Today’s blog post is part of a Tuesday series. The 200 Hour Teacher Training Experience showcases the experiences of our most recent graduates from the Spring 2013 200 hour teacher training program.

As the only male in a group of 12 aspiring yoga instructors, Al Abbott likes to think of himself as the big brother of the Spring 2013 Om On Yoga Teacher Training. Al brought an incredible amount of insight and experience to the group as he already teaches free classes at his home, aka “The Yoga Shack.” He completed trainings with YogaFit and American Family Fitness, which “lit the fire of teaching.” After teaching for a few years, he decided to take the deep dive into Om On’s 200 hour training program. We sat down with Al before an outdoor Yoga Shack class to discuss his experience. 

What inspired you to start practicing yoga?

Originally, I went for golfer’s back, for the computer shoulder crunch that we all suffer from. Yoga helped open my spine… and then yoga began to open my heart. I found that there was something in my center that yoga fulfills. 

Why did you choose to pursue the 200 hour TT program?

I went to confirm that I knew what I was doing while I was teaching. I started practicing eight years ago and started teaching two years ago. I thought after eight years that I knew everything. Teacher training humbled me to find that I was just a neophyte of yoga. My son, Bryce, began practicing yoga at my suggestion in high school. He completed a 200 hour TT program during college and expressed to me how there is so much more to know about yoga than time on the mat. I was truly humbled to learn more throughout the training.

How did your teaching change as you progressed through TT?

I became even more safety conscious as an instructor. While teaching, I always paid attention to proper alignment. Now I analyze it more. The TT helped me to have a smoother and safer practice. My students have noticed an improvement and were grateful that I went to the trouble and expense of the TT. This was shown to me by the surprise party that they threw for me the Tuesday after graduation. It brought me to tears to see how much they really appreciate my efforts in sharing my practice and knowledge with them week after week.

What do you enjoy most about teaching yoga?

The reason I teach now is because people WANT and NEED yoga. Also the fact that I love to share the light and spirit of yoga. My last name, “Abbott,” means father, and I believe all fathers should share their knowledge. I have a different style than any teacher I have taken classes from. You could say I am an amalgamation (or mixture) of all the fine teachers I have had the honor to practice with.  

How does yoga inspire you?

Happiness is in the eye of the beholder. Yoga brings happiness to me. Spending so much time on the mat during training was useful to relax and unwind, to work on finding that inner core. Where do you find time for inner peace with life’s stresses? Yoga inspires me to relax, breathe, and settle my thoughts. Yoga helps me find happiness in each day.




Al and Family

Image thanks to Stacy Abbott Photography.

Alec Abbott (left, pictured here with wife, Stacy, son, Bryce, and future daughter-in-law, Stefanie) is native to the Richmond area. 1988 was a BIG year in his life as he married his wife, Stacy, turned 30, bought the Love Shack (now known as the Yoga Shack), and welcomed his son, Bryce, into the world. After 33 years as an insurance appraiser, he has spent the last three plus years as manager at a local body shop. He began practicing yoga at American Family Fitness in November 2005. J Miles was his second teacher and became his regular teacher for eight years. He completed Yoga Fit Level 1 Training as well as a program through American Family Fitness before later pursuing the 200 hour program at Om On. Al’s motto on yoga: “yoga is life and life is yoga”.