Yogāyāma: the expansion of yoga

My 300-hr-Ahimsa Yoga Teacher Training Review Δ

As both a teacher and an “unofficial” “yoga teacher” (due to COVID), I just wanted to say that I consider myself a student always. In fact, I genuinely love learning new things and taking on new challenges.

Yoga teacher training has been something that has been on my heart for many years. It always felt like the timing was never right, or sometimes I allowed self-doubt to get in the way. Finally, in the summer of 2018, I put a deposit down to do my training in Thailand. That fall, I got a teaching position in special education and things got a bit full-on with my mom in Toronto. In my heart I knew that going to Thailand wasn’t in the direction of my truest path. Luckily, via a suggestion from JP (my current yoga teacher), I simply asked for my deposit back, and after a few emails I got it! For me, this was a lesson in alignment and decision making, and also a sign that the Ahimsa training was meant to be.

the Role of “Teacher”

Being a first year permanent teacher, as well as learning to teach yoga simultaneously has taught me so much about my role as “teacher.” Learning and doing practicums and observations in both forms of teaching was full of growth and self-reflection. Ironically (or evidently?), I received similar feedback from both JP, and my administrator. Consistently, I was told to be more present and aware of my students while I was teaching. I sometimes go into my head with a vision of the end of my lesson or class. Some classes I am scatterbrained; others, I am focused on what I am “moving towards,” and as a result I am not always present to my learners and yoga students. Getting feedback from my mentors has truly helped me to grow as an educator and yogi.

Where did it take place?

Ahimsa training is really unique as we did most weekends in Whitby, and once a month went to Toronto for what is called a “great gathering.” It earned this title because there were two groups of yogis; the Toronto group, and the Whitby group. When we all got together as “one group” it was referred to as the “great gathering.” Our final gathering was cancelled due to COVID, but JP is currently coming up with a plan to do some stuff online and gather in-person once we are able to be social again.

What did I look for in a training?

Personally, I always aim to align with my truest path. I try to do things that seem “natural” or aligned with my dharma (more below). This is something I have always lived by, even when I wasn’t on the path of enlightenment. For example, when I lived in Australia, there was a lot of info on teaching in London. Inevitably everything just clicked, and I even found a $199 flight when I first moved to the UK. So I guess i just aim to go with “what works” without too much force. I heard of Ahimsa training through word of mouth, so I went to the studio to try a class  as I has always been meaning to. My first Ahimsa class was prior to attending the YTT info session. Everything felt right (except for the fact that I had lost $1000 to the other YTT), so when I got my refund I knew Ahimsa was where I was meant to get my YTT certificate. Specifically, to answer the question I was looking for a YTT that was a good “fit”, but I wasn’t sure which one to choose as there are so many!

Looking back Ahimsa YTT was a powerfully life-changing experience that has guided me towards clarity and finding my dharma (purpose) on this life journey. To me it was just “meant to be” and I intuitively know that I was meant to do my training there and also this particular year.

What went well?

Honestly, JP is an incredible yoga teacher who has an inspiring dharma and a contagious passion for life. I say this truthfully and honestly, it was an HONOUR and a privilege to learn from such an amazing human (thank you, thank you, thank you JP).

I also loved learning from so many different instructors. He created the program in a way that allowed us to work with many incredible teachers on a rotational basis each Sunday (Saturday for the Toronto crew). His wife Michelle Tamblyn-Samo, and Shawna Turner   we saw the most, and we also had a transformative Sunday with Dianne Harris on how to teach yin.

I also have to mention the amazing program coordinator Sara! She was personable, helpful, (answered e-mails at all hours), knowledgeable, and wonderfully, she became a friend to us all by the end.

What was tough?

Honestly, upon reflection it was a very tough program. From learning anatomy, to writing formal exams, it had many challenges. Personally, having to write exams brought up a lot of “stuff” for me. I also went through the personal struggle of losing my mother, so the second half of the training was a lot to bear both mentally and physically. Having said that, I was definitely well looked after. From Judy’s reiki and massages during yin, to JP and Sara choking in (and modifying what my expectations looked like), so ultimately, while it was overwhelming at times, I am glad that I was surrounded by so much love and care. Notably, my yogayama group got me a beautiful, tall orchid and made a donation to Whitby Shores in honour of my mom, a gesture I will never forget and will always be grateful for.

Yes the program is tough, but it isn’t just a teacher training, it’s a personal transformation and those aren’t meant to be a walk in the park. It’s not just about how to teach, the course provided us with tools to share the wisdom of yoga with others and also allowed us to look at our own lives from a spiritual perspective. It was so beautiful to connect with like-minded souls who I still connect with almost daily on WhatsApp. I am so grateful to have found community with like-minded yogis, and to always have people who I can lean on.

Live Your Dharma, Love Your Life

The highlight for me was looking into my reason for being, aka my dharma. We had to commit to finding our 3 top priority outcomes in the course, and then revisit them towards the end. Learning your compass and your truth and been in line with your personal purpose is such a powerful way to make things happen in your life. There are so many other personal growth and development components of the YTT, but I will leave those up to you to discover should you choose to enrol.


From learning about the ancient wisdom of the east, to how to live our dharma and love our lives, this 300hr training will change your life. It will help you to step into your power as yoga teacher, and also to motivate you to grow in new ways if you already have your 200hr YTT. I would recommend this program to anyone looking to call on their intuition and grow not only as a yogi, but as a human too.

Despite all that I’ve learned, this journey is never-ending and I will always continue to grow and evolve with Yogāyāma and the asana of Ahimsa Yoga as my cornerstone. Love and light.


Jess blog

Photo, Dani Jager @picjager

4 thoughts on “Yogāyāma: the expansion of yoga

  1. Jess this was wonderful you captured my feelings in with yours .You are truly a beautiful person and I love getting ti know you !Barb xxx


    1. Right back at you Barb! This has been a year for the books- but it wouldn’t be the same without my Yogāyāma family ❤️


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