Q & A With Lucille and Jodi from Sterling Hot Yoga Works: On Teacher Training, Communication, and the Sterling Method

Attention hot yoga teachers! There’s an awesome hot yoga teacher training coming up June 22 through July 19th at Casa Om. Jodi Orr and Lucille Allen will be teaching The Sterling Method of yoga instruction. Blogger Kathryn E. Livingston asked the dynamic (and compassionate) duo some questions about what this comprehensive training will entail:

Q: Can you describe the Sterling Method and its unique points?

Jodi:  Sure! The Sterling Method of yoga instruction provides trainees with the foundation of understanding. By understanding physiology, anatomy, and the purpose of each pose the teachers will be able to deliver an effective class full of compassion, that will make people want to come back. We will provide preparatory work to build an understanding of how the yoga works and we’ll address issues of speech apprehension while they’re training. We’ll provide supportive feedback so the trainees understand both where their strengths lie and where they can improve in their classes and teaching in a safe, supported environment.

Q: How did you get into training teachers?

Lucille: As studio owners we’ve spent a lot of time with our hot yoga teachers trying to get them to teach the way that we need them to teach. Before I opened my studio, I spent nine months traveling around the United States. I talked to a lot of studio owners and asked them a variety of questions. I asked, “What is your biggest challenge? What is the easiest thing? What would you do differently what did you do best?” and so forth. Consistently, one of the biggest challenges that studio owners mentioned is finding good quality teachers. When we became studio owners we found that to be a challenge as well. That is not meant in any way, shape or form to disrespect people who are hot yoga teachers—not at all.  Many people come out of training as amazing teachers. But for many others, they need to understand the whys and hows in order to be a strong and supportive teacher. Our goal is to speed up the process, to give them the tools straight away so that they understand what they’re teaching and why, and so that they’re able to really help build a friendly and supportive community of healing that will, in turn, help studio owners build their business.

Q: Where are your studios located?

Jodi: Lucille owns Sterling Hot Yoga Works in Mobile, Alabama, and I own Sterling Hot Yoga Works in Lexington, Kentucky.

sterling one

Q: How did you meet?

A:  Lucille:  Jodi and I met two days before our training started in Acapulco in 2008.  We were both staying in a hostel around the corner from the training site. Neither  of us had successfully memorized our dialogue, and we were frantically trying to learn the words to half moon pose. Later in training, almost every time I had a melt down on my mat, Jodi was next to me gently telling me to get up.  She told me I had more in me than I thought and I believed her – so I got up!

Q: How did you come up with this training method?

Lucille: Jodi is a professional athletic coach. Her background is in coaching people to be their best and to do more than they think they’re capable of doing. I have a master’s degree in communication instruction. We’re helping our trainees learn to effectively communicate, and to perform at a higher level than what they think they’re able to reach. We’re teaching them both of these strategies so that as teachers they’ll be able to do the same thing with people who come to their classes to practice yoga.

Jodi: We’ll be practicing many skills while we’re training–just as you would at a practice for sports, working on a certain drill for a number of minutes. Lucille will be using her background on how to teach; she’s going to be bringing a lot to the table on how people learn, on how people teach, how people can better themselves when they’re standing in front of others and speaking and giving instruction.

Q: How did you each get on the yoga path?

Lucille: I had been practicing hot yoga for almost ten years off and on, and then I had this year of tragedy in which I lost my dad, my mom as well as my significant other. I left my job; I sold my house, and entered a masters program. But the only place I felt okay was in the hot room, because tears are literally the same as sweat. I spent a lot of time in the hot room just crying, curled up in a ball. It was a wonderful, supportive environment where I was allowed to do that. As I started doing more postures, I realized the hot room was the most healing place I could possibly be.  So I decided to become a teacher. After training, I traveled for nine months learning as much as I possibly could so that I could open up a really awesome studio. In the process I met a really great guy that I ended up marrying and we came to this little town of Mobile, Alabama where people thought yoga was yoghurt, and we opened up a studio. It’s been very successful and lots of fun and we’re healing bodies.

Jodi: Lucille found personal growth in yoga and I found physical growth. I was an athlete and I found physical healing in yoga. I was involved in sports since I was four; I actually played as a professional athlete as well. By the time I was in my late twenties my body was pretty beat up and I was in a lot of pain. I was very inflexible, my back hurt and I started doing yoga; I started in Tennessee where I was coaching and I moved up to Lexington to coach for the University of Kentucky. But my body was still in a lot of pain, until I remembered that yoga I had done in Nashville that made me feel good so good. I practiced yoga here in Lexington in 2007 and haven’t stopped practicing since because the yoga gives me so much physical healing in my body.

Q: Why did you decide to hold your training at Casa Om?

Lucille: It’s a beautiful villa that provides an amazing landscape and support staff; it’s right off of the beach near a quiet, cozy town. The meals are amazing and everything is overall at an affordable cost.

Q: Is it true that you are having a special guest teacher at your training?

Jodi: Yes, we’re bringing in a well-known yoga instructor and trainer named Esak Garcia. He’s a wonderful person and teacher; we’re really looking forward to having him on staff. Esak will focus on teaching our trainees the secret ingredients to being a successful teacher and what works so well for him when he’s in a yoga room teaching; he’s going to be teaching the yoga postures as well.

Lucille:  We are also going to be announcing a few other very special members of our staff soon!

Q: Can you elaborate a bit more on your goal for your training program?

Jodi: We’ve found that as studio owners we’re both looking for teachers we can trust, teachers that we know can help grow our business, who can provide outstanding customer service and that are qualified to teach. Our goal is to prepare the trainees with the tools necessary to do their job effectively and with confidence on their first day of work. In short, our goal is to set the standard for producing the best yoga teachers in the hot yoga industry.

Q: What makes a great teacher?

Lucille: There are a number of things. The first is that that they have to understand what they’re doing. They can’t just get up and recite a bunch of words; they have to understand what’s behind what they’re saying. They have to have passion for what they’re doing, and they have to have compassion for the people they’re asking to do it. They have to have public speaking skills, because it’s not easy to get up in front of a room full of 30 people half naked and talk! And they have to be kind; they have to understand how to get more out of people than what they believe they can do.

Jodi: And, teachers have to be able to work with a good set of customer service skills, conflict resolution skills and have five star magnetic customer service.

Q: Where can yogis find out more about you and this fantastic training?

Jodi: Our website: sterlinghotyogaworks.com. They can fill out an application for the training there.

You can also find out more information about this retreat on CasaOm.com

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