If you have a lot of experience with yoga, chances are you’ve at least contemplated the idea of starting yoga teacher training. Every teacher training process is different, so you can never be totally certain what to expect. When I went through teacher training, these are the four things that surprised me the most.
You will teach on Day 1
I was hoping for a couple days of instruction about teaching before I actually got up in front of people to teach. But I was way off. Expect to teach at least a small group of people on your very first day of training. It will most likely be a very simple sequence; possibly Sun Salutation A or B, but be prepared to do at least a little bit of teaching from the get go.
By the end of the first week, or after about seven or eight days depending on the format of your training, expect to teach a full-length class to your fellow yogis in training. This is daunting at first, but the best way to get over your fear of teaching is to just do it. After two or three classes, your nerves will quiet down and it will be easier focus on other aspects of teaching.
You are your own teacher
If you’re doing a teacher training with an instructor whose philosophy and teaching style you admire, it’s easy to think you’re going to become just like them. You won’t. Teacher training isn’t about teaching exactly the same way your teacher does, it’s about finding out your own teaching style.
Get ready to dig deep and really get to know yourself. You’ll learn to bring a lot of you into your teaching, so when you find that your classes are different from your teacher’s, embrace that.
Yoga teacher training is not all fairies and butterflies
Yoga teacher training is not for the faint of heart. There will be a lot of inward reflection and that sometimes isn’t fun – but it is necessary.
Becoming a yoga instructor isn’t just about the history of yoga or anatomy of the body. It’s also about getting to know yourself on a deeper level so that you can create a healing environment for those who come to your classes. That’s not to say it isn’t an enjoyable experience – it is, and you’ll be glad you did it!
What you get from it is completely up to you
Your instructor won’t do everything for you, no matter how knowledgeable she or he may be. As with anything in life, you get what you give. Teacher training is not only a financial investment, but also quite a large time investment.
Make sure you set aside enough time to dedicate yourself to your training completely. You can have the best teacher in the world and it won’t matter if you don’t commit to understanding yourself and practicing the actual teaching aspect on your own time.
Yoga teacher training is a very special journey. Go into it with an open mind and heart, and you will not only reap all of the amazing benefits, but you’ll come out of it ready to be a fantastic yoga teacher.
Anna Schoener is a yoga instructor living in Malmo, Sweden.
Photo credit: Creative Commons user Jasmine