So. You think you would like to teach yoga, huh?
Here are steps that are essential before you dive in for just any yoga teacher training.
It is such a simple philosophy to live by, but also rich in history. It is a complete way of life for me now, and when I think back it all started with a vinyasa flow class! If you are open and already an asana loving yogi, I highly recommend taking lots of different classes at various studios. All methods of asana have something different to offer. Vinyasa flow was and still is my first love, but there is so much to the practices of yoga. Some methods offer a mix of pranayama, asana, and chanting. I never thought I would love Kundalini, but while teaching at a retreat in Cambodia, I found I loved it! If you like ceremony and ritual, give it a whirl. Remember to stay in beginner mind, the curious yogi being open to new things, and you will find what resonates with you most, and what calls you. When you find it, that will most likely be what you want to teach.
Do lots of research and ask lots of questions! Every teacher training is different, in various ways. Some are one weekend a month for 9 months, some are a month long, or 1-2 weeks. Most of us in the world have lives that must be put on hold for these trainings, so know what you are getting into! Is there required reading? Is this the training you want to attend with your whole heart? Does it feel aligned, and light you up? If possible, ask previous trainees what their experiences were. This will give you insight into how reputable, skilled, and professional it is.
Many of us put our life on hold for these trainings. In fact, it is akin to taking a vacation. Be sure that you can be fully immersed in the experience you have chosen to invest in! There are many details to iron out. Is there housing? Transportation? What will you need to bring? Be sure that you set everything aside in your life to be completely present for this experience. I have loved and valued every training I have ever done, and it is a different experience every time! I was always grateful to carve out the time in my life for it, because being able to completely involved in it truly solidified the curriculum.
You may or may not decide to go on to be an active teacher. If you decide you are going for it, get out there right away! Reach out to friends, co workers, family. Ask to teach them all. In my last training I met two girls who both started up teaching yoga in a barn. If this is something that strikes a cord in your heart, find creative ways to teach! Go to your local studios, the YWCA, community centers. I taught once a week at a gym and a halfway house when I started out. I just wanted to teach! Curious about teaching in other parts of the world? Yoga Trade is the way to go! There are so many opportunities for new and experienced teachers. I was able to fulfill my desire for teaching at a retreat for two months in Cambodia this way. If you want to travel and combine teaching, this is an amazing way to do it.
In my professional opinion, if you really want to carve out a career in the yoga industry, it is best to become part of a studio or community where you can have a mentor that will give you feedback on your teaching. Many teachers can be fragile, and not open to feedback, but this is how you become a great teacher. I only teach at studios where the method of yoga I instruct is highly valued. We all give each other feedback, but make sure that the feedback is on par with the intention of the class.
What I say next may ruffle some feathers, but here is the truth. Yoga could be highly accessible, if we took a little of the woo woo out of it. Now, I am all for the woo woo, but what about the people out there in the world who could really benefit from it? The people who are stressed and anxious, but totally intimidated by yoga. Anxiety and depression are always on the rise, and the therapeutic aspects of yoga helps many. A large part of teaching is providing many opportunities throughout the class for an awakening in the practitioners. Remember that when we teach a class, we are in service to others, and the best thing you can do for them is to make it about them, and not you.
Enjoy your flourishing new career!