Ahhhh, a question I never asked myself before doing my first training, because I most definitely did it on a whim. Let’s just say…it was calling me. I’m sure if you are here, it’s calling you too! Plus, having a little time to think about it is a GREAT idea.
What should you expect in a yoga teacher training? There are a lot of questions that come with that. Will I strictly be doing 200 hours of straight up yoga? 200 hours? That sounds like a lot. What will I learn? Will anatomy be involved? Do I have to learn Sanskrit? Is there book work? What if I’m a total newbie? Do I need to teach afterwards? What if I’m not ready? And I’m sure you’ve come up with many other questions as well.
To be certified to teach, you must complete a 200 hour yoga teacher training. You can find these online or at many local studios. My 200 hour training was set over a course of 6 months. With that being said, check out possible dates that work for you early, because the sign up window for them are limited. Once you complete your first 200 hours training, you can then go on to do a 300 hours training, if you’d like to continue to deepen your studies. Embedded within the first 200 hours, teachers shed a light on the meaning of “yoga”, and often introduce their students to the following:
The Yoga Sutra
Patanjali’s 8 Limbed Path
The Yamas and Niyamas
Different Yoga Styles
Legendary Yoga Teachers
Every teacher does things a little differently, but as you are probably starting to think…that is a lot of information for a 200 hours training. 200 hours seems like a lot at first, but even just seeing the list above can get you very overwhelmed.
I had no idea what any of the above even were when I took my first yoga teacher training. If I could go back and do it again, I would have done some prep study beforehand, to at least have some background before the training. I say this because the information was coming at me so fast, it really felt like I was trying to drink from a fire hose.
I found myself lost within the class, trying to put together the puzzle together when I got home, with broken internet pieces and crazy notes. I felt like I had missed out on the conversation in class because I just didn’t have any background knowledge in the areas of yoga we were talking about.
200 hours is truly just the foundation! It simply expands your mind and opens the door to many more exciting questions and ideas.
We did a lot of journaling, as well as had a written mid term and final exam. I took an entire spiral notebook worth of notes throughout the class, and wish a had the ability to write faster! There was a lot of information given in a short period of time, so it was impossible to write down every last detail.
My teacher had us order 5 books:
Our OMwork always consisted of a mix of practice teaching and book and written work. I put in many hours outside of the 200 spent physically in a class.We had readings assigned for homework every week, and would discuss them in class like a book group. How Yoga Works is written in story form, and has some sensitive subjects in it *trigger warning*, but was written beautifully in my opinion. I highly suggest this book for anyone thinking about becoming a yoga teacher, as it opens your eyes to what yoga is truly about.
Anatomy is important when it comes to yoga. It is important to know how your body functions in order to avoid injury. This is especially helpful when you are at the front of a room instructing others to move their body’s in ways that don’t normally. This is something that some people don’t consider when thinking about becoming a yoga teacher. Most everyone thinks about the the cuing, and the yoga voice, but it is absolutely essential for yoga teachers to have some background in how the human body works.
If you’re like I was, you don’t even know where the basic bones are located, and you definitely don’t know how they work together with muscle, tissue, and other bones.
My favorite tool ever is the The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book. The David Keil book, Functional Anatomy of Yoga, has everything you need to know and then some. It is an awesome book, but totally overwhelmed me at first. The coloring book is so simple, but also gives some amazing, super digestible text when you are first getting started. Plus, it has helpful flashcards in the back of the book! Kelley Soloway has it going on.
Sanskrit is introduced in most yoga teacher training’s, and some have tests on things like Sun Salutations. Although Sanskrit can add that extra layer of tradition to a class that some people love, so people also prefer classes taught without it. It can be confusing for students when using Sanskrit names for the poses, because most basic yoga students just don’t have that background. I love knowing the Sanskrit words, as it just makes me feel more connected with the practice, but I don’t always bring them into classes. It’s really personal preference to use them, but it is sometimes required to know some words for your Yoga Teacher Training. I had to learn the Sun Salutations for my training.
Do I need to teach?
No, absolutely not! A lot of people attend a Yoga Teacher training to just simply dig deeper into the roots of yoga. There is so much history behind yoga, without some sort of guidance it is hard to know where to start. A 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training is a perfect start for individuals with a strong desire to teach, but just as valuable for someone who just wants to take a deeper dive and see what it’s all about.
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