July 1, 2012

Lessons of Yoga Teacher Training. ~ Trudy McDonald

Image via Chris Pigeon at Flickr

So, you are thinking of doing a 200 hour yoga teacher training?

Alright, alright! This commitment has the potential to change your life. Yoga teacher training is a gift any person should bestow upon themselves. It gives you the time and space to look inward, remove perception of who and what you think you are and keeps you digging deeper to find truth, beauty and knowledge.

In today’s world, there are a plethora of yoga teacher trainings to choose from. It can become easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of programs out there. So, what is a little yogi or yogini to do?

Here are a few guidelines to help you choose the right 200 hour yoga teacher training program:

1. Weekend Program or Month Long Intensive.

There are various scheduling options for your teacher training. If you would like to work around your life and work schedule, a weekend program is ideal. This allows you to not uproot your life for 30 days straight and has the added benefit of moving slowly through your journey into yoga asana.

If a month long intensive is more your style, this is a great choice too. The benefits of an intensive are that you will be living, eating and breathing yoga asana and philosophy daily. You will become deeply connected to your fellow trainees in the program as well.

 I personally did a month long intensive. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Yet, there were some days that I just wanted a break from yoga because I felt like I was losing myself. However, I learned that that sense of self I was holding onto did and does not define who I am. That was one of the greatest lessons I learned in those 30 days.

2. Location, Location, Location.

It is important to identify where you would like to experience your yoga teacher training. Perhaps a tropical destination in Costa Rica or Hawaii, maybe a deeply spiritual journey in India, possibly a cityscape like San Francisco attracts you or maybe you would like to stay in your neck of the woods and train in your town or city.

Some things to consider as you pinpoint your location are cost and practicality.  Certain options may not be accessible to you. For example, the extra cost of traveling to far-away lands might not be realistic. I know this was an issue for me. However, need not fear. One does not need to travel to the Himalayas to receive the gifts of yoga.

If you dream of one day practicing yoga asana on the banks of the Ganges know that that moment will manifest. Plus, just think how sweet that moment will be and how grateful and full your heart will feel when that day finally comes.

 The yoga training I attended took place in San Francisco in a beige room, no décor on the walls and no windows. There were moments I would think to myself, I wish I was outside practicing or learning about the Yoga Sutras; however, the divine knew that those four beige walls was exactly what I needed. It was a sobering reality to realize this is it, yoga is yoga, be it here in this beige plain room or out against a scenic back drop. Like life, your yoga practice and your teacher training is what you make it.

 3. Finding Your Style.

If one does not have a working knowledge of different schools of yoga, all of this: Sivananda, Ananda, Ananda Marga, Kripalu, Kundalini, Ashtanga, Yin, Vinyasa, Hatha, Bikram, Forrest, Restorative, Power, Anusura, Bhakti…can get downright confusing.

My advice is to do your research and discover what style of yoga asana speaks to you. If you are interested in learning about a variety of styles, find a yoga teacher training that offers this. For example, finding a program that has various teachers with various styles could be ideal. That way you will be exposed to the variety found within yoga asana. Who knows, maybe you will discover a new style that speaks to you.

This was my experience. I came to my teacher training wanting to learn more about Vinyasa Yoga. Yet, after days of focusing on yoga from 9-5 and pushing my body and mind, all I wanted was to be nurtured.  This is when I surrendered to taking my first Restorative and Yin Yoga classes. In the past I always wanted to physically push myself in yoga class; however, I began listening to my body’s wisdom. My body and mind was telling me they yearned for a dose of relaxation and renewal. Who was I to put up a fight?

4. To Fly Solo or Not.

To experience your yoga training with a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife could be a positively powerful and bonding journey. On the other hand, your training could be your own personal time you have etched out for yourself. Really think hard if you would like to experience your training with a loved one or if it is best to go it solo.

I attended my 200 hour training with a dear close friend, Alecia. It was magical discovering new places in San Francisco and, of course, within ourselves. We motivated one another to go further and find that edge on the yoga mat. We were there for each other to talk to and confide in as well.

It was so special sharing this experience together and made our bond even stronger. We spent every waking hour together within those 30 days. So, naturally, there were times we did not see eye to eye with little things and had to learn how to deal with one another’s idiosyncrasies.  It helped me understand that compromise and communication is essential within each and every relationship. Sometimes I am too nice and do not want to speak my mind; however, this experience helped me gain my voice and speak up for myself.

 A powerful experience also awaits you if you decide to fly solo. This experience is something I look forward to in the future. If you are a mom, dad, or any other extremely busy self-less person, attending the training alone could be incredibly therapeutic. You do deserve this sacred time. Yoga teacher training will give you a healthy dose of self-love and you will leave your training ready to give and receive even more love than before.

There are many things to consider as you choose your yoga teacher training. I hope these general guidelines assist you on your journey. Remember everything will and is unfolding as it should. I wish you a beautiful yoga teacher training. Om shanti!

Trudy is a student and teacher of yoga at Grass Valley Yoga and is currently studying at the California College of Ayurveda. Trudy believes that yoga and Ayurveda is for every body and hopes to assist people in establishing harmony from the inside out. Before becoming enveloped in yoga and Ayurveda, Trudy received her Bachelor degrees in Anthropology & English from the University of Florida. When she is not getting her asana on, absorbing the 5,000 year old wisdom of Ayurveda or blogging, you can find her whipping up a meal in her kitchen for herself and her husband, Brandt, throwing the Frisbee with her dog, Aiko, cuddling with her cat, Lita, or frolicking at musical gatherings with friends, new and old.


Editor: Hayley Samuelson.

Image via Chris Pigeon at Flickr 

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