My best advice for anyone heading off to Yoga Teacher Training regarding expectations is, quite simply, to not have any.
Easier said than done, I realize, as there are so many things to consider. Before you register for a program, make sure you are aware of your ‘logistical’ expectations.
Appropriate Lodging/Destination: clean, comfortable and safe
Dietary Needs: vegan, gluten free, etc.
Leaders: well trained and emphasizing the topics you are most drawn to
Cost: can you comfortably afford the program and what is included?
Timing: is this the right time for you, truly?
Ask lots of questions before hitting the ‘buy’ button to ensure there are no (or very few) surprises waiting for you when you land. Beyond logistics, consider what you might experience in the personal, emotional and spiritual arenas. Much of the ‘work’ to be done in yoga teacher training is very personal and powerful - and it is this work that needs to be done first, so you can be your most powerful self as a teacher. Many of us who are brave enough to seek out the life of a yogi have backgrounds and histories that compel us to move more and more towards spirit, compassion and non-harming. Either because we have trained as body and energy workers or health advocates, or because we are approaching it from a place of personal healing and growth through our own battles with addiction, stress, depression, etc. In either case, we are looking for an opportunity to guide and be guided along the path to health and healing, transformation and expansion.
Yoga Teacher Training, although not specifically designed to create emotional responses and releases, (from tears to fits of laughter, to feelings of anger triggered by a chakra workshop) will force the trainee to look at different aspects of their life and personality where there may be room for growth and change in order for them to emerge fully as a confident yoga teacher and leader in their community.
For some, it is this energetically charged experience that they seek out in a training, for others it may be unexpected and unwelcome. This reinforces my suggestion of asking lots of questions and being true to who you are coming in to the training - NOT who you hope to leave as.
Therefore - if you are someone who appreciates ‘beyond the creature comforts’ (and this does not make you a bad person!) then do not choose a training that is rudimentary in its accommodations. If you tend to be more body-centric in your approach, maybe your first yoga teacher training should not be a ‘bhakti-heavy’ training. If you are not comfortable with travel or new people, then maybe you should look at a first training closer to home, with people you know.
Usually the first to encourage people to break out of their comfy boxes and expand into the world, I do maintain some reservation when it comes to something as important (personally, financially and spiritually) as this undertaking. Spreading your wings and testing the uncharted sky is exciting! Do not let all of your decision making be based on the most extreme, challenging or different experience available.
You will want some comfort and familiarity to fall back on when the heart starts to stir and some fears start to surface. Beyond the emotions, insecurities and stories that may rise for you, there will also be incredible joy, levity, humor, and straight up really good times waiting for you at your yoga teacher training - and these will mean far more than any painful stirrings you may encounter.
The beauty and celebration of the emerging teacher inside will create room for even greater potential as you witness and celebrate that expansion with your yoga teacher training family. Together you will build a solid community of trust and awareness.
Fatigue: At some point you will be tired: tired physically, tired emotionally, tired mentally, tired socially. Know that this will build strength, stamina, compassion and wisdom.
Questioning: You may find yourself questioning facets of your life from how you eat to who you date and that the responsible decisions and choices you make will be a great example to those you lead.
Immense joy: As you immerse deeper into your Yoga Teacher Training and your own Self, be prepared to feel a deep joy, a real connection to spirit. This joy will become a magnet for those looking for something ‘more’ from their practice, something ‘more’ from their teacher, something ‘more’ from their lives.
Quiet: You will become quiet, without realizing or asking. It is a natural side effect to inner peace and expansion.
A new-found voice: Your voice will become sacred, without violence, and will speak for those who can not. Your ears will be more attuned to words that feed and serve, and close off to judgement, gossip and insult.
Fun side effects: People have experienced all kinds of ‘bonuses’ with immersions from improved vision (both physically and intuitively) to optimal systemic function and enhanced memory and concentration.
Now that you have a ‘list’ of things to expect, let us return to my opening statement regarding expectations - don't have any!
The journey through your yoga teacher training is yours alone and you need the freedom to experience the training to your full capacity. This will be challenging if you are in a constant state of expectation. When packing for your yoga teacher training, bring your tooth brush, bring your yoga clothes (half of what you think you will need), bring your journal ~ leave behind fear, ego and expectation.
Enjoy and be engaged in every step of your journey. You are embarking on an adventure, realizing a life passion, shifting into a place of steady and able leadership and mentorship. Part of you has already made the decision to do this. You are ready, you always have been.
So okay - maybe expect one thing - to come out of it with everything you already have. Hari Om!
Namaste and Welcome!
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