Now that it’s been a month since I finished my 200 hour yoga teacher training, I thought I’d put together some of my thoughts about the training and what I learned. It was such a big, all encompassing thing when I was going through it, I feel like I can better reflect on it now that I’ve had some time to let it all sink in.
I went into my yoga teacher training thinking that I’d learn about anatomy, alignment, and all the physical parts of the practice of yoga, but it ended up being more of a journey inward for me. I ended up learning a lot about my self that I wasn’t expecting.
I completed the 200 hour Yoga Alliance certified training at Passage Studios. Tracy Mann, Dr. Carol Hutchinson, and Tanis Fishman lead the training. It was run roughly every other weekend, Friday evening from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm, and all day Saturday and Sunday, 9 am to 4 pm, Mid September to the end of March. We had a one hour lunch break on Saturdays and Sundays.
We typically did one yoga practice Friday night, and two each on Saturday and Sunday, for a total of 5 throughout the weekend. When we weren’t practicing we were listening to the teacher lecture, working in small groups going over anatomy or creating classes, or practice teaching each other in small groups. Passage runs yoga teacher trainings during weekends during the school year like I did, or a month long intensive during the summer where you’re there 5 days a week all day. I knew that I wanted to spread my learning out so that I could really absorb it and take in what I was learning. I thought it would be a bit too overwhelming for me to do the summer intensive.
Tracy generally covered the poses, modifications, and the business of yoga, Carol covered anatomy, and Tanis did the philosophy of yoga, meditation, and sequencing. We covered everything from Sanskrit, modifications, different branches of yoga, assisting, pranayama (breathing), sequencing, teaching skills, and so much more.
Committing to yoga teacher training
Yoga teacher training had been in the back of my mind for years to be completely honest. I finally decided that I just had to do it – there would never be a perfect time for me to commit to it.
I had spent some time talking with a friend who’s also a yoga teacher and she really encouraged me to do it. Being someone who likes to have tons of information and know all the options before I made a big decision, I did a lot of research before I decided on a yoga teacher training. I checked out lots of different studios offering teacher trainings (the studio I started yoga at doesn’t offer a teacher training or else I would have loved to do it there). I finally decided to do mine at Passage Studios because they had a great reputation and I thought I could learn a lot from Tracy, Carol, and Tanis. I had also talked to someone who had done her training at Passage Studios and she had only good things to say about it and the teachers.
Going through teacher training
It was intense to say the least. Each weekend was like a mini yoga retreat and we were immersed in the world of yoga. Pretty much the only thing I did on those weekends was the training. I spent a bit of time on some of the weekends with my boyfriends, but I found that those weekends were more draining.
By the time I got home on Sunday evenings I was exhausted, but a good kind of exhausted because I was learning about something that I’m really passionate about.
Some days I couldn’t get enough yoga and learning, and other days I was ready to be done at noon because I felt like I had absorbed as much as I could already.
I also learned that being an introvert in a group of 20 other people all weekend can be tough. To help with that I took advantage of the lunch breaks and left the studio to have some alone time. That usually meant going to buy my lunch and then go for a quick walk before I had to be back for the afternoon session.
I did a lot of yoga (obviously) every weekend of yoga teacher training. We usually did about 5 hours of yoga throughout the weekend. We were expected to do 4 or 5 practices on our own throughout the week. They could be at home practices or at studios, but the expectation was that we were doing yoga most days throughout teacher training. It makes sense that if we were going to teach it to others, we would have a good foundation of practice for ourselves.
Doing that much yoga meant that I learned a lot about yoga just by doing it. It was eye opening how much my practice varied day by day. My body wasn’t the same from one day to the next, and I had to learn to be okay doing a pose on Saturday and having to modify it on Sunday.
One thing I really appreciated about yoga teacher training was that you didn’t have to be an amazing yogi that could do flying crow or a handstand. As long as you were enthusiastic, willing to try, and were dedicated to your practice, that was enough. Yes, there were some people who were able to do advanced poses, but there were also a lot of injuries and even a pregnancy, and everyone was still able to participate fully. It was all about the modifications.
Meditation and pranayama
Yogic meditation was completely new to me. I had used Headspace regularly before to meditate, but I hadn’t done much of it in yoga classes before. In fact, I had never done a yoga nidra class before I did my first one in teacher training.
I ended up learning so much, and to my surprise enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I had some experience with ujjayi breath since I started my yoga journey with ashtanga yoga, but I had never done any of the other pranayamas. I again learned so much about the breath and was glad to be exposed to a part of yoga that I hadn’t experienced much of before.
I wasn’t expecting to form the relationships that I did with the other people in my yoga teacher training. I got to know everyone way more than I thought I would. It honestly feels really good to know that I have a close group of fellow yoga teachers that I can reach out to if I have any questions or need some advice.
I think we all had moments when we struggled during teacher training, whether it was getting the Sanskrit names of poses down or forgetting the next pose we had planned when we were practice teaching. There was always someone with a kind word or some encouragement when it was needed though.
Learning to teach
I knew that I wanted to teach yoga when I enrolled in teacher training. There were also some people there who just wanted to deepen their own practice, but I think the majority of people there saw themselves teaching afterwards.
When it came to teaching my very first sun salutation to a small group of classmates, I was absolutely terrified an I’m pretty sure that I was terrible. I learned so much through the act of actually teaching my fellow classmates. There’s honestly only so much that you can learn though reading the manual or listening to someone talk about teaching.
I had to conquer my fear of being in front of people and just do it. I had to trust that I knew what I was doing. Do I still have room to improve? Absolutely, but I’m so much more prepared now that I was before.
I’m so that that I took the plunge and signed up for yoga teacher training. I learned so much, not just about yoga, but also about myself. I’m very grateful to both my three instructors, but also my classmates. I’ve learned so much from all of them.
Have you completed yoga teacher training? What was your experience like?