By Paige Galster for Yoga by Paige.
Deciding to embark upon the journey in becoming a yoga teacher is no easy feat. It’s one of those decisions that can quite literally change the course your life path forever.
I remember back in 2011; I was drifting in time and space and unsure of the next step in my path. I was living in Madrid, Spain and working as a live-in nanny or au pair. I felt in my bones that I was at a crossroad but unsure of whether I would put roots down in Europe or make my way back to the states. It was during this transitional phase that I learned one of the yoga teachers I admired and respected was offering a 200-hour yoga teacher training; something I wanted to do ever since my first yoga class in college. I spent time sitting alone in a park while watching over the little boy I was caring for and surrendering my next steps to the Universe. That evening, I applied to Tiffany Cruikshank’s 200-hour teacher training and had no idea if I would be accepted to her program.
After a week of waiting, I was accepted into the yoga teacher training program, which set my return to the states in motion. It felt amazing to have a renewed sense of purpose. After settling back into life in the Pacific North West, I prepared as best as I could with the prerequisite work we received (daily practices and books to read). Our program began in the fall with a one-week intensive, which continued to meet every weekend from September until early February, where we ended with another one-week intensive. To say I was woefully unprepared for the experience would be an understatement.
On the first day of our first week-long intensive, I walked into our practice room a few minutes before 7 am only to find a woman holding a perfect handstand in the middle of the room. I remember feeling like I should have just turned around and left at that point. I totally had a WTF moment, thinking that I had no business being in a room with people that were that advanced and that maybe I was accidentally accepted to this particular program. As you know, I stuck it out and stayed. I worked through my own insecurities in the process—reminding myself that we are all on our own individual journey, knowing that comparison is the thief of joy. Grant yourself grace to be human and honor your own journey.
After making it through my two-hundred hour yoga teacher training, I’ve since gone on to work through my 500-hour certification and am now actively working on 1,000-hours of training with Yoga Medicine. What I can say is that there are always nerves and what-if scenarios that arise, no matter how many trainings I complete. So, if you’re preparing for your first yoga teacher training or even diving back in for additional training, here are a few things to expect and how to better prepare.
Long, Yet Fulfilling Days
Most days will start with an early morning asana practice that will fuel the learnings in lecture throughout the day. After a lengthy practice, you’ll break for breakfast before settling into the first lecture for the day. If you’re lucky, you’ll have seats or back support, if not be prepared to use your creative juices to arrange props in a way that you can actively listen and feel comfortable while sitting on the ground. You’ll have a nice break for lunch—where I encourage you not to study but instead take a walk, listen to feel-good music, move your body. After lunch, round two of lecture will begin, leading right into a restorative evening practice before dinner. Each night before bed, review your notes for 30-minutes or talk through your learnings with a partner. It helps to solidify the new information while sleeping. A little down time and studying goes a long way.
It’s usually around day three or four when things start to get blurry, and signals begin to cross. Without fail, there’s always this moment of uncertainty, as if you’re in over your head. The information you’re trying to learn might feel insurmountable, but I promise that if you stick with it, by the end of the
week, everything usually begins to gel together. Trust that as you return home to implement your new learnings, you might even surprise yourself with how much knowledge you’ve acquired. Be sure to take plenty of notes and try your best to remain attentive during lecture.
Nearly every person I’ve ever met in any of my yoga trainings has been awesome! There are so many interesting people living their best lives and have so much to share. Be open to everyone you encounter; you never know what their life story is or how much you might be able to learn from the folks that are in your training class. I’m proud to say that many of my lifelong friendships have grown from yoga teacher trainings.
You’re in for a life-changing experience no matter what, remember to be open to possibility, leave all expectations at the door, and trust the process!
Good luck & enjoy,