We get asked a lot about teacher training – to talk about our individual processes in becoming teachers, what’s it like, and how to know when “you’re ready.” Here’s an overview of the key points for reflection as you think about teacher training.
1. All yoga, all the time:
Your level of studentship and interest in the practice are at an all-time high. There’s an excitement and an inquisitiveness permeating your practice and propels it to priority status in your life. This can manifest by going to class a lot, chatting with teachers about the practice and trainings, seeking out new teachers and conferences, reading yoga books.
2. Life changes create opportunities:
A transition in your job or life creates the time and space to commit to a teacher training. As you think about your next steps, you also can take stock of your transferable skill sets and how they could make you an excellent teacher – for example, are you a classroom teacher or trainer? Are you a gifted public speaking or skilled in customer service? Is your background in social work or performing? What makes a great teacher – yoga or otherwise – and which of those tools do you currently have in your toolkit and where do you need to grow?
3. Sand in your bathing suit:
I love this analogy because we can all relate to how uncomfortable it is to have sand in our bathing suits! When was the last time you were completely new at something as an adult? Do you remember how uncomfortable it can be, despite how exciting it is? When you embark on becoming a teacher, it is a tremendous new challenge on many fronts that pushes the intellect of the front brain, the spirit and the soul. Your success metrics from your last professional venture get tossed out the window as you learn to lead a group through Surya Namaskar A.
4. You’re ready to get married:
After a long courtship with your practice, you’re ready to take it to the next level. And like with any good marriage, you commit on an emotional, intellectual, and spiritual level, learn to negotiate skillfully, and compromise willingly. Can you stick with it when things get rough, as they will? Do you have the support you need at home? If you do have a life partner, ask if they are ready to be a “yoga widow” for the length of the training – and perhaps beyond.
5. Are you ready to make yoga your job?
Yes, there are days you might not like teaching yoga so much — You get stuck on the F train and are late to teach; people walk out of your classes; you sub somewhere new and aren’t asked back. Like any other job, you will have good days and bad days teaching yoga. And like any other job, your practice helps you manage and grow from setbacks and challenges. Also, there’s a business aspect to teaching yoga that can get overlooked or make you uncomfortable – all of a sudden, you have to deal with liability insurance, getting paid, putting together a schedule, business cards – you now work for “You, Inc”. The sooner you wrap your head around this aspect, the more successful – and comfortable – a teacher you’ll be.
6. Love your limits:
You have a good sense of your practice, its limitations, and your process. Being a great teacher isn’t about having the most stunning practice in the room. Being a yoga teacher goes beyond getting your leg above your head. No matter what your on-ramp to the practice – physical, spiritual, emotional, a combination of the three — have a good sense of your strengths, weaknesses, what you enjoy and avoid and how it all balances each other out. Part of this is tied into #3 as well – this is the step where you emotionally take stock and hold yourself accountable. Have a safe space where you can process.
7. Practice, Practice, Practice!
To teach, you must practice. You must be a beginning student of the practice and be humbled and inspired by it on the mat and off, no matter what kind of day or life you are having. Laughing a lot helps. After all, it is only yoga.
*Still not sure? Please come to our informational session on March 11 at 6:45pm. We know this is a big step, and we want to hear all of your questions. (Really, we do.)