Tag Archives: grenada

My pathway to yoga teacher training

yoga teacher training

I had already embarked upon my journey to be a fitness instructor (whilst juggling the demands of my marketing day job) when I met a remarkable Yoga teacher. His name was Michael French and he held lessons at dawn and evenings in a pavilion overlooking Grand Anse Beach in Grenada.

He didn’t subscribe to a specific style of Yoga but mixed elements of pure Hatha, Ashtanga and Vinyasa. His teaching style was calm but motivational, with very clear instructional cues. There was also something quite spiritual about him, even though there was little spiritual emphasis to his teaching. He just had a presence.

Those classes on that holiday sowed some seeds. I nurtured a desire to become a Yoga teacher in the months and years that followed. And later as I qualified to be a Group Fitness instructor, the desire grew stronger.

I investigated the different Yoga disciplines. Unfortunately I encountered as much snobbery from some as I experienced help from others. As I went to more Yoga classes, and then later as I qualified as a Body Balance instructor, I realised that I did not want to be tied to one style. I wanted the freedom to explore, to experiment and to grow in myself but ultimately to reflect this freedom with my ultimate customers.

Eventually I found The Level 3 Yoga course through Group X Training – a modern NVQ course that lets you learn and teach as you develop. It more than fitted the bill and what’s more it is recognised by the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPS). It gave me advanced anatomy and physiology knowledge, advanced instruction techniques, and a general Yoga framework upon which I could develop a style that suited me and my customers.

As a result of this I am now offering a general Hatha Yoga class and a more challenging Power Yoga session based upon Ashtanga principles but not constrained by that repetitive format. But I have successfully taken Ashtanga classes and received appreciation from that ultimately challenging clientele.

The journey has only really just begun, but I often think about Michael French and I set out to find him.

The internet only revealed an old email address and one photo from a speech about Yoga he once made in Skegness. I wrote to the organisers of the speech (not knowing when the event had actually taken place) and waited.

Michael got in touch recently. He left Grenada after the hurricane and came back to the UK and carried on teaching Yoga. Unfortunately he almost died from a serious heart condition and his doctors thinks that it was only the fitness that came from his Yoga practice that got him through the treatment.

Although he lives at the other end of the UK – we will teach together one day.

Grenada the spice island gem

I can’t believe I have just returned from my 6th holiday in Grenada. It really is that beautiful. No matter where else in the world we venture, something always tugs at the emotions and requires a return to this Caribbean gem every couple of years.

grenada spice islandMost people won’t have heard about Grenada – or at least they will think it is somewhere in Spain. In fact it is in the southern Caribbean and those with long memories might remember that the USA invaded Grenada in 1983. But that little episode is long past. Now the island is surrounded by warm turquoise sea, white (and black) sandy beaches, mountainous rainforests, and possesses a friendliness almost unsurpast. It is known as the Spice Island as a result of all the nutmeg and mace that they produce. The rum is pretty good and strong as well.

We stayed at the Coyaba Beach Resort on the superb two mile long Grand Anse beach. Now Coyaba is not the most luxurious hotel I have ever stayed in. In fact the last time I was in Grenada we stayed a couple of doors down at the Spice Island Beach Resort with its Egyptian cotton sheets, multi-cushioned beds, Molton Brown products and ambitions to become to Grenada what Sandy Lane is to Barbados. As a result it lacks personality and the staff lack warmth. It’s luxurious but it has no soul.

grenada spice islandCoyaba, however does have soul, passion, warmth and an irresistable charm. From the staff who seem to be on a mission to get to know you personally, to the extensive, lovingly maintained gardens with colourful plants and trees, to the walk up pool bar, to the bar manager, Stanley, who has been mixing cocktails there for 22 years, to the restaurant supervisor who will go out of her way to buy you a hand made Kite – the place is very special. The rooms are not huge but they are well designed and decorated in a minimalist Arawak style and are spotlessly clean.

Grenada Spice Island

In fact the gardens themselves outway the artifical luxury of places that cost three times as much. Coyaba promise a bed turn down service every night. This is something I have always thought to be an over indulgence – but I also believe that if a hotel offers such a service then it should make good on its promise. Coyaba is the only hotel in the world that I have stayed in that offers this service that has fulfilled its promise every night, and that includes chains like Ritz Carlton and JW Marriott. Small things like this make a real difference.

grenada spice islandThere are plenty of good restaurants nearby or in St Georges, but the food at Coyaba is also of very high quality. I particularly like their gourmet interpretation of Roast Beef and Yorkshire Puddings.

Grand Anse beach is very clean and the waters although a little choppy are great for swimming and snorkelling. Don’t ignore the beach traders. They will not pester if you don’t want to talk to them but it’s worth watching for the ones who have genunine talent at carving up a piece of black coral into a lovely keepsake.

grenada spice islandTake a day trip to Carriacou – Grenada’s sister island – and even more deserted paradise.