Stepping into the world of yoga teacher training can seem daunting at first, and not without good reason. It’s an experience that will challenge you both physically and mentally, in order that you might rewrite your conditioning, free yourself from restrictive habits, discover new ways of living and unlock your true potential.
For those who feel ready to take the next step, it promises to be nothing short of life-changing!
What is Yoga Teacher Training all about?
In the same way that the practise of true yoga is far more than exercising the body, yoga teacher training is far more than learning how to teach the asanas to others. It is about becoming endowed with knowledge that will help guide one on their journey towards self-discovery.
While guiding others toward a greater understanding – you too become part of that greater understanding.
Learning to listen more deeply, to see beyond what is regularly seen, to understand the inseparable yoke of body, mind and spirit that make us human all are apart of the greater journey that begins – in this case starting your journey.
The core of it is translating your mindfulness practise on the yoga mat directly to your life off the mat.
1. Understanding Yoga
The benefits of yoga go far beyond the physical body. When practising yoga, the physical body becomes a doorway through which we can touch our emotional and mental bodies.
In moving through poses with intention, focusing on the breath and connecting with the inner self, yoga becomes an incredible tool. Our bodies are far more capable than we often give them credit for.
How this understanding unfolds is every unique persons journey, but it is nothing short of revolutionary.
2. Deeper Self-Awareness
The practise of yoga encourages us to look inward and explore our own perceptions, sensations, thoughts and beliefs. It is like gradually turning up the lights in a dark room. Slowly, the shape of things that were previously hidden to us are revealed with increasing clarity.
Over time, this introspection can bring forth deep personal insights that shape how we view the world around us. We see new possibilities and opportunities where we failed to notice them before.
As we gain clarity about our true identity, our confidence grows and our outlook broadens. We become better equipped to communicate our truth openly without fear or judgement, and to encourage others in their inward journeys towards self-discovery.
This is really what yoga is all about. Deepening your knowledge opening your awareness. Everything else is just a bonus.
3. All about Teaching
Learning to cultivate the persona of a teacher is like stepping into new shoes. Uncomfortable at first, they will probably feel too big or too much to shoe but once you start wearing them in – you a whole new feel for them.
Teaching is a form of being that forces you to embody what you know. In that – you have the ability to integrate all the disparate parts so that you can share them with others. Often we think we know things – and its only when we teach others do see the gaps of our knowledge.
Mastery comes through practise and the best practice comes through doing. By repeatedly showing up you will refine your own style and understand how best to lead others.
4. Creating Space
Learning how to properly hold space is not without its challenges. But once you learn how to tap into that art, it is a beautiful way of connecting with others. Providing a container for others to move through their blocks and resistances is beautiful thing to watch.
In this world of ours we often to not have space where we can drop in and be who we are. When we are able to drop our defences and just be who we are, we get in touch with a very different part of ourself.
5. Leading by Example
We’ve all heard it said: do as I say, not as I do. Yet wouldn’t it be better if we were reframe that to: do as I say and as I do? The best of all teachers lead by example. This is perhaps why there are truly so few amazing teachers. Leading by example is much more difficult thea leading through speech.
For those forces to align there has to be some form of undivided presence in order for our actions to move in awareness. Only from there are we able to be of any service to people and the world.
6. Exploration of Yoga
There are as many paths and styles. Opening the ear to alternate perspectives, styles helps us better refine our own unique way. Being able to listen to others greatly assists in refining our own self. Without being able to listen to another – how is it that we can teach?
As you explore you gain an understanding of how teachings can be used in different ways which can directly translate to how it is that you share with others. It is very easy to assume that we are right, especially as teachers. Being open to listen to other traditions, beliefs, and ideologies allows all people of faith to exist free from your judgement. Because who really knows?
7. Developing Patience
Yoga promises deep transformation if we align ourselves to its teachings. However this is all nice in theory, what often happens in life is a lot messier. We can read a bunch of articles and glossy images of people doing fancy poses (like the one above) and we think that ‘ah, yes look at the peace and tranquility they exude.’
However outside in the real world, far away from the self help articles and Insta pics, is life which is full of obligations, desires, fears, frustrations, all of the demands that are constantly rushing around in your mind at light speed miles away from what the idyllic images would show.
To make anything real takes time. Reading or learning something and having that something become part of you is not an instantaneous process.
Patience. All things that are worth having take time. Nothing that is truly good can be immediate.
8. Finding Community
Connection comes in may ways. This can be noticed in your increased ability to listen and observe carefully or your ability to build deeper and more meaningful relationships. All of this enables you the ability to draw people toward you that are like you. Like attracts like (or so they say.)
Being part of something greater than yourself helps to put things in perspective. We all long for something that is more. Something that helps give meaning and helps to keep us fulfilled. One of those things in community. Like minded souls that share the same journey.
This is not always easy to find, and just because you did a yoga teacher training doesn’t mean that you found it, but it can help facilitate those spaces and help to invite those people into your life.
9. Enjoy The Journey
Yoga: a seemingly endless cycle of arduous physical postures combined with the challenge of holding still for long periods of time. Sounds simple? No?
Who would have thought that something so simple could actually be so rewarding.
The journey is found in appreciating the journey itself, and not yearning for some vague and constantly shifting destination. In a safe environment with supportive people we are more able to understand what this journey really means.
A yoga teacher training promises nothing. But it does offer us an opportunity to begin this journey in a more truthfully way.
Completing a yoga teacher training course provides give you certification, but it also gives you an opportunity to get in touch with who you really are.