For those who are considering embarking on their yoga teacher training, congratulations!! That is so exciting! Whilst I think it's fair to say that anyone can go on this journey - whichever one that may be - from personal experience I believe that it is a decision that shouldn't be made lightly and before signing up to anything it is always good to consider a number of things. Please be aware that the factors I discuss below are based on my own experience and certainly shouldn't be taken as 'the rules' for teacher training but hopefully they will prove helpful for those who are considering going on this journey.
Do your homework and trust your gut
There are a lot of amazing programs out there so it's really important you do your homework before signing up to one. Just because a course is based in a beautiful location or because your friend did it doesn't mean it is the one for you. Each course offers something different and it is important to consider what it is that you are seeking to get out of the programme and what is important to you. For example, would you rather come home every evening for some downtime or spend your free time in an unknown place? Do you want a more spiritual experience or do you want to drill down and cover as many styles of yoga during your training as possible?
Equally, you should consider time and money as training requires an injection of both. Obviously you don't want these things to make the decision for you but it is something that needs to be factored into your final decision. Can you afford to pay for the training you want to do - if the answer is no then wait and save and when the next time comes do it then. It is best to trust your gut and do the one that you think is for you next year rather than opting for a more financially viable option now because you don't want to wait. Whilst the program will still be fantastic you don't want to look back and regret not doing the scheme that your heart was set on. Equally, do you have the time? Whilst I wasn't working during my course, it was set out over six weekends before finishing with nine days intensive meaning those who were working only had to take five days off work during the whole program. Other trainings require much more of a time commitment however making it a more complicated option if you want to maintain your current job. Whilst this can be worked around one way or another - there is always a way - it is worth ensuring that you can commit to the training and give it your all rather than being torn between that life and your existing day to day one.
Once you have decided on your course then it is so so beneficial to commit entirely. Absorb as much as you can from the reading list provided pre and during your course as this will help all your learnings fall in to place faster over the duration of the program. Equally, commit physically. As mentioned in my previous blog, the training is tough on your body and some days you just don't want to hit the mat. Whilst I think this is something every yogi who has been through the experience can relate to in one way or another there is no doubt that the more you put in physically the more you get out. Your body will adapt faster and you will be able to learn more about the poses, the sequence and also the relationship between the mind and the body. Don't get me wrong, you are allowed to rest and it is key to listen to what your body needs but commitment to the mat is key.
It is also really important to commit to the diet changes. Yes they are tough, no sugar, caffeine or alcohol - and some courses also prefer you cut out meat - but the results are HUGE. Once you get over the headaches or the lack of energy - both of which I experienced - you will start to have more energy than you've ever had. You will enjoy nourishing your body and reaping the benefits. This is all part of the cleansing process and is really important if you want to make the most of what you have invested in. If you have the odd slip up then don't beat yourself up, we're all human after all, but I would really consider what this will mean giving up if you are considering you teacher training and ensure that you are happy to make these changes as part of your journey.
It's not easy
Yep that is right, don't think it will be a walk in the park. You will make some amazing friends, you're practice will improve significantly and you will probably feel the best you have ever felt in both mind and body at the end of the process but the road there is bumpy. Yes you have your ups but you will also have your downs. This isn't something to be afraid of as it is totally normal and all part of the healing process that you need to go through but there could be tears - some of which you might not even understand, I certainly didn't - and you will be pushed out of your comfort zone. when it comes to the psychological struggles my advice is to trust in the process. There will most likely be days you question why you are being asked to do certain things but you're being asked for a reason so open your mind and allow these things to happen as they should.
Whilst you want to take the journey seriously the most important thing you can do is have fun. I laughed so much during my training and I look back at every single day with fond, happy memories. I find joy in the friendships that I made and often laugh when I think back to some of the things that we had to do, the jokes that were made and the experiences that were shared. Having fun won't take away from your learnings, it will add to them and help you to grow during your journey of self discovery. Life is here to be lived and if you're able to do it with a happy heart this will shine outwards and light up other people's lives as well as your own.
I could go on and on and on and...you get the message..about what to consider but hopefully these points will give you some food for thought before taking the next step. Don't forget, there are so many studios and teachers out there that will be happy to chat through these sort of things with you so don't ever feel overwhelmed or alone in making the decision. It is exciting and by stepping into the unknown you are able to enrich your life significantly. I know I did.