Yoga Teacher Training: 11 Steps towards Englightenment
The following 11 steps are the voices taken from the general public piecing together the enormous yoga experience that can be somewhat confusing.
1. Choose your mentor wisely
Realise the teacher you choose should be the teacher you would like to become. This is the big question you need to ask your gut, heart and head.
2. Bali or home?
A comprehensive 200 hour teacher training should be the beginning of an ongoing relationship with a teacher or school that has the capacity to last for years. This relationship should develop and deepen over time allowing you to evolve as an apprentice under the watchful eyes of a senior teacher.
Bali has charm and a reputation for yoga, however many courses are run by unfamiliar International yoga schools. Many students return to Australia from International training with no allegiance to a teacher, style or school and feel lost and somewhat abandoned by this experience.
In Australia we are very lucky to benefit from an amazing modern yoga legacy pioneered by dedicated teachers over the past 50 years. We recommend gaining your 500 hours in Australia before handing over your hard earned dollars to an unknown international school with only a website to judge their authenticity.
3. Face to face research
The internet age allows you to easily access a myriad of information. You can study yoga schools online until your fingers drop off, but nothing compares to face to face contact. Visit the studio of interest, and eat up as many classes as possible. Try all the teachers, experience all the styles, meet the students and ask your self ‘is this your tribe?’
Where possible look for schools that have trained their own teachers in their specific style. This teacher is living, breathing evidence of the success or failure of the training program. This also proves that the school is dedicated to supporting the student while they transition into a competent professional teacher and thereafter.
4. What style of yoga do you want to teach?
Become familiar with the many different styles of yoga available. Find one that resonates with you. Be clear about the style you want to teach and then choose your school accordingly.
5. Time management
Do not underestimate the commitment of completing a 200 hour teacher training. Your life situation will determine what study time frame you choose (intensive, or alternate weekends). We advise you to significantly reduce all distractions and clear your schedule during the allocated study periods. The physical and mental workload is intense and requires your full attention.
6. What are your reasons for completing teacher training?
If you know you want to be a yoga teacher then you’ve already taken the first step. Congratulations! This passion will be your driving force in the quest for success.
If you are looking to deepen your practice, we recommend immersing yourself in more classes, workshops, retreats etc. Most teacher training courses are less about your own practice and more about the art of teaching. Ask yourself seriously do you want to teach yoga? If the answer is honestly no – then maybe you are looking in the wrong place.
7. Your own personal practice
It’s important to have your own asana practice however you don’t need to be a master of complex poses. We recommend that you have been practicing asana 3-4 times per week for the past 2 years before becoming a teacher.
While its important to have a sound understanding of your body don’t be put off if you haven’t yet mastered the perfect backbend or handstand. Yoga teaching is all about how effectively you can communicate embodiment to your students.
8. Can I complete my teacher training with an injury?
The short answer is yes. It may even make you a stronger and more unique teacher as you will be able to share the experience of your limitation with others. Speak directly to the master teacher for advice on your particular injury.
9. Introvert verses extravert personalities
Public speaking is a large part of teaching; however don’t let this put you off. Knowledge is power and practice makes perfect. The more you teach friends and family the more comfortable you will become in front of an audience.
10. Think about teacher to student ratio
The more students in the training program the more diluted the experience could be. We recommend choosing a school that limits the number of students. In our experience 15 or less students is ideal. A small number of students allows relationships to build and ensures each student receives personal attention.
11. Where to next?
Its important to research what training your school offers after you graduate. We believe 200 hours is equivalent to earning your yoga ‘L plates’. Choose a school with a high quality further education curriculum. Even though you are now qualified to teach yoga, your learning has only just begun.