by Liberty Stembridge, Lifestyle Columnist
Published in Lifestyle on 1st August, 2019
No matter how much time you spend reading blogs, practicing at home or watching youtube videos, you'll never be able to fully prepare for what you'll encounter in a yoga teacher training. Each training is unique to you, so you can't expect to have the same experience as any other yogi.
You'll be pushed emotionally, physically and spiritually to dive deeper, get stronger and discover more about yourself, which is all just part of the beauty of yoga.
Prepare to cry a lot in a yoga teacher training. The intense nature of a yoga teacher training means that you'll likely find a lot of your fears, worries, hopes, dreams and insecurities come bubbling up to the surface.
Although you'll be studying yoga, you'll also be immersing yourself in self-reflection, meditation and spiritual study. The bond you create with your fellow yogi's allows you to express yourself in a way you might not have been able to before. Let the tears flow!
As mentioned above, a yoga teacher training is about much more than just yoga. Sure, learning to become a yoga practitioner and teacher is the main goal, but so much goes on besides that.
You'll find yourself writing essays, studying books, reading ancient texts, brushing up on your sanskrit, meditating every day and connecting with others in ways you didn't think possible.
You'll likely be in completely new surroundings with complete strangers, eating food that you wouldn't normally eat. All of this helps to create a life-changing experience, and by the end of it, you'll have more yogi knowledge than you'll know what to do with.
Anyone who thinks that practicing yoga is easy is in for quick knock back to reality once they enroll in a yoga teacher training. You'll be practicing the physical aspects of yoga every day for hours on end, and you'll be pushed to your physical limit.
Hours of asana, vinyasa and sweating will leave you sore, aching and wanting to take a hot bath for two weeks straight. You can't though, because you have to get up tomorrow and do it all again. Embrace the struggle and accept the fact that you are going to be sore, but you'll come out stronger.
You may not come out of your yoga teacher training with your new BFFL, but you can almost guarantee that with any yoga teacher training you'll meet and connect with people in a way you never have before.
The intense spiritual nature of a YTT lends itself to deep connection, listening, empathy and bonding with others. The other students become your family for a month as you ride the highs and lows of become a yoga teacher together.
No matter how advanced a yogi you are, how long you can hold a handstand or how many vinyasas you can do in a row, your ego will take a hit during yoga teacher training.
This may not be pleasant in the moment, but it's a good thing. Ego only gets in the way of true connection and learning, so to take a knock is usually pretty helpful, even if it doesn't feel that way while you're going through it.
Yoga teacher training is emotionally and physically exhausting, and you'll more than likely want to quit at least once (don't though). Pushing through the fear, pain and craziness is what makes the whole experience worth it.
In the most obvious of ways, your life will change in that you'll be a qualified yoga teacher and prepared to start teaching if you so wish to do. More subtly however, you'll probably find that your life has changed in other ways too. A YTT will open your eyes to knowledge and experiences that you didn't even know existed.
Before you know it, you'll be a fully-fledged, barefoot, hemp-wearing vegan yoga-practicing hippie ready to embark on a new life of spiritual enlightenment... okay, maybe not completely, but you'll certainly find yourself exposed to new ideas and ways of life that may well influence how you live out the rest of your life.
Yoga Teacher Training prepares you to be a yoga teacher for sure, but it doesn't mean that you'll come out as a fully fledged yoga teacher or by any means a perfect one.
That takes time, practice and patience. Yoga is a practice, and yours will continue to develop and grow the more you practice and the more you teach. So no, you won't leave a perfect yoga teacher, but you will leave with the foundation to start working towards being the best teacher you can be.
Even if you've already been practicing yoga every day for years, a yoga teacher training will allow you the time and space to deepen your practice even more.
Having a whole month or possibly even longer to dedicate yourself completely to the practice and learning of yoga and yogic philosophy means you can explore your own relationship to your body, to yoga and to your mind in a safe way, without the worries and stress of everyday life.
You'll come out with a new appreciation for yoga, for yourself and for your body.
There's no guarantee that a yoga teacher training will completely change your life, but it might just. Many people find that a yoga teacher training acts as a pivoting point in their life, where they change course and alter their life radically.
Even if you didn't start your training with a desire to teach yoga, you might just leave with plans to start your own studio.
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