Onwards and Upwards

The Transformational Journey of The Glasgow Teacher Training 2021-2023

By Susannah Dean

Skip to the end for 2 short videos

It was with masses of joy and some tender sadness that the Glasgow Teacher Training came to completion in June 2023. 12 fantastic women became Yoga Scotland teachers. I can honestly say that each one of them has taught me so much.

Each student worked epically hard, whether that was with aspects of teaching, self-limiting ideas, life adversity, physical ailment or managing homework. Each one made a massive transformation and it has been a great honour to be a part of their journey. Here are some of the things they said:

  • I feel younger after having done the course
  • I feel like a better person
  • I cope with stress better now
  • I feel more like myself

A web of support

This was the first yoga teacher training I have led, and I was supported by Cathy Swan. Cathy is utterly graceful and also quite determined, she is formidable in the very best of ways. She also has a love for comedy and adores teaching. Teaching with Cathy was always a great pleasure and we shared a lot of humour. She helped me through the course from curriculum to class planning, and working with my self-limiting beliefs (no it’s not just the students who transform!). When I took on the job I had no idea I was going to find a mentor, friend and teacher all in one.

Judy was the Anatomy & Physiology teacher, and is also lead tutor from the Edinburgh sister course. I have known Judy for about 20 years and she also has given tirelessly to help me on the journey. Judy has wowed the students with her November loch swimming, lotus position headstands and her wealth of knowledge.

Graham Burns and Elizabeth Roberts taught the philosophy and have inspired and challenged students to consider yoga from a deeper perspective. Graham took over from Elizabeth and despite teaching from Portugal has earned a place in the hearts and mind of students.

The course has also been supported by some wonderful visiting tutors and a new admin team who have juggled finding new venues and even some lost certificates.

All of these people have helped the students in their onwards journey to becoming yoga teachers, and damn good ones at that, if you don’t mind me saying.

What is it about Yoga Scotland?

To anyone considering doing a yoga teacher training I can thoroughly recommend Yoga Scotland. I have been a member since about 2003, although I did my training with the BWY, Inner Yoga & YogaBirth. While I have been a teaching member for quite some time, it is only in the last 2 years that I have really learned what Yoga Scotland aspires to. There is an impressive devotion to Yoga Scotland. I see trustees and volunteers spend a great deal of their time working to support Yoga Scotland. Kerry Cooper (chair), Ruth Plevin (education coordinator) and Cathy Swan (yes again, this time as assessment coordinator) all put in many hours of love and devotion, free of charge. So why do so many people put so much love into YS?

Yoga Scotland is inclusive and welcomes individual paths. Although I have taught for 20 years, from the outside I thought the way I taught ‘wasn’t Yoga Scotland’, I realise my vision had been clouded. Yoga Scotland support all forms of yoga with an emphasis on evidence and groundedness. Both Judy and I have a love of the teachings of Diane Long, who is the primary student of Vanda Scaravelli. Diane is focused on gravity and freedom, but if that’s not your thing, no problem. Yoga Scotland doesn’t offer ‘do what you want, whatever!’ but asks for a deep enquiry into you, yoga and the teachings offered on the course.

Students who come on the training get a very thorough and supportive start to their yoga teaching. You can find your niche, your love and we will support you with that. Some students on the course have already done a teacher training and still want to then go onto the YS one, that says something doesn’t it!

If you are thinking about doing a teacher training you can find out more here:

If you feel like yoga teacher training isn’t quite right for you yet, you could consider Lindsey Poster’s wonderful yoga foundation in Glasgow or Melanie Cook in Edinburgh. I visited both courses and could see such a knowledge and passion in both teachers.

Teaching yoga as you

When you come onto a YS teacher training you are free to be you, teach your style of yoga and to grow. That said we are very clear on some things: safety, due diligence and evidence. We are firm believers in clarity, which does not extend to elaborated claims that cannot be substantiated. After that you are free. That is a very beautiful gift. You are not being taught a doctrine, a list of right and wrong, better or worse, but a way to question, research and ultimately find your own ground as a teacher. When you leave the course, you will teach with integrity and from a deep truth within yourself.

On the 2021 – 2023 teacher training we had teacher whose passion lay in

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Energy work
  • Elder years yoga
  • Iyengar based
  • Meditation
  • Mental health
  • The science of running

The way teachers taught varied to show their characters: from sunny & joyful, to steady & succinct, to sacred & ethereal, to  graceful and radiant. Each teacher found their voice, their way. Hopefully each teacher is also set up to keep growing and transforming.

At the graduation, Isabel Marshall very kindly gave out certificates on behalf of Yoga Scotland, and we all celebrated the students’ hard work. Celebrations included tender sharing, Rajasthani folk dancing, a shamanic labyrinth in the park, cacao ceremony and haiku’s to name a few.

On behalf of Yoga Scotland I would like to formally congratulate and welcome you to Yoga Scotland:

  • Ailsa Primmer (St Andrews & Cupar)
  • Aradhana Thistlethwaite (Bearsden)
  • Elizabeth Oldcorn (Dalgety Bay)
  • Janice Whittick (Brechin & Kirriemuir)
  • Kerrie Kallus (Falkirk)
  • Laura Finlay (Dumbarton)
  • Liz Storer (Renfreshire)
  • Maria Harper (Edinburgh< Midlothian & Tweedale)
  • Marie McKeown (County Donegal)
  • Sara Noble (Anstruther & Pittenweem)
  • Suzie Byer (Dundee & Broughty Ferry)
  • Vikki Stephen (Aberdeen)

Each one of you is unique, special and also a wonderful yoga teacher. You have worked so hard, believe me, I have watched you, and you have earnt your place as a Yoga Scotland teacher. I wish you joy, light and strength in your onward journeys as a yogi and in your lives. I can’t wait to hear what you get up to next. 

For those of you looking to expand your yoga, why not get in touch with one of our lovely new yoga teachers, above!

Susannah Dean is the lead tutor for the Yoga Scotland Glasgow Teacher Training. She has been teaching yoga for 20 years in Fife and is a wellbeing writer.


insta: theyogauk

YT: theyogaclasses