200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training - is it really for me?
Deciding to become a yoga teacher and to invest the time and money required to achieve your goal, is no small decision. Teacher training is a huge step both in your career and in your personal development. I offer this blog to you based on my own experience of 200 hour training back in 2008, so you can get a feel for what's in store both in your training period and as a new teacher.
Yoga teacher training is hard work
Make no mistake, you are not taking the easy path here. If you are saying to yourself, "Yah easy street! I'll just pop a few down dogs, get my certificate and be on my way to making big piles of cash." This is not the path for you. Teacher training costs a lot of money, will demand your time and energy and most of all - yourself.
Let's look first at the financial aspect of teaching yoga. It's not the path of people who aspire to Manolos and regular breaks in Saint Lucia. You can make a living doing it, I do and have been teaching full time since 2013 but there is no doubt in my mind that I do this because I absolutely love it and it's more of a calling than anything else. I couldn't be doing anything else and feel as fulfilled as I do teaching yoga, so there's no decision in it for me.
What you invest in training in the first five years of your yoga career will be more than you make in profit. But, if you have been bitten by that yoga bug, you'll want to train and train and train because you are so ready to immerse yourself in all the wonderful knowledge that yoga has to offer. In a nut shell, you teach yoga because you love it and you want to share it with as many people as you can, because you know it can make people happier and healthier, and that makes you feel good.
And then there's all the time and energy that teacher training takes up. You'll be reading, doing assignments, preparing your presentations and your practicums. If you have a family, you'll need to schedule in time to devote to your studies. 2-3 hours per week on a normal week should suffice. On a weekend course running one weekend per month, you will have plenty of time to assimilate course material and still keep your work/study/life balance.
You can expect deep shifts to take place on the emotional and psychological planes while you are going through the teacher training process. Every time I go on a training course, I go with the expectation of learning some new and useful material to use in my classes. I'm always surprised when, every time I go on a yoga or mindfulness training course, I undergo a profound transformation which connects me more deeply to who I am and what I understand the world to be. And then I remember again why I love this practice so much. Yoga will change who you think you are, and how you relate to the world. It is such a powerful transformation, that I experienced my graduation from 200 hour training as a rebirth. I was a wiser, more connected, stronger, happier version of myself and completely fearless and in love with life. It no longer feels so intense for me - it's hard to live with such intensity indefinitely - but that core transformation has determined the way I move through life since that point.
This is what I mean when I say yoga training demands something of yourself. During the periods between training weekends, these shifts will be taking place as the teachings of yoga are absorbed. You must take care to be gentle with yourself and those around you as this happens.
To really understand what this training is all about you have to turn up every day with an open, beginners mind. Put aside all your expectations and your preconceptions and dedicate yourself to a learning experience which will alter your perceptions. It will be so worth it.
Your teacher training group is your "sangha" during training. A sangha is a group of like-minded souls. You will all be in the same boat on a learning curve and the company of your peers will be invaluable to you. Make the most of it.
So, is it for you?
If you are prepared to work hard, commit to all that the course has to offer and open your mind to a new way of seeing and relating then, yes. It definitely could be. If you want to bring all your hard work into the world and serve your community in one of the most life-affirming ways possible then, yes! Every time a student falls asleep in your class after a hard day's work you can feel good that you have created the space for her to relax and just be. Every time a student tells you that their lower back pain/ shoulder problem/ depression/ anxiety has resolved after coming to yoga, you'll know that you've really made a positive difference to someone's life.
Yoga is a gift and a calling. If you still want to do it, it's calling you.