How to prepare yourself for yoga teacher training ?

We would be lying if we told you that yoga teacher training is easy to embrace. On the contrary, we strongly believe it requires preparation. And by preparation, we mean mental preparation (the physical will follow naturally). In this article, we want to provide you with several pieces of wise advice on how you can prepare yourself before embarking on a yoga teacher training program.

Establish a consistent Yoga practice

A consistent yoga practice is foundational to preparing for yoga teacher training because it ensures that your body, mind, and spirit are well-prepared for the demands of the program. Here are key reasons why maintaining a regular yoga practice is crucial:

  • Regular practice builds the necessary physical strength, flexibility, and endurance to handle intensive training sessions. This helps prevent injuries and ensures you can participate fully in all aspects of the training.
  • Consistent practice exposes you to a wide range of asanas (poses), allowing you to become comfortable with various techniques and sequences. This familiarity is essential for learning and teaching effectively.
  • Yoga is as much about mental discipline as it is about physical practice. Regular practice cultivates focus, patience, and mindfulness, which are crucial for absorbing the comprehensive curriculum of a teacher training program.
  • A steady yoga routine helps in grounding your spiritual practice, deepening your connection to the philosophies and principles of yoga. This holistic approach is vital for a yoga teacher.

How could you implement it

Always work based on plan

To build a consistent yoga practice, start by creating a realistic plan. Commit to practicing yoga at least three to five times a week. Consistency is key, so find a routine that fits into your lifestyle without causing burnout. Morning sessions can be particularly effective, setting a positive tone for the day, while evening practices help unwind from the day’s stress, promoting relaxation and better sleep. Remember, regular, moderate practice is more beneficial than sporadic intense sessions.

Vary your practices

Incorporating variety in your practice is also important. Explore different styles such as Hatha, Vinyasa, and Yin Yoga. Hatha yoga focuses on foundational poses and alignment, making it ideal for beginners and those refining their practice. Vinyasa involves dynamic sequences that link breath with movement, enhancing cardiovascular health and building strength. Yin Yoga, on the other hand, involves long-held, passive poses that stretch deeper connective tissues, improving flexibility and promoting relaxation. Experiment with using props like blocks, straps, and bolsters to explore different variations of poses, ensuring proper alignment and support. Learning from various teachers will expose you to different teaching styles and techniques, which can inspire your own teaching methods.

Back to basics

Focusing on the fundamentals is crucial for a solid yoga practice. Master basic poses such as Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar), which build strength, flexibility, and coordination. Work on standing poses like Warrior I & II (Virabhadrasana I & II), Triangle (Trikonasana), and Tree Pose (Vrksasana) to enhance balance and stability. Seated poses like Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana) and Easy Pose (Sukhasana) promote flexibility and groundedness. Incorporate inversions and balances such as Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), Headstand (Sirsasana), and Crow Pose (Bakasana) to build strength and focus. Pay close attention to alignment cues in each pose to prevent injury and maximize benefits. Practicing in front of a mirror or with a partner can provide visual and verbal feedback on your alignment.

Integrate breath work into your practice. Pranayama, or breath control exercises, enhances the connection between body and mind. Techniques like Ujjayi breath, Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing), and Kapalabhati (skull-shining breath) support overall well-being. Regular breath work can help regulate your nervous system, reduce stress, and improve concentration.

Start a journaling habit

Journaling is a powerful tool in yoga teacher training programs because it facilitates self-awareness, personal growth, and effective time management. Writing down your thoughts and experiences helps you reflect on your yoga journey, identify patterns, and gain deeper insights into your practice and teaching aspirations. This practice enhances your ability to process emotions, overcome challenges, and set clear, intentional goals. Journaling can also serve as a record of your progress, offering motivation and a tangible sense of achievement as you look back on your development.

How to implement journaling

To establish a journaling habit, start by creating a dedicated space and time for writing. Choose a quiet, comfortable place where you can reflect without interruptions. Consistency is key, so set aside specific times each week for journaling, such as after a yoga session or before bed. Regularly scheduled journaling sessions help integrate the habit into your routine, making it a natural part of your week.

Begin with guided prompts to focus your thoughts and facilitate meaningful reflection. Consider questions like, “What challenges did I face in my practice today?” “How did my body feel during different poses?” “What emotions surfaced during meditation?” “What insights did I gain from today’s practice?” and “How can I apply these insights to my teaching?” These prompts help you delve deeper into your experiences, promoting self-awareness and growth.

Document your progress and failures

Use your journal to track your progress over time. Document your physical, mental, and spiritual development, noting any breakthroughs, setbacks, or changes in your practice. This record can provide valuable insights into your journey, highlighting areas of improvement and celebrating your achievements. Reviewing past entries can be motivating and help you recognize patterns that may influence your practice and teaching style.

Incorporate different journaling techniques to keep the practice engaging and comprehensive. Free writing, where you write continuously without self-editing, can help release subconscious thoughts and emotions. Reflective writing allows you to analyze specific experiences or themes in your practice, while gratitude journaling focuses on positive aspects and fosters a mindset of appreciation. Combining these techniques can provide a well-rounded perspective on your yoga journey.

Use your journal to set up goals

Consider using your journal for goal setting and planning. Outline short-term and long-term goals for your practice and teaching, and break them down into actionable steps. Regularly review and adjust your goals based on your progress and experiences. This approach helps you stay focused and motivated, ensuring continuous growth and improvement.

Make your journal a creative space that inspires you. Personalize it with drawings, quotes, photos, or clippings that resonate with your yoga journey. Visual elements can enhance your reflections and provide additional inspiration and motivation. This creative expression can also make the journaling process more enjoyable and meaningful.

Lastly, be patient and compassionate with yourself as you develop your journaling habit. It’s normal to experience periods of resistance or inconsistency. The key is to gently bring yourself back to the practice without judgment. Over time, you will likely find that journaling becomes a cherished and integral part of your yoga journey.

Understand your time commitment

A 200-hour yoga teacher training program involves significant time dedication. Our program spans several weekends over six months, with additional tasks to be completed outside of class. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, create a schedule that accommodates the following requirements:

  • Journaling with a minimum of three entries per week
  • Reading eight required texts (recommended reading is optional)
  • Regular practice of asana, meditation, and pranayama both personally and in the classroom
  • Completing three tests on anatomy
  • Writing three 1-3 page papers
  • Designing and creating monthly yoga classes
  • Participating in mandatory classroom practicum sessions
  • Attending five external yoga classes
  • Engaging in community service (not necessarily yoga-related)
  • Being present for all weekends (private make-up classes available at additional cost)
  • Engaging in some online interactions via email

Familiarize yourself with the program

Understanding the details of your yoga teacher training program can significantly reduce anxiety and set realistic expectations. Knowing what to expect helps you mentally and emotionally prepare, enhancing your confidence and readiness.

Begin by thoroughly reading all available materials about the program, including the curriculum, schedules, instructor bios, and any testimonials from past participants. This initial research provides a comprehensive overview of what the program entails.

To gain deeper insights, connect with the program coordinator, Martha. Attend some of her classes to get a feel for her teaching style and approach. This direct interaction allows you to ask specific questions and clarify any doubts about the program’s structure and requirements.

If possible, reach out to someone who has completed the same 200-hour training. Their firsthand experience can offer valuable perspectives on the challenges and rewards of the program. They can provide practical tips on managing the workload, what to focus on, and how to make the most of the training.

Address insecurities and ego

Insecurities about your abilities or body image, and an inflated ego, can create mental and emotional barriers that hinder your progress and learning. Acknowledging and addressing these issues is crucial for personal growth and success in your training.

Start by engaging in regular self-reflection through journaling and meditation. Journaling helps you identify and articulate your insecurities and ego-related challenges. Write about your fears, doubts, and any negative self-talk. Recognize patterns in your thoughts that may indicate underlying insecurities or an inflated ego.

Meditation can further aid this process by allowing you to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Practices such as mindfulness meditation or loving-kindness meditation can help cultivate a compassionate and non-judgmental attitude towards yourself.

Set aside specific times each week for these reflective practices. For instance, you might journal for 15 minutes after your yoga practice or meditate for 10 minutes before bed. Consistency in these practices will help you maintain self-awareness and keep track of your emotional and mental state.

In addition to self-reflection, seek feedback from trusted friends, mentors, or fellow yoga practitioners. Honest feedback can provide an external perspective on areas where you may be holding back due to insecurities or where your ego might be influencing your actions. Use this feedback constructively to make adjustments and improve.

Another helpful approach is to set realistic, incremental goals for your practice and teaching. Achieving these smaller goals can build confidence and reduce feelings of inadequacy. Celebrate your progress, no matter how small, and remind yourself that growth is a gradual process.

Contact Diya Yoga to learn more about Yoga teacher training. If you’re ready to follow your purpose and help others learn yoga, we can help! Our 200-hour yoga certification program is accredited through Yoga Alliance to ensure you learn everything you need to confidently teach others!

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