“Do I need to be flexible to teach yoga?” and other commonly asked questions about yoga teacher training

Yoga teacher trainees

Have you been thinking about deepening your yoga practice for a while, but didn’t feel you were flexible enough or maybe experienced enough, to become a teacher?

Or perhaps you’d love to get started just don’t know how to fit it in to your busy life?

We answer a few of our teacher trainees’ commonly asked questions, and maybe even debunk a few myths along the way!

1. Do I need to be flexible to study or teach yoga?

Do you worry you need to be able to bend your body like a pretzel or hold a head stand for hours to qualify for yoga teacher training?

We’re here to say you don’t need to do either of those!

The truth is, your body, with its infinite possibilities of combined capability and limitations, is already perfect. 

The body is what most people think of when they think of their ‘self’, but it is only the obvious and tangible layer of ourselves. This makes it a good place to start a practice of self-inquiry.

When we start to learn more about Yoga, we being to understand that Asana (or the physical aspect of yoga), is actually just one element in a series of tools in practicing yoga.

Other elements such as meditation, breathing techniques and philosophical considerations are all part of a well-rounded yoga practice. The body is a tool, allowing us to begin to connect body, breath and mind as we journey deeper, into what we refer as the ‘subtle body’. It is in these inner layers that true transformation occurs.

Asana is an important part of yogic practice, but is only one aspect. Teaching yoga is about inspiring transformation in others and ultimately helping people change the way their minds work.

There are many examples of wonderful yoga teachers who teach from wheelchairs or simply sitting on their cushions! Being able to do the splits or stand on your head does not necessarily make an effective yoga teacher.

We sense someone is ready to study yoga teacher training when they themselves have felt some of the transformative benefits of yoga, particularly those benefits that go beyond simply ‘the physical’.

2. How much yoga experience do I need?

Maybe flexibility isn’t a concern for you, maybe you’re more concerned you don’t have enough experience practicing yoga, whether yoga postures or perhaps meditation?

Many people defer the joy and transformation of studying yoga, waiting for a day when they feel they will be “good enough at yoga” before they will give themselves permission. 

Think about why you love yoga.

Have you started to see glimpses of something beyond the physical?  Perhaps you noticed a shift  – however temporary – on a mental or emotional level.  Maybe you felt calmer, maybe lighter in step, perhaps a problem suddenly looked less consuming. 

You feel curious, you want to know, why is that we tend to float out of yoga practice?  And could it be possible for those shifts to last longer and longer until we ourselves are no longer quite the same person?

If you’ve experienced the positive effects of yoga for yourself, and you feel drawn to understand what’s going on, if there’s a little voice inside calling you to look for a more satisfying way of living, and you seek to better connect with your authentic self, guess what? You are probably ready!

3. Why should I consider doing a 500-hour yoga teacher training (course)?

If you’ve been looking at yoga teacher training, you would have no doubt come across 200-hour courses. So what is the main difference between a 200-hour course and a 500-hour course?

We are often approached by students who have completed 200-hour yoga teacher training courses beforehand. These students have loved their experience and the knowledge they’ve gained, but often don’t feel confident enough or ready to teach. We can definitely help people feel more confident to teach and we offer 200-hour trained teachers a special discounted fee to access our leading training programme.

In our 500-hour course, we look at topics including the history and evolution of yoga, asana (physical poses), pranayama (breath work), meditation, anatomy, viniyoga (customising yoga to specific needs), sutras (yogic
philosophy), sound & mantra, yoga nidra, practice design, teaching for groups and teaching one-on-one, and communication skills for yoga teachers.

This knowledge is diffused across a variety of learning mechanisms such as classroom attendance, live and recorded webinars, self-study and experiential home practice, assignments and homework, reflection, one-on-one mentoring, and a step-by-step practicum to help you cement your learnings and actually practice teaching, bit by bit.   We do so in small intimate training groups, nurtured by a panel of expert teachers and mentors, and supported by a caring faculty and community.

In addition, our course meets the Yoga Australia requirements, enabling graduates to register as a Level-1 yoga teacher in Australia. Why is it beneficial to be a member of Yoga Australia? Learn more here.

4. How can I fit a yoga training into my schedule?

Do you work full time/have kids/have other commitments you need to work around? Busy people can be nervous about big commitments.  

Our training provides flexibility with scheduling to complete the course through our Friday, Weekend or Immersion groups, with flexibility to move between the different schedules and even mix and match. We also know “life happens” so we offer flexibility in attending alternative classes (whether live or recorded) and upon request, can provide flexibility in the completion of assignments and meeting deadlines.

While the diploma can be completed as quickly as one year, it doesn’t need to be. We have students who opt to take longer, enabling them to complete the course at their pace.  

Like any training, the greater your commitment, the more benefits you’ll receive, but rest assured teacher training doesn’t feel like school and you don’t get ‘in trouble’ for not lodging assignments by suggested timeframes! This is adult education and we know that the more you enjoy your studies, the more you will absorb and retain.

In addition to classroom attendance (whether that is in the studio or online), there will be some kind of work of you to carry on with at home each week, such as reading, completing quizzes, or simply practising experiential learning and journaling your experiences. This at-home commitment can vary week-to-week, but if you can see yourself carving out perhaps 2-6 hours a week, in addition to attending classes, you are well-placed to flourish!

By integrating yoga study into your normal daily life – instead of, for example, simply taking a month out of your life in one condensed block – you have the time to process information better, to practice at home and reflect.

5. What are the job prospects for a yoga teacher?

If you’re wondering if the world needs more yoga teachers, the answer is yes!
The world is changing more than ever and with it, is the yoga industry. The yoga movement is expanding and diversifying every day. More and more people are embracing yoga and turning to this ancient practice for health and healing. 

The pandemic has opened people’s eyes to the importance of looking after one’s physical health, but also, importantly, our mental health. More industries and organisations are welcoming yoga into the workplace, more schools are implementing yoga and mindfulness based programs into the curriculum and more families are welcoming yoga into their homes.

In these challenging times, the uncertainty around the world is having a severe psychological bearing on the masses. Positive health practices are emerging. Self-healing techniques such as yoga and meditation are being used to support psychological and physical wellbeing. When practiced regularly, yoga and meditation can lead to emotional strength and mindfulness. With the uncertainty and fear in our future, yoga helps us stay grounded in the present moment.

Some of our teacher trainees have gone on to be yoga teachers in conventional yoga or gym studio settings, or more recently, have flourished with online teaching. We also have students who have been able to use yoga as a complementary practice to their existing careers or businesses, such as allied health or complementary medicine.
Others have found roles working in healthcare, schools, corporate, online or even volunteering to give back to the community to organisations such as the Yoga Foundation. Some students have found a niche teaching meditation, chanting & mantra, or running retreats.

You can read more about some of our great graduate’s stories here.

6. I’m not sure if I want to teach/change careers. Is this course still for me?

Are you passionate about yoga, but not 100% sure if you want to be a teacher? While we have helped many students change careers, we have plenty of students who come to us simply to deepen their personal practice and learn more about the true depth and breadth of yoga.

Our teacher training isn’t just for aspiring teachers, but also for those with a passion and interest in exploring the benefits of yoga for themselves. We know that the more people whose lives have been touched by yoga, the better the world is. Our mission is to help people deepen their understanding and love of yoga, and for those who feel called to teach, to help people become confident and capable yoga teachers.

Ready to get started?

We love to chat, so get in contact with us here!
Email: teachertraining@yogainstitute.com.au
Phone: 0477 021 219

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