Last week, the new batch of trainees embarked on their journey to becoming a qualified yoga teacher at Bristol School of Yoga. To coincide with this, Bristol School of Yoga published a Q & A with me on what it was like to do Yoga Teacher Training.
At the time of writing, the trainees will have completed their first module and will likely be feeling similar to my group this time last year. Excited by the opportunity to study, but equally daunted by the scale of the task that lies ahead.
I have jotted down some thoughts on my experiences that may come in useful to this year’s intake on the Bristol School of Yoga course. Equally, for new students at other locations or for anyone considering whether teacher training is right for them.
Being out of your comfort zone
Committing to becoming a yoga teacher means you will need to get used to speaking in public. You will have developed a yoga practice that is personal, so opening up your practice to others as a teacher can place you in a particularly vulnerable position. Coupling this with the notion of standing on a mat with a group of faces staring towards you can be a nerve-wracking experience. Over time, you will learn, through much practice how to build confidence to teach in smaller, then larger groups in a safe environment with support from your fellow students and the teacher trainers. Equally, you will learn how satisfying it can be to use your practice to inspire others to do yoga.
Committing to the course
It would be easy to think of this course as only being about developing the skills to stand in front of students and teach them yoga. Although the ability to teach yoga to groups is a core theme of the course, there is so much more to your learning than that. The course requires not only commitment to the multi-day classroom modules, but also coursework at home. Assignments relate to topics such as preparing and delivering a presentation on the anatomy of the musculoskeletal system and writing essays and participating in group discussions on your interpretation of key yoga texts such as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
Do not underestimate the time required to complete the assignments. Plan for when assignments are due and manage your time around other commitments. Do not be afraid to ask questions of the course coordinators if the requirements seem unclear. You may have to sacrifice other activities until the course is complete as to get the most out of the course will take up a lot of your free-time. Discuss with friends and family early on, so they are aware of what is required and by when. It saves difficult conversations later when you disappear for four days on classroom modules. It will also make them aware that the course is so much more than ‘just’ learning to teach yoga.
Learning about your Self
As you deepen your yoga practice on the course, you will learn to become more self-aware. Going inwards can unlock long held emotions that potentially make you question who you are and what is your purpose – this includes whether you really want to be a yoga teacher. This is not uncommon, and in fact is almost expected as the course progresses.
Our often busy lives mean we do not have many opportunities to reflect in this way, so embrace this as an opportunity to make positive change for your Self. The morning group circles are to be savoured, as the bond grows stronger within the group. Through the intensity of the course and everyday life that surrounds it, you will go through peaks and troughs. So, learn to use the group as an outlet for this emotion. By opening up, you will learn so much more about the Self and this can be life changing.
I could write so much more about the course, but I appreciate the last thing a time-pressed yoga teacher trainee needs is a long blog post to read, so I will end this here. Should you have any questions about yoga teacher training, do not hesitate to get in touch. The yoga community is very special, and I am very happy to help where I can.
Namaste and Good Luck!