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  • Vicki Shields

Why I chose Evolve by GP Dr. Mona Johnson

Updated: Apr 15

Everything that we have explored on the 200hrs makes total sense to me as a GP. From the physiological effects of asana and breath work, through to the psychological effects of these practices done with single pointed awareness. It cannot help but be transformative, and in these crazy times, it has helped me to find more stability and equanimity in my work-life too.


I looked at a lot of different teacher trainings before I chose the Evolve Yoga Training 200hrs course. I would totally recommend this training to anyone, even if they are not certain if they want to teach afterwards. The manual is comprehensive, and the course content is unique, taking yoga beyond the physical practice. I am so grateful to have made this investment and commitment to myself, to go deeper down this path. The thing that jumped out was the attention paid to the breath. How our breath helps us regulate our nervous system, and how just by breathing, we can move out of those stuck patterns or fright/flight/fight/freeze. We can begin to know, or remember, that we are safe in our bodies.


Like many people, I lived my whole life in my head - endlessly problem-solving and planning for the future, or boomeranging into a numb disconnection. Some wisdom kept returning me to the Evolve course, knowing that nervous system regulation was what I’d been craving over the years - with 2020 bringing that to a head. In the end it’s helped me to re-member and re-align to mySelf. Using the breath to drop down from a hypervigilant state into a “rest and digest” state, not only makes you feel better, it changes our entire chemistry. When those survival hormones aren’t racing about our bodies can flourish. It replaces that vicious cycle of stress with a virtuous circle of radiating ease. Since we all have mirror neurones, we literally spread this about in a positive contagion. Or if not, at the least it can bring us a sort of steadiness as we navigate through the world.


Vicki and Sammy-Jo’s supportive approach helped me to start from where I was, but gradually develop at my own pace. Developing a self-practice has been a transformative experience. I had always gone to classes and made shapes, but through the self practice I’ve gone beyond the shapes I’ve been making with my physical body, and connected to myself through the practice. For the first time I’ve been able to find space to breathe and be in my body - not just in my head. Breathing into this experience, rather than keeping my mind and body separate, or pushing myself through force of will. I feel like yoga is now a foundation stone in my life, not just an interesting hobby, or fitness activity. I’ve met my yoga community who’ve journeyed along with me, and I know that we will continue to practice together, develop together and grow together. I feel much more connected, supported and grounded.


Doing the course over 10 months has helped me embed new practices that I don’t think I would have gotten from a similar course over a condensed period. I’ve always been someone who set a very high standard for herself, so just letting myself experience and soak up the experience has been an important part of this journey. Usually I would read all the books and then feel frustrated that all this knowledge wasn’t resulting in any changes. However, the changes I’ve seen this year might not be noticeable on the surface, but have been felt on deeper layers.


Yoga goes beyond asana practice - which is what we recognise as “yoga” in the West. It’s remarkable that this wisdom has been in the world for so long, but we have somehow forgotten it. This training has connected all the parts of this ancient wisdom tradition for me - asana, breath work and philosophy. The main insight has been that we are either in yoga - a state of “comfortable stability” (equanimity) - or we’re not. We’re either subject to whatever chaos is going on around us, or we bring our stillness and calm to those around us, changing the world one person at a time.


Doing this yoga teacher training has been part of a long process of putting the supports around me to live a more conscious and present life. I am still on that journey, but this training has helped me bring together all the elements I’ve explored, and taking all the parts - medicine, psychology, and philosophy - into a simple scaffold I can lean on of body, mind and breath.

The studios were all bright and airy - I feel a fondness for all the physical spaces now! The main studio in Hale is easily accessible, with easy parking, and the residential at Trigonos was fantastic - a beautiful studio with the most incredible view.


And Heaton Moor - well, that’s just up the road from me. A leafy hideaway!

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