Why Should I Do Yoga Teacher Training?
These days, it seems that every other person in a yoga class has done Yoga Teacher Training. You start to wonder, “Am I missing out on something?”
Of course, it’s not exactly cheap to attend a yoga teacher training program. So why exactly do people spend money on Yoga Teacher Training?
A Yoga Teacher Training Course (YTTC) is what people do when they want to learn yoga. In a regular classroom setting, the teacher usually has little time to fully explain the mechanisms of each pose. And, besides, not everyone wants to go deeper into yoga. Many students in a typical class just want to get a decent workout, so the teacher can’t cater specifically for students who want to study yoga extensively.
With this in mind, what are some other reasons to do a Yoga Teacher Training Course?
1. You feel like you are ready for change. You’ve been at the same 9-5 job for years now and yoga is one of the few things which makes you feel alive. A good YTTC will not only change your view on yoga itself, but on life as well. You will be exposed to a different environment, new people and unique perspectives on life, which will help you emerge more open-minded.
2. To deepen your personal practice. When you attend a YTTC, the teachers have more time to help you grow your personal practice. You will be working closely with them, and they will be available to answer questions you have regarding your practice. You will also be practicing yoga regularly (daily if you’re attending a one-month intensive course). This will allow you to get deeper into poses that you previously felt stuck in.The teachers will be guiding you throughout the course, giving adjustments wherever necessary, so you will also really get to feel and know the differences that minor tweaks in your practice can make.
3. To learn new yoga skills. In a YTTC, you will not only practice yoga. You’ll also learn about the alignment of the poses, anatomy, physiology and yoga philosophy. Knowledge of anatomy and alignment are important so that you will not create unnecessary injuries during your practice. Sound knowledge of anatomy will not only guarantee a safe personal practice, but also safety amongst students in your class should you decide to teach in the future. Some students, even intermediate ones, are surprised at how much difference correct alignment makes in their practice!In a regular yoga class, the teacher usually doesn’t touch on philosophy. During YTTC, there is ample time devoted to the study of philosophy. And, once again, your teachers will be at hand to answer any questions.
4. To deepen your practice past the physical aspect. True yoga isn’t just physical movement; it’s also an internal practice. It’s not only about keeping the body healthy; it’s also about calming the mind and bringing it back to the present moment through maintaining awareness on the sensations in the body and breathing.On the outside, it may not seem like a yogi is doing much, but what about internally? This is your chance to find out!
5. To learn more about the body-mind connection through Pranayama (breathing practices). The breath is the bridge between your mind and body. Your breathing pattern changes when your mind/emotion changes. Knowing this, the ancient yogis found that we can alter our mind by manipulating our breathing patterns.In a YTTC, you will learn the proper way to do Pranayama. It’s vital to practice Pranayama properly, because your mind can be negatively impacted if you practice it incorrectly.
6. To explore your spirituality. Regardless of what religious or cultural background you come from, as you start to question yourself, naturally you will also start to question the things around you. As you spend time in contemplation, you will also begin to gain a deeper understanding of spirituality, and perhaps find out certain things you feel you would like to change.This is a very personal matter, and no teacher or guru can tell you what you should or should not do. So it is good to find out for yourself how you would like to grow spiritually.
7. To challenge yourself mentally and physically. Immersing yourself in a yoga lifestyle isn’t for the faint hearted! A yogic lifestyle is a far cry from our typical modern day lifestyle, so it will be a challenge to adapt to the new changes that will come your way. You will practice yoga for at least two or three hours daily and attend classes the entire day. It will be a complete turnaround from your usual routine. Are you up for the challenge?
8. During YTTC, you will come face-to-face with your inner self. If you are ready to take responsibility for your life, this is your chance to learn how. Through the knowledge of philosophy and self-study, you will start to realize that your life’s story is solely dependent on how you choose to write it. Your relationship with others around you doesn’t begin until you know yourself. YTTC is the perfect opportunity for you to spend some time with yourself.
9. To share the joy of yoga with others. If you are already contemplating joining a YTTC, yoga must have helped you tremendously in one way or another. And what better way to pay it forward than spreading the joys of yoga?Whether you decide to teach or not, joining a YTTC will allow you to gather lifelong information to help others in need. In the future, you may cross paths with someone who could benefit from your yogic knowledge.
10. To learn alternative ways to heal the body and soul. Alternative holistic therapies like yoga are fast gaining recognition in today’s medical field, and these methods are not only natural; they also safe and effective, provided you have the proper knowledge on the fundamentals of yoga.Each yoga pose has its own benefits for the mind and body, but there are also contraindications to each pose. Therefore, it’s important to know which poses are beneficial and which poses are detrimental to specific conditions so yoga remain a healing practice.
11. To make new friendships that last a lifetime. Although your fellow course mates may come from various nationalities, you have all been brought together by the love of yoga. Friendships forged during YTTCs are very special ones, since it’s a period of great transformation for each one of you. You will also learn a lot from each other’s experiences and stories, which will enrich your YTTC journey even more.
12. To gain confidence in yourself. In order to teach something, you have to really know it. And it’s not enough to just know it; you have to speak it too!Although it sounds simple enough, it is no easy task to talk in front of a bunch of people, at the same time remembering the whole yoga sequence and alignment cues, all while keeping an eye on how your students are doing.Even if you don’t intend to teach yoga, just learning how to teach is empowering in itself.Once you have overcome your fear of teaching, you will automatically gain more confidence in yourself. You will also learn not to take things personally, as you gather feedback from your course mates about your teaching skills.
13. A YTTC is an investment in yourself. It may or may not be monetarily rewarding, but yoga teacher training is definitely rewarding in other ways. Yoga teaches you to love yourself. And by loving yourself, you will automatically start loving others around you. In fact, many YTTC graduates say that their lives are divided into two parts – before YTTC, and after YTTC. Yoga teacher training offers the necessary opportunity to take time off to better yourself and grow as an individual.
14. Lastly, there is my favorite reason: The Calling. You may not be able to put a finger on why you feel the need to attend a YTTC. You just know. Even better if things start falling into place: you have the necessary funds, you are allowed to take time off work, or you suddenly find yourself with fewer social responsibilities and more free time at hand.Some call this Divine Timing. Sometimes things cannot be explained. If you feel deep in your heart that joining a YTTC is the right move for you, then go for it. Be prepared for the time of your life!
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali) and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).