So, you’ve decided to take the plunge. You are ready to move from student to teacher and spread your knowledge and unique message to the world. You are embarking on yoga teacher training, what fabulous news! There is so much excitement and anticipation that goes along with an immersive, integrative yoga teacher training. In fact, this is usually a life-changing steps for most people who follow this path.
But is it all om’s and namaste’s? Hardly. Teacher training can be an intense, transformative journey that can make you sing with joy and cry with frustration all at the same time. It’s a journey that leads you down difficult paths, but is there for you the whole way. No doubt, there are endless reasons why you absolutely should take on this mission, but not without a little knowledge going in to it on what to expect. Here are 10 things no one ever tells you about yoga teacher training.
You Will Fall in Love
You can’t just step into an intimate, often spiritual setting, and bare your soul with other likeminded individuals and not fall in love with at least some of them. Teacher training offers us this amazing opportunity to connect with people and places you may have never had the chance to otherwise. You will make new, sometimes lifelong, friends, and you might even fall in love with one of them (or your teacher). If you are away on a destination training, you’ll likely fall in in love with your retreat center, the beautiful part of the world you are living, and the kind-hearted locals. You will, most importantly, fall in love with yoga as well. Teacher training provides this completely new and amazing look at the practice and can reignite your passion in yoga. No matter what happens, you will come out of this experience with cherished memories and and far more open heart. You will yearn to continue your learning and pass on this love to others – your future students.
You Will Get Comfortable With Discomfort
Despite years of practice or a pretty active workout routine, you will probably be sore and achey and all-around miserable during your teacher training at some point. This is intense, immersion learning and it doesn’t come without growing pains. The sheer amount of activity paired with the desire to find deeper stretches and perfect your practice can lead to sore muscles, tired joints, and overall fatigue. In addition to being physically spent, you may also feel a little off, cranky, or have odd headaches or mood changes as your body does a potent detox. The bright side? Strength! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and you’ll be one tough cookie after it all. Your yoga practice will vastly improve and you’ll have gained strength, flexibility, balance, and have a keen eye to the potential for burn out in your future students.
It Brings You To Tears
It is most likely that you will cry during your teacher training. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. Maybe daily. You might keep crying for weeks after. Yoga teacher training provides you a blank slate, the time and place to thoroughly start sorting through the negative aspects of your life and character that normal daily life distracts from you. But crying is one of the body’s most beautiful releases, and proves that you are changing. Teacher training is not just an intellectual endeavor. You must also learn to embrace the spiritual changes that yoga brings about and learn to process your emotions. This will make you a more compassionate teacher in the end and clear up tons of unnecessary restrictions in yourself.
You’ll Consider Running For the Door Once or Twice
Teacher training is kind of like summer camp for us spiritually-minded adults. If you are traveling away from home you may feel the pangs of homesickness or worry about things you left undone back home. While we come with bright hopes, we are still filled with anxious anticipation about the various unknowns and this can be a tremendously difficult transition for some. From meeting new people, having a new teacher, extended physical yoga training, a new environment, hours of anatomy, sequencing, and potentially a number of possible travel woes, this is a mentally and physically strenuous venture. But don’t worry, it is one that is surely worth it in the end. If you feel like ditching out, just remember, this is all part of the process, you will persevere.
You Will Have to Face Your Demons
As noted above, yoga and teacher training specifically are annoyingly good ways of bringing out all those demons hiding in the closet. Surrounded by peace and stillness, those little buggers have all the opportunity to creep in and start wrecking havoc on your inner world. Stop! Don’t shy away or push them back– this is a great development that’s happening. We have to address these buried emotions, insecurities, doubts, and negative thinking patterns to ever move on and improve ourselves from where we are. Take this opportunity to look these demons straight on and tell them they are no longer welcome. You’ll come out of teacher training a bit emotionally worn-out, but all the wiser. Dig deep, confront, then purge and release.
You Won’t Be Prepared
Perhaps you have been a going to yoga for decades, or more recently fell passionately in love with the practice and have gobbled up every ounce of information since. You may think that your dedicated time researching and practicing and reading and class hopping may put you ahead for your teach training, but the truth is that there is no way to be truly prepared for this adventure. Practice and read and meditate as much as you like, but there is something inherently different about the intensity of a teacher training that you can’t produce on your own. And this is a good thing. Being immersed in yoga in such a different way will open your mind to brand new avenues and ways of thinking about the practice. You won’t feel an ounce prepared, but you turn out a much more well-rounded student and teacher.
You Will Change Forever
Prepare to leave your old self at the door. There is no way to complete a yoga teacher training and leave unchanged. Your body will change, your mind will change, your dreams and lifestyle might change. This experience opens up a whole new world of opportunity that you can only imagine having had lived and adapted through it. Welcome the change.
You Might Have To Ditch a Few Old Friends
Your take on things may change a bit during yoga teacher training. This experience brings to light the important things in life and helps you to reevaluate your place in the world. For some of us, this might put some of our relationships into perspective. Some friends, you might find, may no longer serve you. You may be faced with the realization that some friends promote unhealthy or undesirable habits or patterns that either wear off on you or directly harm you. This is difficult, and it is never easy to say goodbye to old friends. If you find after training that you have a relationship like this, you might choose to let it go. The good in this, however, is that by following your intuition you will find your true tribe, and that is a magical thing.
It Will Break You
Sometimes the best way to fix something is to break it down and build it up anew. You are no different. Yoga teacher training, it turns out, does a fantastic job of undoing. Yoga is a holistic practice, working on both the physical body and our inner mind. The two are entirely integrated, and by changing one we change the other. The intensity of a teacher training provides this capsulated environment where we have a safe and encouraging space to fall apart. This is the first step of many to your new, amazing life. You will be changed, enlightened, humbled.
Your Life Will Change Forever
With this experience often comes a change in mindset. Students often find that when they leave teacher training, they have a renewed sense of gratitude, openness, and connectivity to the world and people around them. You might start to notice that things happen to fall into place easier, your life fills with little surprises and synchronicity. You are aligning. Stay on this path and embrace all the wonderful things that are coming your way.
Now You Know…
Yoga teacher training is just the beginning of an exciting path in love, healing, experience, and connection. This is the first step to a new life, but the road is not paved in gold. Take every opportunity to savor each moment and learn not only the material, but from your mistakes, your classmates, the location, even your own body. If you are preparing for a yoga teacher training, congratulations on this big decision and all amazing changes you are about to experience. You are about to embark on a beautiful journey. If you are still considering it, who might you be if you take the leap? It’s never too late to find out.