Why do a Yoga Teacher Training even if you don't want to teach Yoga?
If Yoga has touched your life in some way it’s natural to be inquisitive into its many transformative powers and want to learn more through a yoga teacher training. If you have been thinking about doing a training but don’t actually want to teach yoga, don’t let that put you off. Of course, the trainings have been designed to qualify aspiring teachers, but they are for dedicated yogi’s and inquisitive, curious souls too.
The teaching is just one part of a whole syllabus of wisdom as the wonder of a yoga teacher training means that you get to go deep into the rich history of this ancient practice; delving into rituals, meditation, pranayama, the anatomy of the body, yogic philosophy and your asana practice. You’ll find you discover things about yoga that you never knew and uncover elements of yourself that you may not know even exist. These trainings equip you with so much more than just how to teach yoga. Are you ready?
How yoga curious are you?
Wherever you are on your own personal yoga journey if you are reading this blog then you may have a calling to invest in yourself through a yoga teacher training. Most likely, you’ve experienced the powerful physical, mental and spiritual benefits of yoga, and are using it’s many tools to navigate your way through life. But you want to know more. Are you interested in the breath? The meaning of life? Intrigued by the ancient yogic philosophies? Curious about alignment, the anatomy of the body and how we can work with injury? Want to understand why a yoga practice is so powerful off the mat as well as on it?
A yoga teacher training helps you find these answers. Under the support and guidance from your teachers you immerse yourself in a journey of discovery across yoga, the world and yourself; ultimately learning how to live in an abundance of joy, happiness and love.
Your personal practice
Depending on the yoga style you want to learn more about, or even teach, it is helpful to have a confident personal practice before embarking on this journey - but more important than your level of yoga, is your love of yoga combined with a genuine interest and level of enquiry. Despite what we see on Instagram, handstands, pretzel like shapes and bikini fit bodies are certainly not a prerequisite to teaching, or even practising yoga. Unfortunately, modern yoga has become so preoccupied with the external benefits of the practice that the ancient teachings have become lost. Being “good enough” at yoga isn’t about how advanced your asana practice is but linked more closely to how deep your savasana is, whether you stayed connected through class and how great a person you are off the mat. Plus, you are here to learn..
It’s more than just asana.
On a yoga teacher training you’ll feel challenged as you flow, stretch and strengthen your body but where it gets really interesting is when you start to learn that our asana practice isn’t yoga – it’s just 1/8 of it. According to Pantajali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga, asana (your physical yoga practice) is just one limb of yoga. Not something you hear much about in classes hey? Trainings vary in their depth of yoga philosophy teachings but all should touch upon ancient scriptures such as Pantajali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga and The Yoga Sutra’s. These texts allow a deeper connection to yoga and provide tools to navigate yogic living as the path to happiness. Some say these texts were the first ever self-help books!
Ready to dig deep?
The schedule, especially on an intensive course, can be demanding. They’ll be asana practice, thought-provoking lectures and in-depth workshops on philosophy, pranayama, teaching, meditation, Kirtan and anatomy – lots of sitting and talking. You start to learn about not only what your body can do, but also what your mind can do… and this is where the lessons really begin. Be prepared to be confronted as you sit in long hold poses (pigeon!) desperately trying to calm your mind; expect things you may have locked away to arise; experience frustrations and watch how you react; learn lessons about yourself that may make you question your values and life as you know it. It will unravel every part of your life – from your relationship with yourself, your work, to what you eat, your community. Be prepared to take a long old look in the mirror.
Make lifelong connections
Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj” meaning to yoke; to connect. And this is exactly what you will do on a yoga teacher training: with yourself, your teachers and the other students you take this journey with. When people are united by a love of yoga they tend to share many of the same thoughts and feelings; a catalyst for inspiration and life-changing decisions. Maybe your immediate friendship circle doesn’t understand your passion for yoga, or they laugh at you for meditating. Or maybe you don’t feel very empowered by the people closest to you because you feel yourself changing and thinking differently; a self-growth stage that can often feel lonely. Uniting with a group of likeminded yogi’s can expel any feelings of loneliness, or feeling different. They will encourage your growth and be by your side every step of the way. Find your tribe and love them hard.
But you don’t want to teach
Many students are put off a yoga teacher training because they don’t want to teach and some even enrol determined that teaching isn't for them– mainly because standing up in front of people fills them with fear. But these courses are not just about becoming a full-time yoga studio teacher. Teaching yoga comes in many forms. If the urge to teach arises, you can teach a small lunch break class at work to help your stressed colleagues, in your living with your family and friends or your best friend on her wedding day but moreover than teaching is the art of sharing what you learn. Just by living in your acquired wisdom you will inspire those around you and when others notice the positive changes in you, it will spark intrigue in them.
So, if it’s the teaching side of a training that’s making you doubt whether to embark on a training journey, know that there is so much more on offer – and be open minded about the possibilities that await with teaching; you never know what will arise. And as for the fear side of it - facing your fear is only going to lead to growth!
How to choose the right training
There are a few questions to ask yourself when it comes down to the type of training you enrol in. Firstly, what style of yoga or training do you want? Is it a style of Yoga, be it Ashtanga, Vinyassa or Hatha, or a certain training focus - an alignment focused or philosophy based training for example. Research, read and ask for advice from yoga teachers that you trust.
Next up - Who is the teacher? It’s great if you have practiced with the teacher before so you have a relationship with them already and know you like their style. This could be your local yoga teacher is hosting a training or if you have travelled abroad and discovered a teacher that you completely clicked with. It is so important to resonate with teacher and their style of teaching. But equally if someone has come highly recommended to you by someone you know and love, that’s great too.
Then think about: what type of experience do I want? There are so many TTC available that where and how you train is up to you. Do you want to combine your training with an adventure to another country for a fully immersive experience? Intensive trainings are great if your lifestyle supports you being able to take off for a month. Or is a part-time course that runs alongside your day-day life more suited to your needs?
This is your journey so it is important to really know your intentions for the training. Write them down, sit with them, meditate on them…. And then start the research!