Everything you need to know about doing a yoga teacher training

Been thinking about becoming a yoga teacher? The great news is that you are at the beginning of a beautiful and transformation journey, not just for your yoga practise but for yourself as well.

The first and most important thing to remember when embarking on the journey to becoming a yoga teacher is to be yourself! What will allow you to learn and enjoy your training as much as you can will depend on how readily you let yourself show up and be authentic throughout the journey. As a yoga teacher, your unique style and personality will set you apart and allow you to connect with clients that resonate with your teachings – so always stay true to yourself and continue to let your inner light shine.

Secondly, your personal or self-practise will be the corner stone of your learning experience and will develop and change as you learn. It will also continue to be a support to you throughout your training and beyond. Try to keep up with a regular self-practise, allowing yourself time to get on your mat and tune in. Some days you will not feel like practising yoga, but it is important that you show up for yourself, even if it is for a 5-minute savasana.

Remember that what you learn throughout your training and from other teachers will be distilled into your own understandings through your self-practise. This is also a time to play, have fun and explore – try to learn new poses or find interesting sequencing for your classes. Allow yourself to flow and your best practise will come naturally.

With those two important points out the way, let’s start the search. You need to look at what kind of training you are after and in what style or type of yoga. This will depend on a number of factors and it is worth setting your boundaries before you begin your search so that you are not overwhelmed – there is a lot of yoga teacher trainings out there!

The most common yoga teacher training could be said to be a 200 hour, in person, part time vinyasa or hatha yoga teacher training. However, some considerations are:

- Length of training – this could be anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 years depending on the intensity of the training and number of hours.

- Style of yoga – most yogis begin by qualifying in hatha or vinyasa yoga and then do additional trainings in yin, rocket, forest, yoga nidra, ashtanga etc.

- Number of hours – typically trainings begin with a foundational training of 200 hours and a further training of 300 hours. Some trainings include the full 500 hours in one go. Additional trainings after this can be around 50, 80 or 100 hours, but this depends on the training itself and there are only guidelines rather than strict standards within the yoga industry for number of hours per trainings.

- Qualification – it is important to research the training school and find out what qualification you will receive upon completion. Normally yogis receive a certificate of completion that is backed by certain institutional bodies, such as Yoga Alliance, which help to credit your training as being comprehensive.

- In person or online – It used to be commonly thought that in-person trainings were superior to online trainings, however as the world has changed and remote learning has increased, there are now several well run online trainings available. Remember that with yoga you will most likely be working in person with clients and thus in-person trainings can help to develop the necessary people skills to build the confidence for this work. In addition, some aspects of a yoga class, such as assists, will need to be learnt in-person. Another consideration is to how you will learn and whether in person may suit you better. For many people, yoga training is also a personal journey where they will bond with fellow students and share the experience together.

- Abroad or local – for many yogis, the idea of travelling somewhere beautiful to train is high on their list. Trainings in retreat centres and other beautiful venues can offer another dimension to the learning experience. Some people may also feel a calling to travel to places where they feel most connected to their yoga practise – for example to India and Bali. I often recommend doing your training wherever makes most sense for your work / life balance and budget. You can always do a yoga retreat or additional weeklong or weekend training after your initial qualification and that is sometimes a lovely idea to do in a beautiful place.

On the training –

During your training, remember to keep well rested and hydrated and to take space as you need it. Not only will you be doing a lot of yoga to learn certain aspects, but you will be experiencing the yoga yourself and as we know this can have an effect on the emotional body. You may feel at times overwhelmed, emotional, tired or have old traumas re-emerge – this is normal and give yourself the time to process it all and make sure you seek support from your teachers if need be. There will likely be other people on the training who have come from a variety of different backgrounds and have had different journeys to bring yoga into their lives. This is both an enhancing and sometimes conflicting part of the training and it helps to be open to receiving the energy of the group while maintaining your personal boundaries so that you are less effected by others if something does not settle well with you.

Keep your journal handy and keep notes for reference – but do take this time to be present and watch or be active in the learning. You can always google or look up questions you may have later on, but the moments that will define your learning need to be felt there and then.

After the training it is likely that you will be happy, sad to say goodbye to your teachers and fellow yogis and exhausted both mentally and physically. It may also feel overwhelming to go out into the world and begin as a yoga teacher. Take it one step at a time as your teaching style and confidence develops naturally. Remember you are on your own unique journey, both within your yoga practise and as a teacher of yoga, so follow your own path and don’t compare your progress with other teachers. There is space for all yoga teachers to share their gift and love of yoga with others – remember to stay kind to yourself and encourage other teachers to do the same. Through the support of the yoga community and your clients, you will soon find your place in the world as a yoga teacher. Enjoy the journey and never stop learning!

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