I have not always been a Yoga Teacher. I had an entire different career and raised a family before I started on my journey at my Yoga Teacher training.
I get a lot of questions like “How do you know if you are ready?”, and my answer always is always the same. If you are thinking about Yoga Teacher training, you are ready.
I thought it would be fun if for this post I shared the things I did to get myself ready for my training program.
Not too long ago I sat down and did a goal-setting exercise (check out my post on it here).
It became clear.
For years I have been dreaming about attending Yoga Teacher Training always just to set it aside as a someday goal.
Someday, when I can bend farther, have more time, etc., etc. But after my goal-setting exercise, I had a road map to get there.
I am a pretty chill person by nature, but my years of working for a major corporation taught me one thing, you can never be too prepared.
Because, of course, I am a yoga nerd like that, I scoured the internet, looking for articles on how to get ready for teacher training. I wanted to know how to better prepare myself for all my extra time at the studio, all the books I needed to read and learning Sanskrit! I was most definitely feeling a little overwhelmed and nervous.
If you are reading this article you fall into one of two different groups. One, you are signed up for YTT (Yoga Teacher Training) like me and you want to prepare, or two, you are thinking (or dreaming, just like I did) of signing up and want more information.
Well, the internet did not fail me. I found tons of information on how to prepare, I asked my yoga teachers, and talked to a few friends who have been through YTT for good measure. And this is what I found helpful.
Practice, practice, practice
Hands down, the thing I most often heard during my research was that the best thing you can do to prepare for your yoga teacher course is to keep up with your own practice!
When making my goal I tried to keep in mind the physical demands of a full day of yoga and what asanas I personally felt I needed to work more on. I felt with this goal I needed to be pretty familiar with the most common poses before training, proper alignment, and because I tend to be competitive (I know, I am working on it) really nailing them.
GOAL – Practice 6 days a week, and have one day of rest.
The second to the biggest recommendation I got from my friends who have gone through training was to start getting familiar with some yoga lingo. You probably know more then you think already if you hit up a class regularly. Often in YTT, you will receive a recommended book list to support you through this learning journey. Things I personally wanted to work on were:
- key concepts
- the Sanskrit names of the poses
- the all-important 8 limbs of yoga.
Here is the reading list that I put together for myself:
- The Yoga Mind by Rina Jukabowicz
- Teaching Yoga by Mark Stephens – on every list I looked up
- Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates – this book has some great information in it, and there is a small entry to read every day so the information does not get too overwhelming
- The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book by Kelly Solloway – a fun way to learn anatomy!
For my Yoga Teacher Training, they do not encourage you to eat any specific way, but to focus on healthy choices. A lot of YTT’s suggest a plant-based diet. I already eat plant-based, so mostly I am focusing on cleaning up any junk that creeps into my day-to-day diet.
Yoga teacher training is an intense time for you and your body and most that I have talked to encourage a plant-based, nutrient-dense diet because it leaves the body energized with vitality and more resilient to unwanted symptoms like illness and disease.
Goal – For me, since I was already living a plant-based life, there was not much prep here. But I did focus on nixing the junk and eating only whole organic foods, drinking lots of water, and limiting my wine.
Just be where your feet are
It’s hard to switch off from the busy world around us, especially if you’re a mom or you have a busy job. To get the most from your training the best advice I received was to be present on your mat. It can be tempting to think that you are being selfish, that you don’t deserve this, or you should be getting something else done. This is not the case.
Plan your time so that you can fully immerse yourself during your training and know that everything in the outside world will be okay.
Goal – Getting the house clean and ridiculously organized! I made sure my bills are on auto-pay and any little things like that were set up as much as humanly possible so I could keep my focus on being present for my training. This had been my dream for years and I wanted to treasure every second and soak up as much knowledge as possible with limited distractions.
Know Your Why
What is the reason for attending this yoga teacher training? Whether you are intending on teaching or just want to strengthen your own practice, time and again I read this from my research. There are plenty of reasons why you may consider yoga teacher training and I’m sure you have your own. It’s a good idea to become clearly attuned with this intention for you to reflect on it during your training.
Goal– I knew I wanted to teach. In my former career, I had the opportunity to teach professionals and I miss that connection. I had every intention of sharing my yoga as much as possible. That said, I believe that reaching your goals is easier if you break them down to specifics. For me, that meant figuring out how much I want to teach, where I want to teach, and what do I want my specialties to be.
Prepare to be transformed!
One last thing. Another biggie from my research was this all-knowing glow that people who have gone through YTT all have.
Goal – Be prepared to share your experiences, all the ups, and downs with your fellow Yoga Teacher Trainees, be pushed out of your comfort zone, and become a real yoga instructor.