Barbara Courtille – Helping Yoga Teachers become successful Yoga Professionals

I am proud to present to you this episode called Helping Yoga Teachers become successful Yoga Professionals with Barbara Courtille. Barbara has been practicing Yoga for 25 years. It is her longest and greatest love. Barbara said, “Making Yoga my professional career is the best thing I have done.” If you know that this is the life you want to create for yourself, she can help you to make it happen. Check out this episode to hear tips that Barbara shares to help yogis level up.

​Visit Barbara on her website here: https://www.barbaracourtille.com
Follow here on Instagram here: @Barbara_courtille_yoga

You can listen to the full episode for free here.

Todd McLaughlin

Welcome to Native Yoga Toddcast, I’m so happy to have you here. Today, I have the chance to bring Barbara Courtille onto the show. Barbara is located in Sydney, Australia. She was kind enough to coordinate her schedule so the times could work where we could be on the other side of the world and join up here for a conversation. Please check her out at Barbaracourtile.com. Also on our Instagram page, @Barbara_courtille_yoga. And on that note, why wait any longer? Let’s get to it. 

I’m so excited to have Barbara Courtille here today with me, Barbara, how are things going for you?

Barbara Courtille

Great, I’m really happy to be talking to you on the other side of the world, Todd, thanks for having me.

Todd McLaughlin

I know, I love the fact that we can communicate like this through a platform like zoom, and the spoken word of the podcast and that it’s really an easy way to actually go about communicating. I love it. It’s kind of amazing, isn’t it?

Barbara Courtille

Yeah. And I’m a big fan of podcasts. I listen to yours amongst many others, as my learning and keeping motivated and just finding out what people are thinking all around the world and connecting to other yoga teachers who are you know, my favorite people, basically?

Todd McLaughlin

I hear you! Can you give me a little bit of your background and relation to how you first fell in love with yoga?

Barbara Courtille

Yeah, I started back in the 80s. In the late 80s. When I was you know, in my early 20. I had a boyfriend who was a yogi. And I was more of an artsy kid. You know, I was into art. I always wanted to be an artist. And I did that for many years. But his thing was yoga and meditation. He traveled to India and he used to do Iyengar yoga and headstands and kriyas and all sorts of weird stuff to me back then. Yeah. And he’s the one who took me to my first yoga class, which was an Iyengar class. And that was not actually a great experience. Because my first class I was expected to do handstands and all sorts of things that my body was not happy to do. So I can remember the teacher who was an older woman, well, older, probably younger than me now, but at the time, she seemed to kind of shame me. You know, in the Iyengar way that they do. She would just say “get up, you can do this.” So it wasn’t a great experience, that first yoga class. So it’s kind of a miracle that I’m still doing yoga all these years later. And it’s basically my whole life. 

Todd McLaughlin

That’s amazing. Was that in Sydney? You’re living in Sydney currently? Where did you grow up?

Barbara Courtille

My early years, I grew up in Paris till I was 10. And then I came to Sydney. So I’ve lived in Sydney, most of my life.

Todd McLaughlin

Nice. Was that first class in Sydney?

Was that first practice session that you had with your boyfriend and Iyengar teacher in Australia, or was that somewhere else?

Barbara Courtille

No, totally in Sydney. Yes. 

Todd McLaughlin 

Gotcha. And then from there, if you were not enamored, and you walked away from that sounds like maybe you saying, “What in the world was that?” What then was your next step? Or how long was it before you had another yoga practice experience?

Barbara Courtille

I think after that I did some meditation. And that didn’t gel with me as well. It was very strict Buddhist meditation. So I didn’t have a great start to yoga, but for some reason, I think I ended up in some what were then called Hatha classes. Back then you used to do them like in church halls or at you know, the community center or whatever it was available. It wasn’t like the fancy yoga studios like your studio. There was none of that stuff back then. And it was very much in people’s lounge rooms and all that. So I think I probably found some much more mellow, lovely kind of teachers that weren’t gonna ask me to do anything nasty like turn upside down. It took me many years before I could do a proper handstand with all the proper, you know, structure that you need for that.

Yeah. 

Todd McLaughlin

Do you have a teacher that you can say that you credit your learning to or from? Or have you just learned from a whole bunch of different teachers along the way?

Barbara Courtille

I’ve learned from a whole bunch of teachers along the way. Yeah, I’ve never been a lineage kind of teacher either. I’ve explored different lineages. I think it’s just in my nature to try different things and find my own way. 

So I’ve done a lot of Hatha Yoga, then I went back to the Iyengar yoga, believe it or not. Then I was into Jivamukti Yoga for a long time. And then I was more into vinyasa. Then I was into Yin.  I was also doing sound healing. So I’ve done all this stuff, restorative yoga, and I just keep going and changing and learning as much as I can and incorporating what what resonates with me.

Todd McLaughlin

Wonderful. What does a practice session look like for you today?

Barbara Courtille

So this morning, I did some yoga in bed. 

Todd McLaughlin

Nice. 

Barbara Courtille

And then I got up and did a bit of asana practice, very simple. Plugging into the body noticing where our whole tension, which for me is generally in the upper body, so I do a lot of work on the upper body, opening the chest, opening the heart, I work a lot on the chakra system and the energy body. So I do some meditation to tune in some chanting to feel where the energy is flowing, where it might be stagnant, where it might be overflowing. And it’s from that observation that then direct my practice. So it will look different every day. But there are some things that tend to always be there, like the throat chakra is a bit of a weakness for me. I just had a little bit of manuka honey and did a bit of throat exercises before talking to you because it’s always a little bit weak. That part for me, yeah, the upper body, a lot of upper body, I’m quite strong in my lower body. I’m quite grounded, as by nature spend a lot of time in nature. I like to meditate in nature every day, if I can. If the weather’s good, so I’m lucky I live near some nature, Bush, we call it here in Australia. And so I’ll go and find a rock and I’ll do a bit of meditation. And that’s, that’s really my most nurturing practice meditation.

Todd McLaughlin

That’s cool. I noticed that you have a couple pictures or pictures of you practicing on a rock is that the rock that you’re talking about?

Barbara Courtille

That rock is called Swamis rock. It’s not where I live, but it’s where I go on retreat. So two or three or four times a year, if I’m lucky, I’ll go to the ashram which is not far from where I live. Maybe an hour away in nature. And that’s a particular rock where a swami here in Australia has been practicing for many, many years. So it’s got a lot of great energy.

Todd McLaughlin

Nice. Do I noticed that you are a yoga coach and mentor, when did that role come into play for you?

Barbara Courtille

I think it probably came into play fully when COVID came along. And when a lot of teachers suddenly had to become or realize that they were business owners, and that they had to find their own community, their own tribe and take charge of their own business or their own passion. Yeah, without relying on studios, or whatever they were relying on before that time. So that’s when a lot of yoga teachers, as you know, you know, kind of had a little bit of a pivot into becoming more business minded because they had to. Yes. So there was a lot of demand when COVID came along, when everyone was having, you know,

Todd McLaughlin

Yeah, that was pretty intense. Very intense. Wasn’t it? Amazing that now we can like talk like it’s past tense?

Barbara Courtille

Yeah, no, it’s great.

It’s really great to find wisdom. We survived on a lot of different levels. 

Todd McLaughlin

I agree.

Barbara Courtille

I actually think yoga teachers did exceptionally well if we can put them all in a group because obviously, we’re all different within that group. And as a tribe, I think they, from what I’ve observed, did really well in terms of like pivoting and changing, keeping their spirits up and keeping the spirits of all the people around them up? You know, it was It wasn’t an easy task. So congratulations to all the yoga teachers out there.

You can listen to the full episode for free here: https://nativeyogacenter.buzzsprout.com

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