Spotlight on a Senior ISHTA Teacher – Cassandra Ferland

ISHTA Yoga / Journal  / Spotlight on a Senior ISHTA Teacher – Cassandra Ferland

Spotlight on a Senior ISHTA Teacher – Cassandra Ferland

The Art and Science of Working with Private Clients, a 20 hour Specialty Training with Cassandra is coming up April 15 – 17! More info / Register Here

Where did you grow up? The space coast of Florida. I am a beach bum at heart. It’s hard to be so far away from all my family, but I can’t complain about having to head back there to visit!

When did you take your first yoga class? And if it wasn’t at ISHTA, when did you take your first ISHTA class? In high school my doctor recommended yoga for lower back pain. I started going to a class at a gym near my house, as there weren’t studios in my area. In college, I found good classes/instructors, and yoga was my go-to for exercise/stress relief. I still remember the magical aha moment of being taught how the torso is supposed to function in order to take a full complete breath. Stress had wreaked havoc on my nervous system – my body was working against my own breath! I came to NY in 2005, and relied on daily yoga to provide me the space for self-care. I found myself connecting to ISHTA – the teachers were teaching from an authentic place, and were working to transmit deeper teachings of the practice. I had given up on a meditation practice – what I did in my yoga classes was enough, right? I heard others talk about Alan’s classes, so I went, and was hooked. He doesn’t just tell you to connect with your breath and force you to sit quietly with no further instruction, like I had experienced previously. He guides students, step by step, to connect more deeply with their own life force energy, and then direct that energy- first towards universal consciousness, but then eventually back down so you leave feeling grounded and ready to tackle whatever NYC living throws your way. I credit my long time meditation practice to Alan. Thanks, Al!

How would you describe your class? A slow and fluid class with creative sequencing that asks students to actively explore what their body and breath are capable of. Philosophy rooted in using the tools of the yoga practice to create a resilient mind, body, and spirit in the midst of life’s challenges.

What drew you to take the ISHTA training? What about the ISHTA teachings inspires you now? In a class you can learn some yoga philosophy, but I wanted more. Yoga had changed my life and provided me with so many tools – it was important to me to study it deeply so that I could own the knowledge for myself. I didn’t expect to teach, but once I took the 200-hr I knew I had to keep learning. I then took the 300-hr, and the more I learned the more profound it felt. I wanted to shout about it to everyone from the rooftops! The depth of knowledge from our teacher base is astounding. I’m a huge proponent of being a student for life- I’ve taken so many workshops and specialty trainings over the years, and will continue to do so. The unique blend of Hatha, Tantra, and Ayurveda that is the bedrock of Ishta philosophy flows through it all. These are deep wells for study, and the community that Ishta has created helps bring it to life for so many. These are not subjects that you learn, and then you put the book back on the shelf and move on. These are practices that one must actively live into being.

What’s your favorite yoga pose? Ohhhh, thats hard. The poses that feel most magical to me change all the time!  Twists were my first love, as they helped heal me of chronic lower back pain. I’ve always been in love with pigeon, and especially love the twisting variation of that. Lately I find myself loving interesting transitions – moving from one pose to another.

What do you find inspiring about being a trainer?
When students commit to a training, whether they know it or not they are coming into a space where, through the process of yoga- inquiry and experimentation and self study, they see themselves with more clarity. It’s a safe space, which is important, because coming up against your deeply rooted patterns or your innermost desires is a place of vulnerability. It’s also a place where transformation happens. I have been privileged to teach the Ishta trainings for some years now, and every single time I am blown away by the incredible human beings in front of me and what they are capable of. The world can seem so crazy sometimes. In those moments, I like to think of all the yoga ambassadors that leave our trainings each year, and our growing community. Knowing we are all striving to be more conscious, more fully present humans calms me.

What do you enjoy doing off the mat in your free time? I loooove traveling. It always expands me so much immerse myself in other cultures, near or far. I also make ethically sourced fine jewelry – if you’re interested, you can see some of my work here: Or on Instagram!

Tell us about the private’s training you’ve developed at ISHTA.
As a trainer over the years, I began to notice a trend. Often the first challenge to tackle after getting out of teacher training is becoming fluid and graceful at teaching to a group, and that’s no small feat. Later, interest in teaching to an individual may pop up, and when it does, often the teacher feels hesitant or doesn’t know quite where to begin. Do you sequence the same way you would a class? How much hands-on should you give? I saw the struggles many newer teachers had with taking the leap to translate the incredible knowledge of the Ishta trainings into super effective private sessions. Some teachers struggle with attracting a clientele, some with maintaining them long term. Or they struggle as they deal with so many other factors that we must juggle when working on a regular basis with private clients. My work with private clients is some of the most fulfilling work I do, and I wanted other teachers to have an easier path. I decided to develop a training that filled this need, helping teachers truly tailor a session to the individual, and avoid the many pitfalls that can arise in this business. How do private clients become faithful regulars? When you continually inspire meaningful change by creating sessions that meet their deepest needs on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level. This 20-hr training arms teachers with the tools and perspective to do just that.
You can read more what’s included in the training and other details here (link)!

 What can students expect to get from taking privates vs a group class?
A private isn’t just a yoga class for one. The needs and interests of the student dictate the sessions. Over time, the teacher gets to know your body, breath, and personality intimately, and that’s when the privates rise to their fullest potential. Each session can tend to your specific aches and pains, while helping you build strength in some places, flexibility in others, a fuller breath, a steadier mind. You have the space and time to get into the finer alignment points of each pose, and learning is accelerated. Oh, and the adjustments! The luxurious amount of hands-on assists you get in a private session is unparalleled.