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What’s Yoga Teacher Training Really Like?

I have a love-hate relationship with yoga. Sometimes the mat is my solace. It can feel like a luxury to turn off my phone and give myself that headspace for an hour. To get some deep stretching done and not think about my to-do list. Other times, it's a complete chore. I probably shouldn't say that, but it is. It's like trying to drag yourself of bed at 5am on a Monday morning after an amazing weekend. That feeling, that can only be described by a groaning noise.

But we're all being told to be more mindful, stretch, meditate and go to yoga - so last year I decided to embark on that journey whole-hog. I wanted to understand yoga. Not just 'get' Sun Salutations, but actually understand the origins, the philosophies and the deeper stuff like chakras, that always wash over my head when a teacher asks me to 'feel my Anahata opening up' (FYI, that's yogi code for heart).

So I did it. I booked myself into a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training course at Body Mind Life in Surry Hills.

A reputable yoga studio with highly acclaimed teachers, and a beautiful space. If I'm going to spend four solid weeks understanding philosophy, it has to be a pretty classroom with solid content. I'll be honest, it's not a cheap investment. At $3790 you might think that's a lot for an impulse-purchase, but it's turned out to be one of my better financial decisions. What to know why? Read on...

I'm not a big fan of happy-clappy, community / group work - particularly with people I don't know. I'm socially awkward like that, and that's fine by me. Teacher training pushed my boundaries for sure, but I was never made to do anything I really didn't want to do. Know that if something makes you uncomfortable, you can observe and take notes rather than participate. In that same vein, expect to learn things about yourself that you never knew. You'll surprise yourself with your strength and courage - and for this course, you need more of that than you think.

What happened:

  • 1 x awkward share circle introduction at the start. Know that everyone else feels just as awkward.
  • Group of 25-30 like-minded people
  • Runs 7am - 5pm, Monday to Friday days a week for four weeks. There's a part-time option too.
  • A mixture of assessments - essays, reflections and teaching a 20 minute yoga class of 6 people.
  • 1 class with traditional dance where we were encourage to join in (not my fave).
  • Attendance is required to all sessions. This is competency based.
  • 5 different teachers rotating throughout the course each with their own unique set of skills.

Every day:

  • 2 hours yoga practise starting at 7am
  • 3 hours of theory
  • 4 hours of understanding asanas (poses) and practicing with a partner

It's emotionally taxing, physically tiring and there is a LOT of info for your brain to digest. You're exhausted by the end of the day, and often have homework. Don't think (like me) you can run two businesses on the side at the same time. Set your Out Of Office and really soak up your learnings. Take lots of magnesium baths and enjoy the ride.

What I got out of it:

  • Advanced my personal asana practice
  • Became significantly more flexible
  • An understanding of how to sequence a yoga class / my practise
  • A better understanding of yoga philosophy + anatomy
  • An arsenal of different breath techniques to use in flow and meditation
  • Accreditation from Yoga Alliance and Yoga Australia to teach yoga (YAY!)
  • Understand the origins of yoga history
  • Became a more patient and compassionate human being (MY FAVOURITE ONE).

I highly recommend it guys. Yes, I can now do a headstand (which is fab for those Instagram shots), but that's not what I found most valuable. Of all the key things I expected to learn, what I actually walked away with was a new respect for human kind. A new level of empathy that I didn't have before. I still carry that with me 18 months later. I'm so much more understanding of people's misgivings, and let them wash over me rather than getting anxious or angry - which says a lot, given I'm so highly-strung. Put simply, I'm a nicer person.

“And suddenly you know: it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings.”

Meister Eckhart

On top of that, I made a friend for life. Sophie, a girl I met whilst Teacher Training, is one of the kindest people I have ever come across. She's now one of my besties, and even though she lives in the UK (teaching yoga in London - go girl!), it feels like we've never been apart when we chat. One of those invaluable relationships that remains solid for life. The connections you make whilst learning about your own emotions are quite incredible. You'll have lots of deep-and-meaningful convo's with people you barely know, and you'll be a more open person for it.

If I haven't convinced you that it's a pretty priceless journey to embark on - check out Body Mind Life's info right here:

Sally O'Neil - Editor in Chief

Sal is on a mission to prove that healthy and nutritious doesn’t have to be boring – and that even while staying in shape you can have your cake and eat it too. After losing 14kg from adopting a healthier lifestyle, she shares her journey with others on The Fit Foodie Blog. She also works as a commercial food photographer and stylist, is studying a Bachelor of Health Science in Nutrition and Dietetics, and is the author of two cookbooks: Love Move Eat (Bauer Media, 2017) and Meal Prep Plan (Murdoch, 2019).


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