Teacher training is an experience that changes people’s lives and gives insight into who we are and what truly makes us happy. Most people who choose to take a yoga teacher training aren’t sure they ever want to teach yoga. A lot of the students also haven’t been practicing for a long time. There’s a misconception that if you’re doing a teacher training it means you’re “advanced’ or “good at yoga”. I had only been doing yoga for six months when I signed up for my first teacher training. I had zero upper body strength, so I couldn’t do a vinyasa or any of the arm balancing postures including plank. Teacher trainings are progressive. Students go over the basics in depth and learn new alignment techniques no matter how long they’ve been practicing. Good vinyasa yoga teacher trainings also aim to create a solid foundation of philosophy and meditation, which results in a lot of positive mental and emotional shifts.
After completing my first teacher training I went on to teach yoga full time. I discovered how powerful it is and I ended up feeling compelled to continue sharing it with others. Some of the most prominent things I noticed after finishing up my first teacher training were:
Increased overall strength – I noticed that my upper body and core improved drastically. This lead to better posture, less back pain and more endurance in other activities.
I had new tools to fight stress – If I encountered a stressful situation, I no longer wanted to turn to negative stress relievers like drinking, eating, or mindless distractions. I instead turned to meditation, breathing, yoga, and other self-care techniques.
I learned to eat better – Being so immersed in yoga teachings for six months, I naturally wanted to eat better. My body craved clean foods and more plant-based options. I noticed how I felt when I ate processed, fatty foods, and it was easier for me to choose healthier options to fuel my body.
I was less reactive – Things that used to bother me about others suddenly stopped being so annoying. I wasn’t triggered as often, and if I was, I had more control over my thoughts, words and actions.
I could go on and on, but I also wanted to offer you other experiences from some of our teacher training staff. Thank you to Jenna, Goldie and Jon for taking the time to share their thoughts.
I moved to San Francisco and the first thing I did was find a yoga studio to make it feel more like home. Yoga Tree became my home and Les Leventhal became my teacher. I had an epiphany in his class that signaled my need to change paths. I kept trying to force a career because it was “safe and responsible.” A day later I signed up for my first 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training and as a result, my entire life changed. I never planned on becoming a yoga teacher, let alone making it my full time career. I just knew it was something I had to do at that point in my life. This decision to invest in myself became single handedly the best decision I’ve ever made. It changed my life’s trajectory. I think everyone should do a YTT whether you want to teach or not!
After spending eight years as an elementary school teacher, I was emotionally burned out and looking for a fresh start. During my time as a school teacher, the yoga studio was my sanctuary. I remember looking at my yoga teachers and thinking, wow that must be such an amazing career — They all seem so light and happy. Enrolling in my first vinyasa yoga teacher training literally changed my life. It not only allowed me to switch gears and start a new career path, but gave me an entirely new heathy outlook on life. Before starting training, I wasn’t fully aware of the other Limbs of Yoga, beyond the physical practice. My training introduced me to yoga as a way of life, not just as a way to make my body strong and flexible. I am beyond grateful for my guiding teachers, many of which I still am able to learn from today. Teaching yoga has connected me to so many wonderful people and taken me to some amazing destinations around the world. I feel so fortunate to be able to do this for a living.
I started yoga in a teacher training…it’s hard to put into words the magnitude and depth of where I was at that time. I was very fortunate to look up to the lead instructor as a friend and mentor. It is safe to say though that if it weren’t for my teacher and his practice, understanding and ability to embody the yoga lineage, I would not be on this planet right now. Teaching yoga just happened for me. It wasn’t the plan; or so I thought.
Photos by Hale Productions & Erika Kyte | Written by Carolina Vivas, Buddhi Yoga 2017