Teacher Training, One Year On - Emily Leslie

Emily, CAMYOGA graduate teacher decided to split her intensive training over two courses - she completed her first week on the July 2016 Intensive, and her second week (of the two weeks) was on the January 2017 Intensive. Here is her post-graduation story...

Emily, teaching her first cover class at our Shelford studio

Emily, teaching her first cover class at our Shelford studio

If you’re thinking about splitting the intensive over six months, perhaps there’s a couple of things that might encourage you to do so.

Firstly, you get to know two groups of people who are there for the same reason you are; they are passionate about yoga and totally ready to delve into it with open minds, and that’s such an excellent way to bond with people. Obviously, if you have positive connections with these people, there’s lots of potential with the budding relationships; initiatives, shared sessions.

The other huge positive is that you have longer to marinade in the concepts that are introduced via the reading list. These concepts are embedded in really nice translations of classical texts, and to have longer to read and enjoy these is a pleasure.

Thirdly, you get longer to absorb what you have learned in the first part. For example, longer to think about what you want to do with your qualifications.  

There’s also the advantage of having longer to set up the business side of things; the taxes, setting up the company, the website. 


It’s a little over a year since starting training. 

Thankfully since qualifying in May, it’s been possible (though challenging) to re-organise things so that growing the yoga is a priority. Especially when transitioning from a profession such as teaching, this takes quite some determination and strength to stick with, as it’s a less reliable income (to start with only, hopefully) and with the added challenges of being a freelancer. If you are really passionate about it, it may be challenging, yet it doesn’t feel wrong, and that’s a very motivating place to act from.

The CAMYOGA faculty have been really supportive; offering the opportunity to divulge some of the concepts learned during the training to other trainees (allowing me to explore these concepts in even further depth and use skills from my previous profession, easing the path between the two).  It’s so refreshing to discuss moral codes, the sense of something bigger than ourselves, as adults. We are all too often confined to instructional, organisational dialogue.  Discussions about the spiritual philosophy of yoga enable me to verbalise what it is about it that is so meaningful. 

Cover sessions are gradually building up in the CAMYOGA studios; it’s a true blessing to be instructing alongside such fantastic role-models of the yoga community there. Setting up sessions independently of the studios takes a little extra in up-front fees, yet hopefully at it proves worth it; watch this space! There are certain niches arising; for example, offering yoga to those who are unable to attend regular sessions, particularly kids who need special medical or physical adaptations.  It’s a case now of keeping my personal commitments to a minimum in order to take up opportunities; practicing simplicity and keeping an open mind about when, where and how to instruct. 

On a physical level, it seems important to look after my health even more than ever. This equally means knowing when to have a rest, as much as when to practice asana. If it feels right, it may be appropriate to read rather than get on the mat. My focus has shifted from how many sessions I can attend, to broadening my vision; spending an hour on planning, or reading, or connecting with the yoga community. Taking vitamins, regular fitness sessions, meditating and avoiding alcohol (it seems way less appealing than ever!) keep me feeling bolstered.

Of course, I’d adore to go on further trainings, for example, the level four or Ashtanga training. I practice patience and in best faith that all this will come when it’s meant to; it took 15 years of practicing yoga to train as an instructor, so I’m sure another few months to save and go further with studies won’t hurt! What’s so nice is that I am able to keep the learning going independently; with the amazing instructors I already know and also through avenues such as websites and literature. It’s so nice to dip into books on the reading list still, and beyond; such as David Swenson’s Ashtanga Yoga, Ana Forrest’s Fierce Medicine. They are a financially viable way to access some of the best wisdom without having to disrupt a schedule or dip out of instructing opportunities by attending CPD courses. 

The business element is a learning curve. Invoicing, promoting, innovating; these are all part and parcel of the instructing line of duty. I recommend asking for advice from the best places; it’s really important to look after your interests, as nobody else is going to do it for you! Among my favourite parts of this process was building a website. Please do check it out; www.emilyaliceyoga.com and let me know what you think! 

- Emily Leslie, 200hr TT Graduate 2017

For more information about our teacher training courses click here or drop an email to tt@camyoga.co.uk

Connecting with your unborn child

Connecting with your unborn child
by Louise Palmer-Masterton

In 2006 I had the very good fortune to spend some one-one time with Frederick Leboyer, author of the seminal text ‘Birth Without Violence’ his 1974 book that changed the face of obstetric practice.

Monsieur Leboyer, who sadly passed away earlier this year at the age of 98, was a former obstetrician who ultimately eschewed modern obstetric practice and turned to writing the story of birth from the child’s perspective. In Birth Without Violence, for the first time in history, he painted the infant's view of birth - coming from the quiet, calm womb into bright lights, noise, stress and separation (when immediately after birth the child would be taken from its mother to be prodded and ‘tested’).

Before Leboyer childbirth had always been about the mother, the procedures, the hospitals - everything but the infant, and whilst his book was initially opposed by his fellow obstetricians, midwives and mothers themselves did take notice, and slowly but surely things began to change. It is now commonplace that delivery rooms are quiet, low lit places, infants are now allowed to rest with their mothers immediately after birth. These and many more changes can be directly attributed to Leboyer’s book.

Back to my meeting Leboyer. It was even more fortunate for me that at the time of our meeting I was myself 5 months pregnant, and because of this he rather took me under his wing.

He was in his late eighties when we met, and a rather wonderful, slightly stroppy french man, with a very big twinkle in his eye.

He taught me something which went on to become the basis of what we teach at CAMYOGA in pregnancy yoga, pregnancy trainings, and our active birth workshops.

He said..

“Every day, from when you are 6 months pregnant, take 15 mins out of your day. Find a quiet place to sit and meditate. Once you are settled and focussed, take your attention to your baby. Really bring all of your focus to your baby.

Then let your baby know that you are there, and that you are listening.

Then you simply spend some time ‘listening’ to your baby.”


He told me that if I did this every day from 6 months my baby would know me, and be connected to me, and feel safe in being born. He told me she would not cry when she was born. And guess what? She did not, and she has scarcely cried since. She was the most chilled, relaxed baby who has grown into a remarkable child. 

This article was originally written for the September 2017 issue of OM Yoga Magazine

Congratulations Pregnancy Yoga Diploma Graduates!

Congratulations to our newly qualified pregnancy yoga teachers! Here are some images and impressions from the 4 day course. We run this course once a year and is open to 200hr qualified yoga teachers wanting to advance their teaching, PLUS it can also be part of the 500hr diploma!

Our 2018 dates will be announced shortly, keep an eye on the Teaching Pregnancy Yoga page for more info. Otherwise, just drop us a line to register your interest.

Love from CAMYOGA xx

I learnt SO much more than I thought I would. We not only learnt about yoga poses, but also about stages of pregnancy, stages of birth, the anatomy of the pelvis etc. This gave me knowledge to explain WHY we teach certain things.
— L.L
I am very pleased that I chose to do the course, and I feel a lot more informed now. I won’t panic if a pregnant lady turns up in class!!
— A.D
Thank you Rachael! You were fantastic at teaching us all your pearls of wisdom. I loved every second of it and I feel so confident to safely teach pregnant women yoga and how to ease their labour!
You learn so much more than just yoga poses. This course sets you up with the knowledge and expertise to safely teach yoga to pregnant women safely
— L.L.

We are super proud to have been awarded the coveted Small Business of the Year Award at this year's Cambridge Business Excellence Awards final last Thursday.

At a glittering event in the Kings College Great Hall, Louise received the award sponsored by Fine & Country after a hotly contested final of four businesses. These awards are the region’s premier business awards, and we are absolutely delighted.

2016 was a fantastic year for CAMYOGA and the new Stem + Glory. Our crowdfunding success was a major part of our story, and we are so grateful to everyone for their fantastic support throughout the year.

Gratitude also to the panel of 15 judges for their openness to new ways of doing business :)

Breathing Mindfully - A Practice You Can Do Anywhere!

Before reading this blog post, wherever you are, breathe in and breathe out. Concentrate on the inhale where the cool air moves through your nostrils, the chest and belly expands, and then exhale fully. Do this twice more, observing the breath and the sensations that come. Well done, you have just breathed mindfully. Simple huh?

Breathing is something that we all do, all of the time. By bringing our focus onto the breath we can work on being present in the moment.

You can do the following exercise for just a few minutes, or for longer, it’s up to you. During this you may find your mind drifting, this is ok and totally normal (even for seasoned practitioners). When you notice thoughts coming into your mind, gently but firmly bring your attention back to the breath. This practice of breathing mindfully is a great first step for developing a pranayama practice.


Sit or lay in a comfortable position. You may close the eyes or keep them open with a soft gaze, you may want to rest your hands on the stomach and help you connect to your breath and feel it in a more physical way.

The Breath

Inhale, notice the feeling of the cool air moving through the nostrils into the lungs. The chest and belly expand at the top of the inhale. Exhale through the nose, the chest and belly contract, navel to spine. Continue the breath, feel what it is really like to breathe. Notice the calming effect it has on the body and the mind, observe the sensations without judgement.

You may find that the mind wanders from time to time - this is normal. Acknowledge the thought, and then come back to the breath - it can help to imagine your thoughts as books: allow yourself to look at the cover, read the title and then consciously put it on the shelf to read later.


Once you have finished the exercise, take a few moments to notice how you feel. Enjoy the experience you’ve just had connecting to yourself and your breath, body and the space around you and within you. Know that you can always come back to this practice at anytime and anywhere (even in the queue at the supermarket!).

Next Steps

Take this mindful breath and apply it throughout your yoga practice, keep focused on the breath for the duration and observe how it affects your practice.

Tried it? Let us know how you get on. You can share your experience on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using #camyogis