Yoga Teacher Training. How to decide if it’s right for you?
Let’s say you love the way you feel after practicing yoga and you’ve been doing it fairly consistently for a while. You hear about a yoga teacher training and you wonder, should I do that? Could I? Do I really want to teach yoga? Let’s pause here and explore these questions….
Christina and I both had to navigate these same questions, oh so many years ago, when we were embarking on this path…. Below is a picture of Christina with fellow yogis after a training.
There is loving yoga and then there is LOVING yoga. Do you enjoy the occasional class or do you feel a commitment to making it onto your mat consistently? A good teacher training program is a deep dive into the practice of yoga, with a lot of time, sweat and even tears involved. It’s not that you have to give up your life to practice yoga or do a teacher training, but its important that you enjoy and love this practice enough to make a commitment to developing and growing in it.
Shop around and make sure that the training program length suits your schedule, temperament and learning style. There are so many teacher-training programs available that you will find one that is right for you. You may be drawn to an exciting and adventurous one month immersion yoga study abroad, and come back a yoga teacher! On the other hand, that kind of intensive study may not be aligned with how you learn best. Consider what is the ideal learning environment for you. One weekend a month, like the Bend Yoga Teacher Training program, might be suitable if you would like to integrate the teachings into your daily life and at a slower pace.
The historical roots of yoga come from India, but much of it has been adapted, blended and evolved into how you are practicing today. The picture below shows Tina with her first yoga teacher in India. Generally speaking, in the west, the physical practice of postures is the element most emphasized as being yoga. But when you invest into a teacher training program, you will be exposed to much more than studying poses. You will study anatomy, yoga philosophy and learning a new language; Sanskrit words but also the language of cuing in a class.
This exposure to the multi-faceted yoga path directs the yogi (person who practices yoga) to turn inward. There is a good amount of self-reflection, and personal inquiry built into the teacher training program. Based on the love and commitment you are making to growing in the path, there is also an element of willingness to be vulnerable and to do the inner work. Teacher training is not about making you a better or different person, its about using the wisdom of yoga to deepen your personal connection with yourself. This might involve change, but it could also be a clarification or validation of the truth of who you are.
All this talk of change and vulnerability is daunting. But the good news is that you gain a yoga family when you commit to a teacher training program. Unlike your biological family, you get to choose your yoga family, so make sure you like them! Get to know your teachers, their philosophy and style of teaching. Having a personal connection to your teachers of the program speaks to the essence of the teacher-student (guru-shishya) relationship.
Lastly, at the end of teacher training program you will have gained all of the knowledge, skills and support to teach and share this practice with others. But you don’t have to. Many people take a teacher training program to enhance their own personal practice. Some people make the investment as a career supplement, and some go on to teach full time. You don’t have to decide or know that you are going to teach yoga when you start the program, if you have all of the above qualities/interests.