Deciding to sign up to a Yoga Teacher Training can be exciting and a little bit daunting. There are trainings worldwide so you can choose a program suited to you located in exotic locations such a Thailand, Bali, or India. Yoga teacher training intensives are excellent courses designed to give you a strong and a foundational understanding of the ancient practice and the training to teach if you want to.
After you’ve chosen a course to join there’ll be prerequisites to contemplate before you sign up. But how do you know if you are ready or if you meet the requirements for a teacher training?
Have I been practising yoga for long enough?
Often concerns that come up for potential trainees before they start a course is; Have I been practising yoga for long enough? Do I need more experience before considering becoming a yoga teacher? I can’t do any advanced yoga poses, can I still train? To join a Yoga Teacher Training future students do not need to have years and years of experience on the mat. Signing up with an open heart and an open mind are the best two things to bring with you as this will also encourage you to embrace the teachings. There is no requirement to be able to fit both feet behind your head whilst balancing on one finger!
Ideally, you should have some regular practice experience prior to the course so that you are comfortable with some of the basic yoga postures. Physically, these training intensives can feel demanding at times so having past experience will help you get the most out of your training without leaving you too tired or too sore!
A minimum of 3 months of consistent practice will help you and your body prepare for the transformational journey ahead of you. Or, if you’ve been involved with a closely related fitness or sports training background this may also be an advantage to you, but this is not essential. If you are signing up to an Ashtanga or a Vinyasa Flow course it is useful to have participated in these styles of yoga beforehand as they are both dynamic and fluid forms of yoga.
Undertaking a yoga teacher training will boost your own practice not only physically but spiritually, and emotionally too. It can be a completely life-changing experience but try not to set any high exceptions, instead treating each day as it comes with open arms and learning as much as you can. Focus on being dedicated yet realistic about what you hope to achieve as your experience will be unique to you and your journey.
Am I the ‘right’ age?
Yoga is a practice for anyone and everyone to enjoy regardless of their age, experience, or background. We all arrive at the practice of yoga at different stages in our lives and it does not matter what age you are when you decide to take part in a Yoga Teacher Training. Emotional maturity is something required in all students during a course, so it’s about undertaking a training at the right time for you and that is something that you’ll have to decide. Some of the best teachers who discovered yoga later in life, are able to draw upon a wealth of life experience and mold this seamlessly into their teachings.
Teaching yoga is about guiding your students to do his or her personal best, and it’s not about how young and flexible you may be. With a training course you’ll learn the mechanics behind teaching and how to apply it to a class and that is what matters.
Different students need different teachers, often teachers that are relatable to them, and certainly not everyone in a class is in their early to mid-twenties! Some students will look for teachers who are more mature and gentle and how the teacher may be able to empathize with what season of life they are experiencing. There is no age limit to become a yoga teacher, it’s a continuous, lifelong practice and you’ll learn even more time goes on.
Am I good enough?
Showing support to your fellow trainees is something that is also important. You’ll become part of a special family that’ll laugh, cry, and smile together. Not every day will be easy but not every day will feel testing either. Supporting each other will help you understand that you are all human and you are all in it together.
I don’t plan to be a teacher, is that ok?
Not every student signs up to a training course in order to become a fully-fledged Yoga Teacher. An intensive course is a fantastic way of deepening your understanding of yoga and as a way of enhancing your time on the mat. By immersing yourself in a training you can gain a greater understanding of the other aspects of the practice other than just the physical postures. Other important topics such as the philosophy, the compelling history, and how to take further steps into living a lifestyle based on yoga are all explored during a 200-hour course. It is a chance to get to know your body, mind, and spirit better whilst uncovering a toolbox of ancient wisdom to help guide you through a lifetime of practice.
Some trainees end up changing their mind during the course and decide to teach afterward but it doesn’t matter if you choose to do this or not. Or you may not feel ready to teach just yet or perhaps you believe that being a yoga teacher is not part of your path and both of which are absolutely ok. If you are at a crossroads and you are in need of connection, a restart, or a reboot, a Yoga Teacher Training can be used as a powerful investment to find real change within your life.
I’m a man, can I join?
Contrary to popular belief yoga is not a practice just for women, it is for all, both men and women alike. In the beginning, yoga was a male-dominated practice and it’s only since the resurgence of yoga in modern times has the ratio switched and more women seem to fill studios. Some of the most renowned yoga instructors are men known for their ability to teach well and connect to their students without gender playing a part. As I mentioned earlier different students will require different teachers, and some practitioners will seek out a male teacher. Having said that, of course you are more than welcome to join.
I am pregnant and I want to attend. Is that a good idea?
If you are planning on becoming pregnant or if you are, signing up to do an intensive training course is best avoided until after the birth and subsequent recovery. Pre-natal and post-natal courses are available worldwide to study and this is something you can acquire after a 200-hour course. However, certain yoga poses, and yoga practices should be avoided during pregnancy as they could jeopardize your health and your baby’s health. Pregnancy yoga differs from a regular practice so taking time out to experience pre and post-natal yoga will enrich your yoga journey.
Before signing up, come back to why you’d like to do a teacher training in the first place. Decide what your true motivation is for doing a course. If you have a deep passion to help others experience and spread the magic of yoga, then let that lead you forward! Some students enroll in a course simply to inspire their own practice and decide that during the course they’d like to teach afterward, it’s totally fine to change your mind! Yet once you finish, you’ll have all the tools to be a great teacher.
An intensive course is a brilliant start to stepping confidently into teaching yoga or simply absorbing its mechanics and its history, yet this important foundation is also a tool for self-development and growth. It’s a stepping stone into the vast world of yoga and your education and learning will continue long after you’ve gained your certification. Again, remember to let your experience guide you, follow your heart, and you never know what might happen.