How Yoga Teacher Training Changed My Life, And How It Can Change Yours Too
Our lives are a gift to the world we tread upon. A gift we do not always see until the withering away of our pre-assumed sense of Self. We are our own best teachers and know ourselves better than anyone on this planet. It is when you become honest with yourself that you begin to see how you may journey through your life.
Last summer, I made a decision to quit my job to live in a city I have never visited before surrounded by people whom I have never met for an excursion that has left a golden print in my heart. For one month, I left my hometown to dive deep into Yoga through an intensive yoga teacher training and returned home with a widened perspective spread beyond measure I have never imagined. Here, I will gift you with hopefully useful guidance for any person looking to deepen his or her yoga practice or become a teacher. I am speaking directly from my own personal experience.
Know your intentions before selecting a program
Before you enter the next dance of life, take the time to become clear with your intentions. Yoga Teacher Training is a large investment, and you will best consider the location (whether this is online or in person), dates of the program, tuition costs, reputation of the program, etc. Communicating with the directors of the program beforehand will give you an insight as to what the training will entail. Perhaps you can ask for a sample syllabus and schedule.
Write down your “Why Power”, or your reasoning behind your decision to enter the gates of Yoga Teacher Training. You obviously have a love for practice and want others to feel the wonderful effects from the practice you have experienced, am I right? I bet you can think of someone in your life right now who can benefit from this practice but have never stepped onto a yoga mat, or have never tried to truly meditate. This is where you come in to serve as a vessel of love and nourishment. On the other hand, you do not have to attend a YTT to become a teacher, as some only want to deepen their practice and dive deep into the knowledge of history and science behind this ancient practice. Others view YTT as a means of therapy or seek healing.
Whatever your intention may be, perhaps find what has sparked your interest and write down any goals, dreams, or hopes you have envisioned. Writing down your intentions will make your experience meaningful, knowing that you did not simply jump into any program, and at the end, you will be able to reflect and with clarity be able to see where you will take your next step after your first training.
Release all expectations before arrival
Do yourself a favor, and let go of any predetermined assumptions about what the program will embody. Yes, I did say in Number One to communicate with the program directors to learn the outline of your training, however, do not expect to arrive in training with visions of advanced yogis performing handstands and fancy inversions. You are coming to teacher training to learn how to teach and deepen your practice. An excellent training will not expect you to perform over-the-top fancy inversions, but teach you to appreciate where you are in your own practice. You arrive to learn how to guide others from a realistic approach.
I was taken aback by the number of lectures and topics surrounding Yoga including anatomy, physiology, the chakras, Ayurveda, history, philosophy, morals, Sanskrit text, and much more. We would have a guided practice each day along with our lectures, videos, meditations, learning how to cue, not to mention the number of hands-on adjustments we were involved in every day.
We studied from 8 AM to 5 PM every day of the week, with Saturdays off and half days on Sunday. A TON of material was given to us, but through this, we learned to be mindful with our tasks which helped to “take a load off”. Anything you know or believe you know about Yoga will likely be shifted, as you gain a deeper understanding.
You will be surrounded by love, a place of healing
Yoga Teacher Training can very well be nourishment at it’s finest. Think about it. You are spending perhaps an entire day in a room where many, many trainees before you have nourished the energy of the space through acts of healing, whether this was through chanting, prayers, journaling, smudging, etc. You are bound to enter a space full of love, as the people who you see every day will become your best friends! I left for training during a hardship in my own lifetime and left with a clear understanding of my own difficulties back at home. You will be surrounded by fellow trainees of all backgrounds, and with mixed energies present, deep emotions are bound to evoke.
Do not try to suppress your emotions. Acknowledge how you are feeling. You will be in a place of understanding and people will want to listen to you. Once a week, we sat in a circle with our yoga mats and tea, where each person was given a chance to speak about his or her feelings. We gave each other permission to release as we held each other’s space.
You may leave without exact assurance of your next step, and this is perfectly okay
When I left training for the road home, I was not completely assured of the next step but was instead allowing my life to unfold in its own time, trusting that opportunity would present itself in its own time. Opportunities may not be present to you at first, and this is one hundred percent okay.
You do not have to dive into teaching right away. Take a break and let your experience settle. You are exactly where you need to be at this moment.
You will be humbled
You only believe you know so much until your training. I thought I knew a LOT simply from reading and listening to Yoga Podcasts before arriving, but another door to knowledge was opened, and for this, I am truly grateful. I also learned the importance of teaching to various body types and disabilities. We learned to teach to the blind by covering our eyes. We learned to appreciate all body types by placing sandbags under our shirts. These lessons shifted my perspectives towards other humans, and have given me an understanding of others who carry a different body than me.
Allow me to mention along with different body parts the postures-asanas. Teacher Training has taught me to let go of what I thought I knew about the postures. For instance, I truly believed a posture seems as simple as low lunge-anjaneyasana. I was WRONG, and I have never been genuinely happier to learn the correct way to perform a posture. I learned how to respect the anatomy of my own body and others around me.
You gain experience and knowledge from experienced teachers who are present to lead you for your benefit so that you may leave with a clear insight as to how to approach your students and guide them along the way. You will truly not know anything until your training. In closing, remember to always trust your intuition. Yoga Teacher Training is truly a life transformation you will always remember. The memories, knowledge, wisdom, and love you are surrounded by is truly priceless. I left the training with an intense and appreciation for Yoga, and for all teachers around the world.
If you are a practitioner and frequently thinking about attending training, listen to your calling. You are doing yourself and the world a service by acting upon your inner and Higher guidance.
This article was written with a reflection on my own experience upon attending the Asheville Yoga Center in Asheville, North Carolina.
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