Q&A Interview with Lead Yoga Teacher Trainer Kostis Argouslidis

Get to know Lead Trainer Kostis Argouslidis’ answers to why and what you should consider when choosing a yoga teacher training. Kostis is an experienced yoga (RYT500, E-RYT200 and YACEP), Calisthenics and Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) teacher and an educated nurse in traumatology from Greece. When I asked him what he think makes a great yoga teacher training over a hot cup of tea last week, he told me this: “With yoga, you tend to project what you believe into the empty space. You might see a teacher training and believe that you’re going to become Buddha – or maybe an acrobat. What you think makes a great training all depends on what you have in your head.”

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By Isabella Magnoni

Isabella:  Why do you recommend the 200 hour training for yoga students?

Kostis: The way I see it as a teacher, the 200 hour certificate is perhaps the most important certificate that teachers earn. I have a few certifications myself – 200, 300 and 500 hours – but I would say the most important education I have is my 200 hour certificate. It gives you a practical introduction to yoga and the foundation to start digging deeper into the practice yourself. The base training points you toward where to dig. Of course, that’s only if you know what you’re looking for! (laughs)

Think of it this way: You are going on a journey, the 200 hour training is like a backpack, right? You can fit a lot of things in your pockets, but if you forget your backpack – not good. You’re not going to go far without your backpack. If you forget to put something in your pocket, you’re probably going to make it where you are going. But the backpack is important. Someone who finalises our trainings has all of the tools to take this journey for life and continue down the path of yoga.

Isabella: Did you know that you wanted to teach yoga before taking your first YTT, or did that come later?

Kostis: For me, it was pretty obvious. I always knew I wanted to teach. In a lot of Yoga Teacher Trainings, people come for their own sake to learn more about the practice, and that’s great.

If you’re an average yoga student at a studio, you go to class and listen to the teacher. This actually doesn’t leave you a lot of time to meditate in the movement and asana, because you’re listening to someone, or lifting your head up to see what’s going on, or focusing energy outside of yourself.

This education gives you the ability to know what’s happening from the floor. So you don’t need to focus on the image of your teacher – you can focus on your practice. Once you’ve gone through the training and you hear a Sanskrit word in class or pose name, you’ll understand what that means and you’ll understand what to do. You probably won’t need to hear anything else, because you know. And most likely, you’ll know better than the teacher that’s teaching!

“So this training is not only for people who want to teach; it’s for people who want to improve in their own practice.”

Isabella: How would you describe your teaching style?

Kostis: My style is more dynamic and physical. You can of course meditate in a dynamic practice – but I wouldn’t say that I’m a silent one (laughs). 

Isabella: Is there anything you wish you had known before you took your 200 hour training? Perhaps any words of advice you’d like to pass on to potential students? 

Kostis: Choose wisely. The fancy Instagram pictures, the texts and information, the wordings about this and that – this isn’t what you should look at. You should look behind all of that.

Well, yes! There’s a lot of smoke-and-mirrors marketing in the wellness industry. So what do you think makes a great yoga teacher training?

Kostis: If you’re going to take a Crossfit teacher training, you don’t need to dig. You know what the teachers are teaching. You know what’s going to happen. You know the product exactly. It’s going to be weight training and bodybuilding.

Yoga is not like this. With yoga, you tend to project what you believe into the empty space. You might see a teacher training and believe that you’re going to become Buddha. Or an acrobat who can take your leg behind your head and walk on your hands. What you think makes a great training all depends on what you have in your head. 

It is wise to separate what you believe from what is when you choose an education. This work is 99% on you, as a student, to look at what the education brings to the table and determine if that speaks to you. Sit down and ask yourself: Why am I doing it? What am I doing? What do I want out of this? 

Isabella: I ask myself those questions every day… 

So where are you going, yogi? With our next Yoga Teacher Training right around the corner, we are shining the spotlight on our experienced teaching team to give you some inspiration and ideas. Read more about yum’s 200 Hour YTT here

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