Yoga Teacher Training is about so much more than becoming a yoga teacher. Teacher training is a major journey of personal transformation. If you are contemplating teacher training, here are 5 reasons it might be time to take the plunge.
1. Deepen Your Asana Practice
Many people enter teacher training after a long on-and-off again dating relationship with yoga. Teacher training is a place to solidify that relationship. Practitioners come to teacher training at different levels, different bodies, injuries, flexibility, and strength. Throughout the course of training you will learn to embrace the poses that most vex you by learning proper alignment, contraindications, and strategies for success under the careful guidance of your teachers. It is a safe environment to explore your practice and get one-on-one feedback. Always, in the course of teacher training, people find themselves in places they never thought possible. It is totally transformational. You will leave with a deeper connection to your own body and a much more intimate understanding of how your body moves.
2. Increase Your Skill Set
Even if you never teach a single yoga class, you will leave teacher training with skills applicable to all areas of your life. In yoga teacher training, ultimately you are learning a special form of communication. You are learning to listen deeply to your own body and to your students. You will learn to communicate not just with your voice, but with your body, your breath, your presence. You will learn to hold space and to support others. Good yoga teachers are excellent communicators and stellar listeners. Those are skills that will support all of your relationships, professional and personal.
Being a registered RYT (registered yoga teacher) opens up a world of possibilities. Some may decide to pursue teaching yoga full-time. Others may teach part-time, simply as a way to connect with their community. You may teach as a supplement to your income. Or become the yoga adventurer offering retreats and workshops internationally. Whatever you choose, at the end of your teacher training you will have acquired a number of skill sets that you can take anywhere to improve other areas of your life and relationships.
3. A Deeper Understanding of Yoga Outside of Asana
Asana, the physical practice of yoga is a powerful tool. And no doubt in the course of training you will deepen that aspect of your practice. But yoga has so much more to offer.
Our practice is a vehicle for tempering our reactivity, for learning to inhabit ourselves fully, all of our experiences and emotional states, without being oppressed by them.
In the course of attending yoga classes we get little bits and pieces of the broader context of yoga, but in teacher training you will dive deep, learning the history and methodology behind the practice. You will learn the language of yoga, the literary tradition, the oral tradition, and more. Your physical practice and experience will be deeply enriched by the understanding of the yoga tradition you gain during training.
4. The Physical and Mental Challenge
Yoga teacher training is physically and mentally challenging, whatever your age or experience. We can all benefit from coming to our edge again and again and pushing the limits of what we thought was possible. You will leave stronger both mentally and physically with a deep resolve and a willingness to challenge yourself in other areas of your life. Teacher training is a place to combat fear. Fear of poses, fear of speaking, fear of being heard, fear of failure. We are here to get authentic, build up our courage and conquer fear. And we do that with every challenge we overcome.
Position yourself safely
At the edge of a cliff or gorge.
Gaze into the abyss and see only depth.
Be steady as mind releases itself
Into its Natural freedom.
Radiance Sutras Verse 92
Once upon a time, Prometheus begged the people to come to the edge. The people responded "we cannot, we are afraid. We may fall to our deaths. Prometheus begged again "Come to the edge. Come and peer. Come and see." But the people were filled with fear. And they responded again "We cannot. We will surely perish." Prometheus persisted until the people came, slowly, timidly to the edge. Their legs quaking, their hearts beating in furious rhythms of terror. But they came. As they arrived at the edge and peered beyond, Prometheus pushed them over, into the air. Into the depths. And they flew....
In the words of Elena Brower in the Art of Attention healing deck, "the clarity rests just beneath the doubt." When we are at our edge, in that space between the inhalation and the exhalation, in the quiet; the doubt fades, the voices are silenced, and clarity comes. It's at our edge, beyond our fear, beyond our doubt that liberation rests.
5. Personal Transformation
I have heard it again and again from everyone I know that has completed a teacher training "yoga teacher training changed my life". It is a place where you will find your voice. Where you have the opportunity to dig deep and to uncover who you are and what you are capable of.
B.K.S Iyengar says that to practice yoga is to focus your attention. In teacher training we do just that, and through this focused attention we come to learn and understand who we are through careful, compassionate observation. Teacher training is a deeply supportive environment and community where you can safely explore your emotional debris. It is a place to get really clear not only on who you are, but what you want.
Yoga is in itself a healing practice and an invitation to heal others. As we immerse ourselves in teacher training we invite a deeper level of healing.
The ways you will grow and transform are beyond the scope of this list and far more than you can imagine. Teacher training is alchemy. It is a melding of our hearts, minds, bodies, and discipline to create something that is really pretty magical.
A yoga teacher training is a tremendous commitment, financially, emotionally, and physically. It is also a commitment that yields high rewards. It is the start of a life-long journey and a commitment not only to your own expansion and healing, but to those around you.