One of the greatest blessings that yoga has given me was actually through my yoga teacher training. I can honestly say that it transformed my life in more ways than I can count. I wanted to write about my experience to encourage you to dive in and go for a yoga teacher training if it is something you are thinking of doing.
I did my teacher training in Edmonton Alberta Canada with a company called YogaWorks. Their training is a mixture of Ashtanga Yoga practices and Iyengar Yoga practices, focusing on proper alignment in combination with flow. I was expecting to come out of my training with a certificate and a deeper confidence in leading others through asana (posture) practice, but what I actually got was so much more than that.
1. My training deepened my asana practice: As I suspected, I learned new asanas during my teacher training, which was really fun and exciting. What I did not expect was to get so much hands on personalized feedback on my asana, with new tips and techniques for deepening and working in the postures I already knew. I learned so much about my own body and how it is set up that I can say with confidence I can achieve postures now after my training that I never would have been able to accomplish before. I also learned how to ease into postures, how to honour where I am at today, and how to progress in a safe and steady way.
2. It opened my eyes to areas of yoga I previously had little to no knowledge of: I was aware of yoga asana, as most people are when they take on a training. What my training opened my eyes too was the deep philosophical roots of yoga, the teachings of the Yoga Sutras, a deeper and richer understanding of anatomy, breath work and meditation practices. Sitting in circle discussing the meanings of various sutras, learning how to augment my breath to create more calm or more energy, and being asked to take time to sit in meditation have forever changed my life. I am a more centered, balanced and well rounded yoga teacher and practitioner because of these new areas of study introduced to me through my training. Learning how deep and rich the practice of yoga really is set me on a trajectory I am still on to this day!
3. It created a community for me to be a part of, and I am still connected with a few of my fellow trainees 4 years later: It is easy to go to a yoga studio, slip in just before class starts, do your practice, and quickly exit the studio after class without saying two words to anyone. And there is certainly a time and a place for this, I understand the need to make yoga time “your” time. But there is something really magical about a group of people coming together week after week to study and practice yoga. The bonds and connections I made with those in my training are very special, and even those that I no longer speak with still hold a sacred space in my heart. The yoga community is really rich and beautiful and doing a teacher training submerges you right in the middle of it. It also provided me the opportunity to talk to and connect with people I would never have connected with otherwise. You will cherish the connections made in your training forever, I promise 🙂
4. It gave me confidence, not only in teaching, but in myself: This was a huge one for me. Being “forced” to stand up in front of my peers and teach was rattling at first, but as I progressed through my training it became easier and easier. Finding your center in front of a group of people is really a special skill, and one that can be carried over into life in general. The confidence I found within myself to stand up and speak has leaked over into my life and given me more confidence to speak my truth all the time. I am so grateful for this.
5. It helped my to re-connect with my body in a way that transformed how I ate, slept, and nourished myself: Lastly, my teacher training helped me to re-set some negative patterns I had with regards to how I felt about and thought about my body. Learning more about the anatomy of my body gave me a deeper and richer appreciation for the amazing gift that my body is. 2.5 hour practices with an enfaces on long holds gave me the space and time to really dig into those more uncomfortable thoughts and feelings and come through them to the other side. Learning about the concept of Ahimsa or non-harming transformed the way I thought about eating and exercising. In short, my teacher training taught me to treat my body as the precious vehicle that it is.
So, I hope I have inspired you to take on your training if it is something you are thinking about. Even if you never plan to teach, your training will enrich your practice and your life in more ways that you can possibly imagine. Go for it!