Becoming a Yoga Teacher: My Teacher Training Experience
The experience of becoming a Registered Yoga Teacher….whew! Where to even start.
6 months ago I embarked on the incredible journey of pursuing my RYT200. I want to share my experience going through my 200 hour teacher training, my reflections, the things I loved, the things I was wasn’t expecting, and also my advice to you if you are considering pursuing your RYT200 as well!
A little bit of background
I have been a semi-regular yoga practitioner since high school. Regardless of my budget, or whatever exercise craze i was into at the time, yoga remained a constant love of mine - even during seasons where I was only able to get to a studio once every few weeks.
I have always been drawn to the physical, spiritual, and mental aspects of the yoga practice. I love the creativity of vinyasa flow, the beauty within the movement and breath, and how yoga makes the outside world melt away when I step onto my mat.
Finding the right teaching program
As I grew in my yoga practice, my desire to teach grew as well, but finding the right teacher training took a lot more consideration than I anticipated.
No two teacher trainings are alike. They vary in style, length, curriculum, price, and schedule - and a simple Google search can quickly become overwhelming.
I debated it, I meditated on it, I consulted with my loved ones, and in the end I went with what I felt I was being called to.
At the time that I began seriously considering going through teacher training, I was practicing at a studio that offered a training that wasn’t very friendly to my full-time work schedule or to my budget. I was just about to bite the bullet when a friend introduced me to a newer studio in Pittsburgh called The Om Lounge, and the more that I practiced there the more evident it became that this was where I was meant to be. Their passionate teachers, creative flows, and welcoming community made me feel connected - connected to my body, mind, spirit, and the people around me. It felt like hOMe (pun intended), and it just so happened that they were offering their first ever Yoga Teacher Training that winter (don’t you just love Divine timing?).
First and foremost, if you feel called to teach, follow that calling. It doesn’t matter how long or frequently you’ve practiced for, your intuition knows what’s up. Even if you don’t see yourself teaching afterwards, YTT is an incredible journey that will change your life.
Take the time to find a studio/training that you feel truly connected to. 1) You will be taught to teach tailored to the style of that particular studio. So even though there are specific types of yoga, i.e. vinyasa, each vinyasa studio has their own unique vibe and way of teaching. 2) You’re going to spend 200+ hours there between your teacher training schedule and maintaining your practice outside of training, so make it a studio that you love spending time at!
Ensure that any training you’re considering is a Registered Yoga School through Yoga Alliance
The journey to becoming a yoga teacher was exhilarating, and emotional, and overwhelming, and messy, and completely incredible in every way.
To start, I quickly learned that practicing yoga and teaching yoga are two completely different things. I had been doing yoga for years, but trying to guide people into even the simplest of poses and cue proper alignment felt like trying to speak a different language. Learning to teach started off a bit frustrating and discouraging for me, and it was a pretty big mental roadblock. I thought, How could I be bad at the one thing I’m here to do?
It gave me an incredible amount of respect and appreciation for yoga teachers, and I’ll never look at a yoga class the same again. Over time, it began to feel more natural and fun to teach, and it was a very humbling and rewarding learning curve for me.
Remember, you must be willing to be a beginner at something in order to ever be good at it
Enjoy the process of learning, don’t be critical of yourself, and celebrate all of the small victories along the way
Get comfortable getting out of your comfort zone!
Yoga teacher training also sparked a fire within me to expand my knowledge of yoga. Our 6 month curriculum consisted of asana (postures), history, philosophy, anatomy, pranayama (breathwork), meditation, chakras, Ayurveda, sequencing, class structure, and more. Our days were broken up between lectures, discussions, learning poses and alignment, practicing teaching, and physically taking yoga/meditation classes.
I loved learning past just the physical practice of yoga, and I found myself eager to continue learning and seeking additional books and resources. My training expanded both my educational and spiritual understanding and connection to yoga, and deepened my practice considerably.
That being said, there was also regularly assigned homework that often became stressful and overwhelming as deadlines approached and I still had the rest of life’s responsibilities hovering over my head. Some weeks it felt like I had a thousand and one things to accomplish between work, yoga, relationships, etc. - and you just have to learn to tackle it. It taught me to be kind to myself, and to find time to rest and breathe even in the midst of what can feel like chaos.
Be kind to yourself. Not every week is going to be a good week. Trust in your abilities.
Don’t procrastinate (like i often did:) )
Lastly, I didn’t realize how connected I would become to all of the incredible women in training with me. We were all on different paths along our life journeys, all felt called to training for different reasons, and all experienced different hardships and victories at different times - and yet, we couldn’t be more connected. Your trainee class truly becomes your tribe and your support system, and I’m so grateful for the friendships that I have made throughout my training. We laughed together, we cried together, we celebrated together, we worked our asses off together, and we will forever hold space in our hearts for each other.
So what happens next? Now that I’ve completed my training there are some general matters of business that I need to attend to, such as registering and becoming a member of Yoga Alliance, and obtaining liability insurance. After that, I’m already scheduled to begin teaching Community Classes at The Om Lounge and a couple of pop-up events here and there. I’m taking things one step at a time, and hopefully after gaining some experience I can transition into a regularly scheduled class at a studio:)
Register and become a member of Yoga Alliance
Get liability insurance (it becomes cheaper the more teachers you add to your plan)
Put yourself out there! Once you’re a RYT you have the qualifications to teach wherever you want.
Continue to learn. Remember to take time for yourself to get on your mat and practice, and keep expanding your yoga knowledge with books, workshops, podcasts, videos, etc.
Be yourself. Stay true to your voice, your teaching style, your vibe. You will gain a true following that way. Like my mentors reminded us continuously throughout training: There is a teacher for every student, and a student for every teacher
Simply put, yoga teacher training was the most rewarding experience I have ever gone through. I learned so much more than I ever expected (both about yoga and about myself), I connected with my practice and with the beautiful humans in my training deeper than I could have ever imagined, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.
I hope that this blog post was helpful to anyone considering going through their 200hr teacher training. If you have any questions or just want to chat I would love for you to reach out!
Note: This post was not affiliated with or sponsored by The Om Lounge in any way.