Yoga, in its simplest form, is the discovery of self.
Sometimes I think that people perceive yoga as this thing that you do to relax. I suppose it could be a release for some… but yoga is actually really difficult work. The postures themselves are difficult, sure. But what happens internally is so uniquely challenging. If you let it, yoga can take you on a journey that will forever change your life; unraveling all of the parts of you that aren’t true to you.
Yoga changed everything that I knew to be true about life. It gave me a place in this world and saved me from wanting to leave it. It picked up my little life, shook it vigorously and put it back together with new, exciting purpose.
My 200 hour teacher training was a critical event in my life. When I began this journey to become a teacher, I couldn’t even articulate what was happening in my life at the time without crying. I was broken down, weak mentally & physically. My yoga mat was literally the only place I found peace. Moving my body helped me to understand physically, what I was experiencing internally. It forced me to surrender to the loneliness and trauma that I was consumed by. It created a space for me to get through.
I didn’t pursue training, it pursued me. The opportunity fell into my lap at the most opportune time & I said yes. I gave it 100%. I studied and trained and practiced and upped my endurance. I never knew that I would be good at teaching. I was never confident speaking in front of people. But when I teach, somehow I step into this role & a dimension of myself comes out that I never knew existed. Literally, I’ll say things and think to myself – who am I? Did I just say that?
Being a yoga teacher is one of my most favorite parts of the life that I live. I want to help others find themselves again through yoga – the way I found myself. I want to help peel back the calloused layers that we’ve spent much of our lives building up. Yoga is a life skill. And if you’re thinking of doing a training, you should do it.
I always tell people – if you never teach a single class after your training, it will make you a better yoga student and it will be an experience of a lifetime.
Some things to consider if you plan to teach;
- You’re a big deal. A teacher will make or break an experience for someone. But it is important for you to know that you will not be for everyone & that is absolutely okay. There’s a yoga practice style and a yoga teacher for everyone for every season of life. You will attract the students that need what you have to offer them.
- You have to be able to control yourself. I remember my first job, my boss told me something that I’ve carried with me to this day; when you show up to work, you take off your personal-life coat and put on your work-life coat. It is CRUCIAL as a yoga teacher to control and maintain your own energy while the energy of other’s is in your hands. This may be the most important part of your job as a teacher. Every single student that practices under you is on an intricate journey of their own that you have been given the privilege to be a part of. You carry a huge responsibility to treat that privilege with respect and humility. Therefore it is important to never complain, never dump your personal garbage on students, never speak poorly or unenthusiastically about your practice or your studio, never express how exhausted you are, etc.
Practicing yoga together as a group is a special experience and obviously different from practicing at home alone. When you’re together practicing, a BIG energy exchange happens. We are all letting go of things that no longer serve us and picking up from others the things that we now need to move forward with our lives. Your energy is a part of that exchange, so check it.
- You have to be quick on your toes. This isn’t always a prerequisite and sometimes comes with practice. But piggy-backing off of controlling your own energy, you have to also be able to read the room. Sometimes I’ll have a class planned and ready to go, and a group of students show up to class that I know would not benefit from the class that I had already planned. Teaching is sometimes A LOT of last minute improvising and changing. Remember – it’s not about you, it’s about your students. So you have to be willing and able to pivot your class to best suit those that show up.
- Be a forever student. If you’re not growing as a teacher, you’re shrinking as a teacher. The most humbling thing about teaching yoga is that you are more of a student than your students are. The more you know about yoga, the more you need to know about yoga. If you’re not committed to your personal practice, it will show when you teach. It’s what I love about yoga, it’s always give and take and never give give give or take take take.
- Invest in the best of the best training. I may be biased, but I feel that I received amazing training. I felt more than confident and prepared when I taught my first class. Not only did I learn the postures, the sequencing, the alignments, the do’s and dont’s… I also learned the WHY behind everything. Which I feel like isn’t always the case amongst trainings. There’s a reason why your feet need to be a certain way in down dog and a reason why you need to lock your jaw in a half way lift. If you don’t learn the why, it will be hard for you as a teacher to communicate the how in class.
- Thoughts on destination trainings: I probably have an unpopular opinion about them. The week-long trainings are fun and exciting but maybe not very effective. My training was almost a year long and I could not have possibly crammed ALL of that information into one short week and feel ready to teach. Especially for your 200 training when you’re learning the fundamentals, you need to really learn them. It’s your foundation. I’ve thought about doing my 500 hour in somewhere like Thailand or Bali, but that’s extending on my base not establishing it… if that makes sense? Do your homework, find a reputable training. It’s everything.
If you’re thinking of doing it and it keeps coming up, you absolutely should pursue a teacher training. Like I said before, you have nothing to lose. If nothing else, it will make you better. It’s a small investment for a huge return no matter how you end up using what you gain. My training changed my life; it gave me such a cool job, new friends, my passion & it continues to give me so much more.