Recently, a friend asked me about yoga teacher trainings.
'How do I know if I'm ready?'
She said it with a big smile. I looked at the sparkle in her eye and could tell she really wanted to take this step. She wanted to complete a 200-hour yoga teacher training.
'Um, you're glowing,' I told her. 'You are ready.'
Have you been thinking about doing a 200-hour yoga teacher training, but aren't sure if you're ready to take this big step?
Or maybe the thought has just occurred to you to become a teacher, but you're new your yoga practice and don't know where to start.
I'd love to share a few thoughts with you, because I've been there, too. I was actually in a space of limbo for about a year before I actually followed through with completing a training; I even signed up and started to pay for a program before realizing the timing wasn't good, and backing out of it.
So, if you're wavering or feeling uncertain, this post is for you ;)
(And, on the flip side, if you have your heart set on a training but aren't sure how to make it happen, or maybe you've committed but are feeling nervous about following through, I hope these reflections are helpful!)
Why do you want to do a training?
One helpful question to consider is why you want to become a yoga teacher. Are you looking for a new career path? A side gig that will help you build community and connect with other yogis? Or maybe a life-changing experience for personal development, healing, and deepening your personal asana practice?
We all complete teacher trainings for different reasons. Explore why you are drawn to doing a 200-hour program, and explore what your goals are.
As with every time you step onto your mat, intention is everything ;)
Become a teacher in your mind's eye.
When I told one of my favorite teachers about my goal to complete a training program, she was thrilled. 'I'm so excited for you,' she said.
And then, she said one little thing that really changed my perspective: start thinking of yourself as a teacher. Become a teacher right now. When you show up for class, she said, notice what's going on in the room. Notice how the teacher is leading the class. Let others be inspired by your practice, invite others to share in it, and stay humble and devoted to living your yoga.
Begin to think of yourself as a teacher. Don't wait to do it later. Even though you have many milestones ahead of you and lots to learn, you can begin embodying your teaching through your practice, here in this moment.
That sentiment really transformed my experience, and I found it quite helpful throughout my journey of becoming a teacher and beginning to teach my first classes. Any time doubt would creep into my mind, I would remember her words; you are already a teacher. ;)
If you're wondering if you have what it takes, or whether you have enough experience to 'qualify' for teacher training, hear this: I think you do.
And while some teacher trainings do have specific requirements about how long you need to have been practicing or what you need to have studied before you can sign up for a program, most of the time it just depends on whether you make a decision to go for it.
You may never feel 100% confident that it's the 'right time' to do a training. Life's priorities can be intense; work, family commitments, financial obligations, unexpected plot twists. Check in with yourself: are you using your story as a way to empower you to get what you want? Or are you getting stuck in excuses?
If you want to do a training, go for it.
Set specific goals for how you will make it happen, and ask for support. Believe that the universe will provide exactly what you're looking for.
And remember, you have something to offer. Your teachings are needed in this world.
You are not perfect and your teaching will not be perfect. We are all human.
Take some pressure off by remembering that every great yoga teacher is a great student, first and foremost.
If you tend to get a little freaked out by the thought of having to memorize sequencing or having to know every pose perfectly so that you don't tell a student the 'wrong' thing, take that shit and throw it out the window ;) No, seriously!
We are all always learning. That's one of the most awesome things about being a yoga teacher. It's not like you sign up, do your training, and then become an expert... no, no :) This milestone is just a key that opens the door to a lifelong path of learning.
Hopefully, by the end of your training, you will have let go of that pressure on yourself to know everything and be prepared for every situation. Your resources will have increased tenfold-- the other teachers you know, who you can turn to for advice or to ask questions; the students who have more experience than you do with a given posture, who can help you find the words to teach it; the books, websites, international teachers online, you name it.
Some teachers are more drawn to teaching anatomy and alignment than others. Some know how to pick just the right music, or put together incredibly intricate flows.
Know that you don't need to be able to do everything.
You will find your groove, and you will find your niche. Trust that the process of the training will bring that out of you, and stay committed to your practice.
Dedicate yourself -- give what you can -- and know that you will offer something amazing every time you teach. When your intention is to help others, then the students in the room will benefit because of your presence, because you showed up. You don't need to doubt that.
And lastly, a piece of advice: clear some space in your life for this training. Clear the space you can, mentally and emotionally.
Give yourself some down time in the weeks that you'll be training. Get well-rested. Set a self-care habit, preferably before Day 1 of the training (but better late than never!). And plan on taking naps and epsom salt baths on the days when you do a ton of yoga; your sore body will thank you ;)
So, are you ready to take the leap and sign up for the teacher training of your dreams? :) Or maybe you're a teacher and you have a few tips to add?
I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Cheers to listening to your heart and being on this path together. Namaste.