Yoga Teachers – Continue Education

A two hundred hour training is not very long to learn an ancient practice of the breath, body, mind, and spirit, yet that is all that is required to be yoga teacher, and really it is not absolutely required because as of right now there is no licensing required to be a yoga teacher. That is why it is beneficial to the teacher and therefore to their students to attend as many classes as they can, go to workshops, and if possible attend multiple trainings.

That being said, yoga teacher trainings are expensive. The cost of mine in 2013 in Nicaragua was around $3,000, not including flight. The cost of my most recent training in India was much less, but still at least $1,000. Those prices may look high, but they are pretty low compared to what else is out there. When I was researching trainings I found some for as much as $3,000 for a two week, two hundred hour training (how you can cram 200 hundred hours and thousands of years of knowledge into two weeks is beyond me) which did not include any accommodation or food. The trainings listed above were both month long intensives that included room and board for the entire month. The current, official Bikram training, held at a fancy resort is $16,600 USD for a single room, the training is around two months long, therefore double the length of either of my individual trainings, but still very pricey.

Examples of costs of trainigns are to emphasize that I realize that most people cannot afford to take multiple trainings. That being said, what teachers can do is attend workshops, join studios, find a private teacher, and/or study online. Finding classes and workshops that are designed to be continued education. YMCA, power yoga classes are not what I’m talking about. Those are fine for a teacher to take to get ideas about sequencing, playlists, and cues, but in order to learn more about yoga, teachers must practice themselves and continue to study as much and as often as they can.

Workshops are great because they break poses down and actually teach how to teach, if geared towards teachers. Even if a workshop is for the general public and not towards teachers then teachers are still likely to learn something more than they would in a workout-style class.

A teacher could take every workshop and training available in their area and still not learn yoga in totality. That is impossible. What you can do it specialize your practice and teaching skills. Take workshops that are geared in what is needed in your local market or that you have a keen interest in. Areas of specialization might include prenatal, vinyasa, alignment, etc.

Once you get to a workshop make it worth as much as you can, ask questions, introduce yourself to the teacher and other students, network, and practice hard. Take handouts and study them. Take a notebook and pen and take notes. Treat your workshop time as you did your teacher training time and study.

Self study and being a forever student is what a yoga teacher needs to do to better their own personal practice and therefore to improve their ability to teach their students and to continuously offer more. A stagnated teacher leads to stagnated students, and yoga is about progression.

 

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Yoga Teachers – 4 Tips to Giving Better Adjustments

As a forever student I love going to a yoga class and receiving adjustments. There are times when you’re in a pose and you feel like you’re doing it pretty well and then suddenly a teacher smoothly places their hand on your hip, giving a little pressure, and – ahhhh… so that’s how it’s supposed to feel – totally different. For many students, it’s a primary reason for going to a yoga class when they could just as easily do a quick YouTube search at home.

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As a teacher, adjusting is a practice, like the asana practice. It requires constant studying, observing, and testing of the adjustments. You must go into an adjustment full of confidence, or your student will sense your hesitation and it will be less effective for them.

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On top of teacher trainings, weekend workshops, and reading articles, here are 4 basic tips to remember when adjusting your students.

 

  • CONFIDENCE It’s so important that I’m saying it again – You must go into an adjustment full of confidence. This may take time if you’re new to teaching or new to an adjustment, so practice is required. But no matter how shy of a person you are, when giving an adjustment in class, you must do it with 100% confidence.

 

  • BE FIRM This is a teaching point that I will never forget from my first teacher trainer – Kimberly Waugh of Radiant Life Yoga School. She wisely taught me to adjust with a firm grip as opposed to a feeble, too-gentle touch. This circles around to confidence again, and also keeps the creepiness level down to zero.

 

  • MOVE WITH THE BREATH This is a technique that, surprise, surprise requires yet again more hands on practice. Remember your knowledge of the asanas and apply it to adjustments, i.e. Exhale as you guide a student into a deeper twist and have them do the same, verbally guide them by saying, “Inhale deeply… now take a deep exhale.” as they exhale, you guide them a little deeper in the twist, going only to their comfort limit.

 

  • TEACH It’s all fine and well to make a student feel better in a pose, but it’s even better to get them to understand why they  are feeling better. This way they can improve their home practice, and they’ll be grateful to you and will return again and again to your classes to keep learning.

 

Just like your asana practice, keep practicing hands-on-adjustments of students and you’ll be doing it like a pro in no time.Besides learning from workshops practice on people that you’re comfortable with at first, like a sibling, partner, or best friend and ask them for their honest feedback then take the adjustment into the studio. Happy adjusting!

 

 

 

Choosing a Yoga Teacher Training – Where to Start?

Becoming a yoga teacher is a popular thing to do these days. Sometimes a training is attended simply to better personal practice or with the hopes of going out into the yoga world and teaching. With increase in demand comes an increase in supply. Studios and retreats offering yoga teacher training courses are innumerable, which makes the decision process of where to train quite daunting. Not only is there the question of where, local or even international, but what style, what time of year, is it yoga alliance certified, etc. Here are some considerations that helped me chose a 200 hr yoga teacher training.

First, decide when in is the right time to do your training. With a simple google search, you’ll be able to find a training at any time of the year, so there’s no pressure about when you’ll be able to get off work or what aligns with your schedule. In my case, I had a two month window to work with which I am grateful for because it narrowed down my options right away. Time-wise there are a few options. There are intensive trainings which range from two weeks to a month or six weeks. Personally I think, anything less than a month would really be rushing it with thousands of years of knowledge to skim. The other option, which would have to be local, is to find a long-term training. I have seen these look something like this: 9 months of training on Saturdays for a few hours with breaks for holidays.

The next consideration if it isn’t already blazingly clear to you is to decide upon a style of yoga to train in. Ashtanga, Anusara, Hatha, Vinyasa, Bikram, and the list goes on. Maybe you already have a preferred style of practice, and even better, a well-loved studio, great! Decision made. But if you just read that list with a wrinkled brow, then I suggest you do a little research. Chose a style that you enjoy practicing and one that you think will be employable in your area (teaching Bikram to seniors isn’t going to fly.)

Once you have your heart set on a style, seek out a well-respected studio or teacher. Again, google searching is oh-so-helpful. This is where location plays another key role. If it’s feasible and you’re fortunate enough to have abundant studios in your area, then hopefully you can find a training close to home so that you can save money on room and board. On the other hand, you could turn your training into a little vacation in some beautiful place (Costa Rica or Thailand for starters.) Do a cost analysis, in my case it made more sense to buy a plane ticket and train in a far away location than in the US.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few- do more google research! Check out who your potential trainers have trained with and in what styles. Send emails or call and ask as many questions as you wish. You’ll be investing a large sum of money, so get some facts. If possible, by all means go attend some classes and then stay after class and ask more questions! If you can’t go in person then search for an online class on YouTube or iTunes or email and ask for available resources.

Most importantly, after all of the research, contemplating, pros and cons lists, emails, long talks with yoga teachers and friends, and you have made a decision, then the final thing to do is to let it go. This was the best advice given to me before my training by a former yoga teacher. We had a long talk in the parking lot after class and I think she could tell that I was nervous to train, wondering whether I was personally ready, worried how I would compare to other students (I know I shouldn’t have , but it’s natural,) and she simply told me to go into it with no expectations. That really calmed my mind and anxiety.

Hopefully these tips have helped you in your path to a training. It’s an amazing thing to do and with so many trainings out there, you’re sure to find the right fit for you. Take it seriously, but at the same time remember that you’ll be doing and learning about what you love.