Oh yes. I said it. Just like we all read Shakespeare in high school and learned how to make mac n’ cheese in the microwave, I believe that a yoga teacher training (like the one I experienced) should be added to the list of must-do things for all people under twenty. Here’s why:
1. At 19 You’re Just Figuring Out Who You Are
It’s better to dive in deep now than when you’re 45 and have to break all of the habits and stereotypes you’ve been working with for so long. (Not that teacher training isn’t a great thing to do at 45!) Wouldn’t it have been easier to develop your sense of self when you were 19 and had lots of time to mull it over? The path of self-discovery should be introduced to more young people – perhaps the concept of a mid-life crisis could disappear.
2. Yoga Teaches You How To Live
But really. Just the physical practice (asana) can help you learn to deal with stress on and off of the mat; not to mention the other seven limbs of yoga that most people forget even exist. Signs of stress, peer pressure, and judgmental attitudes become pretty universal by the time kids are in third grade. Now 19 years old seems a bit late to start a deep yoga practice, doesn’t it? Yoga gives us ways to cope and even avoid the plague of negative feelings that many adults unfortunately consider normal. The younger you learn, the better!
3. Change Is Permanent,
and any yoga teacher will tell you this. At 19, most people are experiencing dramatic upheavals (moving away from home, starting college, deciding on a career, etc.) and need to be told this. Change is natural and necessary. Life will go on, I promise.
4. Learning To Be Open And Present Will Change Your Life
“Hellz no” you say. “I’m fine, thank you,” you say. And that is how being closed just kept you from taking a yoga teacher training and meeting wonderful people. Being open to new ideas is the only way we can grow into our authentic selves. Like everything else, it’s best to start this when you’re young, so you can practice keeping an open mind and heart for the remainder of your life! Being present is incredibly hard to do too – right now you’re probably half reading this article, checking Facebook on your cell phone, and pretending to listen to your friend who’s telling you a story. With the insane amount of distractions adolescents face today, it’s easy to get lost in “la la land” (yes, I know, I’m a victim of it too). Teacher training will give you the tools to be present when you’re teaching a class of yogis, and that skill sticks with you outside of the classroom.
5. Most Importantly, You Will Learn To Be Authentically You
Any yoga teacher will tell you that one of the highest compliments you can receive is that you taught a class authentically. Being authentic, or “real,” is something that many of us struggle with as we try to figure out just who we really are. What better way to start your adult life than by learning who you are, and how to present that true-you to others?
6. I know I Promised Just Five Reasons,
but this one is good - You’ll learn really cool things like how to do a headstand, how to avoid that nickname for Massachusetts drivers, and what breath of fire (pronounced: BREATH OF FIYAHHHH) is and how to do it.
Special thanks to Nicole Hicks, recent teacher trainee, for her guest post!