By Ana Davis

Once you’ve completed your 200 or 500 hour training, you become in yoga-terms, a bit like the equivalent of a General Practitioner. You are qualified to teach a general class with students of mixed abilities, backgrounds, and, to a limited degree, special needs.

However, to become a ‘yoga specialist’ and to offer your own yoga therapy, pregnancy yoga, ‘mums n bubs’, or kids yoga classes, you’ll need to take further training. Many yoga teachers find that they embark upon a rewarding yoga path by taking the time to specialize and develop the skills to help them find their niche.

Byron Yoga Centre Certificate IV in Yoga Teaching Graduate, Ronai Stitt, originally enrolled in the Prenatal Yoga Teacher weekend with Byron Yoga Centre teacher, Ana Davis, in June 2010, for “personal growth” reasons.  On returning to her home turf of Fremantle, Perth, Ronai found that she was offered a number of prenatal classes.  What started out as an interest, has turned into her full-time occupation.

“It’s been pretty amazing.  The girls are so loyal – they come every week, even public holidays. I have ended up giving away all my other classes to just focus on the pregnancy ones,” says Ronai. “When I took Ana’s course, I had no idea that it would turn into this!”

Ronai has set up her own home yoga studio, investing in a full range of yoga props and creating a space that the pregnant women love to come to each week. “They really get into the breathing and relaxation, and all of the women have so far reported back that they had wonderful natural births and they credit this to the breathing I have taught them,” says Ronai.

Gold Coast mum, Kerry Forrest, also trained as a prenatal yoga teacher with Byron Yoga Centre, and receives great satisfaction from specializing in this area. “I have gained valuable experience and get a real buzz out of teaching the classes,” says Kerry. “Prenatal classes have a beautiful energy as the mums are all committed to doing the best for themselves, their baby and a good labour experience.” Kerry says the knowledge she received from her training was “valuable and practical” and helped her feel confident to teach in this specialized area from the outset.

Sinead Wallace graduated from the Byron Yoga Centre Yoga Therapy Teacher Training Intensive in June last year, and like Ronai and Kerry, has found that her teaching career has since flowed serendipitously.

After returning to her home country of Ireland, Sinead was offered to teach one yoga class in a town she had never lived in. “I took it as a sign and moved there,” says Sinead. Five months on, Sinead now teaches six weekly classes, that vary from beginners to vinyasa flow, to therapeutic. She is also running a Thai Yoga Massage business, with an emphasis on home care, based in yoga therapy.

Since quitting her demanding job as a theatre technician and traveling half-way across the world, first to Thailand, to study Thai Massage, and then to Australia for the Yoga Therapy Course, Sinead hasn’t looked back. “I love this journey!” she enthuses. “Every moment I am grateful that I left my previous life and took a chance on something I believe in with my whole spirit.”

Included in her weekly schedule is a class with her ex-colleagues –  theatre technicians and crew – with “no body awareness”.  This class that Sinead describes as “so rewarding” is in fact the same class that she actually planned as a student exercise whilst on the therapy course.

“I think this kind of thing is my niche,” she says. “I have a very technical understanding of the body anatomically and this appeals to the logical scientific men I’m teaching. They want the science and the ‘why’! If you can explain it mechanically they can get a better understanding…and they are learning to feel into their bodies, to send their breath where they feel stretches.  It is a start!”

Sinead is also using this same “scientific approach” with sports people, with apparent success. “I enjoy the explanations and experimentation I can encourage in people’s bodies,” she says.

Other graduates of the Byron Yoga Centre Therapy Course are rising to the challenges of teaching students with a variety of special needs ranging from back problems; to school children with Autism; to Parkinson’s disease; and Seniors’ Yoga.

If you’re thinking of developing your own niche, Byron Yoga Centre offers a number of exciting and stimulating training options.   You can train to become a prenatal and postnatal yoga teacher with the Bliss Baby weekend intensive in March or the more in-depth 100 hour Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga Teacher (RPYT accredited) in August.  If you want to work with children, consider our Rainbow Kids Yoga Intensive in March   Or, if yoga therapy is more your thing, join us for our 12-day immersion therapy teacher training headed up by the inimitable Maria Kirsten in June.

We’re also offering, for the first time, a special workshop to skill-you-up as a breathing instructor with Tess Graham’s Art of Breathing Courses.