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7 things to know before you commit to a yoga teacher training
Photography by ashley dunlop

7 things to know before you commit to a yoga teacher training

by tiana barnard
Teachers | Tips


I heard the call to become a yoga teacher during my first class. Five years later, I answered and signed up for yoga teacher training. I figured the course would consist of breaking down asanas, learning anatomy and studying yogic philosophy - but it was so much more than that. The experience was a catalyst for the acceleration of my personal growth, causing me to look very deeply within myself. Would I do it again? Definitely. Would I change a thing? Absolutely not.

Are you about to commit to yoga teacher training? Here are seven things you should know before you make the leap.

Know why you want to take the yoga teacher training

Maybe you don’t want to teach, but have the niggling desire to deepen your practice, or perhaps you are dead set on teaching. Either way, before you jump into the commitment of teacher training, it’s important to be connected to why you are embarking upon this journey.

If you want to teach, ask yourself what it is that you want to share. In order to be of the highest service as a yoga teacher, it’s essential to be connected to exactly what it is you intend to ignite in others through sharing your practice. Are you keen to teach mindfulness, compassion, self-love, etc.? Whatever your reason for wanting to teach yoga, staying connected to your purpose will align you with a sense of greater purpose throughout your training and journey as a yoga teacher.

Doing your research is important

Embarking on a little exploration of what’s out there will help you choose the teaching program that most resonates with you. Your teacher training will shape your teaching style, so it is paramount to choose to train with someone whose style and philosophy are in alignment with your values. Trust your intuition. It’s so important to find a program that feels right and is the perfect fit for you.

Think about whether you would prefer an intensive program or a longer training program. Intensive trainings generally are a month long (or less) and you are with the same group daily in the same location. Lengthier training programs may meet two or three times a week and usually take place over a few months. Intensives really catapult your growth as they are a complete incubator, allowing you to be 100% absorbed in the process. However, making that kind of time commitment isn’t possible for everyone. Longer programs can leave you more space to dive into and absorb all of the readings. The most important thing is that you choose the option that is the right fit for you.

It will crack you open

Teacher training will not only deepen your asana practice and help you learn basic anatomy, it will catapult you into a place of deep self-inquiry. This process will bring up everything about yourself that you need to work on. If you aren’t ready to be totally committed to your own self-growth, teacher training may not be the best path for you at this time.

Get ready to question every single thing about yourself and your life. Be prepared to deal with insecurities you didn’t even know you had. And be prepared to sit with these uncomfortable feelings every day as you move through your meditation and asana practice.

The importance of developing and sustaining a home yoga practice

If you can’t lead yourself through a 60-minute yoga session, how can you expect to lead other people through the same? When you spend solo time on the mat, you learn new things about yourself, organically develop new sequences and dive deeper into your personal practice. And guess what? All of these things will make you a better teacher.

During your training, you will live and breathe yoga

During my training, I don’t think I ever got out of my yoga pants except maybe to sleep. I was so entrenched in the incubator of my intensive training, that it was all I thought about. I didn’t watch tv, I practiced on my mat in my spare time and I immersed myself in yogic philosophy.

You may find it necessary to take a break from nights out and regular catch-ups with friends just in order to process the intensity of the experience. You may find yourself hanging out more with your new yoga buddies than your partner (and absolutely loving it) - and that’s ok.

You may not feel “ready” to teach after your training

You may feel that you don’t know enough, don’t have enough experience, etc. You may feel that you know less than you thought you knew before You may still decide to teach anyway – and that’s perfect. This feeling is more “normal” than you think.

Just know, that if you want to teach and you are devoted to your personal practice, you are ready to begin teaching. If your heart is in it and you have the highest intentions to share this practice with others - you are ready. The more you teach, the more comfortable you will become. Teaching is an ongoing process of learning, growing, and sharing. Stay connected to the reason you initially felt called to teach yoga and keep that in your heart, knowing that you are sharing a gift that is allowing you to be of the highest service to others. Teach what you know, from your heart and things will unfold perfectly.

It will change your life

The experience will not only transform your yoga practice, but also your life. Between the learning, meditation, and deepening of your physical practice, you will experience breakthroughs, and probably shed a few tears, but if approached with an open heart, you will emerge on the other side more connected, self-assured and ready to continue the journey.

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