Yoga teacher training experiences - Alissa Smith - Live in Wonder


Contemporary Yoga Teacher Training 2016

My yoga teacher training experiences

Pursuing one of my greatest passions through yoga teacher training.

I was first introduced to yoga in 2002, and it shaped my life positively in many ways. Initially, yoga satisfied a need for self-expression and a results-driven practice that built physical strength and flexibility, but eventually developed into mental strength and flexibility. As my understanding of yoga expanded, it invited me to become more interoceptive and to contemplate my beliefs and values. As a result, this lead to an interest in yoga teacher training, in the hope of enabling others to experience this life-changing practice.

BODYBALANCE, a group fitness based programme developed by Les Mills, was my first love. In 2014, after 12 years of dedicated practice, I certified as an instructor. This lead to many joyful experiences and accomplishments that I’d never thought I was capable of doing.

After a full-time career in graphic design, I now had a whole new world of opportunity in front of me. I still enjoy working as a graphic artist, but am now able to serve people in a more meaningful way.

In 2015, I certified in Rainbow Kids Yoga with a three-day training workshop. Teaching children through Yogi Kids was loads of fun, therefore extremely fulfilling. I enjoyed this mini-clientele, however, I began to gravitate towards teaching to my peers, particularly in the corporate world.

This brought me to my yoga teacher training.

I completed a 200-hour course with Contemporary Yoga Teacher Training in Auckland, held over two nine-day intensive periods and facilitated by four inspirational and greatly knowledgeable people. Karla Brodie, Neal Goshal, Dyana Wells, and Vincent Bolletta.

My plan was to certify as a yoga teacher, literally, to gain a certificate to officially teach yoga, but I was unprepared for the depths and horizons of this journey. Because the framework was engaging and thorough, it was an excellent foundation to learn about all aspects of yoga. Modules included anatomy and physiology, and the history of yoga and meditation techniques. Also, the synchronicity of breath and movement, building sequences, practical application, and much more.

The course was held over an intensive timeframe, in a supportive and encouraging environment. Because of the immersive nature of the course, the teachers and other trainees formed a strong bond.

I hadn’t anticipated how much I would learn about myself in the yoga teacher training process. I dug deep, exploring my own stories, beliefs and intentions, which enabled me to teach with authenticity and purpose.

“Dive into the foundations of anatomy, alignment and movement in a way that is safe, stable, easeful and empowering with a faculty of passionate, experienced and inspiring teachers. With every breath and movement, you’ll be supported to find your own feet, resource strength from within, and give voice to the passion that calls you to share.”

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Contemporary Yoga Teacher Training was not confined to one strand of yoga.

Instead, it delivered a broad understanding which has the potential to be channelled into a specific offering. My interest has always been flow-style yoga, which has now evolved more into functional training and mobility work.

In 2017, I trained further with Vincent Bolletta in a Hansa Flow module. This has influenced my current teaching style, as I have developed sequences that explore intuitive movements with practical application. My main intention is to support daily function for everyday people.

There are many skilled people offering yoga teacher training courses, so do your research before committing.

If you have any interest in a yoga teacher training course, I’d love to share my experiences with you.  I can connect you with the wonderful people and resources I’ve encountered in my ongoing journey. One single ‘certification’ may not get you to where you want to be, yet, on this fulfilling adventure, many parts make a whole. Yoga is a lifetime practice, and the teacher is forever a student.

Alissa Smith

Alissa is a yoga teacher, graphic designer, and creative writer based in Auckland, New Zealand.


  • Neal Ghoshal

    July 31, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Namaste Alissa – I love what you have written here about your personal journey with Yoga and teaching. It’s been brilliant to see what you are up to, your passion, watch your sequencing – inspiring. So glad that you came on our training too. Gratitude 🙂

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