When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. This is one of the most powerful insights Buddha has shared with us. The ancient yogis relied on the wisdom and guidance of their Guru to show them the path to enlightenment. Many years are spent between the Master and Student, moving through the different limbs of yoga to transform the student into a teacher himself, through his own enlightenment. It is this journey of the self, with the guidance of a Master that is the catalyst for incredible transformation.
Today, people flock to Yoga Teacher Training’s all over the world, looking for their own transformation, be that self-improvement or a change in career. The student is now ready, ready to take on the teachings, to embrace change and surrender. Many teachers have appeared to provide this guidance, but which one should you follow?
In this article, I will introduce you to 10 Master Yogi’s who you can choose to train with. Finding a Master that speaks to your soul will make your training that much more magical, powerful and transformative.
Deep Kumar first stepped into the Yoga community in 1994 when he attended Tapovan Dhyan Dham Vidhyapeeth, a yoga ashram located at the foothills of the Himalaya where he learnt the art and science of Yoga. Having fallen in love with Yoga he continued his studies at the world-renowned Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute.
Having trained in Iyengar, Ashtanga, Hatha and Yin styles of yoga as well as Meditation and Pranayama, Deep now has his own school where he instils the lessons he has learnt into new students. When he is not teaching in his own school he leads YTT across the world in collaboration with other schools, runs workshops and works with corporates to bring to them the power of Yoga.
Deep specialise in the Mind-Body connection. That what we experience in our mind is held in the body and needs to be released. He works with people suffering from anxiety, depression and stress to find relief through yoga, meditation and laughter.
As a student of his, you will learn how to read the body and pick up the subtle signs of stress that come from the mind and then how to guide someone through to release.
Where can you study with Deep?
Deep runs his own school which has YTT programs in Bali, India and Malaysia. Irrespective of which location you choose you will study under the direct guidance of Deep.
As well as his own school, Deep collaborates with East+West yoga for their 200 and 300-hour YTT programs in Bali.
Kia discovered Yoga at the tender age of 15 when she moved from the Falkland Islands to England. Sparked by the power and peac
e of yoga she spent the next decade as a student of some of the most profound teachers across Asia, Europe and the United States. She has studied the ancient styles of Hatha as well as Ashtanga and Vinyasa, however, she is most well known for her empowering work with Kundalini Yoga and Bhakti.
Kia specialised in bringing the depth and beauty of Kundalini Yoga to the west. Personally, she found that Yoga transformed the relationship she had with her body as well as with the mind. She brings this idea of body and mind connection into her classes as a way for us in the modern work to reconnect to our inner truth.
Where can you study with Kia?
Festivals, workshops, retreats and YogaGlo. You can practice or train with Kia in so many ways, at so many different gatherings, events or locations. She is a well-known figure at festivals across the world and is a guest lead teacher at a number of YTT’s and retreats. She also has her one online class portal that is featured on YogaGlo, where you can practice under her guidance.
- YogaGlo - Click Here
Annie Carpenter is an inspirational yoga leader who has practices yoga everyday for over 25 years and has a background in movement, from modern dance through to Yoga. Her passion for “teaching” teachers was born out of the desire to instil in other leaders the importance of heading towards an ideal and then being present in the reality.
She beautifully expresses this as the inhale and exhale of a posture. We inhale towards proper alignment and exhale into what is possible in this moment, letting go of any ideals or ideas of what should be and landing with what is. This passion and poetry of her practice led to her development of SmartFLOW yoga.
Annie specialised in her own creation SmartFLOW yoga after years of experience working with Martha Graham, Swami Satchadananda, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and the founders of YogaWorks.
SmartFLOW couples classical yoga with the rigour and structure of anatomical alignment to instil fluid movement. The concept stemmed from her background in dance here alignment was key to avoid injury.
She brings this concept (SMART) into her creation and then embraces the fluid movement and fun that yoga can be (FLOW). The practice is demanding but rewarding and is open to all you have a passion for yoga, whether you are an existing teacher, future teacher or lover of yoga.
Where can you study with Annie?
Annie now only personally teachers her Advanced 300-hour offerings, however, has two exceptionally trained partners who lead the 200-hour program for new teachers. You will also find that Annie now has an online offering through YogaGlo where you can participate in her online programs and classes.
In addition to her YTT courses, she frequently attends festivals, conferences and workshops to offer her extensive knowledge on Yoga.
Jason is a force to be reckoned with in the Yoga community. Taking his primary influence from Rodney Yee, Jason has developed a strong and dynamic Vinyasa practice which he has coined “Power+Precision+Mindfulness” Yoga.
He has been tipped by Yoga Journal to be “one of the teachers shaping the future of Yoga” which in itself tells much about his esteem. His classes and teachings combine the strength of power yoga, anatomical precision and mindfulness to bring you a grounded practice.
Having practiced Vinyasa yoga for many years and with a love for is personal Iyengar practice, Jason has created a style of yoga that is powerful and sweaty, but one that hones your alignment and this opens you up for deeper realisations and personal insight.
His self-developed style “Power+Precision+Mindfulness” strengthens the body from the inside out and ensures poise in each pose. This combination naturally heightens your ability to tap into your body, what it feels and what it needs.
Where can you study with Jason?
Jason has been renowned as a “teacher of teachers” for over a decade. His 200-hour and 300-hour YTT programs in the San Francisco Bay Area have been recognised as one of the best teacher training in the world.
His programs are broken down over the course of several weekends from August through to November. Jason also offers online course through YogaGlo that can be a brilliant stepping stone through to completing a Yoga Alliance recognised certificate with him.
Tias Little has beautifully entwined ancient Buddhist beliefs with the structural alignment cues of Iyengar yoga to create a sound understanding of what Yoga is. Having started his practice in 1985 studying the work of B.K.S Iyengar, he moved onto educate himself in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga in India in 1989 before embarking as a teacher in 1997. Since then he has become one of the most well known and respected Yoga teachers in North America.
His belief is that irrespective of which Yoga style you follow, the importance of anatomical structure is paramount, especially for a therapeutic approach. This is because no matter what differences each style brings with it or focuses on, we all have a body that has the same anatomical design. Trauma may have created blocked energy channels or created physical blockages in the body, but these can be lessened or resolved through proper alignment.
Tias have opened his own school “Prajna Yoga” in Santa Fe, New Mexico. “Prajna” means “to deepen understanding” which is the foundation of the YTT programs that Tias delivers. He focuses on the subtle body and diving into the wisdom of the ancient teachings to bring grounding, balance and calm to the inner turmoil.
He specialised in a Hatha practise that slows down the body and mind to reconnect and notice the subtle body, the feeling and sensations in the body that could go amiss. To listen to the body and hear its guidance.
Where can you study with Tias?
Tias has his own school and studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The studio has been built from the natural resources in the area and relies on solar energy and rainwater catchment. The studio is said to be a living structure that breaths as you breathe. Tias offers 200, 300 and 500-hour YTT at his studio as well as classes and “deeper dives” into meditation and Hatha yoga on YogaGlo
Rodney Yee began his inquiry into Iyengar Yoga in 1980 while at UC Berkley studying physical therapy and philosophy. At the same time he was a ballet dancer for the Oakland Ballet and envisaged a life where he could encompass the mind, body and spirit. His discovery of yoga married what his expectations were of life and is what catapulted him to the success that he is today.
Rodney is well known for being one of the founders of Yoga in the United States in the 1990’s. His love and passion for the practice were shared and many Americans were introduced to the joy and peace that can be created through Yoga.
His passion for yoga led him to create over 30 yoga videos published by Gaiam on DVD. Rodney now works with his wife Colleen at her studio Yoga Shanti in Sag Harbour and New York City to deliver teacher trainings, classes and workshops.
Rodney has created his own style of yoga that has been heavily influences by his background in Iyengar Yoga. He focuses on proper alignment, strength and the breath to carry a student through each pose.
Where can you study with Rodney?
Rodney and his wife Colleen offer a number of Yoga retreats and a 200-hour YTT program. Together they will guide you in your development to become a teacher under the instruction of one of the most well known Yogis of our time.
- 200-hour program - Click Here
Alan Finger first discovered Yoga when his father returned to South Africa from a life changing trip to the United States and turned their family home into an Ashram for travelling Swamis. B.K.S Iyengar was one of the first esteemed masters to stay with their family, and from there, Alan and his father immersed themselves in learning and appreciating the subtle art of Yoga.
In the late 1960s, Alan and his father embarked on creating ISHTA Yoga which stands for “Integrated Science of Hatha, Tantra, and Ayurveda”. ISHTA is said to mean “what resonates with your spirit” which is powerful because it highlights that in yoga, everybody is different and therefore it what connects with your spirit that is important. What resonates with your core.
Alan later moved to California where he has created and co-founded a number of well-known Yoga schools such as Yoga Works and more recently his ISHTA studio.
ISHTA’s purpose is to initiate students into different yoga styles so that they can decide through the subtle body what resonates with them and what ultimately will resonate with their students. The style has been crafted and honed by Alan and his father for decades and incorporates flow yoga, breath work and body healing alignment.
Where can you study with Alan?
ISHTA Yoga studio in New York City offers 200 and 300-hour YTT programs as well as ISHTA Mastery that are taught under Alan’s supervision. The programs are program down into “short” and “long” interval options which vary in duration and cost.
- 200-Hour program - Click Here
Ana Forrest is a pioneer of Yoga and emotional healing, having taught Yoga for over 45 years. She went to her first Yoga class at the age of 14 because of a dare and was a certified teacher by the age of 18. She founded Forrest Yoga through her own healing journey of addiction, abuse and illness.
The process of self healing inspired her to take her passion and gift into the world to share with others the power of Yoga. Yoga is not the only tool that Ana used to help others. She has spent much time in nature, learning from the natural cycles and Native American culture to heal and help transform others.
Ana developed Forrest Yoga when you discovered a gap in her practice. She wanted to blend together the ancient practice of yoga with spiritual healing that addresses helplessness and hopelessness - feelings she encountered in her own journey through addiction and abuse.
Forrest Yoga was born our of the desire to physically strengthen the body to allow for internal focus on the spirit and nature. Forrest Yoga looks to create a ceremony from each practice with specifically designed postures, healing words and music to transcend the student.
Stories, song and dance are entwined in Forrest Yoga to bring about cosmic healing and reconnection to the spirit.
Where can you study with Ana?
Ana and her husband offer year-round classes and advanced workshops that you can discover on their website. In 2017 Forrest Yoga worked with Yoga Alliance to create their 300-hour teacher training modules which take place all over the world and are led by Forrest Yoga Guardians.
The Guardians are teachers of Forrest Yoga who have trained with Ana and now go out into the world to share the passion and transformation of Forrest Yoga. Modules for the 300-hour program can be found here.
To sum up
These are but a few of the Yogis and Yogini's who are considered the pioneers of Yoga in the West and who are part of its evolution. These teachers have devoted their lives to this humble practice, have opened their doors to inspire others and who will be remembered for their individual take on this beautiful practice.
Each teacher has his/her own style and one that will speak to you. If you feel that resonance in your gut, leap at the opportunity to study under ones of these great teachers.