Teacher Training and Yoga For Sports: An in-depth look with Jim Harrington
“Good teaching starts with good practicing.“
Jim Harrington is a lifelong yoga practitioner, yoga teacher trainer and yoga coach to professional people. His philosophy of “Anyone who can breathe can do yoga.”, has led him to become a mentor to hundreds of students and teachers, We got in touch with Jim to hear about what you can expect on his upcoming teacher trainings as well as an exciting Yoga For Sports training this year.
Jim started practicing yoga 30 years ago after visiting India as a University student “Yoga was a fringe thing that very few people knew about then” says Jim, going on to explain that he started yoga because it helped him to surf better. At that time, studios and Teacher Training programs did not yet exist and nobody could have predicted that yoga would end up being so mainstream. Jim decided to dedicate more time to learning about the practice of yoga, through regular morning practices and plenty of reading.
Jim completed his first serious training in Iyengar Yoga with Rudra Dev in Rishikesh. After several years of wandering around India, China and South East Asia, he went home to Sydney to qualify as a remedial and sports therapist. That was when he met Simon Borg Olivier and Bianca Machliss of Yoga Synergy, where he was invited to do a two year training and apprenticeship with them. “That's where I learned how to integrate yoga into my postural correction therapy practice.”.
After taking a sabbatical in 2011 to tour with the Indian Cricket team and IPL in India, Jim returned to Cape Town. ReUnion yoga, situated in Woodstock in Cape Town, came about as a kind of Karma Yoga Project. “I wanted to make a base of support for new teachers” says Jim. His priority was to create a space with quality wood floors, sound-proof meditation rooms and an atmosphere that would make all students feel welcome. By putting meditation on their schedule, Jim wanted to include elements of yoga that students were sometimes excluding from their yoga practice,
ReUnion offers a variety of yoga classes and workshops that include the styles of Budokon Yoga, Acro Yoga, Chi Gung, and specialised events from everything from nutrician to Tibettan Meditation to music gigs.
“In my last 15 Years in Cape Town, I have witnessed the popularisation of yoga and been blessed to play a role in the amazing community that has grown” says Jim. After setting up the first Yoga Alliance Registered Teacher Training Course in South Africa with Moksha Yoga in 2004, Jim has since hosted approximately 24 Level one 200hr Yoga Alliance trainings and 6 advanced levels.
“From the beginning, the intention has been to train safe yoga teachers who understand the body really well.” says Jim. One of his core values when training yoga instructors is to highlight the importance of a self-practice. “A dedicated and sincere practitioner of yoga can make a good teacher if they are trained well because they are sharing what they have felt and experienced through their own bones.”
“There are far too many inexperienced practitioners leading classes these days and this sometimes leads to people getting injured in classes. It's one thing to know your own body and be able to do asana tricks but to guide another person in another body requires a whole new set of skills. "
His teacher training sequence is designed as a template that can be adapted and adjusted upward or downward easily. It contains the most important lessons for yoga asana teachers in terms of safety, hands on adjustments and biomechanics. Each trainee is encouraged to draw on their personal talents and share their own uniqueness.
“What I feel is important is that a teacher is able to connect well and to work specifically with an individual according to their physical, mental and emotional needs.” going on to explain that even in a big class, the teacher is able to assist individually. Those that attend Jim’s teacher training can expect a deep dive into understanding applied anatomy and physiology for yoga as well as guidance and mentoring.
There is a natural sense of authenticity when a person teaches what they practice. Honour your teachers, their teachers and all of the many teachers in the yoga lineage that goes back for thousands of years. If we think of it this way we have a huge responsibility to take yoga forward to the next generation in the best possible way.
Jim’s 300 hour Hour Teacher Training, which occurs twice a year, includes a 100 hour module in YogaSynergy, YogaSynergy is synthesis of Indian Yoga, Chinese Yoga (which is also called Gung Fu or Chi Gong), and Physiotherapy. This energising, strengthening, grounding and calming practice is something that all practitioners should try!
Over and above the Level one 300hour teacher training, Jim Harrington offers a variety of advanced teaching modules. In December this year, Jim will be hosting a Yoga For Sports Training, which focuses on the skills to work more effectively and safely with athletes in a sport’s context.
Jim uses his background in sport as well as his understanding of the body and injuries, to draw them in to a conversation about how yoga can help. “These days a lot of people are doing both yoga and other activities, and those of us that do practice both sports and yoga no without any doubt how helpful it is” says Jim. The benefits of yoga for athletes are endless. “Yoga keeps us young, helps us recover quickly from injury, and trains us to dial in to positive mental states.” says Jim, going on to explain how yoga has benefited him in his own sports training over the years.
This Yoga For Sports training will highlight the different yoga skills and that various athletes will need. Those that attend this 5 day training can expect to look into a variety aspects of yoga and get into the nitty gritty of the needs of a variety of different sports. If you are a yoga teacher, a personal trainer, coach or a movement therapist working with soft tissues, then this cutting edge course is for you.
Jim hosts regular regular teacher trainings, workshops and retreats, To find out more about upcoming events, connect with Jim via email
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