10 Signs you’re ready for Yoga Teacher training.

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You’ve noticed your studio is offering a teacher training.

You’re interested in joining the secret society of yoga teachers, but how do you know if you’re ready?

Knowing if and when to make the transition from practitioner to teacher is a personal decision, and sometimes a tough one. Here are 10 signs you may be ready:

  1. You’re a yogavangelist. You invite friends, family, and random people on the street to class with you. When your great auntie complains of lower back pain (among her 20 other maladies), you sit her down and patiently take her through some gentle yoga poses. When your coworker gets pregnant, you send her an email with a list of the prenatal classes in town—all of them.
  2. Your 60 or 90 minute class is no longer enough for you. You yearn to go deeper, to know more; hell—just to know. You want the big picture, and you even think you may be ready to develop a home practice, if you don’t have one already.
  3. You’re over your day job. You consider that thing you do eight hours a day, five days a week as a way to generate funds to pay for your yoga habit. Now you suspect it may provide the venture capital you need for yoga teacher training. A training program isn’t cheap, that’s for sure – but you’ll generate some extra income after you start teaching. And you secretly fantasize that someday perhaps you’ll quit the day job and (gasp!) teach full-time.
  4. You’re not a flake. Trust me, there are plenty of flaky teachers out there, and yoga doesn’t need more of them. There are the teachers who lose students—or even teaching gigs— because they show up late to class, or don’t show up at all. Their classes are disorganized, and they’re not particularly well-versed in teaching asana safely. If you think you want to teach, be honest with yourself—are you responsible? Are you committed to the path?  There are no successful shortcuts—or slackers—in yoga.
  5. You’ve got some business sense—or you’re willing to work on it. You’ve done your own taxes, you can balance your budget and accounts, and you have some idea of how you would promote your classes. As a yoga teacher, you do your own bookkeeping, set up and pay subs when you’re away, and report your teaching earnings each year. Never fear, if you have a learning curve in this area, you can learn the rudiments of bookkeeping easily with an online course or a helpful friend, and your teacher training program (if it’s good) will include a unit on the business of yoga.
  6. You genuinely like people. And you like interacting with them. Not to say that you must be an extrovert, but being a people person definitely helps, as you’ll be in the people business. Introversion has its place in advancing your personal practice, which will, in turn, enrich your teaching. But have no doubt that students will feel comfortable in class if you’re comfortable in your own skin in a leadership position and in working closely with them.
  7. You’re a good multitasker. While teaching yoga, you’ll be working on multiple levels simultaneously—helping the new student in the back, giving a modification to a student with an injury, challenging the more advanced students to go deeper, being aware of the time, and planning your next instructions simultaneously. If you enjoy having balls in the air, this is for you. It gets easier with time and experience.
  8. You bring something unique to the mix, or you have a special interest. With the number of yoga studios in metropolitan areas now rivaling Starbucks, do the math to figure how many yoga teachers have saturated the field. Before you dive in, think about what you bring to the mix that may be unique. Are you great with children? Have you overcome a physical challenge that makes you more empathetic to students with injuries? Do you have a passion for working with senior citizens? Embrace and grow these circumstances and interests.
  9. You’re prepared to take an inner journey. Yoga teacher training can be an emotional rollercoaster, as you peel off the layers of the ego and reveal parts of yourself previously buried or unknown. It’s usually ultimately enlightening but can be temporarily traumatic.
  10. You love to learn, and you’re happy to invest in it. As a yoga teacher, you’ll be a lifelong learner. A wise yogi once said: enlightenment is not a destination; there are only enlightened actions. In other words, there will never be a point when you arrive and say, “that’s it—I’ve reached enlightenment, I can stop learning.” This also means you’ll continue to invest a good deal of time and resources in more classes, workshops, and trainings. Ultimately, the price tag of your training is much greater than the cost of your initial teacher training course. But if yoga teacher training is truly your path, the benefits, transformation and feeling of peace you gain will far exceed the investment you make.

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Kelli Harrington

Dr. Kelli Harrington is a teacher trainer, a yoga teacher and co-founder of ZenSpot, Inc.–Hot Yoga, Human Empowerment and Feng Shui design company dedicated to creating positive life balance for mind, body, and spirit. Harrington is also the co-founder of the ZenSpot Institute, a yoga teacher training facility and online education school dedicated to certifying high quality yoga teachers and wellness change-agents.

As a certified fitness trainer, Ayurvedic lifestyle and weight management specialist, stress management and life coach, Reiki Master and wellness leader, Kelli spends her days running her business in service to others.

As a vegan, EdTech geek, social media junkie, entrepreneur, activist, and environmentalist Harrington earned a doctorate in Educational Organizational Development and Leadership from the University of San Francisco; two Masters degrees at Teachers College, Columbia University and Pace University respectively.

ZenSpot, Inc., is based in Oregon with facilities in both Portland and Eugene.

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anonymous May 16, 2014 5:41am

I scored 10 of 10. Teacher training here I come. Thanks for this item. x

anonymous Oct 6, 2013 6:19am

I am ready personally for teacher training. My concern is with all the very advanced poses. I am not there yet. Do you have to be or are these very advanced poses for a handful of yogis and not the majority?

anonymous Oct 6, 2013 12:55am

You need the time..and the money… Anyone can do it.
Everyone should do it…but u can still be amazing without it.
I did one at 21thanks daddy. And thn another at 29. I loved both.

anonymous Sep 21, 2012 5:46pm

[…] at least someone who’s in teacher training, who’s gotten herself a regular gig assisting another teacher, and who can sub a primary series […]

anonymous Dec 19, 2011 6:30pm

number 11 should be, and you have actually been a student for decent amount of years.

    anonymous Oct 6, 2013 9:43am

    I completely agree that you should be practicing yoga for a number of years (my thought is 10). I also believe you should have your own practice started. This will, hopefully, throw out the slackers or the less dedicated. I do believe in teacher training even if you do not have a desire to teach. It is an amazing opportunity to learn more about yoga, as an as, and mostly about yourself! I would encourage people to take the class with no intention of teaching and then see where it goes from there.

anonymous Aug 14, 2011 8:16am

[…] 10 Signs you’re ready for Yoga Teacher training. […]

anonymous Aug 7, 2011 10:58am

[…] 10 Signs you’re ready for Yoga Teacher training. […]

anonymous Aug 6, 2011 10:24am

[…] ended up loving yoga so much I eventually learned to teach it. As the years passed, though, life intervened—a husband, kids, work. My teaching lapsed, and my […]

anonymous Aug 3, 2011 6:47pm

yoga is good, but it's reported that unprofessional training will hurt your bones

    anonymous Aug 3, 2011 6:55pm

    So true. I don't live convenient to the most professional teaching around, and I did hurt myself at the hands of someone who took a decent training and the class otherwise very good.

    There is a "mysore style" for vinyasa. At times, I trust that more …. lol

      anonymous Jun 2, 2012 4:03pm

      Agreed. That's why the field needs to be professionalized!

anonymous Aug 3, 2011 8:28am

Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

anonymous Aug 2, 2011 5:54pm

and make sure that your ego can take it 🙂

Remember to share and support yoga and it's principles doesn't JUST equate to yoga teachers. The world of yoga needs good business people so the teachers can teach 🙂

    anonymous Aug 3, 2011 9:13am

    I totally agree with your ego comment. That's why continuous practice of the yamas, niyamas and meditation are so important. It's so easy for the ego to get identified with being a yoga teacher and with all the self-importance we attribute to this calling. The only way out of this trap is to see the ego for the illusion it is, and that requires a whole lot of very humbling inner work.

anonymous Aug 2, 2011 12:10pm

[…] recently read a post up on elephant journal called, “10 Signs You’re Ready for Yoga Teacher Training” and I fit all of their criteria spot […]

anonymous Aug 2, 2011 10:38am

Oh my, it sounds like I could be ready… I do like the additional signs from Yogini 5 and Charlotte.

    anonymous Aug 2, 2011 12:54pm

    downdogandcats- come and check us out! Would love to hear more about your dreams!

anonymous Aug 2, 2011 10:05am

Good advice. Here's another one I consider to be #1: You not only understand the yamas and niyamas, but you've committed enough time and intention to them that they have become a part of you. Even if you falter at times and do not act from them 100 percent of the time, your intention and will is to continue to refine your understanding and practice of these most important principles of Yoga. Without the yamas—and some self-awareness—it is very easy to project our stuff on students without knowing it. IMO, this is way more important than knowing how to teach poses.

    anonymous Aug 2, 2011 12:51pm

    Charlotte! Thanks so much- excellent addition and one I personally live by. Thanks for sharing!

anonymous Aug 2, 2011 9:11am

Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

anonymous Aug 2, 2011 8:57am

Thank you for your insights Kelli – this is great!!

Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

Tanya Lee Markul, Assoc. Yoga Editor
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anonymous Aug 2, 2011 6:34am

Thanks, Kelli! I could use a trip to Oregon…we'll see!

anonymous Aug 1, 2011 4:43pm

This was great! I think all but #3 are a yes for me (I work for myself & am adding to my current work by becoming a LMT). I had been toying with the idea of yoga teacher training down the road a ways…but still feel like I have so much to learn….but I love how you addressed that — "In other words, there will never be a point when you arrive and say, “that’s it – I’ve reached enlightenment, I can stop learning." Good words:)

    anonymous Aug 2, 2011 6:21am

    Thanks Kate! You should come and join us next summer to get certified! Thanks for reading and for your energy! Namaste!

anonymous Aug 2, 2011 12:53pm

Thanks Yogin5! Yes, a reality for sure is cost. It is an investment no doubt. As a studio owner, I understand the need to keep it all financially viable. In our training program this year we spent several sessions on the business of yoga and walk the students through a real-life business plan where they have to take into consideration real costs, etc. This kind of real-life activity has proven to be very valuable. Thanks for the feedback and suggestions!

anonymous Aug 2, 2011 9:06pm

this is so true!

I counsel teachers to add in this as an investment, and how will they get their return on investment? it's absolutely necessary to think about that!

anonymous Aug 3, 2011 2:19pm

Kelli: as a yoga teacher (part-time now after a few years of full-time) can you tell me why teacher training costs so much? I took my Hatha teacher training in 2005 and paid $2500. I understand it is now even more. I've checked around at studios throughout my small Canadian city and see most charge roughly the same amount. Who came up with this $$ amount? Even an academic course at university doesn't cost so much. What gives?

Any insights would be helpful.