Somehow, I had an inkling that the person I would be when I came home from my ten-day yoga teacher training would be changed in every way – mentally, spiritually, physically – and that the changes would be deeply transformative for all areas of my life.
Almost five years later, the experience is still one of the most profound events of my life. I can almost divide my life “before” and “after”. Yes, it was that good, it was that much worth it. There’s no doubt that taking this yoga teacher course remains one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
For one thing, once you’ve made the decision to go on a yoga teacher training, and you’ve done all the research and found the teacher who resonates with you the most, you’re essentially signing up for an experience where you will be surrounded by completely like-minded people pursuing the same goal you are.
I was in a completely positive environment for ten straight days from dawn until bedtime. Everyone involved in the training was dedicated to nurturing us and teaching us yogic practices. All of them were so kind and loving.
Yes, it was hard – but not in the way I thought it would be. Although my body was pushed to its limit, it was my mind and my spirit that had the biggest workout. I came home utterly cracked wide open, with a new connection to Earth, to my fellow humans, to the spiritual world, and to yoga. That type of spiritual charging has stayed within me to this day; I find that the practice of ahimsa (compassion) to be effortless now, not only to others who are suffering but also to myself. It was transcendent.
My tips for your yoga teacher training
If you’re planning to sign up for a training retreat too, make sure you’re prepared. There are a few things to do:
First, do the assigned reading. If your training is anything like mine, you’ll be required to read the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras, among other historically important books. It’s also a great idea to familiarize yourself with human anatomy, this way you won’t find yourself in the position of cramming a lot of complex information at the last minute (my training included a test over the human body). Also, you might learn some common mantras in case your sangha chants or sings them.
What to bring
There are also a few things you should take with you. It’s possible that your particular teacher will tell you what to bring in terms of yoga mats, books, and props, but I also found it really helpful to have my own yoga mat wipes, refillable water bottle, and assorted snacks (particularly nuts and vegan protein bars for sustained energy).
My feet were really tight from going barefoot and sitting in lotus, so I brought a golf ball with me to roll under my feet several times per day. This made me very popular among my peers, as it seems like most yogis in my training were having flare-ups of foot issues, whether from plantar fasciitis or fatigue.
Bring a hand towel: you can use it as an eye mask, to blot perspiration, and to wipe any sudden tears!
Don’t forget paper and pen for taking notes and you may want some sort of prayer shawl for meditation.
Do spend some time on the mat before the retreat and get used to paying attention to your breath. Build a little endurance because it stands to reason that you will be asking a lot to your body during the training. Don’t overdo it, though, ‘cause it’s even more important to show up rested and with an open mind.
Always remember that the physical practice of yoga, the asana, is only one of the eight limbs, and if it’s a program grounded in the ancient tradition of yoga, you’ll be learning a lot! Soak it all in, enjoy the amazing atmosphere and the love of like-minded people. Ask the hard questions and go deep; you’ll transmit all these learning to your own students once you start teaching!
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Read more by Joe on ViveHealth.com.