The first Yoga Teacher Training I took was for life exploration purposes. I told myself I merely wanted to “deepen my practice,” and have an experience. I certainly never planned that I would become a full-time teacher and trainer.
I sat at my computer at night and secretly clicked on training after training at different locations around the world, with different philosophies and precepts, and pictured myself on the other side of that knowledge. Would I be calmer? More together? Emotionally stronger?
1. The Connection
I have watched so many people fall in love with yoga.
For me, yoga filled a space I had not known was empty. The compassion of my yoga teachers was a balm for my soul, and their encouragement was the support I had been so sorely lacking in my life.
For many, they say that merely moving our body into these unusual shapes (because how often do you really hold a warrior two while you do the dishes and update your Instagram) removes old energetic blockages deep in the body, and for the less “wu-wu” it opens up stiff joints and strengthens weak muscles. Both experiences are empowering.
Going to class was a connection with community, exercise, and positivity I had not previously experienced. As my body opened up physically some of my deeply held emotional needs started to bubble up to the surface and demand to be heard.
I remember standing at the corner of Yonge and Eglinton in Toronto, a busy, and in the winter very chilly intersection and looking around at the busy world moving under a grey sky and wondering how on Earth my teachers could say we are all connected. Looking out I saw a million people running in different directions, all absorbed with their purpose. And I didn’t know what my purpose was.
So after looking at teacher training options for the millionth time, I asked for a four-week leave from work and booked a flight to live in a tent in the Bahamas and complete my first 200 hour training.
2. Empower Yourself
There are a lot of snakes in The Bahamas. If you go, make sure you zip up your tent…
Immersed in this first training I learned how to physically go forward when I thought I had nothing left. I experienced hunger (we didn’t eat often), fatigue (our day started at 5am and ended past 10pm, six days a week), and deep meaningful change that I didn’t realize until months and years later when life would challenge me, or change in front of me without my permission.
These days you can take a Teacher Training in so many different formats. You can take an online program, or shorter segments to piece together with a mentor; weekend-only programs, or immersion programs. It’s a glorious time of selection, celebration, and inspiration. And although the content is typically the same, I have seen from my perspective of now leading the trainings, the student’s shared experience, the connection to positive change, and the sense of empowerment that occurs.
3. Get to Know Yourself and Your Practice on a Deeper Level
One of the reasons Teacher Training is so life-changing is because we fell in love with the practice first. When we took class there was a call to action inside of us that we couldn’t deny and had to keep moving toward. That love became such a significant part of us that it was too loud for us to keep inside. We had to know MORE and dig DEEPER. The further we dug in, the more we experienced, the more freed up we became, and the more connected to our purpose.
It starts with a quiet voice inside that thinks, “Maybe me?” Then is quieted by our inner-critic. It expands to a conversation about our perceived limitations, and barriers to taking such a training, like “I don’t have the experience or flexibility of my neighbor.” And is followed up by much Google, Instagram, and sleuthy online investigations. Maybe we still need the approval of our tribe and we connect to those we love for their blessing.
4. It’s For the Greater Good
Once the inner voice has created a dialogue there is a wild journey and a deep desire within. This voice is the sound of opportunity knocking. “I may never teach with this information, but how much more will I know about myself and accept about myself upon completion? How can I use these skills to make my world a better place?”
With the intention to grow in positivity, everything is an opportunity, and everything cumulatively adds up for our greater good. You’ve fallen in love, and teacher training can be a chance to really swim in that sea of that sensation. It’s a chance to leave the past behind and find strength in your future, physical, and emotional.
5. Build Strength- Physically and Mentally
Teacher training will sharpen you by showing you your physical limits. It will expand your self-esteem if you commit to growth. It will allow you the opportunity to shine light into the dark corners of your life, as you take control of your health and connect with people who share your passion.
Just like we hesitated before our first yoga class, or hot yoga class, filled with ideas of what was beyond the doors, and possibly doubt in our ability or stamina, we hesitate on the precipice of change.
If you listen, quietly- you can hear the echo of your impending excellence, your authenticity crying out to be shared, and your heart’s desire, taking you to a place that will change your life.