I wrote this after several chats with people who had reservations about yoga teacher training. Whilst its about my experience in yoga teacher training, its also much the same for lots of people who are feeling hesitant about trying out yoga classes! I have touched on that a little in my post about being scared to try yoga which you can find over here if that’s more your thing. I hope my experience can help to ease any fears around trying yoga or signing up to teacher training.
(Bogus) Pre-requisites for yoga teacher training:
- You need to be a super yogi that does handstands on the beach and practices #everydamnday
- You must know ALL the Sanskrit words and you should probably sign all your emails with “Namaste” or “Sat Nam”
- You should be spiritual and woo woo and talk about keeping your chakras aligned in general conversation.
- You must have been doing yoga for forever. Like seriously forever – especially in your past lives.
- You need a wardrobe full of fancy yoga pants and crop tops and even special yoga undies (yes it’s totally a thing!)
- You must eat a ‘clean’ diet and never ever ever over do it at the pub with your mates on a Friday night.
What a load of hoo-haa!
This is the kind of stuff I get asked about all the time from people who are thinking of signing up to yoga teacher training. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have talked to someone who really wants to do teacher training but has a huge BUT (no not a huge bottom you cheeky brats!) I mean a huge reason why they can’t, for example “I don’t know the Sanskrit, I’m not flexible enough, I don’t know how to do handstands” etc etc.
I really want you to know that those ‘buts’ are total B-S.
When I signed up for teacher training I remember being terrified that I did have enough experience and wasn’t good enough at yoga. I started practicing more and more in fear that I would be the only one that couldn’t do handstands. I pictured myself as the dorky kid in the back watching all the cool kids practice handstands and arm balances at lunch.
Now, I don’t know what yoga school you are looking at, but my experience was totally different to my fear based expectations.
First of all – I never had to take some kind of yoga student entry quiz to check that I was “good enough”. No one asked me how fancy my moves were, how much Sanskrit I knew, how often I practiced, how pure my diet was, how much my yoga pants cost and how often I drank alcohol. Because it didn’t matter.
When I arrived I remember being surprised at the variety of people who were in my class. There were some who looked allot like me – similar in age and similar interests, and a whole lot that were older or younger with incredibly different backgrounds and levels of experience.
The first day, we started with the basics, alignment, cat cow and about a thousand downward facing dogs. Imagine my surprise when not one person did a handstand!?!
I did not know Sanskrit before I began and I am pretty sure most of my class didn’t either.
Yes – there was allot of Sanskrit in training – BUT – there was also the English version. Yes – I was expected to know some Sanskrit for my final exam but I learnt this from hearing my teacher use the English and the Sanskrit side by side continuously throughout my training. I still don’t know heaps of Sanskrit and I hardly use it when I teach because even though some of the words are really cool and fun to say – I do not expect students in my classes to know what they mean and I don’t want to make things any harder than they need to be, especially for beginners. I have even been to classes where they use Sanskrit and I spent most of the class looking around trying to figure out if I was doing the right thing. It wasn’t for me, so that’s not how I teach.
The diet thing – yes – we were encouraged to give ourselves lots of nourishing food while in training so that our bodies had enough to keep us going. Teacher training is very physical so you need to be eating good quality food for fuel and yes, we did study the yogic diet. It’s basically – eat mindfully and with gratitude. There are some bits about what foods make us feel lighter and heavier but no one handed out a set of rules so I’m pretty sure you are good to eat the way that makes you feel good, which is a philosophy that, if you have been round here before you probably already know that I’m kind of a huge fan of.
Now let’s talk yoga pants. Yep, there were some funky pants at training. There were also some daggy trackies and some sporty shorts. One time a girl wore her boyfriend’s shorts because she forgot to pack her tights and I don’t recall her being shunned… In fact I was kind of jealous because they looked so super comfy. Fancy yoga gear is optional not essential.
So what is important?
An interest in yoga, learning and growing. Respect and lots of loving kindness or as my teacher would say “much meta”.
Yoga teacher training is for you if:
- You want to learn the foundations of the postures and how to keep both students and yourself safe while you practice;
- You want to further your own practice – wherever it is that you are coming from;
- You want to learn more about how it all works;
- You want to build confidence in yourself;
- You want to do something brilliant for yourself; and
- You want to meet amazing people and make amazing friends.
If you have been sitting on the fence, wanting to sign yourself up but are feeling like all your ‘buts’ are getting in the way then I strongly suggest that you contact some schools and asks questions! Suss them out, see what vibe you get from them. Ask your own teachers for advice! I have never met a yoga teacher that didn’t want to help people.
If you want to, ask me! I am happy to share more nitty gritty details of my own experience.
I’m not trying to be pluggy here but I know people will ask so, I did my training with Heather Agnew from Yoga Trinity. I freakin loved it and can’t recommend it enough.
Have you done teacher training? any myths I have missed that you want to add??
Let me know,