It seems like everyone is getting their yoga teacher certification these days…
…an estimated 100,000 yogis registered with the Yoga Alliance in 2016 alone.
With teacher training courses popping up literally all over the globe, it seems like the natural ‘next step’ in your own yoga practice, right?
I mean, you don’t have to want to teach yoga just to become a certified yoga instructor. In fact, many students simply want to deepen their knowledge and understanding of yoga more than they want to teach!
SO many people think that they need to be ‘ready’ to attend a training program and that they need to have an Instagram-level asana practice to ever be ready to teach yoga.
That simply is not true (and you’ll learn that in your training program, anyway).
A teacher training program will focus more on the philosophical side of yoga, as taught in the Yoga Sutras, Bhagavad Gita, and Hatha Pradipika. It’ll talk about pranayama, meditation, chakras, and what it means to be a student of yoga.
And it will also talk about yoga postures.
So how do you know if you’re ready for a teacher training program, yourself?
Here are 10 signs that you are ready to deepen your knowledge and practice of yoga through a YTT program this year.
1. Your asana practice is the center of your life.
Time for an honesty check! Have you become “that” guy or girl? The one that’s usually saying things like, “Let me call you back, I’m about to walk into yoga” or “Oh sorry I can’t make it, that’s when my favorite Vinyasa yoga teacher is doing a workshop.”
You’re the one who is usually wearing yoga-ready clothes “just in case” and who keeps a back-up yoga mat in their car. The one who has a stack of yoga books in their living space and that stack is always growing.
If yoga is a top priority in your life, why not gift yourself some more time to study this practice that you love. Plus, if you go on to teach you’ll already have the dedication and passion it takes to be a great teacher!
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2. You feel stuck in your practice.
Have you been practicing for a couple of years and still aren’t sure what’s supposed to be happening with your arms in chaturanga? Or maybe you keep doing this alternate nostril breathing thing (aka pranayama) and you kind of like it but still don’t know exactly what you’re doing or why you’re doing it?
Perhaps you’ve dabbled with meditation for a few minutes here and there but don’t know how to do it consistently at home?
Why not fill in the gaps and get all your personal questions answered!
A teacher training program provides an in-depth study and one-on-one support that will help get you unstuck and take all aspects of your personal practice to the next level.
It will walk you through the yoga philosophy and connect you with the deeper meaning behind all those chaturangas you do in your personal practice.
3. You can’t do all the poses.
One of the most common misconceptions that I hear is that you need to be able to do advanced yoga poses in order to become a yoga instructor.
Well, guess what. That’s not true!
A good hatha yoga teacher training program will teach you all you need to know about a pose so you that can teach it even if you can’t do it yourself. In fact, sometimes it’s the poses that you really struggle with and put a lot of time into practicing that you become the best at teaching because you’re able to walk someone through each detail of the process from your first-hand experience.
So even if you complete your training no more able to balance on your hands or touch your toes than you were before the course, you can still be an excellent teacher!
Plus, once you get a deeper understanding of the yogic philosophy, you’ll recognize that ‘advanced yoga’ has a lot more to do with your daily life than a few backbends or arm balances.
4. You don’t think you want to teach.
Not being interested in teaching yoga is another thing that I hear all the time when people are thinking about doing a training. The awesome thing about teacher trainings is that it’s totally okay to not want to teach!
In fact, it’s fairly common.
Sure, some of the course will focus on helping you be ready to teach, but primarily you’ll be studying the practice of yoga itself. You’ll study pranayama techniques, how to bring your meditation practice into daily life, and how to move along your yoga journey through the eight limbs of yoga.
And you’ll also learn some teaching methodology.
So don’t let not wanting to teach stand in the way of you deepening your personal practice. Just think of it as investing in your future, because if someday you want to teach, whether formally at a yoga studio or casually for friends and family…
5. You want to meet like-minded people.
You’re telling your friends and family about the benefits of yoga and it’s always the same…
…that half-grin and glassy stare that says, “Here they go talking about yoga again.” And they’re just not convinced.
How cool would it be to be surrounded by other students that are as stoked on yoga as you are?
Not only can you yammer away all day long with people who also never tire of talking about yoga, but you’re guaranteed to leave with at least a few new friends and hopefully a mentor or two who are just as dedicated to yoga as you are.
After all, most people who are willing to drop a couple thousand bucks on a yoga instructor training are excited to walk next to you on the yogic path.
6. You’re kind of already doing it…
Teaching that is! You go camping and your friends ask you to teach a class because you’re known among your friends as the “yogi”. You show your family some yoga postures that you think could help them. Co-workers who are new to yoga ask for your suggestions on yoga studios, classes, teachers, etc. You’re already the resident yoga expert in your circle and even teaching free yoga classes.
Imagine how great it would be to learn tried-and-true teaching methodology, anatomy and physiology, and yoga teaching experience to help you become even better at doing what you’re already doing!
7. Yoga has helped you overcome something.
Whether it’s helped you recover from a physical injury, heal from a break-up, or get through a hard time in your life, yoga has seriously helped you get through some ish.
And that’s fabulous. That is your “why” or reason for teaching, which is to help others overcome their own obstacles with the tool of yoga.
That’s what the Yoga Sutras are all about, anyway.
The eight limbs of yoga are like a personal map of how to lead a happy and fulfilled life. That’s why it’s often referred to as the ‘yogic path’.
Because we’re all over here just trying to embody peace and happiness.
When you get your yoga certification, you’re learning how to share these tools with others (as well as yourself).
When you teach yoga from a desire to help others, your students will get even more benefit from your classes than clear instructions on how to contort their bodies into advanced yoga postures.
8. You’re ready for the challenge of inner work!
I’ll tell you the number one unadvertised secret of teacher trainings that I wish someone had told me…
Even if you’re not signing up for a full-on yoga therapy training, yoga and meditation are processes of inner discovery and are considered some of the healing arts. Just like you’ll be a bit sore and tired from the physical practice, you may also have some discomfort mentally or emotionally as you go through the transformative process of a teacher training.
As we become aware and learn about ourselves, we’re going to see what are called our “shadow sides”. It’s not uncommon to come face-to-face with our inner critic, jealous side, gossiper, negative-self…
…basically the worst version of you that is so attached to your ego. It will all feel like they’re all rushing to the surface in the context of a teacher training. This isn’t easy, but it’s a great thing! Some of the richest rewards of the practice of yoga come from knowing and learning to integrate our shadow-selves. Yoga helps us remember our perfection as we are, shadows and all.
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9. You’re ready to change your life.
Yoga teacher training courses give you a life-changing experience. Period.
If you’ve been feeling stuck like something wants to change in your life but you’re not sure what or how, a yoga teacher training might be the catalyst for change that you’ve been seeking. Whether radical changes or small ones, as you reconnect with your authentic self you will start to steer the course of your life to be more in alignment with your deepest desires.
A training program spends a lot of time on yoga philosophy, pranayama, and meditation. While you certainly do learn about the postures and the anatomy and physiology of these postures, that’s only one of eight areas that the yoga instructor training will focus on.
And all of those things combined shine a bright light on your ego, your wounds, and the clear path you must take to get out of them.
So let go of expectations about how this change could look and stay open to what comes. Then ride the waves of change with grace, as your training sessions will surely help you do.
10. You’re just drawn to do it!
You don’t know why but you just feel called. In fact, you’ve been secretly thinking about this training for a long time and your internet history is proof as it’s full of searches leading you to articles just like this one (thanks for stopping by!)
In free moments at work, you find yourself researching program tuition, maximum number of trainees, what the yoga alliance is, etc.
That’s your intuition telling you that you want to do a yoga teacher training! It’s just taking your intuition time to convince your rational mind that it’s okay to take the leap, follow this voice, and trust that it will work out.
Reconnecting with our intuition is a part of the journey of yoga, so if you’re just feeling like you want to do it, it’s time to listen to your inner wisdom guiding you!
There you have it! How’d you do?
If a few of these resonated with you, why not take the leap and get your yoga teacher certification to become a registered yoga teacher (RYT). Remember, it doesn’t mean you have to teach…
…but if someday you decide to teach you’ll be ready and able! If you decide to take the leap, hold on for one of the most amazing and transformative rides of your life!