Deciding to sign up to a Yoga Teacher Training can be exciting and also a little bit daunting. There are trainings worldwide so you can choose a program suited to you located in stunning locations such as Thailand, Bali, or India. Yoga teacher training 200-hour intensives are excellent courses designed to give you a strong and a foundational understanding of the ancient practice and the training to teach if you want to.
After you’ve chosen a course to join there’ll be prerequisites to contemplate before you sign up. But how do you know if you are ready or if you meet the requirements of a teacher training?
Often concerns that come up for potential trainees before they start a course is; Have I been practising yoga for long enough? Do I need more experience before considering becoming a yoga teacher? To join a Yoga Teacher Training future students do not need to have years and years of experience on the mat. Signing up with an open heart and an open mind are the best two things you can bring with you.
Ideally, you should have some regular practice experience prior to the course, so that you are comfortable with some of the basic yoga postures. Physically, these training intensives can feel demanding at times so having past experience will help you get the most out of your training without leaving you feeling too tired or too sore!
A minimum of 3 months of consistent practice will help you and your body prepare for the transformational journey ahead of you. Or, if you’ve been involved with a closely related fitness or sports training background this may also be an advantage to you, but this is not essential. If you are signing up to an Ashtanga or a Vinyasa Flow course it is useful to have participated in these styles of yoga beforehand, as they are both dynamic and fluid forms of yoga.
Undertaking a yoga teacher training will boost your own practice not only physically but spiritually, and emotionally too. It can be a completely life-changing experience but try not to set any high exceptions, instead treating each day as it comes with open arms and learning as much as you can. Focus on being dedicated yet realistic about what you hope to achieve as your experience will be unique to you and your journey.
Yoga is a practice for anyone and everyone to enjoy regardless of their age, experience, or background. We all arrive at the practice of yoga at different stages in our lives and it does not matter what age you are when you decide to take part in a yoga teacher training. Emotional maturity is something required in all students during a course, so it’s about undertaking a training at the right time for you and that is something that you’ll have to decide.
Teaching yoga is about guiding your students to do their personal best, and it’s not about how young and flexible you may be. With a training course you’ll learn the mechanics behind teaching and how to apply it to a class and that is what matters.
Different students need different teachers, often teachers that are relatable to them, and certainly not everyone in a class is in their early to mid-twenties! Some of the best teachers who discovered yoga later in life are able to draw upon a wealth of life experience and mould this seamlessly into their teachings. Some students will look for teachers who are mature and how the teacher may be able to empathise with what season of life they are in. There is no age limit to become a yoga teacher, it’s a continuous, lifelong practice and you’ll learn even more as time goes on.
That being said, don’t feel put off signing up to a teacher training if you are young too. Yoga is for all ages and not everyone in a class with be more mature either. As a young teacher you may end up inspiring other young people to take up the practice which will help them as they age and move through the different transitions of life. Many mature students often comment that they wish they’d found yoga when they were much younger! Teaching with your heart is what matters, not your age.
During the course you will get plenty of practice cueing postures and demonstrating parts of teaching before you graduate. A teacher training is a transformative experience and you’ll be supported by caring and experienced teachers who want to see you thrive as a new teacher. It doesn’t matter if you have never taught anything before, as you practice leading other students on the course your confidence will grow. The teachers that run the courses will be on hand to offer advice and will be there for you if you have questions or if you need a boost! Starting to teach can seem scary but you’ll have plenty of support from your yoga family to encourage you on your way. Advice on how to set yourself up as a teacher will be covered on the course, as well as tips on how to run your yoga business as your teaching grows. Just remember, all the best yoga teachers had to start somewhere and had to dig deep to put themselves out there, you can do it too!
Often when we think of yoga teachers, we think of them demonstrating advanced postures, having unlimited flexibility and superhuman strength, however you do not have to master every posture to be a great teacher. It’s about being able to guide others on the path of yoga and to help them with poses that are suitable for their bodies. From a personal perspective, it’s about enjoying your practice and accepting where you are in your journey. All of our bodies look different and move differently, your body is unique and there is no competition in yoga. There is absolutely no requirement to be able to fit both feet behind your head whilst balancing on one finger!
Set an intention to meet your training with a desire to learn, whilst also accepting any achievements in any postures that may happen during the course, but letting go of any need to be perfect in your practice. Early starts and evening practices can make the days seem long at times, so bringing a dose of self-motivation and a willingness to learn can help you stay on track. Reading up on any suggested reading material advised by your school before the course will help set you up and will steer you towards a deeper understanding.
Showing support to your fellow trainees is something that is also important. You’ll become part of a special family that’ll laugh, cry, and smile together. Not every day will be easy but not every day will be difficult either. Supporting each other will help you understand that you are all human and you are all in it together.
Not every student signs up to a training course in order to become a fully-fledged Yoga Teacher, some join to simply encourage their own practice. An intensive course is a fantastic way of deepening your understanding of yoga and as a way of enhancing your time on the mat. By immersing yourself in a training you can gain a greater understanding of the other aspects of the practice other than just the physical postures. Other important topics such as philosophy, breathing practices, functional anatomy, and the rich history of yoga, are all explored during a 200-hour course. You’ll also be taught how to incorporate yoga into a busy modern lifestyle and you’ll build on the tools to apply these practices to your own life. It’s a real chance to get to know your body, mind, and spirit better whilst using ancient wisdom to guide you through a lifetime of practice.
Some trainees change their mind during the course and decide to teach afterwards but it doesn’t matter if you choose to do this or not. Or you may not feel ready to teach yet or, perhaps you believe that being a yoga teacher is not part of your path but you would love to learn more about the practice. If you are at a crossroads and you are in need of connection, a restart, or a reboot, a yoga teacher training can be used as a powerful investment to find real change within your life.
Contrary to popular belief yoga is not a practice only for women, it is for all. In the beginning, yoga was a male-dominated practice and it’s only since the resurgence of yoga in modern times that the ratio has switched and we see a lot more women in classes. Some of the most renowned yoga instructors are men, and they are known for their teaching ability and their connection to their students without their gender playing a part. As different students will seek out different teachers, some practitioners will prefer a male teacher. Yoga is open to everyone, regardless of your background or gender. A teacher training will give you the ability to thrive as teacher, no matter where or who you are planning on teaching. Everyone is welcome to join!
If you are planning on becoming pregnant or if you are, signing up to do an intensive training course is best avoided until after the birth and after your recovery. Pre-natal and post-natal courses are available worldwide to study and this is something you can consider once you have completed a 200-hour course. Pregnancy yoga differs from a regular yoga practice, as some yoga poses and yoga practices carry contraindications during pregnancy and should be avoided. Taking time out to experience pre and post-natal yoga will enrich your yoga journey. Once you’ve completed a 200-hour course, your experience of pre and post natal yoga will be something you can apply to your teaching to help pregnant students, adding another element to your classes.
Before signing up, remind yourself what inspired you to consider a yoga teacher training originally. Think about what your motivation is for doing a course. If you are passionate about helping others experience and spread the magic of yoga, then let that lead you forward! As once you finish, you’ll have all the tools to be a great teacher.
An intensive course is a brilliant start to stepping confidently into teaching yoga or simply absorbing its mechanics and its history. It creates a strong foundation for teaching but is also a fantastic tool for self-development and personal growth. As a teacher, and as a student of yoga, your learning will continue long after you’ve gained your certification. Remember to let your experience guide you, follow your heart, and you never know where it could lead you.