I hope you’ll forgive me for telling you the world does not need any more yoga teachers. Ours is an industry that’s saturated. And making a living from teaching yoga is no easy feat. So, if you’re in it for the money, in it for the followers, or looking for an escape from your current job or life situation, I say, nevermind! But if you’ve practiced enough that you’ve had a taste of yoga’s transformational power and you’re ready to devote yourself to that process then nevermind what I said. Yes, it’s a challenging path but hardship can be fruitful. And though the studios are littered with yoga teachers, none of them are you. So, if you’re ready to look inside – to learn to love your body, understand your mind and venture to know what’s in your heart – and you’re brave enough to share of what you find with love and authenticity, yours will be a class like no other, something that adds value, and one I would be inspired to take. If you’re ready to become a life-long student of yoga and you’re inspired to share what you learn, maybe (just maybe!) teaching yoga is exactly what you ought to do.
The day I decided to do my teacher training was not a decision I took with my mind; it was a nagging feeling coming from my heart. Seeing the positive effects yoga had on my life and seeing how it’s all about love, passion, healing, rewarding, connecting, I wanted that to be my message to the world. It’s easy to go for 200 or 300 hours and sit and learn to do yoga and get a certificate. But being a yoga teacher is not about giving instructions and telling people how to get into a pose. It’s about seeing people walking into your class and being able to read and feel the energy in the room, about being able to set all your thoughts and any negativity aside to spread positive energy, and about being able to relate to your students and have compassion and an open heart to give and to receive. “When one person teaches, two receive”. To me teaching yoga is not a job, it is a passion. It’s also a commitment and an obligation that you are willing to have towards your students because they are relying on you. And soon you’ll realize, you on them!
Yoga not only teaches us to love others it teaches us to love and honor ourselves. As a teacher, it’s important to be honest with oneself even if that means stepping back. For example, the day I felt overwhelmed and I walked into class feeling tired and not sure I can do this was the day I cut out two classes from my schedule as I will not comprise myself or what I’m giving to my students. It’s important to honor and take care of your body and listen to those inner voices. Being a yoga teacher is so rewarding especially when you are truly moving from your heart!
If you are thinking about embarking on your yoga teacher training journey, my advice to you would be to have at least a year of solid personal practice first. This does not mean that you should be able to hold a handstand or any advanced physical asana, but the teacher trainings are physically demanding, and it helps if you already have a personal practice to begin with. Also, having a personal practice is very important if you want to teach yoga later on. So, committing to a practice, even before doing your teacher training helps with that.
Another thing you ought to do is to attend classes with different teachers and different styles of yoga, online or in person. I personally prefer in person, where you get to experience the power of the group and the adjustments you get from your teacher. Try new things out and decide what style you want to get your education in. Do your research. Ask your teachers. Reach out to graduates of the program you are interested in and get their feedback. Most of the time people are very eager to help.
And lastly, take your time. There is no hurry to finish all the trainings right away. Take your time to figure out your “why”, your intention for taking the training. Do you just want to take the training because everyone else is? Because there is the 200 hours and 300 hours and you just want to finish them and get over it? What are your intentions? What do you want to gain or add? Take your time to decide and reflect on this. Good luck, the yoga teacher training journey is not easy but very rewarding.
A teacher training is a life changing experience so you want to make sure you’re doing it with a good school and not just any school. A lot of schools now are just pumping out teachers without really caring and making sure these students have learned and understood. So, I’d say research your schools well, look at reviews online and also ask teachers you go to for their own recommendations and experience, it really helps. My advice to you is, don’t be intimidated by the teacher training, remember everyone there is feeling exactly the same, don’t worry if there are certain poses you can’t do yet, that doesn’t matter at all as you will learn them through time and build up to them. Your teacher training isn’t about getting your handstand, it’s about learning about the poses, the philosophy, the anatomy and most importantly, learning about yourself.
Expect to have long days filled to the brim with information, expect your body to be tired from doing so much yoga, expect to make new lifelong friends and expect to be taken out of your comfort zone. The training is hard but it’s also fun and will change your life in so many ways.
Finally, I would recommend to practice yoga at least 5 times a week before you attend a teacher training to build you up physically and mentally and also to ask the school for a recommended reading list that you can start on. Stay calm and excited and prepared!