I know I say it a lot, but the Yoga Tune Up® Level 1 changed my teaching. I think it’s important to add that I was ready for my teaching to change.

It was 2013, and I had been teaching classes for 6 years and leading 200hr Teacher Trainings for 3. I was in some pain here and there – mostly my SI joints and neck. I was a little bored, too. The asanas weren’t exactly cutting it for me physically or creatively. It’s extremely difficult for me to teach subject matter that I don’t totally believe in. Students can smell lack of enthusiasm from a mile away.

One day at the old YogaWorks Union Square studio, I saw a poster for the YTU L1. I was particularly drawn to the therapy ball component of this training. I had been using tennis balls to help myself temporarily relieve intermittent neck pain. Like my SI joint pain, this neck discomfort reared its ugly head for days at a time every month or two. It left me feeling really uncomfortable and confused. How was I teaching a “healing art” but also in regular pain? I felt like a failure and a fraud.

It was this mindset, more than anything, that propelled me to undergo the incredibly intense and transformative process of the Yoga Tune Up® Level 1 training. I’m a worker bee. (Bee is for Beversdorf.) The training’s intensity played well to my personality. Surprising to me, though, was how impactful the process was on my practice. It reinforced for me that in order for me to change my teaching, my practice needs to change first.

The seven day process gave me the building blocks to reshape my practice, which naturally reshaped my offerings and message as a teacher. The biggest shift was away from prescriptive teaching (a do-as-I-say-to-make-this-shape-approach) toward teaching movement to facilitate student’s self-directed experiences. I learned to better lead the process of inquiry. I didn’t learn to teach Yoga Tune Up® classes, per se. Rather, I gained YTU teaching tools to align my classes more closely with my values and goals as an educator.

The exposure to dozens of corrective exercises, self-massage techniques and habits of thought, guided this shift in my attitude toward teaching. This didn’t happen overnight. My teaching has been changing steadily since (and largely because of) the Level 1 training. It planted many seeds that sprouted fruit days, months and years down the road. It gave me a taste of who I wanted to be and how I wanted to show up as a movement educator.

How Moving My Body Changed My Perspective

Most surprising to me, however, was how the Level 1 helped me tap into myself emotionally. My mom had died of cancer a little over a year prior. The self-massage sequences and investigative movement were potent tools for connecting to and touching my pain in what felt like safe and nurturing ways.

I realized how angry and sad I was still from the trauma surrounding the loss of my mother. I sought therapy soon after the training and began the process of working through my pain in earnest. Moving my body in novel ways moved me to feel new possibilities and change my perspective on my own ability to change and to heal.

Probably most transformative, this training connected me with a very positive drive to educate and empower my students toward a greater curiosity and trust for their body’s ability to heal. It didn’t give me special poses with curative properties, or endow me with a instantaneous medical degree. Rather, it showed me that I could follow my own intuition more as a mover and inspire my students with the tools I had as a teacher to do the same. One big lesson I learned is that as students, maybe we don’t need to be told what to do so much as we need to be given permission to feel.


Liked this article? Read My Three Favorite Lessons From Jill Miller

Interested in learning more about the YTU Certification Training?

Laurel Beversdorf

Laurel Beversdorf is an international yoga and interdisciplinary movement educator specializing in anatomy, biomechanics and yoga teaching pedagogy. She is an integrated Yoga Tune Up® teacher and trainer, the creator of Body of Knowledge™ Anatomy and Biomechanics workshop series, Yoga with Resistance Bands classes, and a senior teacher and trainer at YogaWorks in New York City. Laurel is committed to raising the bar on the content and quality of yoga education. She teaches in order to help her students reclaim and strengthen a sense of power and belonging in their bodies, the bodies through which they share their gifts and transform the world. http://www.laurelbeversdorf.com

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I really resonated with this piece on so many levels. On the first day of training we did what you do at trainings, you sit in a circle introduce yourself, where you’re from, why you’re there etc. Only, I had no idea what I was doing in this training, so I said, I really don’t know why I’m here…lol. I also lost my mom about a year prior to the training and I felt myself going through a lot of emotions that I wasn’t really expecting as well. I am a teacher/coach, but of high school and of history and… Read more »

Sarah Nelson

“…teaching movement to facilitate student’s self-directed experiences” This is such a poignant way to sum up what sets Yoga Tune Up teachers apart from some other yoga teachers. I definitely aim to be the kind of yoga teacher who, like Laurel, teaches my students how to inquire and feel things out for themselves.

Laurianne Gaudet

Thanks for this testimony! Indeed, the YTU training gives me more confidence in my teachings and allows me to educate my students about their bodies. It is true that it gives power to the management of the health of the students.

Isabelle Audet

Thank you for sharing. I am on day 1 of my YTU training level 1 and am inspired by your article. I like your last comment: ”One big lesson I learned is that as students, maybe we don’t need to be told what to do so much as we need to be given permission to feel.”
You are so right.


Oh my gosh I love this article. I’m going though YTU Cert right now and I’ve been thinking of how to describe it to my students when I get back to “real life”, and I’m so glad I found this!!! I mirror exactly this sentiment about this amazing experience and while I’ll be leaving feeling empowered in my own practice and body, I know my students will experience the same. I’m so excited to apply what I’ve been learning this week.


Wow, talk about a message from the universe taking you down another path. I’m currently taking YTU training for reasons similar to yours and also finding this experience transformative as well. Thank you for sharing your story.

Stephanie Aldrich

Lauren, I’m heading into Day 4 of the YTU training, and this SO resonates with me – especially your statement that “I didn’t learn to teach Yoga Tune Up® classes, per se. Rather, I gained YTU teaching tools to align my classes more closely with my values and goals as an educator.” At least at this point, I don’t see myself teaching TYU classes either, but I AM noting that I am mentally bookmarking certain elements of the training to include in my teaching going forward. Thanks for putting words to my experience!

Sara Wang

I’m taking the yoga tun up training with Jill Miller this week, the 8-hour daily class was very informative and engaging. Although a lot of info to take in, I can tell I will learn a lot on how to provide proper guidance in teaching.

Julia Skinner

This is so refreshing and along the lines of how I have felt about my yoga practice. I hope to take this knowledge I’m learning in the YTU training into the classroom to empower my students to facilitate their own healing.


I took the yoga tune up Certification Training with Laurel.
Just amazing and empowered training. Not just about movements and anatomy, is more about purpose “Sankalpa” on what you do on each single thing, every single thouhgt, single movement on Consciousness mode.

Wendy Rodríguez

Muchas gracias Laurel, es muy inspirador el leerte y más aún el ser tu aprendiz en este gran entrenamiento de YTU, estoy muy contenta de poder tomarlo y poder tener más herramientas para mis clases, el aprender a usar los props de manera diferente y a poder alinear de manera correcta a mis alumnos y que ellos sepan qué están trabajando y cómo se siente, pero sobre todo para mejorar mi propia práctica y aliviar mis dolores físicos, que como tú, siento que no es congruente que sea maestra de yoga y mi cuerpo sea un nudo! Pero todo llega… Read more »