A personal home practice; a minimum of 3 years of classes with Polly; regular and ongoing attendance within the practitioner programs of the school, are pre-requisites to be mentored.
Mentorship is the process within which a student of yoga, who wishes to engage deeply in the question of training to become a teacher, establishes a committed, practice based, relationship with their teacher. The commitment aspect of mentorship is a serious matter and pertains to the tendencies of the mind to grasp and deflect from responsibility. The committment is a delcaration of willingness to work within a relationship model (mentorship) with a more senior practitioner. The relationship functions to give a student (mentoree) feedback and guidance as issues arise. The relationship becomes a structure within which a student of yoga can surrender to a process of personal change. Learning how to practice such that the practice is the teacher, is the crucial step if we are to arrive into an authentic personal practice. An authentic practice is one that is a felt experience; an experience of being changed by the practice itself. This process is one of surrending into a routine of regular daily practice over a long period of time.
Once students have established an authentic practice, the next stage is to develop teaching skills such that they can effectively share their practice with others. Prior to being recommended to sit for assessment before a panel of senior teachers, a student is mentored by a senior teacher for a minimum of 3 years. See Iyengar Yoga Australia website Teacher Training Page. Most students who attain Iyengar Yoga teaching certification, have had a 6 days a week personal practice for over 10 years. A personal practice is sustained in addition to regular and ongoing attendance in classes with their senior teacher.
Mentorship with Polly is grounded within ongoing participation within the school - including attendance within the practitioner program; early morning immersion weeks; Friday evening talks and the annual summer camp. Mentorees working with Polly, have a personal resource webpage where specific resources are provided to guide their practice and teaching.
Mentorees undertake to attend classes exclusively with Polly for the duration of their mentorship - unless Polly recommends attendance at sessions with another certified Iyengar teacher. This requirement is not negotiable and includes a mentorees restraint from use of online materials (u-tubes) as well as actual online classes with other teachers. The mentorship relationship is one requiring dedication by both parties. Inability to focus and deepen ones practice is often the result of a mind that is grasping and wandering and seeking answers outside of ones Self. This is the type of mind that reaches for additional external gratification (classes/info). A mind such as this is not a willing partner in a mentorship relationship. It is a mind that will bring suffering not only to itself, but to another that must encounter it's lack of willingness to attend to honesty. A mind such as this is full of vritti and klesha that makes it quick to look outside of itself to assert blame for unfulfilled desires.
Polly requires that a mentoree complete studies in structural anatomy and systemic physiology. The two program currently favoured for study are online courses with Nature Care College.
Mentorship is based around regular one on one sessions (6 weekly) with Polly. These session focus on what the mentoree reflects upon from their observations and assisting within classes, and how these elements are arriving into the developmental process they are underaking through practice. Observation and assisting sessions are the key to integration of theory and practice.
With the recommendation of their training teacher, a mentoree submits an application to the Certification Committee of the national association: The Iyengar Assocation of Australia. A mentoree is required to hold Trainee Membership with the association for the duration of their mentorship. Assessment includes a practice component; a theory assignment and teaching segment. Download an example of the practice component. Assessment is held over 3 days and is conducted by an independent panel of senior teachers; who whilst accepting the recommendation of the training teacher, assesses each candidate in accordance with their demonstrated capacity on the assessment weekend. Pass or fail an assessment, most candidates declare the experience of sitting an Iyengar Assessment, as one, if not, the, most meaningful expereince in their adult life. The process of preparing and sitting the assessment delivers immense personal growth. This is an amazing outcome irrespective of the external result. There is also no obstacle to resitting assessment in the future. This has been the case for many many, now certified teachers, including the most senior teachers in our association.
The books are available through IYoga Props