At first, I was skeptical in choosing a hot yoga teacher training program that wasn’t considered “the source,” but after seriously looking at evolation’s program and speaking to its co-creator, Mark Drost, it quickly became apparent to me that this was a far superior program to the one created by Bikram.
Upon arriving to Santa Barbara and soaking in the beautiful scenery of the West Coast, I was at once enamored and taken aback by the curriculum created for my training group. This training was not just limited to the 26+2 series but also gave us a taste of the different styles of yoga that fall under the “hot” umbrella, including Vinyasa Flow, Yin, and meditation classes… and this was just in the first two weeks! We also have two advanced classes scheduled that include a subset of the 84 Hatha Yoga postures. In addition, we get to experience the structure of a good 60-minute 26+2 class. Rather than being a prolonged series of twice-a-day workouts designed to drain you physically and “clinics” designed to drain you mentally and transform you into a human tape recorder, evolation teacher training uses a holistic approach emphasizing teaching and meditation.
The intense daily schedule includes teaching clinics, posture mechanics classes, and lectures on anatomy, subtle anatomy, and philosophy. One of the senior teachers at my studio praised the fact that evolation has somehow managed to assemble some of the best yoga teachers in the world. Besides the amazing cast of fantastic teachers, such as Zefea Samson, Mark Drost, Susan Wyler, Maria Filippone, and Torrey Trover, guest teachers from various studios visit our classes to share their experiences during lectures and provide valuable, constructive feedback during teaching clinics.
The teaching team is passionate about what they do. Not only do they teach us how to properly get into and out of a posture, but why we do it, too. We practice teaching the postures in groups, in teaching clinics, and in a modern, real-world studio. The chefs are committed to preparing delicious vegetarian or vegan meals for the trainees. The support team has been helpful in answering all of our logistics questions and providing insight into fun places and things to do in Santa Barbara. In addition, the support team has been instrumental in helping every student feel like an active part of the community. The house where trainees live and practice together is beautiful, spacious, and comfortable.
On weekends, trainees spend Saturday nights and Sundays enjoying the many restaurants and shops along State Street in downtown Santa Barbara, relaxing in the sun at the nearby beaches, or discovering unique jewelry, pottery, paintings, and more at the Chase Palm Park arts and crafts show. Every student has a different reason for entering teacher training. Some want to work in their local studios. Others dream of travelling and being a part of the evolation team. Others own studios and want to bring the hot yoga sequence into their domains. Some don’t aspire to teach at all and just want to deepen their practice. Whatever the reason, we are all valuable contributors to our teacher training community.
As I reflect upon my entire teacher training experience, I have to conclude that Mark and Zefea are the real deal. They are genuine people with good hearts and beautiful souls and it is clear to me that they love what they do and want to share their passion for yoga to as many people as possible. I’m proud to be a part of my evolation teacher training family and the evolation yoga collective.