So you want to take a yoga teacher training course...Congratulations!
How are you feeling? Excited? Scared? Totally ready? Totally not ready? A mixture of everything and more?
There are many emotions to be had between you signing on the dotted line at the beginning of the course, and getting your certificate, and they’re all OK.
To make things a little easier, here’s a quick list of what to expect during your yoga teacher training course, which you can use to help you prepare mentally. After all, it’s a challenging course and is not for the faint-hearted.
Your body will hurt
If you’re an average human being then you probably won’t be used to doing anywhere between 2 and 4 hours of physical exercise a day. Add to that hours of sitting cross-legged and a few sneaky dips in the ocean, if you happen to be doing your training near a beach, and you have yourself a daily full-body workout.
Sounds good? It is! But, it’s also painful. As the postures get more advanced throughout the course, you will start feeling muscles and ligaments that have been dormant many, many years. Students who are 20 start feeling like they’re 60, yet, surprisingly, students who are 60, start feeling like they’re 20 again, as their body loosens up.
TIP: Relax. Make sure you get plenty of sleep and if there are massage services available onsite, take advantage of them.
You’ll need a LOT of sleep
Speaking of sleep, it’s going to be your favorite part of the day. The training itself is very intense, and, depending on the structure of the course, you may feel slightly sleep-deprived. This is a good opportunity to learn how to quickly relax the body using practices such as yoga nidra, or even take an actual nap if you need one. Don’t be embarrassed; just listen to your body and do what you need to do.
TIP: Stay away from the caffeine. This might sound counter-intuitive, but letting your body naturally experience the highs and lows of the day will allow you to get the most optimal rest in the end.
You may get injured
As you push your body to its limits, and your ego rears its ugly head shouting “go further”, there is a chance that you will be injured. Knee injuries, back injuries, muscle injuries, are all common and tend to be a good signal for you to slow down.
Although it may be an unpleasant experience to get an injury during your yoga teacher training, it will actually be a very good opportunity to learn how to teach your future students who may have injuries. For example, many students come to yoga with back pain and many more can’t do simple postures because of knee injuries. This is your chance to learn through your own body and experience so that you can later be a better teacher.
TIP: If you get injured, it doesn’t mean your journey is over. Consider practicing chair yoga during your classes, or even mentally visualize yourself doing the postures, as your teacher guides the class.
You may want to leave
The aches, the pains, the never-ending schedule, and being away from your family, can wreak havoc with your emotions.
"Why did I sign up for this?"
"Why am I still here?"
"Is this really worth it?"
These are some of the questions that you will be asking yourself as you count down the days until the end.
In fact, you may be saying this throughout the course, until the final day arrives and your tone changes to this:
"I can’t believe I made it!"
"It was totally worth it!"
"Where do I sign up for the 500hr training?"
TIP: All you have to do is get up and go to the next activity. Whether it be a yoga class or a philosophy lecture, don’t overthink it, just get up and go.
You’ll be hungry
For the duration of the course, your body and mind will be working non-stop almost constantly. This can only mean one thing: meal time will officially become your second favorite part of the day (after sleep time, that is).
So don’t be surprised if you’re suddenly going for a second serving of pasta or your usual snack of an apple doesn’t cut it during the course. It’s ok; you’re burning calories!!
You’ll learn to let go
For almost a whole month your life will be in someone else’s hands. You will be told what to eat, when to sleep, how much practice to do, and what books you should read. Throughout all of this, your monkey mind will rebel as you go through the waves of emotions. Eventually, you’ll learn the lesson of ‘letting go’.
TIP: The sooner you learn this lesson, the better. Understanding that everything is temporary and that after putting in a hard effort, you will be able to taste the sweet nectar of success, will help you get both through the course, and also life.
You’ll see the end is the beginning
As your course comes to an end, you will realize that this was a mere chapter in your book of life, which is by no means ending. After a long month, you will become stronger, wiser, and more powerful than ever before. What seemed like a hard day, is now a life lesson, and the impossible is now one step closer to becoming possible.
TIP: Don’t jump straight back into your normal life after the course finishes. If you have the opportunity, stay a few more days with your yoga community; this will really help you to absorb the teachings. If there are other supplementary courses available, consider doing them as you remain in the ‘student state of mind’, otherwise take a few days (or weeks) to simply rest.
It’s all worth it
The yoga teacher training course can be described like this:
- Week 1 - everything is exciting, yet confusing, and you’re ready to get started
- Week 2 - you begin to get into the routine and feel good
- Week 3 - you’re over it, you want it to end. NOW
- Week 4 - doesn’t really exist; it finishes so quickly that you forget to complain; until you complain that everything is over and you want to do it all over again
As you can see, there are lots of up and downs, left turns, right turns, and a few upside-down ones.
However, in the end, it’s all totally worth it.
Are you ready to start your journey to becoming a yoga teacher?