Yoga Teacher Mentoring – Why Is It Important?

Charley Teaching @workshop

Yoga teacher mentoring is an essential part of both becoming a yoga teacher and as an ongoing relationship during a yoga teachers life.  I’ve always thought that becoming a yoga teacher is a little like being an apprentice.  It’s the closest thing I can think of to compare it to and financially it’s pretty similar too!

Initially there isn’t any financial reward and teacher training costs money.  What follows is a period of helping out in classes as part of the training where you are learning from someone experienced but still not getting paid.    Upon completion some yoga teachers then seek out work at existing yoga schools which is very competitive.  Others elect to work independently which requires further cost to set up and maintain a client base.  After a few years the teacher may be successful and earning a living.  So, you see, it’s not the easiest path to choose and this is where mentors can help.

A good yoga teacher training is at least 12 months long and includes having a mentor to guide you. The mentor is usually a senior teacher (10 years +) and may provide guidance in a number of ways.  They may allow a teacher trainee to observe or take parts of a class and ask questions.  Real life learning is so important, it really is the best way to learn and we all have to start somewhere!

How Important Is Yoga Teacher Mentoring?

Yoga is such an experiential practice that having a mentor, in my opinion, is essential.  Many questions come up during this initial period of training.  A mentor can be a trusted individual that the yoga teacher can learn from but also confide in.  As many of you already know, yoga is much more than a series of physical exercises.  It’s a  multi dimensional practice affecting every part of our being.  Shifts in awareness of ourselves and the world around us often happen during this time.  The mentoring relationship can be a sounding board for these challenging times.   Having someone to talk to makes adjusting easier.

I’ve been involved in yoga teacher mentoring for many years in Perth.  Mentoring is a two way street and as well as mentoring yoga teachers, I also have mentors of my own that I connect in with regularly.    This helps us be the best yoga teachers that we can be and help each other grow through sharing our collective experiences.

So, on that note, I’m delighted to introduce my newest mentee Michelle! Some of you will have met her already in the Thursday morning class where she will be continuing to attend and start some practicals soon.  Please make her feel welcome and say hi, here is a bit more about the lovely Michelle!

Michelle – Yoga Teacher Trainee

Michelle Shannon Yoga


Hi, I am Michelle and I am feeling excited and very privileged to be doing my practical yoga teacher training at Charleyoga.

I have been teaching various forms of fitness, including body balance and pilates since 2000.  I have also been attending yoga classes, albeit not always regularly since I was a teen.  Like most people what first brought me to the mat was the physical.  However,   over time, I continue to practice not just for the benefits yoga brings to the physical body but for the union of body, mind and spirit.  Yoga is what helped me breathe through 3 childbirths.  It continues to help me now to keep calm and focused in this ever changing world.

I will always be a student of yoga and I look forward to my ongoing yoga education and the journey ahead.  Thank you all in advance for assisting me on my journey ~ Michelle

Charley Hickey



About Charleyoga & Charley Hickey

Author: Charley Hickey C-IAYT is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross, Bateman & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.



Yoga, Fascial Release & Foam Roller

Myofascial Release With Foam Roller

Who better to feel where you have tension in your body than you?! Here are some tips on using a foam roller to help with that.

Author: Charley Hickey C-IAYT – Owner, Charleyoga. Yoga Therapist, Yoga Teacher, Pilates, Self-Myofascial Release

MyofascialFoam Roller


Pertaining to a muscle and its sheath of connective tissue, or fascia.
Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. © 2009, Elsevier.

Fascia covers all organs of the body. Muscle and fascia cannot be separated therefore all muscle stretching is myofascial stretching. Myofascial stretching in one area of the body can often be felt in and will affect the other body areas.  Release of myofascial restrictions can affect other body organs through a release of tension in the whole fascial system.

Self Myfascial Release (SMR) is part of a systematic approach to correcting myofascial imbalances. Combining this with other components will assist the body to return to optimal functional efficiency thus allowing the body to move and feel better.

Some of the outside influences that can cause imbalances include:

  • Tension caused by impact or deceleration of the body during movement.
  • Sedentary lifestyle or repetitive activities (RSI)
  • Poor hydration
  • Wearing high heels or ill fitting shoes.
  • Old Injuries
  • Building Muscle strength quickly without balancing with flexibility practices

DIY With Foam Roller

What is so great about SMR using the foam roller is that you don’t have to rely on an expert using trial and error and relying on you for feedback to find and release areas in your body that are tight.

A gentle force is applied with the foam roller using  body weight as resistance.   This is thought to cause the elastic collagenous fibres to be manipulated from the bundled position into an alignment that is straighter with the direction of the surrounding tissues.

This method allows you to simply feel around yourself until you find areas that need attention.  You can then work at your own pace within your own comfort levels. Of course if you are unsure or feel you need some further guidance then you can always consult with someone who is trained to assist you.  We offer one on one yoga therapy sessions and workshops on this topic regularly.

If you have an injury or inflammation then it is essential that you seek professional guidance before you use the roller on or around that area.

When you first begin or if you have quite a bit of tension or pain in your body then it is a good idea to start with a really soft, smaller foam roll. A pool noodle works fine although you may find for some areas this will be too soft and they are not particularly hardwearing so you’ll eventually need to invest in a higher density, professional quality foam roll if you wish to continue (we sell them here)

Foam Roller Technique

To measure the tightness of a spot, we use a comfort scale of 1 – 10 with 1 being no discomfort and/or tightness felt at all and 10 being extreme discomfort and/or tightness.

  1. Position muscle to be worked on roller (seek guidance if unsure)
  2. Roll up, down and across the muscle until tender point is found
  3. This should be around a 7 on the comfort scale
  4. Once tender spot is found, pause for 30 – 60 seconds
  5. Breathe easily & consciously and relax the rest of body as much as you can
  6. Stay here until the discomfort decreases by approx 75% (to level 1 – 3 on comfort scale)
  7. If no change, move on anyway.
  8. Continue to roll muscle and repeat on any further tender points.

Self Study

Self study is a large part of living a yogic lifestyle. Being in touch with how we feel at a particular time and starting to recognise for ourselves some of the things that cause us stress in body and mind are the first steps.

For example, if you notice that you have a tight hamstring on one side and it always happens on a Tuesday it may be useful to note what it is that you do on that day that causes it and if it is possible to make a change.

By doing this you will be amazed how effectively you can self diagnose and take steps to treat the stress in your own life. However, it is also important to recognise when you may need outside help from a qualified health professional. All is not lost as your yogic self study and awareness of the problem could possibly help to come to a quicker diagnosis and therefore a faster recovery.

So, you are well on your way down the path to DIY stress relief for body and mind!  For a more thorough introduction, book into our next Self Myofascial Release (Foam Roller) and Yoga Workshop here >>

Charley Hickey



Manheim, Carol. 2001. The Myofascial Release Manual. 3rd Edition. Slack Inc
Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. © 2009, Elsevier
O’Dwyer, Ian 2007 – OD on movement