Strictly Come Dancing star, Kristina Rhianhoff was a participant on our 2017 teacher training programme. Right after the course finished she embarked on a national dance tour. Now she's back she's focusing on beginning her new career as a yoga teacher.

Teacher training profile: Kristina

How long have you been practicing yoga?

I started practicing yoga about 18 years ago when I moved to the US from Russia. I had absolutely no idea about yoga so when my dance partner told me that we should go to Bikram yoga I just said yes. At first I thought I would pass out! It was so hot! It was hard and I’m not sure I would say I enjoyed it but I wanted to go back the very next day. I was hooked! I practiced Bikram yoga for 8 years before I moved to London. I tried to maintain my yoga practice during my 8 years on Strictly Come Dancing. I definitely credit yoga for protecting my body from injuries during my years in competitive dancing.

What led you to Sweat Studios?

I moved to Northampton to have a family after I left Strictly. About 6 months after having my little girl I felt like I needed to start getting back into shape and think about the next step in my career. I just googled hot yoga and Sweat Studios came up. I liked the fact that it was a properly equipped hot yoga studio and thought I would give it a go. I loved my first class but I was so out of shape! I decided to start going to the studio a few times a week to get my fitness back and rebuild my core.

The studio suited me perfectly as it had variety of classes and a style of teaching that I liked. I also liked that there was no pressure to sign up for membership. As a self-employed person I don’t have a lot of structure to my work so to be able to pay and go as I please worked really well for me.

Why did you decide to train to be a yoga instructor?

I always felt that someday I would explore the world of yoga more and expand my knowledge as it’s been part of my professional training for so many years. I also believe that yoga is the closest exercise to dancing as you use your whole body and learn to move with your breath. I felt like it was the right time for me to learn to teach yoga.

Why did you decide to learn to be a yoga instructor with Sweat Studios?

The studio teaching style really appealed to me. I did see lots of other yoga teacher training programmes in London. However, I liked the well rounded nature of Sweat’s course and the fact that I knew the style of yoga that would be taught and it was one I enjoyed.

What did you enjoy most about the yoga teacher training programme?

It was very informative and fun at the same time. The senior yoga teacher, was absolutely wonderful and, along with the other instructors on the programme, made all of us feel like we could become great and knowledgeable hot yoga instructors. I think at the beginning some of us had doubts as to whether we would actually be able to teach a class and remember all of the dialogue. But in the end we all did it! I loved all the books we had to read during the course as they helped me understand yoga philosophy and history even better. I enjoyed every minute of my hot yoga certification and by the end of the course I decided that I actually wanted to have my own studio combining dance and yoga.

What was the most challenging aspect of achieving your hot yoga certification?

Definitely having to learn to teach without showing poses. I have taught dance all my life but I always show the students the moves and steps. As a hot yoga trainer it’s different, I had to learn to use my words to guide people, but I got there in the end.

Did the course meet your expectations?

Absolutely 100%. As well as becoming a hot yoga teacher, I have made some wonderful friends who share the same interests as me. We are still in touch.

What have you been doing since becoming a hot yoga trainer?

I am in the process of opening my own wellbeing centre with yoga, dance and body weight training. It took me a year to find the right location but I think I’ve finally found it! I will be teaching classes at the centre but I definitely want to do some more yoga courses. I want to study kids yoga and restorative yoga.

What would you say to others considering the yoga teacher training programme?

Just do it! There’s no way you will regret studying the incredible world of yoga. You get so much more out of this than you ever expected!

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