Teaching Authentically: Exploring Yoga Teacher Training with Tamsin Sheehy
The greatest attribute a teacher can hold is authenticity.
The journey of becoming a yoga teacher is a truly enriching experience - not only in knowledge, but in transformation. We sat down with Tamsin Sheehy, Yoga instructor and co-owner of The Shala – Cape Town Yoga School to hear all about her personal yoga story and what you can expect on her Teacher Trainings.
Tamsin was first introduced to yoga in her late teens, when her science teacher taught gentle evening yoga classes to all the boarders at her high school. This was the start of a practice would become such an integral part of her lifestyle. After graduating with a degree in Psychology and Drama, Tamsin spent many years traveling. Although she was still maintaining a regular yoga practice, she was yearning a deeper connection. It was during her visit to Thailand that she experienced a full immersion into yoga, which is where she found her true spiritual awakening.
After experiencing a traumatic experience in Thailand, Tamsin’s practice is what helped her through. “It definitely was my therapy”. Says Tamsin, as she went on to explain that it was the connection with her higher self that helped her to heal.
In 2004, Tamsin completed her first teacher training with Louisa Sears at Yogarts, an Australian based yoga school in Bali. She subsequently completed an intensive two-year Bihar teacher training with Carly Louw at Yoga Connection in Pretoria and travelled to Kerala, India to study Sivananda asana, chanting, puja and philosophy.
She continued to travel as a yoga teacher, but was still looking for direction. “I wanted roots and to create a yoga community.” she said. As she closed her eyes, she saw Table Mountain. She returned to the mother city with now husband, Tom Sheehy, with passion and a dream.
In 2007, Tamsin opened her own boutique style studio, The Karma Shala, which in 2012 evolved into The Shala - Cape Town Yoga School. This studio allowed her to put her heart and soul into creating that community she envisioned. This studio is a sacred space for people to explore the practice of yoga with the support of inspiring and hands on teachers.
In 2009 Tamsin completed a philosophy-rich Ashtanga style yoga teacher training with Shimon Ben Avi. She has also recently completed her WildLotus 300hours with Patrick Creelman and Rinat Perlman in Hong Kong.
Tamsin holds a special interest in the role of yoga as a practice of healing and repair on all levels of Being. The art of Lymphology and Digestion are key focus points in her yoga classes. Encouraging the body through specific movement to release stuck toxins and kickstart the bodies natural ability to repair itself.
Tamsin creative and well-paced sequencing, anatomically precise instruction and hands-on adjustments combine to provide her students with a safe and sacred space to immerse themselves deep in their practice and develop an intuitive relationship with their bodies. Over and above simply instructing poses, She encourages students to ‘move in the direction of yoga’ – to develop a sustainable self-practice and integrate the teachings of yoga into all aspects of their lives to find greater balance of mind, body and spirit.
“I want to collaborate” said Tamsin, as she went on to explain how cohesiveness and alliance have always been important to her, especially when it came to Yoga Teacher Trainings. At that stage, there wasn't a lot of teacher training opportunities in Cape Town and Tamsin wanted to share her passion as well as give students that chance to experience the transformation of becoming a yoga teacher.
Tamsin, Adila Soeker and Mariah Betts worked together on their first teacher training manual and held their first training in 2012. Tamsin highlights the importance of a unified approach between the various aspects of a yoga teacher training – such as philosophy, anatomy, asana, nutrition as well as traditional rituals. The current teaching team holds 40 years of experience between them, bringing together training and experiences from all over the world.
"Our training is hard because I am not giving you a formula." says Tamsin, as she emphasised the importance of teaching intuition. Teacher trainees will learn how to teach yoga, rather than the ability to lead students through a sequence. "Its about detail and refinement. Each person is different"
The Shala Teacher Training is renowned for focusing on the transformation of leading each student step by step through the journey to becoming a safe and effective yoga teacher. The training is truly about the transformation that happens in each yoga teacher.
"The world needs teachers who can teach foundation safely," says Tamsin as she went on to explain how a strong foundation sets practitioners up for a lifetime of yoga. “Without that foundation, it all falls apart”
A lot has changed since their first teacher training. “You run a Teacher training and you see what works and what doesn’t”. “It just evolves and I feel like it is in a very real space right now”. In September 2018, The Shala will be hosting their 11th Yoga teacher training.
Those that attend a teacher training at The Shala can expect a comprehensive approach to teaching. “Its about detail and refinement." says Tamsin, explaining that students are taught to read energy rather than form.
"Each persons form is different.", so rather than just focusing on theory, students are encouraged to use their insight and awareness to apply each scenario.
“There has to be a huge respect for the practice.” says Tamsin. The journey is a life-changing experience. What you learn through the training will infiltrate to every single element of your life.
"At the heart of this program, lies a self-enquiry element of yoga philosophy. This module covers the true essence of yoga. This allows for personal growth and healing in your individual journey as a student, teacher and human being off the mat" This teacher training will bring you to a place where you are seen.
“I am always training” says Tamsin, as she went on to explain the continuous learning process. in 2019, The Shala are excited to be hosting their first 300 hour Teacher Training.
Tamsin's passion for the practice and natural gift as a teacher allows her to guide students to develop a sustainable self-practice and integrate the teachings of yoga into all aspects of their lives to find greater balance of mind, body and spirit. It is the practice of yoga that takes her through the world. The integration of yoga into her lifestyle truly allows her to live yoga on and off the mat.
“Transformations inspire me to keep the trainings going.”