I was one of the few folks who signed up for my first teacher training program, a kids yoga certification, with the intention to actually teach yoga. Yep, you read that right. The majority of the women and men in my first yoga training had no intentions of making a go at this teaching thing. Instead, they wanted to learn more about how to incorporate yoga teachings into their work as teachers, therapists, their roles as parents and grandparents, but not necessarily to teach the masses.
It was the same when I enrolled in my second teacher training program, this time a “200 hour” course. Looking back, most of my fellow students there really wanted to understand the practice of yoga more fully...for themselves. This is more common than you might think. Yes, while successfully completing a yoga teacher training program can give you the credentials to become a “teacher” in the formal sense, studying in this type of setting will grow and stretch you in ways you may not even realize in your life.
I thought I’d share what yoga teacher training taught me, off of the mat:
- I became a much more effective public speaker. Can I tell you something? I used to loathe public speaking. My palms would sweat, knees shake, heart race. I contemplated failing a college course so I wouldn’t have to speak in front of a room. Seriously. I wholeheartedly believe that my yoga training helped me with all of this. I learned to face that fear. I learned how to use my breath to carry my voice, how to move about a room to increase engagement, how to speak with heart. I actually enjoy public speaking now. How many presentations or courses or toasts or stories do we share over a lifetime? So many! We all need public speaking skills.
- This may be obvious, but I became a better teacher and facilitator. All of my previous roles (fundraising, career development, leadership, dance) have required an element of teaching, coaching, guiding, and storytelling. Teaching and guiding a group is a valuable skill. Yoga teacher training taught me how to watch a room, rather than look at my notes. It taught me how to read people as well as body language in classes. It taught me different ways to engage, whether through visual storytelling, more technical phrasing, and how to evoke feeling. I use my role as “teacher” everywhere - in the studio, in writing, presentations, podcasting, and building community. I’m sure you will, too.
- I recognize when to say “yes” and when to say “no.” Studying yoga helped me to really study myself. I learned what values I hold most dear. I was given permission to dream bigger than what I thought was originally possible. I learned how to discern between ego and intuition (oooo we could talk about this for hours). We are faced with decisions every day, and for me, I thought it was easier to say yes to everything. But, once I learned to examine what I desire and how I want to live, I am able to commit myself in some areas and confidently say “not right now” in others.
- I am usually super focused and present. Eugene and I were playing a game of how we’d describe each other to new friends. One of the first things he said about me was that I’m super focused and present. At first, I was like that’s so boring! But, you know what? I’ll take it. Yoga and building a meditation practice over the months of training taught me to focus my mind. I’m not interested in multi-tasking. It takes too long. And, I am pretty present most days. When I’m writing, I’m writing. When I’m having coffee with a friend, I’m listening and drinking my coffee and laughing. When I’m reading, I’m reading. When I’m zooming cars around on the floor, I’m zooming. #momlife It’s a gift.
- And, finally, one of the biggest to me is that I take my body & mind’s healing into my own hands. For a long time, I looked outside of myself for the answers to panic attacks, anxiety, neck pain, fertility. I do believe that we should surround ourselves with healers and care providers we trust. But, I also believe we need to meet them halfway and educate ourselves about what wellness/health means. Yoga teacher training gave me the skills to build a home practice for MY body, to ask the hard questions about WHY I was feeling chronic pain or experiencing anxiety or stress. It helped me learn to trust in my body’s ability to heal. Of course, I’m not saying if you have a broken bone to use your mind to fix it. C’mon, I’m not a Jedi. But, I am saying if you’re constantly feeling broken, how can you dig a little deeper for the answers and use meditation and movement to guide you towards your own wellbeing? That’s powerful. That’s freedom.
If you are contemplating a Yoga Teacher Training program, any program that’s right for you, know this - you never have to teach a “class” a day in your life. You can take this course to benefit your own life, and in that way you’re already teaching others how to better theirs. Plus, I’ve never a person who committed to study yoga and later said, “I really regretted that.” The beauty of yoga is that it’s meant to support you in your life journey, your spiritual journey. It’s meant to unveil all of these treasures already within you that just got buried deep over the years. I would love to help you uncover your own gems and jewels, your golden nuggets, your own story. If you have any questions at all, please let me know. I hope to see you this fall. <3
P.S. The Early Bird rate for Yoga Dear’s Teacher Training program ends Saturday, July 7th! Please get your application in soon. As of Thursday, July 5th, we have four spaces left for the Fall 2018!Please read through our program here and apply: www.yogadear.com/teacher-training