For the new person about to take a Yoga Teacher Training, here’s a friendly warning. To those of you who’ve done a teacher training, hopefully, you read these with a smile and knowing wink. These are the things that stand out:
1. You’ll cry at least once
We witness our students cry at least once during the teacher training. This can be in the beginning from nervousness, during the training due to issues, fears, or doubts coming up, or at the end when you have to say goodbye to the people you’ve developed strong friendships with.
Allow yourself to feel your emotions and be vulnerable.
2. You’ll think of quitting
In my very first teacher training, I faced my fear of public speaking and of not thinking I would be a good enough teacher. In my second yoga teacher training, I faced my fear of public speaking again when we were confronted with the words we use, how we use it, how to weave a theme in, and how to inspire students with our voice. I ran to the bathroom and cried.
You’ll most likely have to confront your fears or self-doubt. Or perhaps life will get in the way – a big project comes up with work, a family member needs you, or you get sick.
The key is to speak with your teachers. They’ll be able to guide you through it. Chat with your peers as they are probably going through something similar. The community is what keeps us strong when we feel we cannot make it.
Know that there will be a slump but try to ride through it because going through it is when you begin to see the transformation.
3. You’ll change jobs, leave a relationship, or drop a habit
Something will begin to shift. A yoga teacher training forces you to look at your life and your foundation – what we want in life, what your beliefs and patterns are. You’re spending so much time with yourself on the mat, and you’re studying yoga philosophy that this is bound to seep into your life. It forces you to look at your relationships and how you interact with people.
You’ll start to let go of things, people and situations that you know keep you safe but not happy, those that are toxic and unfulfilling, or those that just need to go. This can be challenging.
I always recommend to my students to speak with a therapist if you need that added support. Chat with your peers and teachers. Just make sure you listen to your heart.
4. You’ll make life-long friends
At the beginning of teacher training, it’s always so quiet. You can feel the nervous tension in the air. Everyone feels hesitant. By the end of teacher training, it’s challenging to get everyone to stop talking. Because you are all going through an intense program and going through similar, vulnerable situations, you begin to form deep bonds. You have similar interests, and you’ll make friends that will be there for you for a long time.
5. Yoga is always changing, what you learn in teacher training will change in a few years.
It’s best to choose to study with teachers that continually study and keep up with the industry changes. The more popular yoga becomes, the more experts start to weigh in on some of the instructions and movements. This is a good thing! A while back, yoga was about how flexible you can be. Now we know that we need to engage muscle energy to be safe and strong in the poses.
There are many things that I was taught in the beginning and that I taught to my students that I now no longer do. Not because it was the fault of my teacher or teachers, but because I’ve gained new knowledge when studies have come out and I’ve adapted some of my instructions to reflect this.
6. Your body will hurt, you’ll feel tired, and you’ll feel a shakiness inside as you change
You’ll be practicing a lot more than you probably usually do. Your muscles may start to feel tired or a little tender. The most important thing is to make sure you don’t feel pain or force yourself to push through it. Now is the time to pay close attention to your body so you can avoid injuries or excessive use.
You’ll most likely feel tired during or right after a training session. Take a day off after the weekend. Find ways to nourish yourself and rest.
And yes, you may feel shaky and vulnerable inside. The more physically and emotionally tired I get, the more my walls start to come down, and the more vulnerable I feel. Re-read points 1 to 3!
7. This is only the beginning
You’ve learned everything you can. I always say to my students: “We give you as much knowledge as we can… this is about 25% of your knowledge. Then you put in another 25% of effort – your practice, studies, the vulnerability and willingness to grow during the teacher training. The last 50% is all the knowledge you’ll gain when you start teaching.” The teacher training is only the start. You’ll learn from your students (by observing while you teach, when they come to you with a problem or injury, and when you work at different places). You’ll realize there’s so much more you need to learn. You’ll keep growing the more workshops and trainings you take. If it’s your passion, keep expanding to offer more to your students.
If you’ve done a teacher training, feel free to share anything else you’ve experienced that was unexpected.