Are you feeling a full bodied YES for attending a Yoga Teacher Training? If so, spare a thought for what you expect as what happens during the course may not be exactly what it says on the label.
Aside from a full house of the usual suspects; Asana, Pranayama, Anatomy & Physiology, and Philosophy, some YTT courses offer related practices to inform these core ingredients. For example, The Yoga Health Mandala offer a Sweat Lodge ceremony (for cleansing, ice-breaking and team-building) along with Qi Gong, Ecstatic Dance, Sound Healing, Contact Improvisation & playful interaction games for enhancing the skills of would-be teachers.
Be aware also that if personal enquiry is a key principle of the course, it’s likely that the participants will complete the training with a sense of having undergone a profound transformational journey. As wonderful and rewarding as this may be, it may mean experiencing an intense emotional roller coaster, as the release of emotional and physical tension unwinds old behavioural, postural and movement patterning. Not necessarily for the faint-heated and rigid of mind!
It’s worth acknowledging that effective teaching comes from the fruits of a thorough personal investigation, where the instructor offers their wisdom, authentically gained through personal experience. Therefore better get to know your teachers through attending prior workshops and retreats before committing to a Teacher Training.
A frequently asked question is, ”What’s better, a month’s intensive or a part time course scheduled over a year or two?”
Choosing the timescale of YTT is a personal choice depending on resources and time available. A month’s intensive is a great way to deepen personal practice and provides a great foundation to becoming a teacher. If the intensive is held in a location with a strong spiritual culture (such as India) this will likely add to the intensity. On a longer course, assimilation is slower with more time and opportunity to practice teaching. Which ever option is more appropriate, it’s advisable to maintain CPD (Continuing Professional Development) and attend further workshops and training modules offered by your preferred teachers.
A YTT is undoubtedly hard work, particularly if structured in an intensive format. Therefore bear in mind that learning is made more effective in a fun and playful environment. If laughter and camaraderie are important to you while engaging in the immersion of a physical and metaphysical education; choose your course wisely. The personalities of the teachers will surely shine through and can vary immensely.
A team of facilitators will likely be more engaging compared with just one main teacher taking all the airtime. Alchemy, banter and the shared holding of space not only increase the chances of deepening the grasp of subject matter compared with that of the standard Teacher/Student relationship, but also the amount of personal attention received along the way.
In the context of that initial full bodied ‘yes’ that inspires enrollment to a YTT, you may end up being astonished when you realise what that commitment really means. In light on the transformational process of a YTT, the resulting awakening of perception and sense of feeling can liberate the concept of Yoga from an external authority, mat and manual, into a juicy relevant practice for life.
Consider the yoga adage, ‘how you meet resistance on the mat is how you meet resistance in life’.
The Yoga Health Mandala (Helen Noakes, Steve Bracken & Rupert Johnson) offer workshops, retreats and YTT internationally. Their emphasis is one of enquiry and combines various disciplines which inform their evolving, fresh and innovative approach to the lineage of yoga inspired by Vanda Scaravelli.