Yoga was always appealing to me, and when I went to my first yoga class, I knew that I had found something life-changing. Yoga was not just about looking cool in different poses. Oh no – it was about awareness, breath, compassion, and self-love.
I practiced yoga for years until I finally had the opportunity to do my 200-hour YTT in India, Goa. 28 days of 12-hours per day yoga asanas and teachings with 30 other students proved to be one the most difficult, yet liberating experiences of my life. My Yoga Teacher Training was not what I expected, and so, I’ve compiled some key aspects that you should keep in mind if you’re considering embarking on this transformative journey.
If You’re Considering Yoga Teacher Training, First Know What You Want
There are thousands of yoga schools throughout the world and each has unique offerings. There are a few key aspects you need to consider when deciding which training is the right fit for you.
Do you want to teach multiple styles or just a particular style? I loved any and all types of yoga, so I opted for a training that combined many different styles.
Even though I learned a lot about every style, such as Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Aerial, and Yin, I didn’t get an in-depth understanding of all the styles. If you’re more interested in developing exceptional skills in one style of yoga, then rather choose a single-style-focused-training.
You can find a teacher training course literally anywhere – including online. So, you don’t need to travel to places like India, Thailand, or Bali to do your training. I personally loved doing my training in India, since it felt so authentic.
I do, however, have many friends who did their training in their hometown or online, and they received the exact same quality of education as they would’ve received in these more “authentic” places.
You have to look at your schedule to determine how much time you can allocate to your training. I had a month available between finishing university and starting a new job – so it made sense for me to opt for a training that was jam-packed into one month.
I am an all-in, immersive type of person – so this really worked for me. But if you have a few hours a week available or need a bit more time to integrate your lessons, opt for a training that is spaced out over a couple of months.
You can find a training that suits your budget. Since I had to fly from South Africa to India, I definitely had more expenses than my friend who did her training in Cape Town. But India itself is quite cheap and my course included board and lodging (which is the case with most trainings).
So, your training really does not have to be expensive. Simply do some calculations and check out the prices of multiple different options then choose which one resonates with you.
Here is What You Need to Know About Yoga Teacher Training
When most people think about yoga teacher training, they think about doing yoga flows all day. But there’s actually a lot more to it.
Most yoga courses will have at least a few things in common in terms of the content that is taught. Mentally prepare yourself for each of these components – it will make your life easier.
You will be learning about the origin and beliefs that make up the practice of yoga. I personally found this very interesting, but many may be put off by this if they have strong religious or spiritual beliefs that contradict yogic beliefs.
So, do your research on this topic or reach out to the school that is offering your preferred training, and ask whether they will dismiss you from these classes.
Anatomy and Alignment
As a yoga teacher, you must have a solid understanding of anatomy and alignment. We spent hours studying the human body’s intricacies, exploring how muscles and bones work together during yoga asanas. Understanding alignment is crucial not only for injury prevention but also for helping students get the most out of each posture.
These classes proved to be the most valuable for me, since we were taught step by step how to tilt our hips, place our feet, or activate specific muscles in order to get into more difficult poses. Don’t get too caught up in remembering the names of the different body parts – the exams are easier than you think.
The Art of Sequencing
You will have a few classes where your teacher takes you through putting together your own sequence. This was so much fun! At one point, our teacher taught us how to think on our feet. One after the other, he asked each of us to shout out a yoga pose and all of us had to follow along.
So, by the end of the class, we had done a yoga flow created by all of us. This really helped us in understanding which poses flow with each other and which poses cannot be combined. Pay attention in these classes – they will become your backbone at a later stage.
Meditation and Pranayama (Breathwork)
One of the most profound aspects of yoga teacher training was the deep dive into self-exploration. Yoga provided a mirror through which I could reflect on my strengths, weaknesses, and hidden fears. We engaged in daily self-reflection practices, journaling, and group discussions, opening ourselves up to vulnerability and growth.
Meditation and pranayama (breathwork) became integral parts of our training, helping us connect with our inner selves and tap into our intuition. These practices fostered emotional resilience and enabled me to face my doubts and insecurities with compassion and understanding. The level of depth you go into will depend on the specific training you choose. I just so happened to do a course that involved structured meditation and pranayama training.
In one way shape of form, you will be taught about what’s called the Chakra System. These refer to energy centres that are spread throughout the body, each serving a unique purpose.
Yoga is believed to aid in the flow of energy through the body from the Root energy centre (located at the base of your spine) to your Crown energy centre (located at the top of your head). Even if you don’t resonate with the concept of energy, this can still be very insightful, since it allows you to explore different aspects of yourself.
Other Things to Expect
I can’t tell you exactly how your teacher training will be, but I can share what I experienced and how it affected my life.
I Found My Inner Voice
I became intimately in tune with the part of myself that I used to silence in my day-to-day life. Some refer to it as the higher self, the true self, the soul, spirit, heart, or even intuition. Whatever you call it, you can expect to strengthen it.
This had a profound impact on my life, since it forced me to let go of all the habits that no longer served me. I developed a great deal of self-trust and self-belief.
Stepping into My Role as a Yoga Teacher
We often compare ourselves to others, believing that we are not good or experienced enough. This is especially true in the yoga community, where there is a lot of competition. Well, out of the 30 students that I trained with, I can tell you that no one has the same teaching style and every class that I participated in taught by my fellow students, were completely different.
So, don’t compare yourself. Instead, focus on creating classes that you would enjoy, while being authentic, unique, and confident in your abilities.
Yoga teacher training is about so much more than just learning asanas and terminology. I formed life-long bonds with my fellow students and those who taught us.
As a more introverted person, I found it difficult to deal with so many strangers in the beginning. But over time, it was clear that all of us had our struggles, and we learned to celebrate each other’s triumphs. This was an incredibly humbling and heart-opening experience.
In Summary: The Journey Continues
Yoga teacher training was a transformative experience that transcended physical postures and breathing techniques. It allowed me to connect with the essence of yoga and my authentic self. The training provided me with the tools to share the gift of yoga with others and guide them on their own paths of self-discovery and growth.
Since completing the training, I have continued to explore the depths of yoga, both as a student and a teacher. The journey is ongoing, and the learning never stops. Yoga has become an integral part of my life, guiding me on a path of inner peace, self-awareness, and mindful living.
If you are considering yoga teacher training, I wholeheartedly encourage you to take the plunge. It will be a life-changing experience that will enrich your understanding of yoga, deepen your practice, and offer you the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of others.
As I embrace the role of a yoga teacher, I am forever grateful for the wisdom, support, and community that this journey has provided me. The transformative power of yoga is boundless, and I am excited to continue sharing its profound teachings with the world. Namaste.