Becoming a Yoga Teacher in Santorini— by Cameron Boyle
Last summer I became a yoga teacher in Santorini, Greece. It was an extraordinary experience....physically, mentally, socially, culturally and spiritually. And, it was a chance for my 50 year-old self to embrace "challenge" in a new way. Is 50 too late to achieve a scorpion handstand or a classic Ashtanga headstand? No! On so many levels, yoga in Santorini confirmed that age IS just a number!
And here I am, to the left, being assisted in my scorpion handstand by Juan Gamboa, yoga teacher extraordinaire from New York City. (Note the setting: on the patio of an old whitewashed Greek Orthodox church, on a hill above our yoga compound--that clump of green below--just across the street from the local beach!) He was a special guest teacher, invited by our head diva teachers Sarah Walsh and Carri Uranga--co-founders of Drishti Yoga www.drishtiyogateachertraining.com. Sarah and Carri lead yoga teacher training in various places like Napa Valley, California, Portugal, Costa Rica, India, and Santorini. I know, I know.... why did I have to go to Santorini when yoga teacher training IS offered in my beautiful home state of New Jersey?! Yes, privilege does have its justifications. Actually in the long run, my calculations showed my total investment would be the same in NJ and in Santorini for a month of living expenses and teaching training, even when I factored in travel expenses. Plus, being the mother of two teenagers, I had been looking for the right time, place and cost of a teacher training program for seven years. This was the first one that met any kind of doable criteria. Besides, I would be in Italy anyway at the beginning of July, backpacking in Italy with my daughter and dropping her off to live with a family and study in Ferrara, Italy. The next day I would land in Santorini for my first day of YTT. AND, there is a case to be made for removing oneself entirely from conventional life and distractions to fully immerse in and be transformed by an experience. All the better if it can be in a place of stunning landscape, romantic architecture, enchanting music, delicious healthy food and the nicest people you could ever meet! (See my photo essay also here in our "travel gallery".)
We were 18 female students 17-50 years old, the majority being in their 20's....from USA, Spain, Holland, UK, Norway, Ireland, Belgium, Canada, Uruguay and Switzerland. We were all yogi-sister-friends by the end of three weeks.
The Schedule (with only two days off):
7:15-9 Ashtanga or Vinyasa asana practice
10-12:30 asana lab (terminology and breakdown of poses)
2:30-3:45 yoga philosophy
3:45-5 Yin or restorative yoga
The beautiful setting for all the teachings was Palagos Hotel in Oia, Santorini www.pelagos-hotel-oia.com. The staff, particularly Antonis (Manager), Antoni (Waiter) and Marcos (Bartender), was exceptional---friendly and accommodating in every way; we were family by the end of our stay. Each bungalow was clean, comfortable and spacious and was shared by 2-3 students. And the vegetarian food (organic garden on premises!) was the best we had on the island; and Marcos' cocktails are more delectable and affordable than anything you'd find in the tourist traps. I would love to organize a yoga retreat there sometime in the next couple of years. Let me know if you are interested in the "leave a reply" box below.