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BEYOND YOGA, WHAT ARE YOUR UNIQUE GIFTS?
When considering the type of Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) that would be best suited to you, an ideal place to start is by asking the right questions. So, let’s start with these two:
Beyond yoga, what unique skills do you have? What are you passionate about? Are you a dancer? Are you a singer? Are you into physical fitness?
And…what kind of healing has yoga brought you? Has it helped you to slow down? Has it helped you to heal anxiety? Has it helped you to heal from physical impairment? Has it helped you to heal emotionally? Has it helped you to lose weight?
- What lights you up? and,
- What has yoga offered you? What transformative shifts has yoga brought you from the subtle to the gross, from the mental, emotional and/or the physical?
It is very likely that the transformation yoga has offered you is still a bit fuzzy – because transitions are a time of change and upheaval, and this can be a lot of new territory to navigate. That’s okay. It’s also likely that you’re uncertain about what fires you up. Maybe you have a whole plethora of interests. Maybe you haven’t had the time to stop and consider what it is that YOU love. That’s also okay. These are great starting points for self-inquiry.
ALL TRAINING PROGRAMS WILL PROVIDE YOU EXPERIENCES FOR YOUR BEST TEACHING
And ultimately, there’s no wrong place to start or land when it comes to a YTT. It’s all going to be useful in your learning and teaching journey. Your life experience is what makes you a great teacher. By taking risks and diving into experiences that are uncomfortable, you’ll have an ability to speak to an audience of practitioners who can relate on a personal level to the transformation these new experiences bring you, whatever those unexpected shifts are.
It’s also important to remain open to the possibility that your concept of yoga before your training may shift entirely by the end of your training, and that’s perfect. It indicates adaptability and growth, which are essential to the success of any teacher.
THERE ARE SO MANY TYPES OF YOGA, HOW DO I CHOOSE JUST ONE?
FIRST OF ALL, POSTURAL YOGA IS A MODERN INVENTION
A common misperception people have is that yoga is mostly a physical or postural practice. When in fact, postures make up a small portion of a much larger system in the yoga tradition, which incorporates meditation and breath work amongst other less physically demanding aspects.
Further, the postures that you most commonly see today in yoga āsana were developed recently, less than 100 years ago, deriving from British gymnastics and military training exercises.
Thus, a lot of recent creative freedom went into the development of what we now call yoga. And, many, though not all, of the systems and/or styles of yoga being taught in YTT’s across the world are modern inventions based on adaptations of traditional teachings.
If none of this matters to you, and you gravitate towards a more physically demanding practice or a physically bendy practice, or a movement-centric practice, then you’ll want to find a training program that focuses more of it’s training hours on Anatomy & Physiology, Sequencing, and on cultivating awareness of movement and exercise as it related to curating a class.
In this respect, finding teachers who’ve trained under Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (T. Krishnamacharya) may be fruitful, as he is a founding father of postural yoga as practiced today. B.K.S. Iyengar (Iyengar Yoga), Sri Pattabhi Jois (Ashtanga Yoga) and TKV Desikachar (his son) were all pupils under T. Krishnamacharya and pioneers of modern yoga exercise as we know it.
SO THEN, WHICH PART OF YOGA ARE YOU MOST DRAWN TO?
What kind of yoga practices do you have an interest in? What part of yoga really captures you?
- Do you love BREATH WORK more…
- Do you want to UNDERSTAND THE ROOTS AND CONTEXT OF YOGA more…
- Do you want to specialize in YOGA ANTARAṆGA PRACTICES (I.E., MEDITATION) more…
- Do you want to lead KIRTAN AND/OR DEVOTIONAL CLASSES more…
- Do you want to use YOUR VOICE as a path to yoga, through SONG OR VOCAL PRACTICES…
Yoga comes from a tradition of teaching that takes lifetimes to master. Be realistic and practical in understanding that the depth of the wisdom tradition may take much longer than 200-hours, 300-hours, or 500-hours to comprehend, or to embody. Some people are meant to have awakenings that are immediate, and for many others it may take a lifetime. Be patient with that. Be okay with that. Remain humble to the mystery of what you don’t yet know, and own what you do know to be true in your experience.
ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE
Once you’re clear on what you’d like to get out of your training, you can set out on a mission to find those teachers or a program that will offer you what you’re looking for. Teachers will respond to your demand, so the sooner you start asking around, the sooner you’ll land on a great starting point for your journey. If you’re certain of what you’re looking for, be willful in your inquiries, and remain receptive to feedback.
A HIGHLY SUGGESTED OPTION: A NON-RYT PILGRIMAGE
If you don’t ultimately care about being registered with Yoga Alliance, and you’re committed to learning at all costs, you could travel through India and visit different ashrams to have a more authentic experience of Sanātana Dharma as it’s being taught in its homeland.
Some of these ashrams may even offer 200-hr YTT’s in addition to other non-YA registered programs and daily satsangs (gatherings) that will enrich your experience and give you a more authentic cultural context to the traditions being adopted/adapted more modernly.