I started practicing yoga several years ago because I wanted to integrate something unique into my workout regimen. Back then I was a student in high school, which meant although I liked how the practice made me feel, my budget wouldn’t allow me to pay for the expensive membership. As the years went on, I got older, became more financially independent, started practicing more, and fell in love with yoga. Just this last year I began to turn to my yoga practice more than ever as a source of healing from being a victim of an armed robbery and ending a four year relationship.
Through my daily practice I was re-introduced to my own strength and resilience, both on and off my mat. I began to feel the trauma that was gripped in my muscles release, and with every savasana I could feel self love returning back to a woman who had lost it all in the identity of another human being. Through this season of stillness, I decided it was the perfect time to deepen my practice even more and enroll in a yoga teacher training program, so that I might also share my practice with other students one day.
There are so many reasons one may decide to pursue a yoga teacher certification, whether it’s based on physical, emotional, or spiritual benefits, or perhaps even beyond that. If you are currently keeping up a regular yoga practice, here are a few reasons why yoga teacher training may be the next path to take.
The physical practice is just one of the eight limbs of yoga. With yoga teacher training you really get a chance to explore the other seven dimensions more deeply. One way you’ll do this is by reading books like “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali”, a classic text from the yoga school of Indian philosophy that provides guidelines for living a meaningful and purposeful life.
Sometimes a standard yoga class on a Tuesday night after work doesn’t allow me the time to really explore postures in the way in which I’d like. Having the proper alignment and being mindful about points of injury is extremely important in yoga. In training, you’ll learn how to properly go into poses, maximize the use of props, and discover modifications that work best with your body. Postures that I once felt uncomfortable doing (e.g. cobra) now feel so much better after learning the right foundation in my current yoga teacher training.
This is one of the main reasons why I decided to enroll in yoga teacher training. If you’re looking for a way to connect with your highest self and get on the path to enlightenment, this is one of the best ways to go. Although yoga originated in India where Hinduism is the predominate religion, yoga students can integrate their own dedicated religion or spiritual beliefs into their practice. And even though we all have different beliefs, we are all still very much connected in many ways.
Once you complete your RYT 200-hour certification (minimum requirement) with a yoga teacher training program that’s registered with Yoga Alliance, you’ll be able to develop your own teaching style, go out in the world, and share your practice with other students in a fulfilling way.
I’m currently going through teacher training, and before now I never realized how challenging it is to explain how to get in and out of postures to a beginner level class. Practice teaching requires you to focus on the most effective way to communicate with students in simple ways. In a yoga class you only have a limited amount of time to get students into a posture, and you have to choose your verbal cues wisely.
The opportunities are endless once you become a certified yoga teacher; one minute you could be teaching sun salutations at a local gym, and the next you can find yourself leading a yoga retreat off the coast of Bali!
Deciding to participate in a yoga teacher training is a big financial and time commitment. There will be lots of reading, studying, memorizing and muscle soreness from learning the postures, increasing your strength and expanding your range of flexibility. But there will also be new friendships formed, an accumulation of new knowledge, and an invitation to go deeper into self-discovery and awareness. Although I am still a few weeks away from being certified, the experience so far has been well worth it!
Interested in taking the plunge and deepening your practice? Browse hundreds of yoga teacher trainings in Thailand, Bali, Costa Rica, India and more here.