If you’re on yoga teacher training, chances are you’ve been spurred by your desire to share the delight you feel on your mat. Driven by some personal experience that caused you to question life at you know it, you’re eager to bend deeper, go further.
The truth is nothing can prepare you for the rollercoaster ride that is your yoga teacher training.
As much as you want to be the perfect yogi, snot will dribble down your Lululemons as you cry over your uber-spiritual, Whole Foods-employed boyfriend Sven, before you can do Savasana, because to get to bliss there is a whole pile of crap you have to handle.
Teacher training is a sacred first step towards your higher self. I am forever inspired and in awe of anyone who wants to teach. They are the ones hungry enough to be curious and brave enough to question, even though they have absolutely no idea where the answer will take them.
Here are some observations to send you on your way.
1. No matter how much you prepare, you’ll be unprepared.
No matter who you are, how much you practiced, or how good you think you are—you will not sail through your YTT. No one does. Daily yoga, meditation, and kriyas will open you up in ways you cannot anticipate.
Remember, “Oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.”
2. You’ll cry (like... everyday).
Alone with the shanti and the stillness, fears and tears will spill. Somewhere between Satsang on the Sutras and the anatomy of the scapula, all the stuff that usually distracts you will fall away. You’ll be left with things as they are, without the frosting (that’s icing for the English). It’ll suck.
You’ll be confronted with the parts of yourself you usually choose to avoid. We all have our shit. And sometimes that shit just isn’t pretty.
3. Your body will hurt. You will feel terrible a lot of the time.
The best practice you’ll have will be on day one. After that, it’s a downhill slide. If you’re on a four-week immersion, it’ll go a little something like this...
Week 1: Your body becomes stiff from the hours of asana and all the toxic crap being kicked out of your system.
Week 2: You feel like your practice is getting worse. You cry. Your body goes into healing-crisis mode as you clean out your closet.
Week 3: You are in intense pain! Sore muscles, sore joints, you’re overwhelmed by all the information you have to take in, and stressed out by all the information you can’t. You just want to sleep.
Week 4: You realise that you were stiff and sore because you were building strength. Your practice suddenly feels more solid. You understand that yoga isn’t all about pulling poses.
4. You’ll think about running away at least once.
You’ll feel physically and mentally fucked. You’ll have to dig deep on your own internal resources to stick it out. At this point, no one else will carry you through and continue to validate you. You’ll deal and find strength in that.
5. You’ll come face to face with the insecurities and the beliefs that limit you.
Your dirty little secrets and lifelong conditioning will have absolutely nowhere to hide. ‘I’m not good enough’ and ‘I can’t do this’ are particularly popular.
You ARE good enough. You do matter and you can do this. You’ll put yourself out there and what you’re capable of doing is enough for now. You’ll realise what surrendering to whatever shows up on your mat means.
6. You’ll fall in love with at least one person at training, probably your teacher.
You’ll make connections with people like you never did before. There is something deeply attractive about people moving, breathing, and sharing together. It is heart-opening, and in the beginning, because we’ve been so used to superficial relationships, we might interpret it as true love.
Then we’ll realise that love doesn’t have to be about sex and that there are many people we can share truly intimate moments with without ever having held hands.
7. Your friends back home will seem substandard.
At YTT you’ll laugh, cry, sweat, and swear together.
From here on, it’s all about soul friendships. Of the folks back home, you’ll release those who no longer serve you. You’ll travel miles to see your soul sisters and brothers and talk Titibasana and sequencing techniques.
8. Your life will change forever.
YTT will open your eyes to things you’ve never even heard of, let alone believed in. Before you know it, you’ll no longer be able to stomach meat and or wearing shoes. Yoga class will never be the same because unless it’s someone you really respect, you just can’t take it seriously.
The self-realisation will continue long after you arrive home. You will heal. The stuff you brought to TTC will be left behind (the good news). You’ll discover you’ve opened an entire can of worms and will be deal with shit you didn’t even know existed (the bad news).
There will be days when you wish you could turn back time, nostalgic about more innocent and ignorant days. Ultimately, you wouldn’t want to change a thing. You’re committed now. It’s too late.
9. It will break and humble you. This is just the beginning. Embrace it.
No matter how much you think you know, you really don't know anything. Once you realise and accept you know nothing and you are nothing, the real transformation and learning starts. You become an empty cup.
10. You’ll come alive.
You’ll notice a subtle sparkle behind your eyes. There will be a spring in your step. Your heart will fill with gratitude. You will savour every breath. Little things that passed you by before will be abundant.
You’ll notice more synchronicity in your life. The lessons will continue to come until one day you realise how much you’ve changed. You’ll feel radiant and alive.
While some of this might sound kinda messed up and scary, yoga teacher training will undoubtedly be the best thing you ever do.