So you are ready to take the first step in yoga education?
Or it may be that you just want to learn more intensively to deepen your practice. Maybe to to create your own sequences without the direction of a teacher.
The first stage is completing your 200 hour yoga certification program, known as YTT, with your chosen yoga school.
You may be wondering what place and group of people are calling you. Yoga has a way of putting us where we need to be at the time we need to be there.
So best is to look through the Yoga Teacher Trainings available for 2020 and 2021 and the right program is sure to show itself to you.
Firstly you will need to know you will be able to make the time, at least two weeks, more likely 3 weeks to a month intensively, and residential, or over many weekends in a season at a studio.
Then you need to choose the school with the yoga styles, schedule, content focus and lead trainers you are interested in developing your yoga teaching practice with.
All programs are different at the same time as satisfying the standards which are set as a curriculum for all students to complete. These were updated since February 2020, providing new common foundational-level credentials.
The Yoga Alliance Instructor Certification for your YTT is made up of the study of the following parts –
1. Yoga Techniques – Asanas – Pranayamas – Meditation – Kriyas
2. Yoga Teaching Practice – Communication – Demonstration, Assist & Correct – Styles
3. Anatomy & Physiology – Energy – chakras
4. Yoga Philosophy – Study of traditional texts – Yogic Lifestyle – dharma and karma – Service
All registered yoga schools will include the above sections as a base and include other content areas and activities which make their Teacher Training unique.
All trainings and schools are different. The most common course to find is Hatha as it is the most popular yoga style, especially in India, although there are many styles and multi-style combinations and course emphasis open to you. Every Yoga program is different.
Hatha mixed with Vinyasa is very popular, as is a singularly focused Vinyasa Teacher Training. On an Ashtanga and/or Vinyasa training you will learn Mantras as part of the techniques.
There are schools that focus on Meditation, that put a great focus on the skill, deepening the connection to the spiritual side of our practice. Or Therapeutic programs which may well include Ayurveda. You can even find a course that will give you the opportunity to mix your yoga with Surfing.
There are trainings for children, pre and postnatal mothers, and trainings in traditional Sadhana Yoga and indigenous shamanic ways, revealing our inner self.
Most programs are a mix of yoga disciplines and styles, with a core focus that leaves you with the ability to teach a style class type. Most of us love to mix our yoga, enjoying the heat of Ashtanga and/or Vinyasa, or the hot of Bikram or Power Yoga; and the longer-held poses and slow stretching of Restorative and/or Yin Yoga.
Then there are trainings with a focus on Iyengar, Kundalini or Tantra Yoga.
Many styles and disciplines can be practiced together in one course, you could find one that includes Aerial Yoga, Yoga Nidra and the Energy work of Kundalini and Tantra, with other yoga styles too, and teaching the required curriculum in all areas such as the Philosophy of Yoga.
Be Ready – a lot takes place off the mat aswell as on the mat, completing your instructor certification is a time when we become vulnerable and a lot can come up for us, leading to moving forward, change, love and acceptance.
Here is my take on the four things that they really don’t tell you before you turn up and that become the focus of the entire experience.
1.Dropping your ego
The focus is not on deepening the physical practice, feeding the ego with the distraction of physical movement and loud music. Even if you have practiced for years you will quickly learn that wasn’t yoga.
Even though there are plenty of benefits to exercise and sweating out toxins, it is only one part of the practice. What you will learn about being on your mat will not be nearly as important as how you learn to be off the mat. That, is yoga.
2.Every piece of your baggage is important
What they don’t tell you is that any baggage you come in to the training with will be a prominent part of your classes; that the busy life full of distractions prior to won’t be an option any more.
The experience will teach you to stay positive in dark times and to be open to learning from your mistakes. More than anything, it will help you to live with an open heart and not in fear.
3.Dare to be vulnerable
They don’t tell you that the yoga shala or studio is used for hours of personal discussion. Sitting in circles covering concepts more significant in yoga than the asanas, or poses. Speaking about our vulnerabilities. Classes breaking into workshops suddenly.
It may well feel like therapy. The voice in your head telling you to run away will be the proof that you need to stay.
4.Yoga isn’t about physical practice
What yoga tells us is that we’re exactly where we’re supposed to be in our practice. During your training, the focus of your practice will be taken off the mat.
There is sure to be complex arm balances or inversions, but the real practice will be how you need to be living your life: where it had been full of distractions, you will be learning to nurture yourself and be vulnerable and open to what life brings.
What they don’t tell you is that you come into your training as one person, and you leave as another. They don’t tell you that you learn that your yoga practice is more than an hour in a classroom; you learn that yoga is a way of life. It’s the way you view the world, the people in it and yourself.
You learn about compassion, intentions and breaking negative patterns and habits. Those breathing techniques aren’t just for meditating on your mat, they’re for every part of life.
You will receive a lot more than a certificate, and for that, I am sure you will be grateful.
Once you find the program, people and teaching philosophy that speaks to your heart it may well be that the school offers you the opportunity to practice to teach yoga with them in different parts of the world, or it may be that you find one near to home if you are in the US .
Or if there is a specific program that you feel a calling to then your question is already answered, but maybe there are many interesting options that appeal so here is a breakdown of the main destinations to consider.
“pura vida” means “pure life” and that is what visitors to this country will find. From it’s natural biodiversity, exotic animals and incredible scenery between jungle and natural coastline. This makes this country a great choice to spend an extended amount of time on your intensive course.
Check out the very best in Yoga Teacher Training in Costa Rica
Quick and easy to get to from the United States with a great choice of Yoga Alliance registered yoga schools on either side of the country, Tulum in the Gulf or on the Pacific Ocean side offer the best yoga teacher training in Mexico.
Or it could be that you find an interesting opportunity in South America.
With many different countries, cultures, places and landscapes – by the sea, in rolling hillside country, on a Mediterranean island or in urban cool, everything is on offer here so it’s just up to you where and when and with whom. The idea of choosing and attending the program is in your heart’s desire.
Top picks for your Europe yoga training experience are –
An old favourite for yogis, with great food, the siesta lifestyle to enjoy, and their ‘live life in the present’ attitude to soak up. Enjoy deepening your practice in the most beautiful surroundings with great group of people.
A new found love of travelling yogis with picturesque seaside villages and traditional towns and way of life, plus miles of miles of incredible rugged coastline, beautiful beaches and great surf.
With so many different regions with their unique landscapes, people and cuisines, from the hills of Tuscany in the north to the magnificent awe-inspiring Amalfi coast in the South.
A special country with distinct provinces that have their own people, way of life and all with something different to offer. With grand chateaus, converted farmhouses in peaceful countryside, and a lively southern coastline to enjoy. Trainings are limited but offer an opportunity to spend time in the beautiful countryside.
A special favorite with it’s many small romantic islands, all different and inspiring, and not to forget the eclectic towns dotted all along the coastline of the mainland.
The popular destinations of India, Bali, Thailand , Nepal and Sri Lanka wait for you with the most amazing variety of program content, of all different yoga styles, focus and in many different awesome locations with varying levels of accommodation and budgets.
There surely is the right people, place, yoga and teaching waiting for you when you are ready.
Yoga has a way of making sure we find what we are looking for, even if we didn’t know we were looking for it in the first place.
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