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Yoga Hero: All of Yoga Podcast – Episode 6

6: Yoga Teacher Training: The what, why & how

Yoga Teacher Training – can be a life-changing transformative experience, but it’s also a big commitment of your time, and your finances. Plus, you might think that you can’t enroll on a yoga teacher training because… [insert your relevant reservation here]. 

With that in mind, we thought it was time to talk about yoga teacher training; what is is, why you would embark on a training, and how’s best to go about it. Here’s what we cover!

The what: What is yoga teacher training. What does a good course look like, what does a good course involve, what’s the deal with accreditation and all that jazz

They why: Aside from ‘becoming a yoga teacher’ – why would someone enroll on a teacher training? What’s to be gained from it? 

The how: How do you go about choosing the right course for you, how do you apply, how do you actually undertake the training

And then lastly, we look a little bit at Yoga Hero’s training, just in case it happens to the be the perfect option for you. 

Anatomy Hero: The Spine in Yoga

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    Insight in to Yoga Teacher Training

    To become a yoga teacher, you need to complete a 200 hour yoga teacher training course. This will give you a certificate from the accrediting body that accredits the course; (of which there are many.)

    There are also shorter courses available to non-yoga-teachers, or not-yet-yoga-teachers. for example we have a 50 hour Trauma Informed Yoga Course and a 40 hour Restorative Yoga course for example… these are sometimes open to non-yoga teachers, but in and of themselves, they don’t count as the qualification to become a yoga teacher, you have to do the 200 hour course for that.


    However, if you do a shorter course, then become a yoga teacher, as soon as you’re a yoga teacher, you can teach all the styles of qualifications you have, irrespective of whether you got the qualification before becoming a yoga teacher or not. In short, this gives you the option of doing a shorter course somewhere, maybe getting to know a trainer or studio, before enrolling on a 200 hour course which can be a big investment of your time and finances.

    As always, we would love to know what you think of the Yoga Hero: All of Yoga Podcast, do leave an honest review if you can, or drop us a message @beayogahero

    Listen to Yoga Teacher Training: The what, why and how’ where you get your podcasts:

    Thank you, and happy listening!

    Yoga teacher training: The what, why and how – Transcript

    At Yoga Hero, there’s a few things that we’re particularly motivated to do; one is to share all of yoga, hence this podcast, but also, to share yoga with all – or at least as many people as possible! We find that so many people worry they’re not flexible enough to do yoga, or that their body isn’t the right shape, or size, or whatever.  Now, when you consider that yoga is actually the science of the mind, of course, that doesn’t need a certain shaped body or certain age to be worked towards… but what’s happened is that yoga is shared on things like instagram, where the more challenging poses get the most interaction… so people see these poses, associated them with yoga, and believe yoga to be these poses only, because that’s they all they’ve seen.

    Really, one of the ways that we can show people that yoga is for them, is by having teachers that are like them. So if you feel like you’re too x to be a yoga teacher, then actually, yoga really needs you. If you feel you’re too old… then by teaching yoga, you’re demonstrating that there’s no age limit on yoga. If you’re in a bigger body, you’re demonstrating that there are aspects of the practice that people in bigger bodies will need and want. If you have never been able to touch your toes, you as a teacher will be walking proof that you don’t have to be flexible in order to do yoga. If the more challenging poses feel very far away for you, your practice is more likely to be one that more people connect with.

    With that in mind, we thought it was time to talk about yoga teacher training; what is is, why you would embark on a training, and how’s best to go about it. Now in the interests of full disclosure, I am exceptionally proud of Yoga Hero’s teacher training, and so I will give a bit more information about it towards the end of this episode. But as passionate as I am about our training, I’m more passionate that as an aspiring yoga teacher, that you find a course that’s perfect for you. So in the ‘how’ section of this episode, we’ll run through what to look out for in a training, what constitutes a decent training and how to choose one that’s right for you.
    Ok so here’s where we’re going…

    The what: What is yoga teacher training. What does a good course look like, what does a good course involve, what’s the deal with accreditation and all that jazz

    They why: Aside from ‘becoming a yoga teacher’ – why would someone enroll on a teacher training? What’s to be gained from it?

    The how: How do you go about choosing the right course for you, how do you apply, how do you actually undertake the training

    And then lastly, I’ll tell you a bit about Yoga Hero’s training, just in case it happens to the be the perfect option for you.

    Ok so let’s crack on!

    The what

    What is yoga teacher training. To boil it right down, this is the training, the process that you go through so that you can teach yoga to others. But also yoga teacher training is potentially a life-changing experience. They’re not my words, they’re the words of many people who’ve attended a teacher training.
    So, why would people say that… Let’s explore!

    In order to explore… let me guide you through a brief concept, a piece of guidance from yoga, that might help demonstrate how much yoga can positively impact our lives. The concept we’re looking at is not being attached to the fruits of our actions.

    So what is that? What does that actually mean?

    Well, it means that we know what we want to happen, so you need to be aware of your wishes, dreams, big goals, intentions. If you’re working hard for a promotion – great – getting the promotion is your intention. If you’re training hard to run a 10k, great – that’s your intention. If you’re putting effort in to creating a morning routine, great – that’s your intention. So we know our intention and we work hard to make it happen in the best way we know how, and this isn’t just in a professional sense, it’s not just in a career way, this is personal improvement as well. So you know what you want to happen, you’re putting your effort in to make it happen, in the most authentic way that you can, with energy and passion and integrity . But here’s the thing, and this is where the magic happens – we then TRUST that the correct, the right, the most useful outcome will happen – which might be different to your wish. So maybe you’re working hard to get a promotion – if you don’t get the promotion, well, it wasn’t meant to be, and you accept that… But we don’t just sit back and be like ‘well if it’s meant to be, it will be, so I can’t be bothered to prep for the interview’. No, but understanding that your intention, and your effort are within your control, but that there are many things that are outside of your control, and trying to control them leads to major anxiety. And so if something doesn’t roll out in the way that you’d wished, then there’s maybe a lesson for you there or maybe it wasn’t right for you. And do you know what, you already know this. Think of a time in your life where something happened and you were devastated. Maybe a relationship broke down, maybe you were let go from a job that you loved, something like that. and actually, now that you look back on it, that thing happening was a really positive thing. It led to x, which led to y, which has been so positive in your life. Maybe you went off travelling or maybe you met someone or maybe you learnt a new skill or overcame a challenge.

    So, let me recap; we’re aware of what we want to happen, we work towards making that happen in the best way we know how with effort and presence and passion, and then we understand that it might not happen, it might not roll out like we wish. I tell you what, it’s so incredibly liberating. You control what you can control and you surrender the rest.

    Pause. It’s human nature to start to look inwards when you learn things like this. Take a deep breath.

    It’s lessons like this, insight like this that makes yoga teacher training, life-changing. That was just a few minutes of philosophy there, over the course of a teacher training, we have 200 hours of learning, introspection, applying learning… you can see how it becomes completely transformative.
    So for the what, what is yoga teacher training – well it’s learning about yourself, as well as learning about yoga and how to teach yoga.
    Of course yoga teacher training also includes anatomy and asana study, for a lifetime of safe and beneficial practice, teaching methodology to make sure that your classes are thought out and impactful and safe. Yeah. And so much more… I could go on forever!!
    To become a yoga teacher, you need to complete a 200 hour yoga teacher training course. Some places add some hours on, so their course is longer, but the minimum is 200 hours. This will give you a certificate from the accrediting body that accredits the course; of which there are many. Our courses are accredited by Yoga Alliance Professionals. There’s also the Yoga Alliance, which has no relation to the Yoga Alliance Professionals which is weird. If accreditation is something that’s really important to you, it would be an idea to research the different bodies. If it feels a bit like a minefield and you’re not really sure what you’re looking for, you can rest assured that a course with accreditation has done the work to receive that accreditation.
    Just as an FYI, there are also shorter courses, for example we have a 50 hour Trauma Informed Yoga Course and a 40 hour Restorative Yoga course for example… these are sometimes open to non-yoga teachers, but in and of themselves, they don’t count as the qualification to become a yoga teacher, you have to do the 200 hour course for that. However, usually if you do a shorter course, then become a yoga teacher, as soon as you’re a yoga teacher, you can teach all the styles of qualifications you have, irrespective of whether you got the qualification before becoming a yoga teacher or not. Now that might sound complicated. But in short, it gives you the option of doing a shorter course somewhere, maybe getting to know a trainer or studio, before enrolling on a 200 hour course which can be a big investment of your time and finances, so this is an option.

    The why

    Imagine if you just had five minutes, or 15 minutes, or an hour and a half, and you were able to roll out your mat and practice yoga without being led, knowing that you were being completely safe; that your sequence was safe, your alignment was safe and that what you were doing was beneficial.
    Let’s also take a moment to imagine… maybe something has already happened today that annoyed you, maybe someone you live with has stacked the dishwasher in a really annoying way or maybe someone cut you up while you were driving… Now imagine – whatever it was that happened that irritated you today – imagine in the future, that that thing still happens but it doesn’t affect you. It’s not that the thing doesn’t happen, it does happen, but it just doesn’t bother you. It doesn’t affect you. That’s not that you’re pretending that it doesn’t bother you, it’s not you sweeping it under a rug or pushing it down, it just genuinely doesn’t affect you! That might feel far away but I promise it’s possible. 
    Lots of people enroll on a teacher training with no intention to teach, they do it to immerse themselves in yoga; to embed yoga in to their life.
    So why, why consider yoga teacher training – because it pretty universally positively affects your life, and the lives of those around you, not to mention that it can and will help share yoga a bit further, with people who really need it. If you could share some of this knowledge with even just one person who needs it, just one person who would feel benefit from learning to breathe deeper, or learning how to rest properly in Savasana, isn’t that wonderful! So that’s why. To embed yoga in to your life, and maybe even in to the lives of others.

    The how

    So how do you know when you’re ready for a yoga teacher training. Well there’s a couple of pre-requisites to be aware of.

    1. that you have been practicing, regularly, for at least two years
    2. that you have an open mind

    That’s it! Well at least that’s it for our teacher training. There’s no pre-requisites for the size or shape of your body, like we talked about at the beginning of the episode. There’s no pre-requisites that you must be able to do a certain pose or anything like that. Clearly, if you’ve never a headstand, you should absolutely not be teaching headstand under any circumstances, but really, you’re unlikely to be attracting people who want to do headstand, and, if you do, you’ll reach out to your network of yoga teachers and find the right teacher for this student. Ok so let me summarise the how so far: there’s two pre-requisites 1) regular practice for two years and 2) an open mind. And 3) if you do go on to teach, that you promise to only teach what you feel confident teaching! Safety first!How to choose the right training for you:

    Trainers

    When considering a course, there’ll be some information about the trainers that are leading the course, so you just want to be confident that you know that they know their stuff.
    Yoga is incredibly vast so there’s loads that they won’t know, and that’s ok. But they definitely need to know about musculoskeletal anatomy. They definitely understand the history of yoga and key philosophical concepts. You want to make sure that they have experience in both teaching yoga, and teaching yoga teacher trainings too. And on a personal level, make sure that they inspire you. You’ll be spending 200 hours online or in-person with them – make sure that you find them engaging and that they inspire you in terms of the breadth and the potential of yoga.
    In an ideal world, your trainers would be able to introduce you to graduates of their courses too, so you can get the low down.

    Content covered in a training:

    Make sure any courses you’re considering include:Anatomy – for safe yoga practicePhilosophy – looking at yoga beyond the asanaTeaching methodology – how do you teach a total yoga newbie and an experienced yogi in the same class? Sequencing methodology – how do you build a sequence that makes sense, that’s safe and that helps people connect with their bodies, and feel strong and make space? Instructions and cueing – how do you get someone in to downward dog for the very first time?
    And I’d say, make sure that there’s some information on the business of yoga, you probably aren’t aiming to make a million pounds from teaching yoga, but, if you’re going to be teaching yoga and earning money from it, you’re running a business. Not a lot of courses talk about it like this, but it’s true and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. A yoga teacher that’s stressed, hungry, worried about money – is not going to be teaching to the best of their ability. A yoga teacher with a bit of money in the bank and food on the table is a yoga teacher that thrives, and can share to the best of their ability.

    Catch up system

    Make sure there’s a robust catch up system in place. Life continues to happen even while YTT is in progress – believe it or not! There’ll be times where you just have to go to the doctors or pick the kids up or sort a family dispute or go to work… So how will you catch up on the learnings that you’ve missed?

    Practicalities

    Consider practicalities from your point of view – would you prefer to learn online or offline? Look at the course dates, and check you’re available. Check that there’s time between blocks or between learning days to consolidate what you’ve learnt, so that further learnings build on a solid foundation.

    Teaching practice

    We mentioned before how many people do enroll on a training solely to immerse themselves in the teachings of yoga, which is fabulous, but if you’re planning to teach yoga, or if you don’t want to rule it out, there’s simply no substitute for practicing the actual teaching of a yoga class. You can learn all the theory in the world, but the only way that you’ll be able to confidently, safely teach yoga is with practice. So find out, how much opportunity is there to teach, how much feedback do you get and how does that consolidate the learnings from the rest of the course?

    How to apply

    Each training will have its own application process. We just have a short form to complete so we can get an idea of who you are, and what yoga means to you!

    How to undertake the training

    My main piece of advice here, is to clear the decks as much as you possibly, feasibly, can, for the duration of your training. There’s going to be a lot to learn, to consolidate and to process, so anything you can do; hire a cleaner, tell work you have to start and finish on time, extra childcare, limiting social engagements, whatever works for you, will just give you more opportunity to integrate the learnings from your training. Plus, it’s knackering, all that learning, practicing and emotion adds up to be quite a tiring time!My other main piece of advice is to get in to journalling. The whole thing is such a – hopefully – amazing experience, that jotting down how it felt to teach, to be taught, to learn that guidance on alignment in that pose that you never really understood before, how it felt to nail a pose that you thought was out of your reach… It makes for amazing reading in years to come, i still go back to my training journals now after years of teaching! I love reading them!

    About Yoga Hero’s TT

    On the first day of TT, we go through the ethos underpinning the training. I thought I’d just read this here, because I think it encapsulates the heart of the intention of the training.

    The focus of this Teacher Training course is teaching yoga with safety, and improvement, at the heart of everything that you do.

    Safety first
    Safety first means learning and understanding how to help students modify for their energy levels, their strength and their flexibility at each moment, in each asana, in each class. A focus on safety throughout each practice keeps both student and instructor mindful and present.

    Improvement
    Secondary to safety is improvement; personal, professional, mental and physical improvement. At Yoga Hero, we believe every time you step on your yoga mat is a hero win. Every time you decide to do your yoga, or your meditation, or your journalling or your rest, it’s a huge contribution towards that continual improvement.

    We all have strength to build, patience to cultivate, philosophy to learn, anatomical knowledge to deepen or alignment to understand. As Yoga Heroes, understanding and respecting this is stage 1, and working towards your own improvement is stage 2; which lasts a lifetime.
    It is important to teach what you practice.
    Safety and improvement will feed in to the ethos that you as a yoga student and yoga teacher will cultivate. These two things feed in to every decision about whether to teach a class or not, what to teach in that class, the words you use, the adjustments you may make. Carrying this ethos with you will keep you present and mindful.

    Your Commitment
    In order to fully commit to this course, make a pact with yourself to practice yoga and meditation regularly; ideally daily. Make a pact to observe what comes up throughout the journey of this course, without judgement, and note this down in your journal, along with thoughts, notes about your yoga and meditation practice, and anything else that you like. This journal is for your eyes only. From this moment onwards: Practice what you teach, and teach what you practice. Be true to yourself as yoga student and teacher. Be authentic. Talk about what you’re passionate about, and you can leave the rest to one side. Your students will find you, or you’ll find them.

    So in summary, you’re not too [insert relevant reservation here about yourself] to teach yoga. In fact, the more yoga teachers represent wider society, the more wider society will see that yoga can be, and is, for them.

    Thank you so much for listening you wonderful heroes, I hope you found that useful, and I’m very much looking forward catching you next time!


    All of Yoga Episode List

    Episode 1 – Yoga Nidra for Deep Sleep

    Episode 2 – Ujjayi breath – the what, the why and the how

    Episode 3 – What is Yoga?

    Episode 4 – The thing about thoughts

    Episode 5 – Self love – the what, why and how

    Episode 6 – Yoga teacher training – the what, why and how

    Episode 7 – Micro rest, midi rest and maxi rest

    Episode 8 – Ways to deepen and advance your yoga practice

    Episode 9 – Styles of Yoga – Ashtanga

    Episode 10 – Forgiveness

    Episode 11 – Styles of Yoga – Yin

    Episode 12 – The four types of people and the four ways to treat them

    Episode 13 – Align your intentions and actions

    Episode 14 – How to prepare for your first yoga class

    Episode 15 – Tips for developing a regular yoga practice

    Episode 16 –  Start Yoga in September

    Episode 17: Styles of yoga – Restorative Yoga

    Episode 18: Beautiful guided Savasana

    Episode 19: Control the controllables

    Episode 20: How to stop overthinking, according to yoga

    Episode 21: Morning Yoga Nidra for a great day!