Yoga Teacher Training

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DSC_0141.jpg So last weekend I completed my 200hr Yoga Teacher Training Course (TTC) and I've landed back in the UK ready to take on the challenge of this incredible new chapter in my life. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have been in a position that allowed me to take the time to focus on myself – something so many of us find it so hard to do. What is even more exciting now that I am home is the idea of actually getting to teach yoga and share a practise that I totally adore.

Lots of you have got in touch asking about my experience and so I thought the best thing to do would be to post a little about my training for anyone thinking about doing their training and is looking for a little guidance...

When I was first looking at training, I actually just really wanted to develop my own practise much further, rather than considering teaching at any point in the foreseeable future. Then, over the last six months or so, I realised that I would love to be able to share a part of what I have learned from my amazing teachers over the last few years and that if I could use Yoga to inspire people even half as much as I have been inspired by them, then that was something I would be honoured to put my heart and soul into! With that being said, in the week running up to the trip, I decided that I should go with no expectation of what and who I may be on my return. After all, 14-hour days might have been serious yoga over-kill driving me to never want to hear the words downward-dog again, let alone teach people daily! But, believe it or not, the long days, sore muscles, injuries, laughter, tears, self-reflection, heart openers, hip openers and everything in between have left me totally bursting with excitement to share what I have learned.

For those of you that might not know anything about Yoga TTCs, you have to complete a 200hr foundation course in order to teach at almost any studio. While this qualifies you as a Yoga teacher, it really only marks the beginning of your journey as a teacher. There are lots of different formats if learning – some schools offer part-time courses which may take 2 years to qualify, others (like mine) get it all into a 3 or 4 week intensive period. For me, choosing an intensive course was a great way to totally immerse myself in learning, allowing me to commit to the course without too much distraction. There is of course limitations to how much your body and mind can take on in such a short space of time, so coming home I feel ready and excited to develop my learning in order to become the best yoga student and yoga teacher that I can be.

I completed my training in Agonda, Goa at a school called Sampoorna. I decided that I would like to train in India - partly as a perfect excuse to go to this incredible place (although I didn't get to venture beyond Agonda really so I will definitely have to be back soon) and also because it seemed right to go to the home of India in order to totally submerge myself into a yogic lifestyle. I trained in Ashtanga and Vinyasa flow, completing a 200hr course which included physical practise, meditation, pranayama (breath control exercises), philosophy, anatomy and more. Each school is different but in order to receive your qualification you must complete at least 200 hours of training, so a typical day at my school looked something like this:

6.30-7.40 Pranayama & Meditation

8.00-10.00 Yoga class

11.00-1.00 Anatomy or Philosophy

3.00-5.00 Adjustment & Alignment

5.00-6.00 Student Teaching or Yoga Class

6.00-7.00 Posture Clinic OR

7.45-8.45 Sat Sung (optional) – an open discussion on yoga, philosophy, life, etc.

Towards the end of the course, we had fewer written classes and up to 5 hours a day of physical practise meaning that by the end we were all emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted. BUT that did not take away from the experience and I really did love every minute. The intensity for me was brilliant – it meant I was completely submerged into the experience without distraction and was able to commit to fully focusing on all things yoga for the duration of the course. There are limitations though of how much your body and mind can adapt in such a short space of time and so I really feel like this is just the first step of a huge learning process, especially compared to how much I might take in if I studied over the course of a year. Either way, we have to find what works for us – our budgets, our lifestyles and our mentalities and for me, escaping London for a few weeks of intense focus was perfect.

A few final tips:

Find Your Style

Really have a think about what style you want to train in. Whether you want to teach a certain style or develop your practise in a particular type of yoga, you will be doing A LOT of it so it really will help to choose right. For me, doing a mixture of Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow was a perfect balance. Ashtanga Primary Series was pretty new to me but it gave me a really solid grounding to build flows upon… but that is just me and it might be totally different for you.

Do Your Research

I spent HOURS looking for the right school. There are so many to choose from and everyone I spoke to recommended the school that they had trained at because generally it is a pretty life changing experience. Try to figure it out for yourself – read through websites and see if there is one that resonates with you best. You can always help yourself by using location, timing and price to narrow things down first.

Go It Alone

I was so tempted to do the course with a friend when I first started looking but I am so pleased that I went through the experience by myself. We have so much to learn about ourselves and when we take ourselves out of our comfort zones or away from the people we usually rely on, there is so much to learn from and about ourselves. You will make new friends and connect with people on the course so quickly, you will forget that you haven’t known each other for years and I really think, at least for me as someone who doesn’t like to spend time apart from loved ones ever, part of the beauty of the experience was taking the time for myself, by myself.

So whether or not you are looking to train for personal development or to join the wonderful world of teaching, it really is important to find something that is right for you. And always remember that a piece of paper may give you the title of a teacher but it doesn’t make you a good one – the hard work starts when the certificate is placed in your hand…so I’ve been told…so I’m ready to give it my best shot!

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Fitness, Lifestyle, OtherAnnie Clarke