I had been practicing yoga for more than ten years when I decided to go to yoga teacher training. I wasn't necessarily interested in becoming a full-time teacher but had a desire to deepen my personal practice, learn more about yoga philosophy and maybe teach a few classes.
A few days before I left for the training, I was offered a teaching job at a new gym that was opening right next door to my office. Sweet. I took this as a sign I was on the right path. When I chose to embark on my teacher training adventure, I was at a point in my life of change and I knew yoga was part of the shift but I had no idea what a powerful transformation would unfold over the next year. For me, the yoga teacher trainings I have taken changed every aspect of my life including my career.
Build a Foundation
Any well planned and executed yoga teacher training should absolutely give you a strong foundation in the basics of teaching yoga.
You should walk away with a functional and embodied understanding of anatomy and physiology; yoga history and philosophy; the energy body; teaching methodology; safe alignment, cueing and sequencing; in depth understanding of asana, pranayama, mediation; a survey of yoga styles; teaching to all levels and special populations; ethics of teaching yoga; the business of teaching yoga; developing your voice and taking your seat as a teacher; living as a yogi; and Ayurveda.
You should leave feeling set up for success and confident to teach a safe and effective class. Did I feel totally ready to teach my first class four days after finished my training? Not totally, but I had a solid foundation and the confidence to get started.
Learn to Relate
One of my teachers often says “one of the greatest gifts you can give a person is the gift of your full attention.”
Yoga teacher training demands your full attention. It requires you show up fully for yourself and for the yogis with you on the journey. Deep connections are made by giving and receiving feedback in a way that is keeping with both ahimsa (non-harming) and satya (truthfulness); supporting and witnessing the evolution of the person on the mat next to you; laughing; crying; sweating and celebrating.
Teacher training gives you an opportunity to allow someone to see who you really are and to witness your transformation. It is my experience that relationships forged on the mat in teacher training result in authentic life-long friendships.
Reset Old Patterns
Both of my 200hr teacher trainings were immersion-style trainings. There is something powerful in taking a break from your daily routine and diving into yoga full on for several weeks. Imagine what can transform when you wake up each day with mediation and asana then study yoga principles and philosophy all day with a group of like-minded folks having the same intention—not to mention eating amazing food in a beautiful place.
You can’t help but to change. You will not be the same person at the end of your teacher training as when you began. That’s the point, right? Teacher trainings provide a rich and powerful setting to shift habits and let go of patterns and old stories that no longer serve you (your Samskaras).
Deepen Your Practice
Yoga teacher training will support you to deepen your personal practice on many levels. You can’t help but build a stronger commitment to your asana practice over the course of your training but what about your mediation practice and living your yoga off the mat?
You will learn that to be an effective and authentic teacher you have to practice what you teach. A great teacher training will inspire you to commit not only to a daily asana practice but to create space for daily meditation and to continue to study and incorporate yoga philosophies into your life.