5 Things I’ve Learned from Yoga Teacher Training

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^^When this happened, at first I didn’t tell anyone. It actually took me a week to tell more than a couple people.

Yoga Teacher Training was one of those things that was calling to me, and yet, I hesitated to take the plunge. I’ve seen others practicing around me who can do incredible things with their body. Like this:

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I cannot do these things yet.

I thought I wasn’t enough of a yogini. Wasn’t flexible, strong, or–stupid as it sounds–even interesting enough for yoga teacher training. I don’t eat raw or vegan. I hate smoothies. I spend far too much money on clothing. Am I really “about” the yoga lifestyle? Am I authentic? Do I fit?

The short answer: yes.

Here are 5 things that saying “yes” to yoga teacher training taught me:

1 – It’s about showing up. I remember our first Friday of teacher training, I attended 12:15 Ashtanga that afternoon. “Are you excited for tonight??” my teacher exclaimed. “Yes . . . I, uh, yeah . . .” I didn’t know what to expect. And that terrified me.

But, life is not always about measuring up and preparing for expectations. You have to just show up and trust that it will be worth it. The courage, the accomplishment, is in the showing up. That’s half the battle.

And on days when I’ve been hesitant to go to the teacher training, when I’ve let my doubt and negativity creep back in, I remind myself that showing up is really all there is to it.

2 – No one needs me to be a cookie cutter. The first weekend I walked into training, I was amazed at the variety of people in this training. A nutritionist in her 20s, a man who’s building his own house, a dental hygienist, a massage therapist, a librarian, some retired women.

I expected to feel intimidation, and I didn’t. It took a little bit to break down my expectations– why did I think I was going to be intimidated?

I think I expected experts. I expected all of the trainees to be as good as our teachers already. I don’t know why I expected this. This training is going to take us a full year. Our practices will grow and bloom. We will learn and advance together. Some of us are starting at different levels, sure, but there is a spirit between us that I didn’t realize I was cynical enough to believe wouldn’t be there:

Acceptance.

3 – Knowing someone is different than knowing someone’s story. Our very first weekend together, my yoga teachers and leaders of our training did something amazing. We didn’t give each other our names for four hours.

Here I was in a room of strangers, and we spent the entire evening learning who we are. We talked about what animals we most relate to (I said cat. I’m terrible on the spot), why we do yoga, what we are feeling.

And by the end when we each said our names aloud, I felt like I already knew these people. It’s a strange feeling, knowing someone, without knowing anything about them.

I knew these people’s temperaments and feelings and thoughts and excitement. I felt it all. We talked about it all. But I didn’t know where they were from, where they worked, if they were married.

We could all spend a lot more time getting to know people instead of getting to know about people.

4 – Good, fun things can be hard, too. Do you know how much I’ve known about human anatomy before this experience? Whatever I learned in elementary school.

I was an English major. All this hip bone connected to the leg bone business is not my forte. And I’m not trying to be tongue-in-cheek here. We are delving deep into the names of all the bones and muscles and it’s so hard to remember it all! You know what I thought I’d be doing the most in this training? Practicing yoga. Not listening to a lecture while watching a posable skeleton.

But you know what? I chose to do this. So I’m all in. And when I do finally memorize some facts about anatomy, I will be that much more rewarded. Because good things, fun things, are sometimes also hard. And that’s what makes it worth it.

5 – I do fit. 

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And the eternal recurring reminder from the universe: I don’t have to be perfect. I fit already.

xoxo

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3 thoughts on “5 Things I’ve Learned from Yoga Teacher Training

  1. I am in TT too! It is weird at first. I have anxiety issues so it was hard to be in a room with all these people and you can’t help but feel everyone is judging you, or you don’t seem to fit because of this or that. I am slowly realizing too, that it is ok. Yoga for you is what and who you are, it is different for all of us and yoga just wants us to be us. I have a few posts on my blog about my TT like how I am softening up and slowing down (going from power yogi/vinyasa yogi to enjoying restorative yoga) and making new friends. Good luck with your training. Namaste and Metta.

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      1. I love this article!! It made me smile so wide. 🙂 That’s awesome that you’re in teacher training too!! I’ve found that the teacher training is really deepening my practice in ways I didn’t expect. When I go to class, I’ve found myself looking at the other class members less and less. My focus is definitely improving. Thanks for commenting, I’m going to check out your blog! It looks like we could have quite a bit in common.

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