Born and raised in Northern California, MI OLA brand ambassador Briana (@openheartadventure) is no stranger to the outdoors. She loves to hike up mountains, practice yoga in the beautiful outdoors, ski fresh powder, and mountain bike challenging trails. After practicing yoga for years, Briana took a month-long yoga teacher training in Mexico to deepen her yoga practice. With countless options for yoga teacher trainings, we caught up with Briana to get an in-depth perspective on a month long course.
Yoga Teacher Training Guide – Yandara Yoga Institute – by Briana Valorosi
Yoga presented itself in my life at a time when I was experiencing a significant amount of personal growth. About seven years ago I started attended yoga classes across a broad spectrum – beach yoga, exercise-oriented yoga, meditation, and traditional asana practices at local studios. The physical aspect of non-competitive flow resonated with me. I’ve never really been excited about competitive sports, often finding myself engaged in an active lifestyle in the outdoors with individualized forms of recreation. Yoga offered a spiritual aspect which had been lacking in my life, a physical aspect that was non-competitive and really felt good in my body, and a meditation practice that calmed my anxieties. Through yoga, I developed an awareness of self-love, self-respect, and strength. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Yandara Yoga Institute:
Three close friends of mine attended Yandara Yoga Institute over the past ten years, which initially sparked my interest. It had been a planted seed for many years before it aligned for me. I knew that I wanted an intensive program, as opposed to one weekend each month for example, and I was pretty set on a warm climate. Mexico for a month in the spring was the main enticement, and then knowing three women who already attended, brought it all together. Honestly, I wasn’t as focused on the teachers or the style so much as the whole package, including the mission statement of the school.
Small community of yoga loving people on the beach, growing their food, truly connecting, and instructing from their place of personal and community connection.
The Yandara property is a beautiful off-grid gathering of yoga pavilions, partially enclosed bathrooms, and tent living. It’s simple living at its best. The sound of the waves soothed me to sleep each night. A diverse range of birds singing were my alarm clock. All of the food is vegetarian, local and organic if possible, with the option for fresh, local fish 1-2 times a week. They offered gluten free/ dairy free options upon request.
Type of yoga teacher training:
Yandara Yoga Institute is a Hatha school that is heavily influenced by Iyengar. Hatha yoga is a broad categorization which pretty much umbrellas over all physical asana practices. The program focused on asana as taught by Iyengar and his students, although we also learned about, vinyasa flows, Yin, Restorative, Bhakti, meditation, and philosophy. The program I did at Yandara was 26 days (200 Hour Yoga Alliance Certified), not including travel days. It was nearly a full month!
The Daily Routine:
Our days began at 7:30 AM with an hour and a half asana and meditation practice. I personally had a karma job to make tea before the sun rose, so my days began at 6:15 AM or earlier. Following our practice, we had a silent meditation breakfast, then two hours of class where we broke down each pose, the sequencing of poses, how to assist others in the pose, and how to support or modify it. We learned about philosophies of yoga during this morning class as well. Then we had lunch for a couple hours- the food was amazing! And there was plenty of time to hand wash laundry or lay on the beach- only a five-minute walk from my tent. The afternoons were packed with workshops, bhakti yoga, dinner, and counseling type circles. Each night ended around 9pm. The days were long but truly enjoyable and inspiring. The curriculum is presented in a way that is absorbable and tangible. The days were organized by chakra- moving from the root chakra to the crown chakra- with three days on each. During each set of chakra days, we learned about the poses that corresponded, meditations, and philosophies. It was incredibly well presented.
How to Get There:
Yandara Yoga Institute is located in Baja Mexico, about 15 minutes south of Todos Santos on the Pacific Ocean. Travel was very simple with the organization of private shuttles to and from the San Jose Del Cabo airport. It is an hour drive from the airport- a beautiful road winding through the desert landscape, overlooking the ocean, crossing over river beds and washes.
I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. The simple living aligned with my personal goals of leading a sustainable lifestyle (as much as possible). All of the teachers became family, offering so much light and love toward their teachings and their connection to each of us. It is a beautiful community – the Yandara community and the yoga community at large. The yoga was taught in a comprehensible way that wasn’t overwhelming. The love that grew between each of us inspires me, to this very moment. We all supported each other through personal growth as well as through the process of becoming yoga teachers. I am eternally grateful for each and every individual at Yandara and in my group of trainees. The food was spectacularly nutritious and delicious. The landscape was humbling and beautiful. All in all, I wouldn’t trade that experience for any other. It was magical and perfect.
Interested in joining the MI OLA Ambassador Program?
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