September 2017 – June 2018
A 9-month immersion into the teachings and philosophy of The Practice® – a combination of women’s yoga, sacred circle, and feminine leadership.
For too long we’ve been quiet. For too long we’ve been “good.” For too long we’ve been hiding in the shadows and living by someone else’s rules. For lifetimes and generations, we’ve ignored that calling nudging at our bodies and souls, begging us to listen and to do what we need to do. For too long we’ve tried to be equal, or better than, rather than just accepting ourselves in our wholeness. For too long we’ve avoided our true essence and power as women.
Now is the time to stand up and let our voices be heard. To step in front of fear and finally live our lives out loud. Now is the time to stop hiding and live undefended as the women we are called to be. It’s time to awaken through connection, through our bodies, and by taking back our power. It’s time to lead and to heal by bringing women together, putting back all the broken pieces, and remembering who we truly are.
This is why I created The Practice®. It’s a powerful journey that provides women a path back to themselves. This training is for 16 women who are called to deeply learn and embody this new way of doing yoga, of living, and leading.
It’s time to liberate the gifts in your heart and start speaking your voice. It’s time to open your soul and connect on a new and higher level. It’s time to connect fully with your feminine wisdom and shine as the leader that you are called to be.
This is a personal invitation for you to join me and 16 other women in pioneering a new wave of yoga leadership. I see you and would love to have you be a part of this sacred vision.
Now is the time to enroll and save your spot.
Many moons ago I was sitting in a yoga class with a group of women and a renowned female teacher. We were studying an ancient yogic text, which was talking about how, in order to deepen on our spiritual path, we need to avoid toxic people. Now, I completely understand this—saying no to people that don’t support us in being the best version of ourselves is important. But the text went on to say (and the teacher read this out loud to the class) that we must also “avoid women.”
The teacher paused, I could see her processing what she just read, and I waited for her to address the words that had tumbled out of her mouth to the group of women staring back at her, but instead, she just looked up at us and said, “Well, we need to turn our cheek to that because it was written a long time ago.” And she went on to the next lesson.
But the words “avoid women” continued to echo in my heart and in my bones. I felt them move through my mother, my grandmother, and the generations of women before them. It was as if, in that short moment, even after practicing and teaching yoga for 17 years, something in me woke up for the first time, and I was pissed. I felt a rage boil inside of me and I felt like shouting, “NO! I cannot turn my cheek to this. You are talking about avoiding me!”
The reality hit home hard. Yoga, the way it was written in those ancient yogic texts, and the way it is still largely practiced in our mainstream culture today, was designed and written by men, for men. At the time, men thought of women as a distraction from their spiritual path. Women are sensual, sexual creatures who could deter them from enlightenment. We were considered to be “toxic.” And the irony in my yoga class was that we were a circle of women, being led by a woman teacher, reading 2000-year-old rules written by men and turning our cheeks to their thoughts on women. Not even questioning them. None of it made sense to me anymore.
The question came to me that, at the time that those ancient texts were being written, what were the women doing? What did our yoga look like? Where was I in this story? I had a vision of women in a circle, moving their bodies intuitively, connecting, supporting each other, laughing, sharing, crying, communing. They were raising families, managing the homes, lifting each other up and dancing their way through life.
How are the constructs of the mainstream yoga culture keeping women from themselves? Although Western yoga classes are made up of 90% women, they rarely speak to our femininity. In my first 1,000 hours of yoga teacher trainings, no one once mentioned a woman’s body except for a few contraindications for pregnancy. Not her needs, not her emotions, not how things might be different for her. Women are voluptuous, wild, messy, complicated, wise, intuitive, deeply connected to source, and anything but perfect. Collectively, we are wounded, and have been for centuries. We have wounds of shame, of self-doubt, of being ostracized and quieted, of being objectified, used, and taken for granted. We have wounds from being avoided.
We need yoga classes that address our wounds and no longer avoid who we truly are. We need a practice and community that holds us in our wholeness.
What would happen if there was a yoga practice that invited women in and celebrated them for who they are? What would happen if we had a yoga practice that acted as sacred container and held us in community so we could have our experiences together? What would happen if instead of just laying out our mats, taking our yoga class, and then quickly leaving to get back to our lives, we actually stayed and connected with each other? What would happen if our yoga became about sharing—opening in vulnerability with ourselves and each other? What would happen if we started to move our bodies in ways that felt naturally good, and followed our rhythms as women? What would happen if our yoga became intuitive, sensual, free, and open?
What I’ve come to understand is that women need each other. We need each other to rise, to heal, to see that we are not alone, to love, and to awaken. We need each other to remember our own power. We are not meant to go through this life alone, and at a time when our world is plagued with disconnection, we need leaders that bring us back together. Women need to be those leaders.
We’ve lost sight of our own creative nature, our sensuality, what it means to be feminine and to live in a woman’s body. We’ve forgotten how to ask our bodies what we need. We’ve given our authority away. Our minds have been caught in endless circles of should’s and have to’s, constant judgments, and paralyzing fears. It’s hard to find space to simply be quiet and listen to our own voices.
We need a new kind of yoga – a yoga just for women. We need a practice that is responsive to what women need. One where it’s safe for us to show up just as we are. Where we get to make the rules, move our bodies in ways that feel good, connect, share, and heal together. We need a yoga practice that honors us completely. One where soft is the new hard, where we can practice receiving instead of giving, and where we can learn to surrender instead of to push. It’s time we start listening to our own bodies and our deepest wisdom and ask what yoga looks like for a woman.
My journey has been about really understanding feminine spirituality—looking closely at women’s desires, our bodies, our wounds. I’ve worked with female mentors and spiritual teachers who have shown me how we can be taught in ways that meet us as whole women and acknowledge all parts of ourselves. I’ve gotten to know thousands of women, asked deep questions, and studied who we are collectively and individually. And I’ve brought this wisdom back to my yoga.
At Bloom Retreat, I’ve been leading and teaching from this place for more than five years. Women are waking up to themselves and seeing that we are not that different and not alone. They are recognizing their own power, hearing their own voices for the first time, releasing old stories and patterns, and living more aligned lives. They are finding their divine wisdom and making changes in their lives that have been waiting for years—decades—generations. What is happening is what I believe we need in order to begin to save the world. Today’s woman needs a space, a community, and a practice to help her remember who she truly is. At Bloom and in The Practice®, she finally has a place to call home.
And because you are here, I trust you are ready to live and lead from this source of wisdom.
I have created a 9-month Women’s Yoga and Leadership Training based on the principals of The Practice®. It is not a typical yoga teacher training. It will take you on a deep dive into yourself so that you can navigate your dark shadows and find your own wisdom, honor who you really are, and bring your gifts into the light so that you can serve and lead from your own experience as a woman. This 9-month immersion is about remembering who you truly are, and then learning to lead from that place.
I’ve taken part in multiple yoga teacher trainings over the years, and while I was taught how to do the poses and how to teach them, I was never taught how to lead, to facilitate, or to hold space. That part was missing and I had to learn it outside of the yoga world. In this training, the principals of leadership will be our focus. We will work on authentic connection, vulnerability, and using personal experience as a way to transmit your wisdom.
We will learn how to lead from a place of intuition and personal expression. We will explore what the yoga means to us and how it feels in our own bodies, as well as how to translate that to support other women in their own journeys. We will deepen into the body and tap into its wisdom. We will expose the inner critic, our wounds (both personal and collective), and the difficulties we face as Western women so we understand what is needed to heal. I believe that in order to truly teach and serve, we have to know ourselves intimately, and know who we are teaching.
This is a university-style course with university standards. We will go deep and come out strong.
Feeling the call? Here is what our journey together will look like: The 9-month course will be divided into three parts, or trimesters. (1) Remember. (2) Deepen. (3) Lead. Throughout each trimester we will spiral deeper into the understanding and wisdom behind The Practice®.
During the first three months we will work on remembering who we truly are. You will be initiated into the depth of The Practice® wisdom and we will spend time experiencing and reflecting. This will be a deep dive into personal development, as well as the psychology and inner workings of women today. We will look at our limiting beliefs, our inner critics, our deep collective wounds, and what holds us back from living as our whole selves. We will learn how to shed our fear and get comfortable being uncomfortable, all with the intention to grow and lead. We will remember our gifts so that we can bring them into the light.
We will also focus on understanding the woman’s body. This includes how stress manifests in our physical experience, and how a woman’s body moves differently than a man’s and therefore needs a different approach to yoga. We will study the cycles and rhythms of a woman’s experience, and how through the body we can access wisdom, intuition, and a deep inner knowing.
We will explore connection and vulnerability, and how we can use these to heal and awaken. We will study how, as a society, we experience feeling disconnected and how we habitually see others as different from ourselves. We will seek to understand how constructs in our mainstream society (particularly within the mainstream yoga culture) inadvertently keep a woman from experiencing her full range of femininity. We will get to know you and the women we will be serving
In the second trimester, we will continue to deepen on our pilgrimage into ourselves and our “learned experience.” We will explore yoga as an embodiment ritual, and discuss the meaning and purpose behind the structure of The Practice®. You will get to sink into your body and explore how the yoga affects you. You will learn the “why” behind the poses, how to teach asana, and how to translate your personal experience in a way that can serve other women.
We will also explore how to hold space, and how to tap into our intuition as a way to lead and guide women. You will get practice deepening into your “wise self” and following her guidance.
The second trimester will be quieter. You will be learning from experience, writing, and beginning to understand the healing potential of The Practice®. This trimester spans the dark and cold winter months, and you will be retreating deep into yourself, preparing to come out and bloom in our third trimester.
During the final three months, you will learn how to weave together everything we’ve learned and lead The Practice® yourself. We will discuss how to facilitate circle, how to hold space for women as they process and transform, and how to set energetic boundaries for yourself and the group, so that you can keep yourself open and able to serve without getting attached. You will practice teaching. You will learn how to use your voice, speak from your gut, and guide from your intuition. You will learn how to witness bodies and teach to what a woman needs in the moment. You will learn to lead from your heart.
In this final trimester you will have the opportunity to bring your unique gifts out into the light and practice shining in a safe container of women who want to see you thrive.
After completing all three trimesters of the training, if you feel called to teach The Practice® and become a pioneer and founding leader of our movement, there will be an application process to become certified and become a member of our facilitator community. The Practice® certification gives you many benefits.
Teaching and leading is a privilege. It comes through devotion to yourself and enables you to unlock your unique gifts. Effective teaching and leadership is part of a lifetime of practice, mentorship, and ongoing learning. Certifying teachers is a responsibility that I take seriously. This is no quick, over-the-counter teacher training. It involves showing up, opening to yourself, stepping out of your comfort zone, and taking the time to ground yourself and get ready. In my opinion, too many yoga teachers are sent out into the world prematurely, and it does yoga and our communities a disservice.
To stay in integrity with the depth of the work of The Practice®, and to be certain that this special experience is upheld by our community of teachers, I will take time to honor you and work closely with you to make sure you are ready for certification. This is the purpose of the application process at the end of the 9-month training. The application will include a written paper, a private session with me, and community offerings of The Practice®.
Our vision is to take the magic of The Practice® to women across the country. To build a community of facilitators committed to helping women awaken through connection. What we are building is unique from other yoga or fitness expressions, because as a community of facilitators, we will grow and move together. Every Practice session, whether in California, or New York, will move together quarterly through the same conversations, and at the same time and pace. The power of having hundreds and thousands of women across the globe, sharing in the same conversation is a force. Once certified you will become a facilitator, a pioneer, and a catalyst for this movement.
Of course, woman may choose to attend the training without the intention to teach. This is perfectly okay and I welcome all who feel called to this work. This training will give you skills that you can take into any area of your life and career. It is a personal and transformative yoga and leadership training, meaning you will grow and deepen into yourself in ways that will enrichen all parts of your life. You will have a new lens through which to understand life, and a deeper understanding of how to celebrate your wisdom as a woman.
Sara Avant Stover, a teacher of feminine spirituality and empowerment and a yoga and meditation instructor, bestselling author, and founder of The Way of the Happy Woman: a worldwide community based on the teachings and practices in her bestselling books, The Way of the Happy Woman and The Book of SHE.
The creator of the world’s first Women’s Yoga Teacher Training, and the online programs Reversing Our “Curse” and The SHE School, Sara has taught tens of thousands of women worldwide. Her work has been featured in Yoga Journal, the Huffington Post, Newsweek, and Natural Health and on ABC, NBC, and CBS.
Sara’s teachings, writings, programs, and communities support women of all ages to slow down, listen, and build their lives from the inside out. She teaches on feminine spirituality, lifestyle, healing, relationships, and more.
Rochelle Schieck loves to move – in her body and around the world. She started dancing as a young girl growing up in Minnesota until she was summoned by the call of adventure. Her love of movement and the desire to explore life’s meaning compelled her to spend the last 15+ years traveling around the world as a student and teacher to places throughout North and South America, Europe, Africa, India, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Rochelle began instructing various yoga styles for all ages and abilities, several dance modalities and NIA. In the last 10+ years, she has led over 4,000 movement classes, facilitated hundreds of private sessions and taken women on over 20 retreats to 6 different continents. (Next stop, Antarctica!)
Her passion to explore the emerging essence of the feminine in her own life, and then in movement, coupled with her experience as a personal trainer, certified massage therapist, shamanic energy healer and her degree in Interdisciplinary Fine Arts have all influenced her creation of the movement system, Qoya. Qoya just celebrated her 6 year anniversary on March 1st, 2015. Join Rochelle and learn more about her movement in her Ted-style talks below or by reading her book, Qoya: A Compass for Navigating an Embodied Life that is Wise, Wild and Free.
Jane Austin has worked with pregnant women and their families since 1990. She is a certified yoga teacher and trainer. Jane is the founder and director of Mama Tree, a prenatal yoga school dedicated to educating yoga teachers, doulas and midwives on how to use the tools of yoga to support pregnant women and new moms in all stages of the childbearing year and beyond. She weaves her experience as a midwife, doula, childbirth educator and mother into her work.
Jane’s teacher training program attracts students from all over the world interested in learning how to utilize the practice of yoga to support pregnant and new moms physically, mentally and emotionally. By training teachers, it is her hope to make yoga accessible to any mama that wants to experience the benefits of this ancient and powerful tradition.
Jane also teaches the Yoga in Pregnancy component of many yoga teacher training schools and serves as the perinatal director of Yoga Tree in San Francisco. She currently teaches yoga to over 200 mamas a week, and her mission is to offer women a mindful, supportive and nourishing environment using both humor and compassion to create a sacred but authentic place to connect to themselves and their babes inside and out. Check out Jane’s work at www.janeaustinyoga.com.
Eden Amadora is a spirit and embodiment coach, as well as a voice coach, sound healer, singer and devotional “prayer-formance” artist. She finds great joy in empowering others to embody and express their most essential, radiant selves and discover their authentic voices. As an ordained priestess of the 13 moon mystery school, Eden provides archetypal guidance working with individuals and focalizing circles with guided meditation, chanting, devotional singing and embodiment practices of the sacred feminine. She is also a graduate of SMI and the Institute of Indigenous Arts and teaches sound/movement integration, combining her love of sound healing and somatic mindfulness practices in private sessions as well as retreats and daylong workshops. Check out Eden’s work at www.edenamadora.com.
Michelle has spent the last 20 years exploring several styles of Hatha Yoga in depth: Ashtanga, Jivamukti, Yogaworks, Vinyasa Flow and Anusara. An insatiable and curious student, Michelle started studying pole dance in 2008, and she is now certified to teach through Felix Cane Inc/OC Pole Fitness. Her Sensual Yoga classes, a fusion of dance, sensual movement and yoga, receive accolades from women of all ages. Michelle teaches that through music and movement you begin to develop a relationship with the feeling of desire, sensuality that lives in your body. It’s inside of you, not in the model in the magazine or the friend you admire. We each have our own story and our own truth. Learn to quiet the mind and let your intuition be the loudest voice you hear. Our female sensuality is intimately connected to our creativity, our ability to give birth, to give life on all levels. Check out Michelle’s work at www.michellecordero.com.
I’m a spiritual teacher and guide, and combine over 15 years of experience in the fields of psychology research, coaching, energywork, and spirituality. I guide women to access and trust their inner wisdom. The women I work with receive clarity, gently release old blocks or patterns, and receive the support needed to live fully beyond their fears. My deepest desire is for you to learn to be the healer of your own life, trusting your soul’s wisdom, and finding peace and joy within. Check out Paula’s work at www.paulaorozco.com.
Nisha Moodley is a Women’s Leadership Coach and the founder of Global Sisterhood Day. Inspired by the belief that the world will be set free by women who are free & sisterhood is key to a woman’s freedom, her work is focused on midwifing women back to sisterhood and the truth of their innate beauty and brilliance.
Nisha supports communities of women leaders in mastermind groups, retreats, and online courses, to live, love, and lead with depth and devotion. Check out Nisha at nishamoodley.com.
Amy Ahlers, known as the Wake-Up Call Coach, is the bestselling author of Big Fat Lies Women Tell Themselves (New World Library, 2011) and Reform Your Inner Mean Girl: 7 Steps to Stop Bullying Yourself & Start Loving Yourself (Beyond Words/Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2015). Amy is on a mission to stop high-achieving women and moms from being so darn hard on themselves so they can step into authentic leadership and brilliance.
After a successful sales executive career, Amy became a Certified Life Coach over 17 years ago. She is the co-creator of celebrated transformational programs such as Inner Mean Girl Reform School with Christine Arylo, Find Your Calling with Martha Beck and Lissa Rankin & Visionary Ignition Switch with Lissa Rankin. She helps soulful, spiritual moms embrace the messiness and magic of motherhood in her truth telling sanctuary and facilitated mom’s support group, Mama Truth Circle, and new and notable podcast, Mama Truth Show. Check out Amy at wakeupcallcoaching.com.
Apply now. Please get your application in as soon as possible. We will prioritize earlier applications, so now is the time to enroll and save your spot. All dates and investment details are in the application. This is only open to a maximum of 16 women and it will fill up fast, so apply now.
Michelle has been teaching yoga since 2003. She has a Master’s Degree in Holistic Health Education, is a certified Women’s Wholeness Coach, has owned and managed a woman’s yoga and healing center for over five years, and has taught The Practice® to thousands of women at Bloom Retreat. She is also a wife, mother, and daughter who has lived through her share of hardships. Michelle has pulled all of her knowledge, personal experience, and research into this training for women. Her intention is to help guide you back to yourself, find your own voice, and become your own authority.
Do I have to be a yoga teacher to apply?
No, you do not have to be a current yoga teacher to apply. All are welcome. However, this training is an excellent way for teachers to deepen their knowledge and have the tools to teach something different to the community. This training is open to women of all backgrounds and experience. The only true prerequisite is feeling the call to lead and connect with women in a new way, and of course having a love of yoga or movement. If you’re looking to facilitate The Practice® following the training, at least two years of yoga experience is required.
When and where does the training take place?
All training sessions will take place at Bloom Retreat in Walnut Creek, California. Occasionally we will have phone calls with our guest speakers, which will be recorded as well. We will meet twice a month: one Thursday evening, and one full Saturday. You will also be required to participate in a 10-week session of The Practice® each quarter at Bloom. You will have the flexibility to choose your class and time. All of the dates and times are listed in the application.
What is the main difference between this and a regular yoga teacher training?
There are endless differences between this training and a typical yoga teacher training. This is a leadership training, with a university-style and approach to learning. You will go deep into yourself and transform. You will take home skills that can be applied to all areas of your life. You will have the potential to teach something completely unique and different to your community and take home good money doing what you love. You have the opportunity to join a movement and become a pioneer of something meaningful and deep. You will become a part of a community of women holding the same intention to help heal women and our world. After the training, if you choose to become certified, you will become a part of a family that gathers each month, and you will continue to have built-in mentorship and support as you continue to bloom and grow.
Is this a Yoga Alliance Registered Program?
This is not a typical yoga teacher training. I have consciously chosen to not be a part of the Yoga Alliance, mainly because, in my opinion, the organization’s guidelines about what needs to be taught leave out what is essential to being an effective feminine leader, and does not serve our model of facilitation. I am seeking women who want to be pioneers of a new way of living, leading, and sharing yoga. Sometimes new beginnings require stepping out of old systems.
The Yoga Alliance Association is in many ways simply a marketing organization, and does not have standards in place to ensure the quality of its teachers. It is important to remember that it is simply an online teacher registry. It does not certify teachers or programs.
If you choose to become a Certified Facilitator of The Practice®, then we will issue you a certification through our program, which can be used as its own credential or added on to your others.
The value of this training is that you will have the skills to offer a unique and specialized program to women anywhere. Getting a job teaching yoga, or facilitating a woman’s group, like any kind of work, relates mostly to being excellent at what you do, having the proper experience, and lining up well with the person who is hiring, not what alliance you are registered with. I personally have never been required to present a Yoga Alliance registration, nor have I ever felt the need to be a part of the organization. In this training, I will focus on supporting you to succeed in teaching effectively and being able to connect with the women you serve, should teaching be your calling.
Where can I get a job and teach The Practice® after the training?
The Practice® is a specialized yoga course for women based on a 10-week model. It is easily transportable, and you may offer your teaching experience anywhere you like. Our dream is for The Practice® to be offered not just in yoga studios, but in corporations, community centers, gyms, co-working spaces, schools, churches, and living rooms. Because it is unique, the selling potential is huge and women are yearning for this experience. We are here to help support you to find the perfect place to offer your flavor of The Practice®.
What is the application process and the investment?
The first step is to fill out the application. Please get your application in as soon as possible. We will prioritize earlier applications, so now is the time to enroll and save your spot. All dates and investment details are in the application. This is only open to a maximum of 16 women and it will fill up fast, so apply now. Only 16 spots are available and they are going fast.
After I receive your application, you will receive an invitation to meet me at Bloom Retreat so that we can connect and explore deeper together about the journey. If it feels like a good fit to both of us, you will be one of the 16! The intention of the interview is to connect, get to know each other, and allow me to answer any questions you have before you commit.