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Why You Should Take a Yoga Teacher Training…

When I signed up for Yoga Teacher Training in the Ishta lineage over 15 years ago in NYC, I had no desire to teach. I had a longing to understand why the practice was affecting me so deeply.

If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understand something, write about it. If you want to master something, teach.

I was not prepared for how yoga teacher training would change my life. That sounds quite dramatic, especially since my intention did not involve teaching. But it shifted the way I look and react to circumstances in life. When I was laid off from my job in publishing at Random House, (literally the day after I finished my teacher training) I had a different outlook and also the confidence and inspiration to try something new.

So if you are starting to feel a pull when you hear the announcement in class, you yearn for more when Savasana is finished, or you are beginning to ask questions… seriously consider a yoga teacher training.

Here are ten reasons it will be a transformative experience…

1. Deepen your physical practice.

So, you can’t do a handstand? Or touch your toes? Welcome! Although some might give pause and think that you need to be able to do certain asana, this is the perfect opportunity to learn variations and the alignment that is right for you; or, if you already have a really strong physical practice, be challenged in ways you might not find in class. You will explore the best options for your body in the present moment, how to take your practice to new heights, and also, how to allow your practice to support you.

2. Learn about pranayama and meditation.

Asana can really help us relax and burn off some of our extra stress and energy. Sometimes, however, it’s just not appropriate to start doing sun salutations. Often if pranayama and meditation are given in a flow class, it is just the tip of the iceberg. Practice and learn powerful breathing, pranayama, and meditation techniques, which will greatly benefit your practice and life.  (I learned one technique I return to time and time again in when I’m stuck in traffic.)

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3. Go deeper and learn the juicy stuff…

Anatomy, subtle body, Chakras, philosophy. This might seem intimidating – but learning about these subjects is sure to energize your asana practice and inspire your life. These subjects and ancient systems will deepen your understanding of yoga even further and teach you not just the “how” but also the “why.” It will give you a new perspective on how we view the body and mind and the people around us.

4. Get stronger and more flexible – in both your body and mind.

In my training I was gently told that I was not doing Chaturanga safely. This was a humbling moment for me but I listened. I began placing my knees on the floor until I could support the variation with knees lifted.  It’s not something I wanted to do, but because I was a little more open and receptive, I also gained more physical strength in a safe way.

5. Gain Skills that cross over into your life off the mat.

Yes, you will learn yoga techniques that will help you calm down, de-stress or energize. But as you practice, you will also learn to receive feedback. You will build confidence in yourself. And you will become better at public speaking. (You might have just cringed after reading that, but it is an essential skill for so many aspects of life!)

6. Invest in yourself/Practice self-care.

This is time for you. We often will give up much time for others but skip self-care for ourselves. You will be encouraged to create a self-practice; to journal, meditate and reflect. It will be a time to go inward and learn about yourself. You will learn how to create a practice that can support your life. When we take care of ourselves, we can better take care of those around us and the task at hand. Being a yoga student is a life-long journey and a teacher training will give you access to numerous tools both on and off your mat. Teacher training can help give you a different perspective, new techniques to bring into your life, and practice in responding rather than reacting to what is happening around us.

7. Build Your Community.

I have taught over 20 teacher trainings. Each group is special and unique. Most trainings come together on the first day with everyone being strangers. By the end, each individual believes they have the best TT group and could not imagine being in any other one. These are often bonds that last long after the training ends and often a lifetime. We are there to support one another.

8. Learn about your mind.

As we spend more time on our mats in asana or meditation, we can more accurately see where our mind wonders. We begin to notice truths about ourselves. We can even daydream more – which can be extremely beneficial to the brain. We begin to notice what our patterns are. And we notice what the dialogue is we are putting out into the universe. Once we have those answers, we can begin to shift and change those things as needed.

9. Learn to teach.

Yes, you will learn to teach a yoga class, how to sequence, how to create themes.  Perhaps just as importantly in this process, you will also learn to tap into your creative side, your inner wisdom and intuition.

10.  Yogi Bhajan sums it up.

“If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understand something, write about it. If you want to master something, teach."  – Yogi Bhajan