By Ashley Lorenzo, CSOY Alumni 2014
Yoga has become widely available in Western society and millions of people see the value in practicing it. Some have recently fallen in love and are in the honeymoon stage where it seems like the greatest thing that has ever happened to them. Others have been in and out of yoga studios for years and have seen teachers come and go and their personal practice evolve. Regardless of how long you have been practicing yoga, you have probably seen advertisements for yoga teacher trainings and wondered if it was the right choice for you.
Not all teacher trainings are created equal and it is important to determine which kind of training is the best for you. Regardless of which type of teacher training you are considering, you can expect to experience a transformation. The experience will transform you: body, mind and spirit. You will be embarking on a journey that will bring new friendships and inseparable bonds. It will help you to rediscover yourself, your truth, and push you to overcome your fears and insecurities. It is a trip of a lifetime!. Here are some ways to determine if you are ready for such an adventure:
1. You LOVE yoga.
First and foremost this is the most important. Your yoga practice ignites your fire, your passion and is something that you cannot imagine your life without. You aren’t committed to your practice only because of the aesthetic benefit. You have stayed with it because the practice has made a positive impact on your life in many ways. Does this same drive keep you coming back to your mat time and time again? The question is now; do you want to continue your dedication to this path? Do you want to share your knowledge of this practice with others?
2. You are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the practice.
Do you want to learn more so that you can take your understanding of yoga to the next level? Yoga Teacher Trainings have a way of blowing your mind wide open! Just like any subject, when you deepen your knowledge, you will quickly realize how very little you know. At this realization, you understand yoga is a life-long journey. This journey is like a rabbit hole, it is never ending and always asking us to keep learning and to remain curious. This new path will be your truest friend in life. It is always there for you, supporting you and lifting you up to higher standards. Your first yoga teacher training will lay down the foundation for you to walk strong on this path.
3. You have some uncertainty about if you are ready for this physically and mentally.
Yes, that is an item on the checklist - you didn’t read it wrong! Recognizing that you have room to improve is a sign of self-awareness and having doubts is human. What is more important than your physical capacity is that you have a desire to learn and improve on all levels. I cannot say this enough, let go of the idea that you are not bendy enough. Abandon the thought that you aren’t strong enough. In fact, wherever you are in your practice, you are enough. Your yoga teacher training will have SO much more to offer you than just gains in your flexibility and strength. One thing that you will learn in training is that there are 8 limbs of the yogic path. Asana, the physical embodiment, is only ONE of them. Furthermore, at the end of the day, you might never feel ready. It is common to feel this type of fear or insecurity; it is our very human nature. Often we will never experience that moment in any circumstance where we feel totally prepared to begin a new journey. This leaves us with few options. My advice is to take a leap into the unknown, because so often that is where the magic happens.
4. Your personal schedule allows you to commit to an in-depth study of the practice.
A yoga teacher training isn’t something that is done on the side. It isn’t something to check off of your to do list. It is not meant to be another stress to add to your life. Rather, it is an endeavor that should be pursued with your whole heart. It truly will become a sacred time, whether you set aside a whole month or select weekends to study. This allotted time for training will be a chance for you to learn and embody the practice. You MUST honor this time. The truth is, even though this time will be a challenging addition to your life, the hours will fly by in tears and laughter. It might even become some of the most important and life-altering work you will ever do.
5. You are called to serve.
Anytime you are going out to serve others or aspire to teach, it’s not really about you as much is about those who you hope to help and inspire. This does not necessarily mean that you plan or want to teach public classes. Teaching goes beyond the studio. It even goes beyond the asana, beyond leading classes, and beyond the certification. Teaching is about the way you show up in the world too. It begins to be about connecting with your purpose. Teaching is a gift. It is your service to others, your friends, and your family. Ultimately, the gift that your yoga teacher training will give you is the ability to tap into your joy and share your gifts with the world.
Did you resonate with this list of signs that you are ready? If you step towards a yoga teacher training, remember that you are about to enter a truly transformative experience filled with opportunity for growth and endless knowledge. There is truly very little to lose and much more to gain. Connect with your purpose. Awaken to your potential. Find your seat as the teacher and trust that that world needs what you have to offer.