IT’S NICE TO MEET YOU.
I’m Shelly Thorn, the founder of Yoga Teacher Central and it’s a pleasure to meet you. I love supporting yoga teachers and trainers! The service you provide is so powerful, reaching people in a way that activates positive transformation, “one breath at a time.” I believe in this power with my whole heart, and it’s my honor to support you.
Back in 2011, I was motivated by a desire to create what I couldn’t find: a reliable resource for practical teaching tools, drawn from multiple lineages and styles. I didn’t know if other teachers would care to use what I was envisioning but I came to realize that despite the unknowns, I really felt compelled to do it. I wanted to create a tangible resource—harnessing the power of the web—to support yoga teachers in their study, practice and class planning. And once I moved from journaling my thoughts to taking action, things unfolded in the way they do when they’re meant to be.
Like many of you, I’m an avid, lifelong student of many things. I love to immerse myself in my passions.
After leaving Microsoft to be home with my children, I reveled in family stuff, gardening and pursuing personal and spiritual growth. It was 12 years before all three of my children were in school full-time and I took the opportunity to attend yoga teacher training. Soon after, I attended an excellent pre- and postnatal yoga teacher training. Because I was also a trained doula and parent of three, I loved jumping right into prenatal and postnatal yoga teaching. My teaching schedule grew quickly and I madly studied and attended workshops while gaining experience working with Teens, Seniors, Athletes, Trauma Survivors, Beginners and All Levels with styles such as Hatha, Mindful Flow, Baptiste Power, Prenatal, Postnatal, Trauma-Sensitive, Restorative, Yoga for Athletes, Yoga for Beginners, and more.
The timing for my training and new endeavor was optimal as I had time and energy to devote to learning and practicing. But I was surprised by how challenging it was, and by how much I was relying on my past work experience to ground me in my growth. It felt like I was in a PhD program, constantly researching and studying and practicing, attending workshops, visiting classes, creating class plans, and on and on. A pressing challenge came to be how to manage the crazy amounts of information I was gathering so as to be directly useful for evolving my teaching. A 3-inch thick, 3-ring binder plus smaller portable notebooks with moveable pages became my “system.”
I loved yoga, but my goal wasn’t just to learn about it. I wanted to figure out how to be as efficient as possible in applying what I was learning so as to become the finest yoga teacher I could be.
Previously, while in numerous departments at Microsoft, in my kids’ school PTA, at a small technology start-up, and while on the board of a non-profit, I spent a fair amount of my time gathering information and input, summarizing findings, making recommendations, researching best practices, streamlining processes, improving communications… generally, I would find myself wanting to support people in doing the right thing—and in helping them spend less time doing it. So now I was using those skills and passion to help myself. I began to create teaching tools to help me organize my learning and make it easier to apply. Once I began to realize that those tools could help other teachers, they became a foundation for what today is over 1,000 pages of content and tools.
We’ve come a long way, baby!
When things first got started, I was just feeling my way through things. At our first photo shoot in 2011, I didn’t think to bring carpet tape. So the mat corners kept curling and the photographer and I would have to continually re-apply scotch tape! I just had to laugh. And I hadn’t anticipated that with four models circling through a five-hour shoot, that it would be a huge pain to move the mat, lighting and camera back-and-forth for wall poses. And the hair issues… goodness, who knew how much our hair could get in the way? Live and learn.
I was afraid to ask my models to do Salamba Sirsasana, so I was the model for Headstand. But I’d never modeled anything in my life. And I was trying to save a little money, so I did the hands-on adjustments. Later, I learned that it was more effective in every way if I stayed off the set and focused on managing all the details associated with taking 400 photos, many with props. My 12-page spreadsheet and copious notes kept my head spinning for a solid 4 to 6 hours!
At times, the insane amount of details has been challenging but always, always the overall effort has been inspirational and fun. Everyone I meet is moved by how happy I am in my “work.” I know how lucky I am. Every day, when I take Buster (our 95-pound Black Lab) on our long, refreshing walk, I give thanks.
Not realizing yet that makeup and a smile could help a lot
Afraid to ask my models to do inversions
We've always had awesome teacher models and then our lighting started improving
And we got better in our ability to convey the teaching
I am so grateful to have had the time, money and awareness to study with amazing teachers. Truly, as I’m sure you understand, these teachers changed my life for the better and inspired me deeply.
I have had the good fortune to study with Scott Blossom, Annie Carpenter, Sean Corne, Jason Crandell, Angela Farmer, Ana Forrest, Richard Freeman, Rolf Gates, Gary Kraftsow, Tias Little, Elise Browning Miller, Anne Phyfe Palmer, Jillian Pransky, Sarah Powers, Saul David Raye, Robin Rothenberg, Max Strom, Rod Stryker, Patricia Sullivan, Eckhart Tolle & Kim Eng, and others whose expertise is vast and deep.
And my teachers of Thai Yoga Massage (who are also yoga teachers) – Saul David Raye and Eric Spivack – greatly impacted my yoga teaching, not only in hands-on assisting but in the many ways we can mindfully manage our own energy and impact that of others.
Yes, it sure is! Yoga is a hot topic and it seems to be everywhere. Yoga teachers and trainers, however, need much more than superficial coverage, opinions and "tips." Since 2012, we have been focused on the particular, specialized needs of teachers and trainers.
Our site is different from other sites so we can't really compare. We provide tools that help teachers save time, plan excellent classes that meet their objectives, and systematically explore deep teaching wisdom. And we offer an unparalleled library of training materials for Teacher Trainers.
We draw from all styles and curate content from all yoga lineages.
We accept all major credit cards. Get the best rate by paying up-front, or choose a monthly pay option, if you prefer.
Write us with any question at all. We love to hear from teachers and trainers and are happy to personally support you.
Trainer memberships automatically cancel after one year. Teachers, however, can use select auto-renew or auto-cancelation. If you choose to auto-renew we will refund 20% of your renewal payment.