Kumari Sulgado started her Teacher Training journey with Yogacampus in September 2018, and was awarded the Yogacampus Bursary Place for her desire to work with recovering addicts and groups of teenagers facing the turbulences of growing up. Her interest with these groups lies both out of personal interest as a member of a 12 step recovery programme herself, and for the desire to bring more awareness to young people's mental health. The bursary is provided by Yogacampus, a not-for-profit educational body committed to sharing knowledge and making yoga accessible to all and encourages active involvement in a community that could benefit from yoga.

Read on to find more about her experience on the course so far, and what she hopes to achieve over the next year.

Back in July of 2018, I was delighted to receive an email saying that I had been accepted on to the Yogacampus Teacher Training Diploma. Not only that, but I was awarded the Bursary student place - double congratulations! I met this news with a mixture of trepidation and excitement. I was thrilled to be accepted on the course and to receive the bursary, but nervous that I would not be able to meet my own and others’ expectations. Ironically, in the year when I had decided to do this training, I had been diagnosed with vertigo, meaning that at certain moments my head would start swimming…making Trikonasana a bit of a challenge! This, in addition to four bulging and one misaligned discs in my spine did not bode well for yoga! Nevertheless, I knew the pursuit of study was something I wanted to follow; in fact, the constant practice of yoga has helped the mobility of my spine and the vertigo seems to have disappeared for now.

On our first day of the training, myself and 30 odd of my future companions on this 18 month adventure met at the new Yogacampus training centre in Finsbury Park. We came from all walks of life and there was a real mixture of ages, races, and sexuality - a truly diverse bunch. There was the usual combination of fear and anticipation as we got to know each other, but our shared love of yoga provided a natural ice breaker. We then broke into groups to discuss what we considered to be the qualities necessary in a good yoga teacher and our expectations and concerns for a yoga class; this made me think back over some classes I have enjoyed and others not so much! It also made me think about how I felt at my very first yoga class and how important it is to try and make classes accessible to those of all abilities.

We’ve now met for two of our weekend modules and once in our smaller contact group of four students. These modules included sessions on anatomy - looking at the fascinating fascia and how it connects the whole body - as well as the history of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. We also practised physical postures with some very brave souls volunteering to be the first to teach us as a group en masse. Along the way, we have formed a Whatsapp group so that we can let each other know if there are any yoga related events or links that might be of interest. It’s actually great to be in more regular contact as there are quite big gaps between our module meetups.

Our teacher student contact group of four students met in a gym in Shepherd’s Bush. This was my first time actually ‘teaching’ a group of three other students. We had each been given a posture to teach - mine was Downward Dog. Despite the fact that I must have done this posture thousands of times, I still found it a bit scary to teach my fellow students and wondered if I felt this nervous in front of three people, how I would ever make it to teach a full class?! Still, we all survived! Now that we have all passed that particular hurdle, I’m looking forward to our next meet up in the New Year.

Looking ahead to when I am qualified (which seems a long way down the road at this point!) and as part of my bursary expectations, I would very much like to work with addicts in early recovery or teenagers in my local area of Haringey. As someone in 12 step recovery programme myself, I remember the early days being a very emotionally unstable period whereby I felt mentally ‘shipwrecked’; it was the same with my adolescence. I applied for the bursary position because I would very much like to bring the peace of mind that I have found through yoga to recovering addicts and teenagers experiencing these tumultuous changes. I also feel that there is very little provision for teenagers in this area. At the moment, I am in the very early stages of researching where I might be able to do this, but I hope to have a road map in place soon.

Thinking about becoming a Yoga Teacher?

The 16-month Yogacampus Yoga Teacher Training Diploma, now in it's 15th year in London, and 3rd year in Manchester and York, is one of the UK's top teacher training courses, known for its non-dogmatic and authentic approach.