The high rates of anxiety and mental health issues among teenagers was one of the main reasons high school teacher, Shannon Herps decided to train as a yoga teacher.
Shannon had been practising yoga for a few years and wanted to increase her knowledge of the practice to help her own children – and her students – so she enrolled in the IYTA’s Diploma of Yoga Teacher Training.
The IYTA’s course was recommended to her by teachers at her local yoga studio in Glenbrook, NSW.
Shannon says: “I was a high school teacher I found lots of kids coming through with an increasing rate of anxiety and mental health issues. I had been doing a personal yoga practice for a while. I had done a kids yoga teacher training so I knew how beneficial yoga could be and I wanted to learn more.”
Shannon liked the fact that IYTA course took a year to complete – so not only are the study weekends spread out, but there is time to really absorb the knowledge and research each module thoroughly.
Shannon says: “When I started the IYTA’s Diploma of Yoga, I thought yoga was mostly about the pranayama and asana – I didn’t know about all the other aspects and limbs of yoga, such as the koshas and philosophy, so I really appreciated the opportunity to process the information during the year.”
The IYTA course has lectures set aside for posture reviews and teaching practices – so everyone has time to really understand the classical postures – including adapting and modifying them to suit different body shapes, levels of ability and injuries.
Shannon says: “The IYTA appealed to me as there are so many teachers delivering the course and everyone is an expert in their field. There was a great variety of lecturers and subjects from pre and post natal to seniors and children’s yoga.”
And with so many like-minded yogis on the course, Shannon quickly found another student – Ashlyn – who she discovered lived close by and was also a high school teacher! The pair ended up car pooling to the study weekends. The pair have since become great friends and are still in close contact with the rest of their cohort.
Shannon says: “The course also affected me personally. I had Post Natal Depression after my second child and had become a bit perfectionist – I used to put a lot of pressure on myself, but when I did yoga I was able to walk away with a sense of bliss. The course helped me discover tools which helped to manage my own anxieties about being a mum and someone who was working. I learnt how to let go and calm myself.”
After graduating from the course in 2018 Shannon says she was surprised how easy it was to build a yoga career. She says: “I never had to put myself out there – the work found me.”
Within a few months Shannon had created her own yoga business: Little Lotus Studio and was running about five regular classes including one class at a primary school, mindfulness sessions in classrooms, general yoga at two local gyms and private classes at a community hall.
Earlier this year Shannon taught a kids yoga class for Education Live earlier this year during lockdown. It was viewed by over 8000 people when it initially ran in July and another 10 000 last week during school holidays when it was put up again! Shannon’s daughter, Eliza, was her co-teacher and they played with the yoga poses based on the inspirational athletes in the Olympics.
Shannon also sells her own eye pillows. The idea came from when Shannon attended a class and the eye pillow given to her was filled with rice. She says: “They must have been filled with weevils as while I was lying in Relaxation the weevils and rice were rolling down my face! It wasn’t exactly relaxing!”
Now Shannon and her mum make home-made eye pillows using organic Australian lavender and flaxseeds, with cotton washable covers. They are available from Shannon’s website.