Who ultimately knows why we do the things we do? Inspiration strikes, a little spark, and something impels us to move forward in a very real way. If what we’ve been struck by is yoga, moving forward often involves a yoga teacher training. We decide to pass on the inspiration so generously given by our own teachers, giving freely to other what we have been so thankful to experience.
I’ve considered taking a teacher training several times since I first practiced yoga at age 15. I haven’t done it yet, but I will. It’s on the list. Even though I’m not there yet myself, I imagine many of you are, and as with any new endeavor, questions abound. One question that periodically comes to my mind is, what advice would a yoga teacher give to a prospective teacher? So when that question raised its hand again recently, I decided to take some action and ask some local yoga teachers and yoga studio owners.
I’d say, go to as many classes as you can and find a studio you love where you admire the instructors and like the way they teach. Ask if they have a teacher training program and go from there! During teacher training you’ll figure out the direction you want to take yoga. GO FOR IT! You’ll learn so much about yourself and make lifelong buddies. It can be a leap, but I love the thrill of not knowing what’s coming next. You will go through so many transitions it’s insane! As long as you keep going and trying and changing and growing, you’ll look back at the starting point and laugh. Starting is the hardest part, but it promises the greatest reward.J Mauss - Founder of FitGirlSeattle.com
My advice would be to doubt your doubts. I think people, including myself, often feel alone in being nervous or anxious about doing something. It is important to realize that you are not alone. Most people have anxiety about public speaking, or wonder if they know enough about yoga, or if they have a strong enough practice to be a yoga instructor. The truth is, becoming an instructor is a learned skill. You are not expected to be a flawless public speaker or to know everything about yoga when you start a teacher training, you are there to learn those skills. The best part about learning to be an instructor is breaking through those doubts and realizing you are capable and that voice in your head was lying the whole time. I used to think I would never be able to be a yoga instructor. Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else. Alison Marra - CorePower Yoga Ballard Studio Manager/Instructor
Always remain a student. Remain present in your breath. Honor the breakthroughs on and off the mat but don’t crave them; they will present themselves when they are ready. When you feel like you don’t have time to practice, make it your first priority. Inspire those you love to land on their mats. Invest in a good mat regardless of the style of yoga you practice because you are worth it. Most importantly, enjoy the journey! That’s why we call it a practice. Kylie Sutton - Modo Yoga Seattle Owner/Instructor
If you are thinking of doing a teacher training program, find a program that meets your long-term objectives. For example, if you want to make teaching yoga a lifelong career, choose a program with a broad scope of topics, one that promotes self-study, and one that has a teacher or teachers that you admire and want to learn from. It is not about how fast you can get certified and teach. You can only take the student as far as you have learned, so take your time! The first training is just the beginning. Focus on yourself and what you can learn about you, then you will be able to teach others to do the same. Leah Zaccaria - Owner of Shefayoga on Roosevelt + Haute Yoga Queen Anne
Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. In my first book, Murder Strikes a Pose,
my yoga teacher-sleuth Kate says, “Teaching yoga is the most rewarding way to go broke on the planet.” She’s right. There is nothing more rewarding than helping people through yoga. Nothing.
That said, if fancy cars, vacations at 5-star resorts, and a well-funded 401k are your goals, well, don’t quit your day job. I don’t regret for a minute leaving my six-figure career at Microsoft 15 years ago to open Whole Life Yoga. I’m happier, more balanced, and I’m making a positive mark on the world. I gave up financial security for personal happiness, and I’d make that same tradeoff again in a heartbeat. But don’t kid yourself. If you teach yoga only for a paycheck, you’ll soon hate yoga. And believe me, your students will notice Tracy Weber - Owner of Whole Life Yoga
It’s helpful to understand what you are getting into and how being a yoga teacher fits with your life. Being a yoga teacher means you are an entrepreneur. You will need to not only be a great teacher, but a businessperson and marketer of yourself and your work – you can’t depend on the studios you work for to market you or your classes. You’ve got to be out there creating and generating interest. It’s fun to engage in all these aspects of business, and you’ll be far better off if you are realistic about that.
And maybe teaching full time isn’t your calling! Teaching can also be wonderful in conjunction with your “day job.” I taught yoga and was a full time school teacher for years. Some of my favorite teachers have worked for Microsoft, or been practicing architects, while teaching on the side. This meant they brought their experiences to the classroom, and they were healthy and in balance as yoga teachers too. Their financial well being was met with their regular jobs, so teaching yoga was an expression of love and giving, not what they had to do to make ends meet. Michel Spruance - Be Luminous Yoga
Our late guru B.K.S. Iyengar once said, “Confidence, clarity & compassion are essential qualities of a teacher.” As yoga is a science as well as an art of healing, the intent to be a yoga teacher should be based on physical, mental and spiritual stability as a student for which dedication for knowledge and clarity does not waver. Moreover, be a First, be a good and steady student. A commitment to properly learn about depth of the subject matter is essential. There is no fast track. Many teaching and auxiliary healthcare professionals are required to complete years of training and several tests. Similarly, if you are serious about becoming a yoga teacher, examine closely the array of teacher training programs out there and whether there is a national governing organization to monitor the quality and developments of its teaching members. Lastly, do not do it for the money. Shaw Jiun-Wang - Seattle Iyenger Yoga Studio
I think many are attracted to the idea of teaching yoga because it looks like a fun way to help others. They have been inspired by the practice and no doubt by a great teacher who makes it look effortless. However, yoga is an internal art, and it requires dedication and discipline to learn. It takes self-reflection, hours practicing alone outside the class room, and time learning from a worthy mentor. Teaching is one byproduct of those many hours of self-inquiry, personal practice and interaction with a knowledgeable community. So I would start a conversation about making the leap by asking the following. “Why do you want to become a yoga teacher?” Are you prepared to work? Are you prepared to investigate? And, are you prepared to “not know? Almost without fail, there comes a time in teacher trainings when the student teacher realizes they do not know what they thought they knew. Of course, if you’re lucky, you spend your whole career realizing what you don’t know, but it can be disheartening and surprising in the beginning to come to terms with the process of learning, and realize that letting go of old thoughts and ideas is necessary to evolve. Theresa Elliott - Director, Taj Yoga
Take teacher training because you have a desire to learn and deepen your yoga. Don’t take it with the goal of teaching in mind. Yoga is a journey of self-discovery and awareness with asana. Good teachers are born from curious practitioners. Teaching will find you when you are ready. You will get so much more out of training if you go into it with no acceptations.
Make sure to choose a school that will teach you with a well-rounded lesson plan. Don’t pick a school based on a fun location, or fun description. Pick a school that provides learning based on a curriculum with plenty of reading and hands on practice. Yes, yoga is fun and learning is fun, but it should also be challenging. At last, make sure that your school has a duration long enough to accomplish the teaching goal. Reading, learning and practicing takes time. Dora Gyarmati EYRT - Owner of Spira Power Yoga and creator of Spira Yoga School Methodology.
Ask your self why you want to become a yoga teacher. Once you know the why to your what you will have the passion and confidence to make it happen. Anyone can be a yoga teacher, so if you want it, then go for it. It starts with an intention, once you know what you want and why you want it then anything is possible. You are the only ‘you’ this world has the opportunity to know, so be YOU! We can learn from the best yoga teachers and take the most recognized yoga trainings but none of that will do you or anyone else any good if all you’re doing is copying someone. Find your voice, lead from your heart. Stay connected to yourself so you can connect with others and most of all have fun! You can accomplish amazing things!
As you can see, the responses are as varied and individual as these teachers. And I think this illustrates a beautiful point about yoga – there’s not one right way. This freedom can be scary, but I imagine that the path toward becoming a teacher is like any path – once you start, and work hard, things become clearer, and focus narrows. You figure out where you are, and what you want to share.Sue Berger - Founder, Strala Seattle
I would honestly say that if you’re thinking about it, just do it. I don’t really believe that there is ever a “good time” to do something like this because it can be such a large commitment of your time and money. But if it is something you really want, you will make it work and it will be ever-so-rewarding. There’s no truly preparing for training to be a yoga instructor and everyone experiences their own journey, so I don’t think I could tell anyone what they should know, except know that YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT. There was a moment when I was down to $80 in my bank account, working 50 hours a week as a PhD student and doing my training 20 hours a week for 8 weeks and I never once thought I made the wrong decision. You can always find reasons to not do it and other things to spend your resources on, but if you’re waiting for the perfect time, it will never happen. So pick a time you can make it work (even if it will be tough), stop second guessing yourself and dive in head first! Mallory Monahan - LiveOnyxx.com
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Published on Mar 23, 2015
Lindsey first practiced yoga nearly 18 years ago, when her mom popped in Ali McGraw’s video “Yoga: Mind and Body.” Body buzzing after that first practice, Lindsey knew she had found something to love. Yoga inched its way into the space gymnastics had filled when she was younger. Lindsey has spent the last decade years working in international event management, social media, and writing. She also began a labor of love two years ago and started a business with her husband – Blackbird Tea Co. believes in sharing high quality teas coupled with the inspiration to be bold and take risks. She loves mail, so feel free to drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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