So you’ve followed your heart and decided to take your yoga journey to the next level by enrolling in your first yoga teacher training. Congrats!
Whether you want to become a yoga teacher or just deepen your own personal practice, you’re likely feeling mixed emotions right now; excitement, anticipation, and maybe some nervousness.
Of course, these feelings are completely normal as you don’t know what to expect from yoga teacher training. However, there are some things you can do right now so that you’ll be as prepared as possible.
Drawing from my experience, I’m sharing my 5 top tips on how to prepare for yoga teacher training success. Be sure to read until the end, as I’ll also discuss a common concern new YTT students have – ‘is it possible to fail yoga teacher training?’
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How to Prepare for Yoga Teacher Training
Yoga teacher training is the first step to becoming a certified yoga instructor. If you want to ace your upcoming YTT the key is knowing what to expect and knowing how to prepare for yoga teacher training.
So start working on these five things now to ensure success.
1. Start Practicing Yoga More often
If you’re planning to do an intensive YTT where you study every day for 3 to 6 weeks, you’ll need to prepare your body. On these courses, you’ll likely have two yoga practices daily, each lasting about 2 hours.
Chances are you don’t currently practise yoga for 4 hours a day! Your body will thank you later if you start increasing your practice now. Therefore, cultivate a daily yoga routine, aiming for at least one hour of daily yoga training.
If you’re only practising once a week now, start slowly, gradually increasing the regularity and duration. And remember to take rest days when you need to! Preparing your body for extensive asana practice beforehand will reduce physical fatigue during your course.
2. Explore Multiple Styles And Different Teachers
As you start doing more yoga, another way to prepare for yoga teacher training is to expand your practice by trying new styles and visiting different studios. This is especially important if you typically practise with one teacher and stick to the same class.
While there’s nothing wrong with having a favourite teacher and preferred style, remember that every teacher has a unique way of teaching. Thus, the instructors on your YTT may have a teaching approach that is very different from your current teachers.
By opening up your horizons and trying new styles, you’ll have a much broader knowledge of yoga teaching, which will help you during the course.
What’s more, if you’re planning to teach others, practising with different instructors will help you figure out what you like and don’t like when it comes to leading classes so that you’ll be a better teacher.
3. Study Some Yoga Philosophy
Asana is only one part of yoga so to prepare for teacher training start learning about the other aspects for this amazing practice. While the course curriculums vary, expect to learn a fair amount of yoga philosophy, such as its history, the 8 limbs of yoga, the yoga sutras, the use of Sanskrit, and ancient yogic techniques like mantras, mudras, and kriyas.
If you’ve never heard of these words before then read my article on essential yoga words and phrases before heading off for your course and you’ll have a much better idea of what to expect at yoga teacher training.
There are also some excellent books on yoga philosophy, which are easy to read and suitable for beginners. Check out Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar and The Heart of Yoga by T. K. V. Desikachar. These are two essential books to read when preparing for 200 hour yoga teacher training. Taking the time to study beforehand paid off as I had a grasp on the basics, so I did not feel totally overwhelmed in class! Here’s the 6 best yoga teacher training books to read to help you prepare.
You’ll probably also want to take some fictional reads to relax with – here’s 25 perfect books to read on a yoga retreat to inspire you.
4. Add Meditation & Breathwork To Your Practice
Aside from Asana and Philosophy, expect to study and practice these two other important aspects of yoga during your YTT: meditation and breathing techniques (known as pranayama).
If your yoga practice is currently purely movement based, it’s a good idea to introduce these two things. Get familiar with meditation by sitting in stillness for five minutes after your asana practice. Over time, extend the duration, aiming to be able to sit and focus on your breathing for 15 minutes every day.
Then, learn basic breathing techniques like Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) and Kapalabhati (breath of fire). You can find many great tutorials for them on Youtube.
Nadi Shodhana is a calming pranayama, so add this to a relaxing evening practice. Kapalabhati is energising, so try this in your morning practice to boost your energy levels.
If you are wondering what to food to expect from yoga teacher training, be aware that many yoga teacher training courses only serve vegetarian food, so if you’re not already eating a plant based diet it might be a good idea to start getting your body accustomed to eating less meat.
5. Learn The Sun Salutations
If you practise Hatha, Vinyasa, or Ashtanga yoga, you are likely already familiar with sun salutations. But do you know the sequence by heart?
One of the first asana-related things I learned in my YTT was how to teach sun salutations. Moreover, our first assignment was to instruct a full round to the class.
As sun salutations are the most common sequence in these yoga styles, I recommend learning the exact order of the postures. You can find Youtube tutorials that break down the sequence, and many yoga books give visual explanations too.
Also, note that there are three different types of sun salutations – the Hatha variation and Sun Salutations A & B from Ashtanga.
Is It Possible To Fail Yoga Teacher Training?
My biggest concern when beginning my YTT was if I would fail. I had heard that there were exams, which made me wonder how difficult it is to pass the course. If you’re also worried about failing your yoga teacher training, this section is for you.
Firstly, yoga teacher training courses are intensive and demanding, and you must pass all exams to get your certification. Some courses have written exams, while others are purely practical.
For example, on my 200-hour YTT, we had a written test at the end of each week. Then, at the end of the course we had 3 practical exams where we had to teach 3 full-length classes.
However, you are marked more on your willingness to try than how well you do. So if your practical exam doesn’t go as well as you would have liked and you make a few mistakes, this doesn’t mean your dream of teaching yoga is over.
The instructors want you to demonstrate your passion and commitment to the practice. So as long as you attend every session, revise for the exams, and generally show you are interested, there’s no reason why you won’t get your certification. What’s more, if you are struggling, your instructors will likely offer you additional support to help you pass.
Final Thoughts On How what to Expect from Yoga Teacher Training
An intensive yoga teacher training course is an important step in your journey to becoming a qualified yoga teacher but it’s no easy ride. It can be challenging physically, mentally and emotionally.
The days are long, your body will get tired, and you’ll learn so much new knowledge that your head will feel like it’s going to explode! But many students describe their YTT as a transformative and life changing experience.
Hopefully now you know more about what to expect and how to prepare for yoga teacher training you can get a head start by following the above tips and prevent feeling overwhelmed.
Read More Yoga Teacher Training Blog Posts:
- Reasons to do Yoga Teacher Training – even if you don’t plan to teach
- The best destinations to do Yoga Teacher Training abroad
- How to know if you are ready for Yoga Teacher Training
- How to choose the best Yoga Teacher Training course for you
- Things I wish I’d known before doing Yoga Teacher Training
- What to Pack for Yoga Teacher Training
- Is Online Yoga Teacher Training worth it?
- What to do after Yoga Teacher Training – tips for new yoga teachers
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