Meet the Teacher Training Faculty: Lisa Helm

Meet the Teacher Training Faculty: Lisa Helm

What do you teach for the Iam Yoga Teacher Training?

I teach the Anatomy and Physiology module, which always kicks off the teacher training. We are big believers in setting up new teachers for success by helping them understand how to keep their students (and themselves) safe in their yoga practice by teaching to different body types, modifying for injuries, and sequencing in a logical, progressive way.

How did you end up specializing in that topic? Why are you passionate about it?

After I started teaching, I did a lot of studying on my own as well as taking a few anatomy courses. I found that so many teachers out there teach things that don’t make sense from an anatomical perspective and I wanted to figure out a better way. I also got a couple injuries that really forced me to think about what I was practicing and how I was creating imbalances in my own body. So I learned a ton by trying to fill my own knowledge gap and help myself work through significant physical challenges. I also learned a ton from my partner, who specializes in injury rehab as a trainer.

What are the things you really want the trainees to come away with from your lessons?

The number one thing I want teacher trainees to understand is that a yoga teacher is in a position to enact incredible good or incredible harm, and we lean one way or the other in our attention to the students themselves. Teachers who make the class about themselves create a toxic environment that either attracts devotees (typically not super healthy relationships) or turns people off of yoga, leading them away from something that could do them a lot of good. On the other hand, teachers who make their classes about what students want and need, and are devoted to keeping their students safe, welcome, and challenged, can create experiences that are beautifully transformative for the students in the room.

What do you see as the most important qualities of a great yoga teacher?

Understanding of how the body works and lack of ego. To me, the experience of going to a great class means every piece made sense and the teacher supported me in my journey, whatever that means today.

What do you want aspiring yoga teachers to know about taking teacher training?

You don’t have to be in a certain place or have a level of expertise in yoga to get started in a teacher training. Everyone is new, and the skills are brand new, and there is a levelling effect right off the bat that makes it much less scary to tackle the topics as a group. Also, teacher training is a magical time to meet amazing people who love yoga as much as you do!