How To Know If You’re Ready For Yoga Teacher Training

Whether you feel drawn to study yoga for curiosity and personal development, or perhaps to one day share your love of yoga with others and teach, studying yoga is for everyone! 

Attending yoga classes can trigger a lifelong love of yoga, and over time you may get a sense that there’s so much more to yoga than simply physical health. You would be right.  

But even the most experienced of yoga teachers will transparently convey, your relationship with yoga and its deep wisdom will eventually plateau just attending group classes in a modern western environment.  Do you feel the call to go deeper and study?

What’s Yoga All About?

The study of yoga is about learning how to manage our human condition, and to help body, mind and emotions fall into a more harmonious and aligned rhythm. 

It is about truly understanding that physical, mental and emotional health are all linked and influence one another and practising greater self-mastery.

Like picking our way through a jungle, it is about slowly removing the beliefs and stories we’ve unconsciously put in our own way that prevent us from seeing what is really in front of us, to know our real selves, to see what’s really possible, and to connect with that which is greater than ourselves.

More Than Physical Health? Yes. It is of course important we look after our physical health because illness and injury can be a difficult and distracting obstacle for our mind and mood to overcome if we want to turn our energy towards contemplating our human condition. Plus, naturally we want to remain pain-free and at ease with our body as the years pass and do the things we wish to do as the years advance.  Yoga can undoubtedly assist.

But with time and guidance, we can come to see how yoga can benefit more than just physical health; it can also benefit our relationships with ourselves, with others, and with our planet.

Studying Yoga

To obtain a good understanding of the broad spectrum of yoga wisdom and techniques that bring together health and growth at every level – physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual – formal study is required. 

This is especially true if we wish to share yoga with others one day, which entails a significant mantle of responsibility as we hold space for others to embark on their own journey of transformation.   Father of modern yoga, Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, advised, “Teach what is inside you. Not as it applies to you, but as it applies to the other”.  

In this very succinct phrase, Krishnamacharya talks about a teaching approach that honours the needs and circumstances of each student (a teaching approach commonly referred to as viniyoga). He also recommends that we teach what we know to be true on a cellular level, taking in the knowledge at an intellectual level, and then practising and observing over time until the learnings ring true for us at a more visceral level. In other words, a yoga teacher has undergone their own journey of change and transformation, evolving to embody the attitudes, lifestyle and way of being of a yogi, so they can authentically transmit forward the teachings of yoga.   

We have all likely been to a yoga class where the teacher is talking about a concept (such as surrender, letting go, or non-attachment) that doesn’t come across as if it’s being spoken about from the heart, the narrative perhaps having been adopted from what that teacher has heard another teacher talk about and has simply regurgitated. Humans generally have a fairly good instinct on inauthenticity, and a yoga teacher will lose credibility and trust from their students by talking about life skills and pathways that they themselves have not yet truly witnessed as part of their conscious observations of their own experience of life. If we translated Krishnamacharya’s sentiments about teaching what you feel to be true on a visceral level for a more modern age, it may be, “Teach what is inside you…. not what you heard someone else say on YouTube”.

Yoga does not ask of you to accept anything on face value, it differs from religion in this sense. In fact it beckons you to use healthy scepticism on everything you learn and see if it resonates for you.

It in important new teachers are patient and kind to themselves, evolution and growth will continue long after training has concluded, but a quality training programme will most certainly allow opportunities for personal growth to take place during the training phase.

This is why we advocate for a longer training programme, that also integrates into your real life, instead of having you just take a chunk of time out of your life to rush through a whirlwind of intensive training. This allows time and opportunity for learnings to sink in, be pondered and experimented with in the context of one’s own life to ring true for you and settle into your cells, and for you to easily retain these learnings.   At the conclusion of a 500-hour training programme, our students emerge with a new lens on life, accessing greater joy and equanimity. 

What You Don’t Need To Study Yoga

  • A specific degree of flexibility
  • Ability to do specific postures
  • A specific body-type or age
  • An unbroken relationship with yoga practice for years and years

Your age, body shape, flexibility, and physical capabilities are all unimportant in the pursuit of the kind of personal evolution true yoga can offer us.

We know you have been bombarded with certain images that claim to represent yoga in this modern world. The commoditisation of yoga means that selling exercise labelled as ‘yoga’ to capitalise on (and perpetuate) people’s vulnerabilities about their looks, is easy low hanging fruit in our world overly-focussed on aesthetics and outer beauty. Take heart, dear human!

Yoga helps us learn to connect with that part of ourselves that is unchanging, and is therefore available and accessible to every single person on the planet.

Here at The Yoga Institute, we’ve been quietly doing our part for over two decades, in a revolution to help the community understand the many benefits yoga can give our lives, and to help propel the wisdom of yoga forward for the betterment of humankind. Read more here.

How To Know If You’re Ready To Study Yoga Teacher Training

We’re not overly concerned with how long you’ve practising yoga and we’re not at all concerned if you have any physical limitations (acquired or inborne).  A wonderful teacher training candidate for us is someone who:

  • has practiced yoga long enough to know for themselves that they love it, and to have had firsthand experience of some of the benefits of yoga
  • feels motivated to make time for study and practice at home on their own, as well as with us in the classroom
  • genuinely enjoys helping other people and wants to be of service (not an instructor or bootcamp leader)
  • is keen to learn all the various component parts of holistic yoga and how they weave together, and
  • nurtures a curiosity about how yogic philosophy can improve the quality of our lives  
  • has the patience to take joy in and trust the process of learning, rather than just focus on ‘getting’ a certificate as quickly as possible
  • is open to (or keen for) feeling transformation in their own life
  • feels super-excited about the prospect and ready to approach it with open mind and open heart

If you feel most invested in just acquiring a certificate as fast as possible without opening yourself up to real change, we are likely not the provider for you and we wish you well on your journey.   But if you’re ready to change your life (and potentially the lives of others one day), we invite you to contact us for a chat, we would love to guide and nurture you on this special journey.  

Study With Us

Our 100-hour Yoga Studies course (also known as Teacher Training Foundations) is perfect for those who want to study for personal development, interest, joy and to deepen their own relationship with yoga.   It also suits those who want to see how study fits in their lifestyle before committing to the longer 500-hour course, giving you the option to continue on seamlessly if you choose to then undertake the full 500-hour Teacher Training course.

Our 500-hour Yoga Teacher Training course is perfect for those who want to go deep in their exploration of yoga wisdom and techniques, and feel really confident and capable to emerge as a yoga teacher. 

Written by Nicole Small, The Yoga Institute

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