As I gear up for a new season of yoga teacher training, I am thrilled to share with you that from 2018 we will be offering our first 300-hour yoga teacher training program as well at the studio. As I sit down to draft the program, I am reminded of my own days of being a student at yoga teacher training. And the hours of work, practice, and excitement put into yoga teacher training. A study conducted in 2016 by Yoga Alliance stated that 36.7 million practitioners are currently practicing yoga in the US alone. While it was just 20.4 million in 2012. And an estimated 80 million were estimated to try yoga for the first time. In the US alone, there are thousands of yoga teachers being churned out each year. There is no way to get an exact number on the total number of teachers produced each year. But it is in the thousands. The truth is it is easier to become a yoga teacher today than ever before. So it is more important than ever before to work hard towards setting yourself apart from the rest. I hope these 5 tips to prepare for yoga teacher training are helpful to you. They are…
- Train before the training
- Develop a home yoga practice
- Read books – even if you do not understand them
- Explore different styles and lineages
- Create time for home study
Train before the training
What you get out of a yoga teacher training mostly depends on what you put into it. Begin to develop a learning mindset. Especially if it’s been a while since you hit the books. Being a yoga teacher doesn’t only entail being able to do yoga poses well. It requires proper training and one needs to read books, practice, absorb information, remember it and apply it. All this in a short span of time. So it’s not always going to be easy. But with practice, it gets better. So get training before your yoga teacher training starts. Start attending more yoga classes regularly. Not only your level but different levels and styles of yoga. Start noticing what you like, what you don’t, the students in the room, adjustments offered etc… And try to expand your thinking to take all the information in and not just be aware of your own practice. Check with your local yoga school, if they offer any pre-course work or suggested reading. At Aham yoga, we offer a pre-course work for students who sign up early. And if one is not available, try doing some additional work on your own if possible.
Develop a home practice
A home practice is where you do your own yoga practice. An opportunity to become the teacher and the student. This is especially valuable when you are a yoga teacher trainee. In your own practice develop a mindset of curiosity, awareness and thinking mindset. This is invaluable as a new yoga teacher. If you can get into your own body and experience what a yoga pose does to you. And remember that. When you teach, instructing poses will become easier. While doing your home yoga practice, keep away from any distractions like your cell phone, people or coffee and keep a journal and a pen near your mat. Write down what you observe or do not understand. This will help you learn better in your training.
Read yoga books even if you do not understand them
One of the best things I did in my first yoga teacher training was to start reading yoga books. I started reading a book recommended by my teacher the day I enrolled in the program. This was one of the best things I did apart from attending more classes regularly. I also bought a couple of other popular yoga books and just started reading whatever I could. In my enthusiasm, I picked up Patanjali’s yoga sutras as well. Though I did not understand the sutras well back then, I tried my best to read all sorts of books – practice books, yoga philosophy, etc…Nowadays you can even listen to yoga podcasts apart from reading yoga books. This gave me more knowledge than what I had and I felt more confident being in the yoga teacher training.
Explore different yoga styles, lineages, and levels of classes
As a yoga practitioner, you may have a preference as to which style of yoga you prefer. But it is to your advantage to explore different styles, lineages, and traditions of yoga even if they do not make it to your favorites list. This requires patience, time and effort. But will help make you a better-informed yoga teacher. So when you start teaching and have a student who says they have come to your class from X style of yoga, you have some idea and a reference point. And being well informed about different styles of yoga in your field will help your students trust you more.
Create time for study
Becoming a yoga teacher one needs to take into account the additional number of hours needed to go through course material, practice teaching skills, prepare assignments etc…It is never about just attending class hours. If the yoga teacher training you are considering says that there is nothing additional other than class hours. I would suggest you look for another yoga teacher training. You will be (hopefully) studying this training only once in your lifetime. And you are investing time, effort and hard earned money into this. So make it count. For a few weeks, clear out your calendar. Wind down your social commitments. Stay home more. And direct those extra hours to study and practice. Trust me it will be worth it. I have seen students come to a full day yoga teacher training after partying on a Saturday night and just not be able to keep their eyes open. If it really means this much to you, then make time for it. Sincerely.
So there you have it. 5 tips to help you succeed in your yoga teacher training. I hope these help you. If you did something that helped you apart from these 5 tips, please share your experience in the comments section below. Good luck.