How to prepare for your YTT?
So you're all booked in to your yoga teacher training, deposit paid and you're waiting to start the course. What now? There are lots of things you can be doing to make sure you get the most out of your time in training. The stronger your foundation in the practice, theory and terminology of yoga, the stronger your teaching start will be. Read on for some tips on the best way to get yourself prepared.
1) Do yoga. Pure and simple. Do as many different classes as you can, go to many different teachers and try lots of different styles. Find out what works for you and what doesn't. Being informed will help you to find out what kind of teacher you want to be. With teaching, there's no substitute for experience - use this time to absorb as much yoga as you can. This means that you will be able to bring more questions with you into the training room (more experience means more questions, not fewer!) and hone your knowledge with a combination of practice and discussion.
2) Work on your home practice. Self-practice is where the real yoga happens - in class you are training, in your self-practice you are truly flowing in presence and discovering how consciousness expresses itself through you. I know it might look like just a down-dog, but every time you go to your mat you will learn a little more about yourself. Yoga is a journey of self-discovery - go there. 20 mins a day is a great way to start. Be realistic and if three times per week feels like enough then stick to that. Try not to overdo it and then burn out your enthusiasm. It's far more effective to do a little at a time that to work in bursts.
3) Read, read, read. True, the knowledge is all within you but our teachers give us sign posts to navigate the path of yoga, and many of your teachers will arrive in the form of books. Try to complete your reading from the reading list before the course starts. Believe me, I have seen what happens when trainees arrive without having read the texts and find themselves overwhelmed by workload and unable to easily follow conceptually. If you've finished your reading list, I recommend reading anything by Donna Farhi or try The Secret Power of yoga by Nischala Joy Devi, Stephen Cope is also a great resource for budding trainees.
4) Listen to audio classes. In my experience it's the best way to prepare for teaching yoga. You are reliant on the language the teacher uses and you will be able to learn how to cue precisely. Your students will need you to be able to instruct a safe and coherent class, so you can start the groundwork by fine tuning your knowledge of the language of Hatha yoga. Make a note of any imagery that particularly works for you and any turns of phrase that made you feel good or brought about an "aha!" moment. Podcasts are great - there are my podcasts of course which you can find on pretty much all podcasting platforms under Yoga by Nature podcast. I can also recommend Sarah B yoga, Elsie Escobar and Hillary Rubin. I am sure you will find your own favourites too.
5) Learn the names of the poses. They have both English and Sanskrit names (the one to the left is ashtavakrasana). I can't express how useful it is to know what the poses are called! When a teacher calls the name of a pose, just make a mental note of it and repeat it to yourself a couple of times. They will gradually sink in. Audio classes are also the best way to learn pose names as you don't have the visual to rely on, so you're nudged into recalling it for yourself.
I hope this helps you to feel ready for your course. Do get in touch with any thoughts or feedback, I'm at firstname.lastname@example.org. Go and practice!!