dos and don’ts about your teacher training
You’ve finally made the leap and enrolled in a yoga teacher-training course. Since the journey you are about to undertake has the capacity to be completely life changing and unforgettable, you’ll want to get the very most out of your course. Here are some simple DOs and DON’Ts that will help you not only to survive your training, but to thrive in it, allowing you to learn, transform and thoroughly enjoy the ride.
Respect your body and cultivate awareness of the signals it is sending you rather than risking an injury that may put you on the sidelines for half the practices. Respect your energy level; a teacher training is more like a marathon than a sprint. Pace yourself, don’t do extra classes on the days when you have scheduled practices in your training.
Focus on what you came for rather than how much the woman who talks too much annoys you or whether the cute guy with the great handstand likes you better than the girl with the braids and the pink mat.
GIVE IN TO CONFUSION
Questions will arise, and some of them can only be answered with time, by practicing and teaching for many years. As the poet Rilke said: live the questions. Give yourself permission to not know.
REJECT BEFORE TRYING
Whether restorative poses make you anxious or you think yoga philosophy is too ethereal or that anatomy is dry, remember that yoga is about flexibility and exploration. Give an open-minded try to every part of your training and your practice and you might discover that what you once found repellent becomes your favorite part.
Relax and keep in mind that you have a lifetime to integrate the concepts that are being introduced. Don’t get overwhelmed. It will all come in time.
Most serious teacher trainings will include a fair amount of written homework as well as reading assignments. If you want to get the most out of your training, do the homework. It will help the material that you work on in class to sink in more deeply and will keep what you’ve learned at the forefront of your attention in the time between your in-class sessions.
When you are called on to do a teaching demonstration in class, go for it, break out of your shell and find out who you are when you step into the room in the role of teacher. You might be surprised. Be brave and reach out to the other students. Go out to dinner. Practice adjustments on each other. Form a study group. The connections you make in your training will last a lifetime.
Do your yoga practice consistently while in training and take classes in the style/system that you are studying. Just as doing your homework will reinforce the material in a more intellectual way, taking class from teachers who teach in the style of yoga you are learning to teach in will help the concepts sink in kinesthetically, in your body. Taking in many styles during this intense learning period may result in information overload.
TAKE A DAY OFF
Choose one day a week and don’t do yoga. Lie in bed and take a nap instead or take a leisurely walk or read something for pleasure during the time you would ordinarily do your practice. Burn-out is not an attractive quality in a teacher.
During the sometimes long days of your training, it’s a good idea to have some nuts, or other snacks that are easy to transport and energy sustaining, on hand for when your energy starts to sag.
GET BODY WORK
Schedule a couple of massages over the span of the course. When you are in teacher training, your body gets pushed to meet and transcend its former limits. Soreness and exhaustion are common. When you ask a lot from your body it is especially important to nurture it.
DEDICATE THE TIME
This is not the best time to learn to surf, take on a new job or move. Teacher training is an opportunity to dedicate yourself, for a time, totally to yoga. Don’t miss out on that chance.
Have fun and revel in this time of learning, making friends and immersing yourself in the practice you love.
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