Photo credit: Helen Roscoe Photography
Taz started practising yoga around 10 years ago, attending classes at a gym. Yoga struck a chord and Taz started to see the benefits in other aspects of her life. The practices, including learning how to breathe, had a profound effect on her. She then started going to yoga studios and experimented with many different styles of yoga.
When considering teacher training, Taz did lots of research, speaking to those who had completed teacher training, attending workshops and the Yogacampus teacher training taster day, which resonated with her. She liked the multi-disciplinary approach of the Yogacampus course and as a scientist, the depth of information offered on the course was important. Taz particularly enjoyed the anatomy part of the course. She herself was motivated to train in order to learn more, but also so that she can share the practices, particularly with those who might not ordinarily be exposed to yoga.
Once on the course, Taz made the decision to reduce her hours in her day job to free up space to undertake the commitments the course involved. In terms of advice for those considering training, Taz counsels to consider the time involved and the impact teacher training has on your life. She also advises to think about what you want from the teacher training, for example, some courses are more suitable for those wanting to teach rather than for deepening your yoga knowledge.
While on the course, Taz advises that you need to practise ahiṃsā (non-harming) with yourself – that there can be a lot of self-created pressure. She also counsels to reach out for help when you need to, not to be afraid to ask questions and to be organised, keep an open mind and enjoy the parts of the course that interest you.
Taz notes how finishing the course can be challenging – from having been hugely busy, it is possible to feel at something of a loss. Taz is currently covering classes including at work and is undertaking refugee awareness training at Ourmala. For now, she enjoys the combination of the day job and yoga, and will be looking to teach a regular class.
Taz’s top 10 tips when considering teacher training:
1. Ask yourself ‘why?’:
Do you want to immerse yourself in the practices and gain a deeper understanding of yoga, or do you want to teach? A love for yoga does not necessarily equate to a love for teaching the practice. Your intention may change as your journey progresses, but be clear about what’s driving you, and let this guide your choice of course.
2. Practise, practise, practise:
Your self-practice will lay the foundation for your teacher training as well as your teaching to follow. It will support you and grow your teaching into an authentic offering, true to your own experiences. Make time and space for a regular well-rounded self-practice, whatever form it comes in, and the deep inner listening will shine through.
3. It’s good to talk
Take the time to speak to your regular teachers about their experiences. If they don’t run teacher trainings themselves, they may be able to recommend avenues for you to explore, including their own teachers. It’s also worth chatting to alumni of teacher training courses you are considering for an honest take on their experiences during and after the course.
4. Research the course structure
Most courses will be transparent about their syllabus – before you sign up, it’s worth looking into the balance of subjects taught as well as the way the teaching is delivered. Pick teacher training that matches your areas of interest and preferred ways of learning.
5. Intensive or extended?
Yoga teacher training courses tend to be either short-form, for example, every day for one month, or extended, for example, once a month over several months. There are benefits to both approaches, so think carefully about what suits your circumstances and needs.
6. Consider the commitment
Yoga teacher training is no small undertaking. Whether in an intensive or extended format, it requires time, energy and dedication. Consider carefully the right options for you, given your current life circumstances – your job, family, social obligations and financial status – because you’ll need to make space for the journey to unfold.
7. Familiarise yourself with the faculty
It’s important to get to know the teachers, to resonate with them, the style of practice they teach and the lineage they represent. A sense of connection and trust with the teaching faculty will serve to support you throughout your teaching journey.
8. Explore the support structure
Weigh up the type of support that will be available during the course and after. A course may have a mentoring system with small-group contact meetings and/or an alumni offering to support you as enter the world of teaching. Examine the options and consider what level of ongoing support suits you best.
9. Drop all expectations
Be prepared to leave behind everything you (think you) know about yoga, open your heart and mind to new ideas and feel vulnerable in the process. Stay curious and embrace the beginner’s mind.
10. Listen to your heart
As with many things, there isn’t necessarily ‘a good time’ to embark on the journey to becoming a yoga teacher. You’ll know when it’s the right time to take the plunge, and the teacher training course you choose will be the first step of many on a lifelong pilgrimage of practice.