Most wannabe yoga teachers silently ask themselves:
What Yoga Teacher Training Is Like?
Below are my thoughts on how my yoga teacher training was like…
Hell And Homework
Yoga teacher training is going to be hell.
I’m not joking. It’s hard freaking work.
It’s like going to university. If you rock up to your teacher training thinking it’s going to be a walk in the park (cough, like I did), you’re in for a rude awakening. And that’s a good thing.
You don’t want it to be easy. Trust me.
The hell is worth it when you show up to class and know what the heck you’re doing.
There will be more homework than you thought! It will be coming out of your ears. There will be subjects that scramble your brain, like anatomy! There will be long, long, long hours of hard, hard, hard work!
I don’t say this to scare you off unless you like the easy route, and in that case, I hope I did scare you off.
As a qualified Yoga teacher, you will be responsible for the health and well-being of hundreds of people over your teaching career. And like it or not, students always put their yoga teachers on a pedestal because they think they are morally, physically, and emotionally superior to them.
You’re not superior to them.
You’re very, very human.
The Embarrassing ‘Human’ Incident
I personally like to let my students know just how “human” I am.
For example, let’s take the time when I got caught speeding to my yoga class. I walked into class clutching my slow down themed yoga lesson between my caught red-handed fingers.
Instead of hiding this humbling experience when the class started, I confessed to them what happened, and not a single student missed the irony of it.
But they’re a forgiving bunch, and many of them came up to me after the class and had a light-hearted chuckle with me. The point is that they appreciated knowing that “their yoga teacher” was as human, as flawed, and as mistake-prone as they are.
Do You Need To Be An Extravert?
One thing I found hard when starting the course was my natural introversion.
I love nothing more than writing, reading, and pottering around in the garden. All wonderfully solitary pursuits.
I’m comfortable with being on my own.
I’m uncomfortable in a group.
Or at least I was uncomfortable in a group when I first started the training course. It took several months for me to be okay with my introversion, and also okay for me to be more extroverted, and more people-oriented because teaching yoga is a people business.
I love interacting with my students. Love it!
But I also still love writing, reading, and pottering around in my garden on my own. The beauty of life is that there is a time and a place for both parts to express themselves. When I’m in a yoga class, I put my people-person hat on. When I’m at home, I put my natural introvert hat on (my partner is also a Type B personality, so we respect each other’s space).
If you are introverted and want to become a yoga teacher, you will need to come out of your shell and learn to enjoy being around groups of people.
At the end of every class, there is always, always, always a group of students who stay behind to ask questions, laugh, and chat with others. Friendships are always being cultivated in my classes. And that makes me smile.
My Secret Success Sauce
When I started my teacher training I was quiet, shy, and socially awkward.
My teacher trainer and fellow students probably gave me little chance of forging a successful yoga teaching career. But I did. I really do firmly believe one of the things that helped forge a people-focused bond in my classes is that I dared to include a bit of partner yoga and laughter yoga in my traditional Hatha yoga classes.
Why did that work so well?
Partner yoga gets students to interact with one another. I always ask my students to partner up with someone new. They’re not allowed to stick with the person they came to class with.
The laughter yoga exercises bring a lightness to the class. The adults in the class get to do silly things during a laughter yoga exercise that is strangely freeing.
The Star Student
There will be one or two exceptionally good trainees during your training.
There was one person in my training who was so good at the “practice teachings” that everyone would look at each other and secretly think: “Holy crap, I’m never going to be that good!“
That’s a natural reaction. Don’t be ashamed!
The reality is that you might be a tortoise – slow and steady. While the “star” in the class is a hare, who has bolted off fast.
You Will Suck To Begin With
You, unless you’re that “star” will almost certainly suck as a teacher for the first year. And you absolutely must be okay with that.
After the first year, you’ll start taking yourself less seriously, and will therefore be able to focus more on your students then how you “performed”. You’ll become a good teacher.
It’s a bit like people who are good at making public speeches.
They are good at making speeches because their focus is on “you”, the crowd, verses on what their next word or sentence is going to be. The trick is to teaching well is to prepare a yoga lesson plan before arriving at class (eg. using the Yoga Genie Lesson Planner) and unleashing your own teaching personality, instead of your relying on your teacher trainer’s personality.
Don’t Be A Clone
The worst thing you can do is be a clone of your teacher trainer. It’s far better to be a faulty “you”, than a perfect clone. Trust me on that one!
Let the “you” shine through in your classes.
“What yoga teacher training is like?” is a good question to ask.
The training is going to be much, much harder than you think.
In my two-year yoga teacher training course, out of the 22 that stared only 14 finished. I am certain that the high turnover rate is because the shock of the training not being a “walk in the park” was too great, so they got spooked, and dropped their dream of being a yoga teacher.
That’s a real shame because the world was robbed of eight perfectly good yoga teachers.
Don’t let that happen to you!
If you go in with the attitude that it is essentially a University Degree really well disguised as a humble yoga teacher training course, you’ll be fine.
The Ending Is Just The Start
There is no end to the yoga teacher’s learning!
There are an infinite variety of yoga lesson plans to craft, thousands of yoga poses, endless yoga anatomy to learn, and don’t forget all the Sanskrit that needs learning, but if you love teaching yoga, you’ll love picking up as many yoga lesson planning tips as you can.
If you have any other questions about what teacher training is like, please email me. I reply to all emails within 24 hours and will answer any questions you have.
Yoga Genie Lesson Planner
If you’re a yoga teacher trainee, newbie yoga teacher, or experienced yoga teacher, you’ll want to make your yoga lesson planning as easy as possible.
If you have a few minutes spare, please check out my Yoga Genie Lesson Planner.