How To Become A Yoga Instructor In 5 Easy Steps
You’ve been practicing for years. You’re familiar with all the poses. You are strong in your warrior and flexible in your backbends. You’ve even mastered your arm balances! You feel like you’re ready to share your knowledge and teach others.
But where do you go from here?
I was stuck at this point for a while, too. Although my physical practice was strong, something was still holding me back. And let me tell you that after a lot of soul searching, I realized that it was fear that was holding me back. The fear of failure and not being good enough. In my case, the solution was to just do it. Don’t overthink things. Just sign up and make the commitment. After arriving and beginning my training, I knew it was one of the best decisions I had ever made. I now understand that a yoga teacher training is really more of a journey than an educational course. One that you should not only be physically prepared for but mentally and emotionally as well. Here are five steps you can take to prepare and set yourself up for success.
1) Decide what you are looking for in a training
There are a lot of yoga courses out there. I mean a lot! With so many options out there, it can be dizzying trying to choose one. The flip side is that there is a course out there to suit anyone. To avoid decision fatigue, sit down and make a clear list of what you are looking for. During my search for the perfect yoga teacher training course, I found myself focusing on a few key points to help me make my decision.
This is obviously a big factor to consider. Think of the course tuition, as well as the time you will take off work. There are so many different things that can impact the cost of a YTT course, so try to keep them in mind before dropping a couple thousand bucks on an otherwise mediocre course. Some yoga teacher training costs can be high while others are as cheap as $1,000. You may be able to find a scholarship or work-trade program. A training course should enrich your life, not burden it. Don’t ever forget that.
Luckily for you, there are teacher trainings held all around the world. You could choose to study in a castle in France, on a beach in Mexico or in the mountains of India. If you can’t travel (or take the vacation days off), then you could even attend an online yoga teacher training with all of the same qualifications as an in-person course. You need to decide what is desirable and feasible for you and then go for it.
There are many types of designation levels by the Yoga Alliance, categorized by 200, 300 and 500-hour trainings. This depends on your previous experience and on how in-depth you choose to go. The more advanced training may require you to be certified before attending. Be practical and choose the course level that is suitable for you.
There are several different styles of yoga, including hatha, ashtanga and Iyengar. Not to mention the more contemporary styles that have been developed. Take some classes and familiarize yourself with them. Decide which style resonates with you and focus on that. Choosing a style doesn’t mean you’re pigeonholed, though. Most courses will teach a variety of different styles. The course I attended taught both Hatha and Ashtanga, which are great foundations for many other types of yoga that I currently teach. Being exposed to various styles can help you build a foundation upon which you can continue to build.
2) Commit to Yourself
Staying present in a 1-hour class can be challenging. Staying present in a 200 or 300-hour course can be nearly impossible. We all lead busy lives. There undoubtedly will be other things competing for your attention and energy. But you are here. Your tuition is paid and your mat is rolled up and ready to go. This is when you make a commitment to yourself to stay present, to focus completely on taking in information and deepening your practice.
Everything else can wait.
3) Reflect and Practice
The best piece of advice I received from one of my teachers was to not rush the process and to take my time. With this piece of advice, he was referring to teaching. He suggested that we wait for a while after the training and not jump right into teaching classes (as tempting as it can be). In addition to the physical yoga practice, you will have other classes as well. There will be a lot of information to take in and it can be overwhelming. On top of this are the emotions that come up throughout the journey.
Take some time to process all of this. Read through your books and notes. Work through any emotions that come up during your training (and boy will they come up!). Begin by teaching classes to your friends and family. This will help you get more comfortable and develop your own personal style.
4) Decide How You Want To Use Your New Skills
Teaching in a yoga studio is only one of the ways you could work as an instructor. There are so many other ways to utilize your skills outside of the studio. With its increasing popularity in the West, the opportunities to teach yoga are endless. Perhaps you want to travel and host retreats. Maybe you want to start your own YouTube channel. You could even teach to children. The point is that there are many different ways to work as a yoga instructor. You are only limited by your imagination.
5) Give Gratitude And Believe In Your Abilities
After your training, you will have made it through hundreds of hours of practice and study. That in itself is pretty remarkable. Give gratitude for everything it took to make that happen. You deserve it.
It is likely that after training you still feel like you aren’t ready and this is totally natural. There is a learning curve with anything new that you try but don’t doubt your abilities. You have your knowledge and your passion to guide you.
Before you embark on your journey to become a yoga instructor, remember one thing: all the gifts you need are already inside of you. Good luck with your training and welcome to the beautiful world of yoga!
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