for you, and future opportunities  to find a school where you could offer something different and inspire others? For example, right now there are hundreds of Vinyasa Flow Programs in studios all around the US,  but very few entry level programs that can support teaching to the growing population of older people.
  • We have discussed the importance of standards for programs and the teachers, but what about the minimal standards that applicants should meet? If you have been practicing yoga for some time and want to join a group of fellow experienced yogis, then this is an important aspect for your personal experience in the program. It may be charitable to offer training to inexperienced yogis, but inexperienced yoga students can take up class time and practicum hours.
  • Reach out and get answers to your questions! Many studios offer get togethers for interested students. This article from someone who was considering a Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training is helpful.
  • To make your choice the right one for you, take time to explore your own personal thoughts and feelings about yoga. Ask yourself these questions:

What am I passionate about?

What aspects of yoga am I really interested in?

What gifts do I want to share with my students later on?

What is the population I want to teach?

What support will I get to teach this population?

And then…

Does this align with a particular Yoga Teacher Program?

If you have read this far, I wish you all the best on your journey. It is an incredible one to embark on, that will undoubtedly change your life..

Namaste 🙏

Haiku – Kripalu Awaits



Take time for a break

Serenity is a choice

Kripalu awaits 


I will be away from February 24 through March 5 at Kripalu center for yoga and health

We all need to take time for ourselves and nurture our inner being and creative spirit. This trip is for a Yin Yoga Teacher Training program. I look forward to being in community with some wonderful, kind and talented yogis.

While I am away I will be taking a break from social media and blogging. Thank you for your understanding 🙏

See you on the other side 💛

*Kripalu Inspiration Haiku

This is a haiku that I wrote and shared at the graduation ceremony of my 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training at Kripalu.

kripalu graduation


In life’s pendulum

The highs and lows of being

Seek Self in the waves


Find your Middle Ground

The mother ship is calling

Kripalu Center


Yoga skills and tools

Challenged body and stretched mind

Space. Peaceful being


Prana life force freed

Breathe. Relax. Feel. Watch. Allow

Yoga’s real essence


Say yes to the breath

Letting go. Letting it flow

Drop down. Re-align


Overflowing love

Connections and friendships

Embracing true Self


Heartfelt gratitude

So much learned in just one year

More than most lifetimes


Thank you my teachers

Sudhir, Larissa, Coby

Rudy, Sudha .. twice


This is how it is

Unexpected freedom fries 😉

Here, Right here … And now



p.s. Affirmation for today onwards: I am an advanced Level Kripalu Yoga Teacher!

Wow. What a journey.


* Insights from my Kripalu YTT 500 Teacher Training – Mod 4

When I was at Kripalu last week I met amazing teachers from the world of physical therapy, structural therapy and nursing, as well as wonderful yogis who teach and inspire a diverse range of people.

You don’t have to be fit, flexible and under 40 to do yoga or enjoy all its benefits! But it is important to find a teacher with experience and skill to avoid injury or making your condition worse… That is why I attended this module.

I have acquired more knowledge and skills for safely teaching people of all sizes; those recovering from illness; moms-to-be; kids; seniors and people with disabilities; people impacted by trauma, depression or anxiety and a large population of shoulder and back pain sufferers. For the yogis out there I also learned about how to support people in rebalancing their doshas and bringing mind body and spirit into harmony.

Val's yoga class

This module was called Teaching Special Population Groups, but it seems to me that most people I come across fall into the one or more of the above categories.  The norm is in fact special. I like that 🙂

The main theme was to support whoever comes into a yoga class with compassion and skill.

The supporting theme that became evident early on is that sitting is bad for your health and well being. We are a chair culture and it isn’t doing our bodies any good.

Lee Albert said that sitting is the new smoking! Its bad for everyone’s health. If you want to find out more about his perspective as an Integrated Positional Therapist, then there are lots of tips on his website.

Our bodies were built for walking, squatting and lying down. Sitting on a chair or in the drivers seat for extended periods of time creates misalignments that lead to chronic back pain and shoulder issues, as well as other health problems.  Specific yoga poses can counteract this … and lead to better alignment and healthy backs and shoulders.

Yoga has its roots in spirituality and the journey to oneness, but it has evolved into an amazing tool box full of tools that can support every body in bringing peace of mind and physical well being.

I feel grounded in this knowing, yet am excited to share these new perspectives with my yoga peeps.