5 Unexpected Lessons From Yoga Teacher Training

Have you ever considered a yoga teacher training course? The lessons go far beyond proper alignment. Here are five takeaways that I did not expect:

1. Learning about yoga means learning about yourself. Most of us join a teacher training program because the practice of yoga has touched us on a deeper level than just the physical. Maybe it’s even started to affect the way that we relate to ourselves and to the world. The content of a yoga teacher training is always laid out as a clear pathway - one lecture building upon another. Though yoga can be studied and explained in this format, the actual experience of yoga is personal. Yoga aims to thread together body, breath and spirit, so as your yoga study deepens, you so does the study of yourself.

2. Teacher training is a transformative time. Transformation is not always easy. Not only are you intensely focusing on your spiritual and physical growth in yoga, but you are doing in an intensely close group setting. Be prepared to open up! You may feel overwhelmed, vulnerable, or raw, but these are all challenges which lead towards growth as a yogi and as a human.

3. Taking a yoga class will never be the same. Sorry! Once you have the tools to put together a class yourself, you will begin to go to your teacher’s classes and understand why and how they have put things together. Your ears will perk up at a particularly juicy cue and you’ll mentally note it down for your own use later. And (hopefully) not as frequently, you’ll think, “I would NEVER say that/do that/put this pose here!” As much as you aim to quiet your mind, your perspective towards class will be colored by your newfound understanding after training. That said…

4. Teaching is a practice. Learning how to tell people to move their bodies and energy is something that takes a lot of disciplined practice. You might be a pro at a specific posture, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to get someone else into that pose. All the layers of class take practice – sequencing, pacing, adjusting, cueing, and even making an appropriate playlist. If that isn’t enough, you have to learn to multitask in the room – speaking, moving, assisting, troubleshooting your students’ postures, and potentially demonstrating – all at the same time. You will make many, many mistakes during the ‘practice teach’ parts of teacher training. And you should! Know that you will be a beginner, and just like your physical and spiritual yoga practice, it takes time to cultivate the skills required to be a teacher.

5. Completing your training is just the beginning. Taking a yoga teacher training will is simply an introduction to the huge umbrella of the study of yoga. It can be overwhelming to realize just how little we know about yoga after even a 200 our training. You’ll find there are so many paths down which you can travel in order to continue your education that it’s difficult to begin where to start. Don’t worry, you have your entire life to keep learning!

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