7 Things you'll want to know if you're thinking about Yoga Teacher Training

All photography by Mark Morgan of @mxmsurfphoto featuring Dani Bowern for Bowern Yoga

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I've had a few questions lately about my practice and how I became a yoga teacher. What style is best, what school, or even how to get jobs.

It's been a little over three years since my yoga teacher training with Power Living Australia,  and safe to say A LOT has changed in three years. 

Not only did I discover a genuine passion, but it opened the path to my writing career, improved my surfing, and is basically the fundamental backbone to me starting this blog.

I know I wouldn't be where I am now if it weren't for the chance I took on myself to dive into something completely new, exciting and challenging. With yoga, I know I'm on the right path.

I've put together 7 essential things I think come in handy when you're considering whether or not to do your yoga teacher training. Some things I wish people had told me, other things I never would have known until I experienced them.

There'a little story before hand about my relationship with yoga. You can skip it and scroll all the way down to the tips, or read and get to know a little more about my journey. 

 

 

Think, See, Do.

 

 

I think I started yoga the way most people do. Out of curiosity, floating in and out of consistency, joining for a class or two every other week. I was attracted to the whole zen thing since I was 15. I loved the dedication, power and  discipline it somehow seemed to emulate, but couldn’t for the life of me hold a downward dog for more than 30 seconds without my skinny little shoulders crying in pain .

 

To my eyes, people who did yoga were people like my first yoga teacher : strong, lean, unbelievably calm and centred. Gisele Bundchen doing a dancer’s pose in a April 2010 issue of Vogue was my aspiration.  The photo was perfect. Standing under a yoga shala in the jungles of costa rica, a dog laying by her side, her long limbs bent and extended to perfection. Her face was relaxed, serene, it all seemed so effortless. Everything about that photo made me want to be her, including the dog.

 

Shift, Move, Focus. 

 

Fast forward 7 years, that image is still in mind, but the reasons why I practice yoga are totally different.  When I moved far away from everything and everyone I knew, there were moments when I needed to belong, when I needed a sense of security, community even. When the anxiety, loneliness or doubt would ever kick in, I always knew there was one thing to help me out, even for just 60 minutes of my day. That’s when I would find the nearest yoga studio

 

 It wasn’t until I did my yoga teacher training that I realised how much depth and beauty there was to this practice, and – at the risk of sounding a bit cliché- how much it could change your life, if you let it. It was no longer about holding downward dog for more than 30secs, but more about my approach to holding downward dog, for however long that may be, and being totally okay with it.

 

Ultimately, even my understanding of yoga shifted, going from a “workout” to lean and strengthen, to a form of preparation for the body to settle into stillness, and allow for the mind to meditate through breath.

 

 

 

7 things to consider if you're thinking about doing your Yoga Teacher Training

 

 

1. You don't have to be a super-duper-stretchy yogi

 

All you need is a keen interest and a basic level of curiosity about yoga. If you enjoy it, and you want to know more about the philosophy, anatomy or just even improve your practice, it's like picking up a book and being willing to learn new things. Everyone in your teacher training group will have the same fears of not being up to standards.

 There were people from all walks of life in my program ( from grand mothers to a 17 year old -- no jokes), and as we got to know each other we couldn't care less about who could do the splits or nail a Chaturanga. That's not what yoga is about.

 

2. Anatomy is VERY important

Although I was completely lost and on the verge of tears when learning it,  anatomy is one of the MOST IMPORTANT aspects of your training. If you want to be a good teacher, be a good student. Learn all there is to know, including the workings of your own body so you can safely teach a class to others. 

 As I've grown as a teacher I am so very grateful we were practically spoon fed this information by our facilitators at Power Living . If  I can give you one tip on what kind of school/training facility to pick, make sure it has a strong emphasis on anatomy. 

 

3. You will meet some of your greatest friends

Spending every weekend for three months locked up in a studio with a bunch of strangers will do that to you, really.  It doesn't take long for these strangers to turn into friends, and for these friends to turn into lifelong buddies you know you will hug if you ever see them walking down the street. 

They will be there for you through all the information overload, all the anatomy queries, or when you still can't teach a simple Sun Salutation. 

The many friends I have made during and after my yoga teacher training are some of the best friendships I have, with some of the best humans I know. They hold the same values, share the same interests, and you create a special connection with them. Whether they are teachers, or just avid yogis who love to stretch. 

 

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Image by Muz Fraser @SproutDaily for Blue Dinosaur Bars

 

4. It will be hard, but totally worth it

I really wasn't anticipating how hard it would actually be -- maybe because of the high quality of teachers we had, or maybe because I underestimated the level of dedication it actually required,  but the amount of physical training and information we had to absorb was sometimes a little overwhelming. It all works out in the end, your brain starts to categorise everything and it just naturally all clicks.  The best I can say is: trust. 

The training process did test a lot of my boundaries, but this was specific to our type of training as we did a lot of  group and personal work on our retreat in Bali. Every school is different, just be prepared to do the work, and trust that it all works out in the end. 

 

5. Pick a style that you enjoy practicing

I have been asked a couple times what's the best style to train in, and to be honest I find that a bit of a hard question to answer. Naturally I would pick something that I enjoy practicing myself, whether it be Vinyasa or Yin, since you're going to be doing a WHOLE LOT of it, better make sure you ACTUALLY like it. I trained in heated vinyasa, but there are so many styles you can explore and find what suits you best. 

 

 

6. It will dramatically change the way you practice

And  you'll be a better person for it.

This was a major wake up call. Up until my training, I realised I had been doing it all wrong. Even a simple high-to-low plank. I realised I knew absolutely nothing.  Teaching today, I look at people and feel the need to correct everything. There is so much that goes into proper form and posture. It is amazing to see however, with regular students, how their own practice evolves and they absorb every thing you are telling them. That in itself is the most rewarding part of being a teacher. 

 

7. It will open doors

Yes, you will get jobs and they will open up so many doors for you.
The money I spent on my teacher training, I made back within 3 months. This is relevant to the Australian market but Yoga Teachers tend to be paid very well. This can get better as your experience grows. 

On a personal level, I got a lot of writing jobs due to my qualifications as a yoga teacher, and put my foot in the door as a writer in the wellness/health space. Its also gotten me a few of my modelling and ambassador gigs. 

Winning all round. Thanks yoga.

 

 

Have I convinced you to do your teacher training yet? Comment below with any questions!