Friday, March 3, 2017

The Light In Me Illuminates The Light In You: Yoga Teacher Mentorship

by CSOY Faculty & Alum Ange Stopperan

My first mentor was my dad.  He told me that if I wanted to accomplish a goal I needed to:

1.     Set it clearly
2.     Make a strong commitment to myself
3.     Work harder than ever

So I grew up setting goals and learning from a family of entrepreneurs and coaches on how to bring those goals to fruition. When I set the goal was to make it to the Iowa State Championships in track back in 1994, I also learned the value of working with a dedicated coach. Very often they are like our yoga teachers are, they help illuminate that which we can't yet see.

After college, I went into the marketing and advertising, which was a wide-eyed awakening when I discovered it was not nearly as "easy" as I'd thought. It felt like a continuous pulse of hard work to keep up with the ever-changing industry and constantly receive constructive criticism from clients who had high expectations and demands that surpassed the limits of time. After the initial shock, I began to see every challenge as an opportunity to learn from successes and mistakes and my inherited entrepreneurial spirit found it's rhythm in the non-stop action.  

After fourteen years in the industry and giving birth to my son Easton, I decided it was time to switch careers and reinvent myself. I began practicing Yoga in 1999 and had always thought about teaching others. During my 200-hour Teacher Training, I had a mentor who guided me through the training and helped me along the way after graduation and I found that support invaluable. When I was later asked to pay it forward and be a mentor to the next group of trainees, I recognized an opportunity to combine my passion for yoga and my expertise in leadership and project management to help support these teachers as they went through their training. That illuminating opportunity was one of the best experiences of my career and I had a sense this is was precisely where my passions and gifts would translate into service.

After my 300-hour Teacher Training at the Colorado School of Yoga, I folded my past experiences with my present skill set to create a mentoring and business coaching business specifically for yoga teachers, who often have great passion around the practice but perhaps not as much confidence in the realm of business, branding and a fluctuating industry. 

I’m deeply inspired to help yoga teachers gain clarity around their purpose, their teachings, their business and their bottom line. I believe that each teacher has their own unique gifts and though we may feel the teaching scene is saturated, I feel that there is always room for a unique voice so that our students may have the opportunity to experience resonance and recognize something in themselves in their teachers. There are millions of people who still haven’t stepped on their mat yet and because of that, we need every kind of teacher there is. And these teachers may need the same support I received over the years from my earliest mentor, my dad, my coaches and my professional mentors.

"Sometimes in order to do this, teachers need a lighthouse, a mentor to serve as a navigational aid to shine light onto the direction of their path."

I believe right now there is a call for every teacher to connect with the offerings within them that feel most powerful and most authentic so that we may be there when the student is ready and my goal is to help teachers get there in an empowered way. Sometimes in order to do this, teachers need a lighthouse, a mentor to serve as a navigational aid and support to shine light onto the direction of their path. I love working with new graduates who are ready to get their careers started and may feel apprehensive or afraid of that leap as well as seasoned teachers who want to create systems and structure to their offerings to take them to the next level in a sustainable way. 

I’m thrilled to lead an online Teacher Mentorship Program through the Colorado School of Yoga this summer. This program is for teachers who want to take a proactive step towards being an extraordinary and impactful yoga teacher and who want the support and resources to guide and help them in their next steps. 

I’ve taken many online mentorship courses over the years and some felt extremely helpful while in others I was lost in a sea of people with little or no attention. As such, this program provides personal attention, one-on-one mentorship each week and customized feedback on all of your work. We'll have inspiring, weekly live video calls, weekly emails with engaging exercises, thoughtsheets and homework. There will also be a private Facebook group for accountability support and an online forum to ask questions, share ideas and forge connections. 

If you feel the call to disrupt your status quo and take your next big step as a yoga teacher, here's some more info on our upcoming course!