by Kara-Leah Grant
This is something people email me all the time to ask – what courses do I need, where do I find them, how much do they cost? (Find out details about NZ Yoga Teacher Training Courses here.)
And yoga teacher training courses are often great – full immersion in the world of yoga for a set period of time including guidance from a great teacher or two.
But see, here’s the thing.
If you want to be a yoga teacher, it doesn’t start with heading off on a course to learn stuff from other people so you can then teach other people’s stuff to students.
It starts with practicing yoga daily right where you are now.
And that’s yoga in the proper sense of the word – not just postures, but all eight limbs of yoga.
Yep – you can start the process of moving towards yoga teaching without doing a course, without getting a certificate, without leaving home, and without quitting your job.
If you really want to teach, first you gotta BE a yogi, and that means committing to a daily practice. Yes, daily, as in every single day. Ideally this daily practice will include asana, pranayama and meditation. And if you’re thinking;
I don’t have time in my life to do that..
Then you know what? You don’t have time to be a yoga teacher. You can’t teach what you don’t practice.
It’s that simple.
And getting on your mat every single day is just the beginning. A yogi is not someone who can twist and contort themselves into beautiful shapes on a yoga mat.
Nope, a yogi is someone is lives their life in the yogic way moment by moment – it’s about what happens off the mat as much as it’s about what happens on the mat.
Which is not to say that before you start teaching you need to be living this “perfect life”.
Not all all.
What it is saying is that you are studying all aspects of yoga and applying them to your day to day living. You understand that yoga is about awareness, and about shifting from identification with our mind and thoughts to a place of stillness and awareness.
None of which needs teacher training to kick off. (Or even a teacher necessarily, although it does help.)
Remember too, that the goal of yoga is ultimately enlightenment. Learning postures, breath work and meditating is just a means to get there. A true teacher of yoga understands this, and teaches with an eye on the whole and the goal, while recognising that here is where we are now.
Which might be sitting in virasana figuring out how to properly align our feet and knees.
So if you’re serious about teaching yoga, you must first be serious about yoga. Living it that is.
Because it is only in the process of applying yoga to your whole life that you will find something to teach from.
Sure, you can parrot other teachers’ words and understandings.
You can read books and use that know-how. Watch DVDs and steal that sequence. This isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just part of the process of learning to be a teacher… but in the end, it’s when you teach from the authenticity of your own experience that your teaching really starts to come alive.
Now you truly do have something to offer from the mat.
At some stage, as you practice daily, and read yoga books, and go to classes and workshops, you’ll find your own way to the teacher training that resonates with you and it will inspire you and open you up and turbo charge your practice…
But it’s only one small part of what it takes to be a yoga teacher.
You may not be able to get to that training until next month, next year or even next decade. Don’t let this stop you from starting the process of teaching yoga here and now today.
Make that commitment to daily practice.
Start reading the yoga books that resonate with you.
Find a teacher who inspires you.
And make yoga just a part of who you are.