How To Prepare for Yoga Teacher Training (And Be Kind to Yourself Along the Way)

FILED UNDER: Community, Practice

Written by 2021 ODD Alumni, Carmen Kahn

As I’m writing this, I’m currently in the last week of my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training program aka YTT. It’s been a unique ride since it’s been mostly online and for me even a little more unique for how long it’s taken me to finish.

I started my round of Yoga Teacher Training in person with my Lucky 13 crew, we got to be together for a whole session before quarantine forced us online. Most, if not all of us were thankful to have this safe space during such an uncertain time. The physical aspect of yoga, the asana, is a small part of the actual practice of yoga. It’s full of philosophy, breathwork, and meditation, which were much-needed tools then and now.

My YTT journey was put on pause when I lost my mom to COVID-19 and went home to be with my family, unsure of what the future would hold for me. The fears of teaching, of being able to absorb all that information mounted, and when I was finally able to come back to YTT with the Quarantine 15 crew, an entire year later, I was not sure teaching was for me. 

Here are my top 5 insights to prepare for this journey and show yourself some kindness along the way.

1. Everyone is nervous, it’s normal!

I felt such imposter syndrome at first because I was not a handstand, pretzel yogi. No matter how long you’ve been practicing this is still a new adventure and it was so nice to all be beginners in a sense. It created such a beautiful space of support.

2. Anatomy is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Seriously don’t freak out if you can’t remember all the muscles or get confused by abduction and adduction. It’s like math, it comes easier to some, and others might need a tutor, others being me!

3. Teaching is scary!  

You might get towards the end of your program and seriously question if you can teach. I promise you can, when you get in front of your fellow YTTers it’s just going to magically happen. So, try not to spend too much time worrying about it but do prepare and practice.

4. It’s okay to not be okay.

200 hours is a lot even for the most seasoned yogi and avid learner. Take care of your body and know that it’s ok to have a grumpy day over the time commitment and information overload.

5. There will be magical moments.

Ayurveda, finding your voice and the yoga sutras were some of my favorite lessons but the true magic was being so lucky to have been in two amazing groups of humans.

So here I am days away from graduation and like many that complete YTT, just thankful for the knowledge I’ve gained in how to listen to and move my body with breath. When I’m in class now I feel empowered to skip or change something up if it’s not feeling right for my body that day. Gone are the deer in headlights days when I hear yogi’s choice because I now know what my body needs. However, in these last few days, I’ve realized I absorbed more than I’m giving myself credit for, and teaching and sharing this practice is something I definitely see in my future.

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