I have made strides in being the observer and the observed. I have discovered that the Axis Yoga Teacher Training program has given me the extra push and support I needed to make those changes. I have come leaps and bounds from where I was 5 years ago, spiritually, mentally, and physically. I have made strides on my own that have positively affected my relationship to myself and to others and have helped shaped a more free, connected, and positive view of the world around me. Axis has given me support to pursue those changes I have been waiting to make and given me a community to be accountable to in the most enriching way. I am so grateful for this experience and am excited to keep applying what I am learning for more growth and understanding for myself and those around me.
Some have called Colorado the mecca of yoga. And as the popularity of both yoga and Colorado have grown, the number of certified yoga teacher training programs have skyrocketed. A quick internet search will turn up dozens of training programs throughout the Denver-Metro area. But it can be challenging to determine which yoga teacher training program is right for you.
To help make this process easier, we have created a free guide to Evaluating Denver’s Yoga Teacher Training Programs that includes 10 must-ask questions and a bonus worksheet you can use to evaluate the programs you are considering.
The answers to these questions will not only narrow down your search, but will also help guide you to the training program that meets your specific needs as a yoga practitioner and future yoga teacher (if you choose to go that route).
A representative from the Denver program that you are considering should be available via email, phone or even face-to-face through open house events. If you are having difficulty getting your questions answered, this could be a sign that the program may not be a good fit.
Print and fill out the comparison worksheet at the end of this guide to help make narrowing down your selection easier. With the answers to these questions, you can find the Denver yoga teacher training program that best aligns with your values and aspirations.
Remember that the benefits of your training will feed you well for the rest of your life, far beyond the length of the program. I’m excited for you and the amazing journey you are about to embark upon. Namaste.
Yoga gives us time and space to hear ourselves, to feel our emotions, to connect to who we are apart from the distractions of our world. This isn’t always comfortable. Many times it’s easier to gloss over unwanted thoughts and feelings rather than to connect and process them. The following posts were written by an Axis Yoga Teacher Training student who decided to confront this discomfort in order to create change. As part of the YTT course, students experiment with chosen Yogic and Ayurvedic principles. With the instructors’ guidance, these experiments allow the students to feel first-hand the impact simple changes can have on daily life.
I struggle with addressing my disliked emotions and energies. I associate words like “anger” and “anxious” with shame, and so I generally avoid recognizing those presences within my body and mind. I choose quick-fix, lazy distractions instead. Gently and kindly observing manifestations within and external is a new practice for me, one that I exercise with variability. I continue to desire for groundedness in this endeavor, and to conversely but just as fluidly, let go of the experiences. To quiet my mind and warm my heart, I decided to experiment with relaxing and soothing Ayurvedic methods before bedtime. I hypothesized that this nightly routine would help me to engage more honestly and compassionately with my surroundings and myself.
I chose the following as my evening routine: 1) light incense, 2) massage coconut oil into my feet, 3) meditate (keep the mind on the breath) for 15 minutes, and 4) drop lavender essential oil on my pillow. From the onset I took notes to outline my experiment and to tinker with the design. On night one I learned that meditation should follow massaging the coconut oil, versus the opposite order, so that my mind would be most quiet directly before I placed my head on my pillow. Night one also taught me that I should not look at my phone light directly before turning towards sleep; I used an app called Insight Timer to measure the minutes of my meditation, and I decided that I would close out of the app in the morning to avoid the irritation of the phone light prior to closing my eyes. I learned, as one of the Axis mentor’s had stated, that a little bit of oil goes a long way.
I experienced profound peace within the first couple of nights of experimentation. On night 2 of the experiment I had this crazy thought: that if I were to not wake up, things would be ok…it wasn’t that I didn’t want to wake up, I’d just be ok with not waking up, too. This thought occurred in the few moments after I had tucked myself into bed and before I fell peacefully asleep. I did, of course, wake up the next morning, joyful and well-rested and smelling lavender. But the warmth of that thought stopped me in my mental tracks throughout the following days, likely because of it’s supreme oppositeness to general thought patterns of my life, and specifically a grand fear surrounding the mystery of death. It was an interesting experience.
I practiced every night for the first 8 nights. I felt more aware of my disliked sensations throughout the day, and I chose to recognize their presence and breathe through them. I was more aware of liked sensations, too! I experienced lightness as I woke in the morning, and I felt gratitude for a calming night’s sleep. I found myself abiding in greater clarity.
As time went on, I practiced the evening routine inconsistently, in both occasion and quality. By three weeks’ end, I engaged with the routine with genuine intention about two-thirds of those nights. Sometimes I lazily chose distractions because they seemed momentarily easier. Almost always, I felt the ramifications of evading the practice. I found it more difficult to recognize internal sensations as they arose, rather noticing these vibrations when they had already grown large enough to usurp homeostatic and healthy functionalities. Basically, I got madder, sadder, and anxious-er more often.
There have been some other changes in my choices during this experimental period. For the last 10 or so mornings, I’ve oil pulled with coconut oil before brushing my teeth, varying in duration between 5 and 15 minutes. I enjoy this morning purification process. I also choose to eat mostly pitta-pacifying foods; I often eat a few pieces of ginger before a meal and I drink more tea each day. I avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight (something I used to bathe in!), and I am more aware of dodging pitta-aggravating substances and environments. These are all new undertakings that I believe have happened somewhat subconsciously but in connection with my experimental and more structured evening practice.
Sometimes it just takes one small change to trigger a series of healthy transitions.
This is something Axis Yoga Teacher Training students have the chance to experience first-hand. The following student committed to adding a short Yoga practice to the morning routine and soon experienced the desire to make other healthy changes. This all resulted in better awareness of what the body needs and a commitment to continue making positive changes. Axis YTT students prove over and over again, every journey really does start with one small step!
I have a tendency to aim higher than I can jump, so for my Ayurvedic experiment I decided to keep it simple. My goal: To do just ten sun salutations, the eight Kriyas, and some meditation every morning. This turned into other things as well – drinking water with lemon every morning, as well as meditating before bedtime and avoiding screen time in the hours of the evening. The hope: that my energy throughout the day would be more focused and that I would be able to use some of that energy to keep my life more organized.
I have always loved mornings, so setting aside time for me first thing in the morning has been lovely. I rearranged my room so that I have a place – a very small place, but still – to do my yoga and meditation, and, as a result my room stays more organized. My energy throughout the day is much more stable – part of that may also be due to the fact that I don’t usually feel like I need to drink coffee after my morning practice, so my caffeine intake has dropped severely. This doesn’t mean that at first I didn’t want to just keep drinking coffee anyways – but that I noticed I didn’t want it as much, and then made an active decision to stop consuming it. The same goes for alcohol – not that I was much of a drinker anyways, but it has come to my attention that even drinking on the weekends once in a while (which so much of our culture finds totally acceptable) is detrimental to the rest of your week.
Something else I noticed about having my own personal practice was that I felt more of the ‘side-effects’ of yoga than I do when simply attending classes. Although I attend some of the same classes week after week, they are never at the same time every day, and they usually don’t start until around nine in the morning. Not to mention the task of getting ready to leave the house- getting up and having my asana space there and ready made ‘getting to yoga class’ incredibly easy! Once I got into the rhythm of practicing every morning that is.
I will admit that at first I had trouble with that rhythm! And tried to rationalize myself OUT of doing my practice – well, I’ll go to class at nine anyways, or, I’ll just do it tonight after the gym, that counts, right? But after I started noticing how much more aware I was during the day, and how stable my energy was afterwards I wanted to practice more. And more and more things begin to grow out of this one little change – I wanted to stay away from TV before bedtime, I wanted to be outside more during the day, I started walking to the grocery store (which is so close to me I can’t believe I wasn’t walking there before) just to be out in the sunshine in the morning. I have always tried to be aware of my hydration, but through this practice I begin to drink a big glass of room temperature water with lemon in the morning, and to stay away from icy cold water during the rest of the day.
The fact that this one little change could make me feel all that – and become so much more aware – makes me want to keep doing experiments and definitely makes me want to share the practice of Ayurved with others. It was such a small, simple change, and it only took about twenty to thirty minutes from my day. Due to the asana and meditation practice, I believe I have become more aware of what my body is telling me, and more accepting of what it has to say. An open ear and an open mind when listening to our bodies is key, and this practice has helped me attain more of that. I have every intention of continuing with this practice and I have a feeling that I will want to add to it as time goes on.
The Denver Yoga Underground began in 2003 at the request of dedicated students who wanted to study yoga as a holistic system. Over the years, a diversity of people, seeking education outside of a studio, found a welcome refuge in DYU.
Today we specialize in grassroots Pay What You Can workshops, accessible retreats and our signature yoga teacher training, for the outlier yogi.
Derik Eselius ~ 720.934.6934
Sixth Ave. UCC 3250 E. 6th Ave