Don’t want to teach yoga? Teacher training might still be for you – yes, really!
Though it may sound contradictory, yoga teacher training isn’t just for future teachers. Some people come to the realization that they do not wish to teach their own yoga students as they are going through a training program. Other people enroll in a teacher training program knowing this the whole time.
I personally fell into a different camp. I knew I wanted to teach yoga, and enrolled in a yoga teacher training program to obtain the necessary skills and credentials to do so. I’ll admit to being mystified as to why people would allocate time and money to yoga teacher training if they weren’t going to “do” anything with it.
As I came to realize, there are LOTS of reasons – and “doing something with it” takes many forms. Though yoga schools differ in the weight they place on various sections of curricula, you can expect to walk away from a teacher training with the following new additions to your soul, spirit, and practice:
You will enhance your own practice
This is perhaps the most common reason, outside of plans to teach, that people cite for going through a yoga teacher training program. Though I walked into my training realizing this would likely be an additional benefit, I had no idea how much YTT would help my own practice.
You will both learn and understand the logic behind correct alignment. You will start to recognize strong (and poor) sequencing when you are in yoga classes as a student. You will learn how to listen to your body, and what adjustments you need to make for your own practice without relying on someone else to provide cues.
2. You will learn new skills to incorporate into other parts of your life
Being a yoga instructor is only partially about yoga. It largely involves public speaking (regularly cited as one of people’s most common fears), which you practice by teaching your fellow teacher trainees and sometimes even “real” classes if you shadow a mentor in the community.
Additionally, you will gain training on client relations, marketing, finances, scheduling, and business management skills. Depending on the yoga school, some of these topics are more heavily covered than others, but you can expect to walk away with more confidence and an enhanced “toolkit” of interpersonal and management skills to bring into other areas of your life.
You will broaden your worldview
Yoga teacher training is in many ways a series of lessons on culture and history. You will trace the origins of yoga back to the Vedas, learning Sanskrit terminology for asanas, the Hindu symbolism behind many poses, and the story of yoga’s migration to the West. You will find how your unique practice fits into these broad lineages of yogis and gurus
You will make new friends and connections
For one, you’ll be connected to some awesome new yoga teachers in your community whose classes you can take in the future! But aside from the practical benefits of connecting with fellow yogis, you will meet people from all walks of life.
These people may become your best friends, your yoga family, future business partners, or just acquaintances passing through your life like ships in the night. Whatever their role is revealed to be, you will learn from them, they will learn from you, and your life will be forever changed.
You will learn more about yourself
Though teacher training provides a great deal of objective information – facts about anatomy, how the human body processes breath and movement, the history of yoga — the majority of teacher training is about finding your own voice.
And this “voice” doesn’t just mean the words that come out of your mouth. Your voice is your attitude, your pace, your tone, your approach to the world. You look inward to explore who you are at your core, identifying strengths, weaknesses, and goals.
Maybe the title of “yoga teacher” isn’t something you see, or want, for your future. But as you construct your list of goals for the next year (or 5, or 10), don’t write off “yoga teacher training” on the sole basis of not wanting to teach your own students. Many people enjoy teacher trainings as a gift to themselves – an opportunity to look within, strengthen their own yoga practices, and form lifelong connections.
Are there other benefits you obtained through your teacher training? Join the conversation below. As always, thanks for reading.