Four years ago, I left a yoga class on such a high and thought to myself, “It’s time to go deeper.” I had been practicing about 2 years and felt a deep calling for more. I knew it was time to do the yoga teacher training, but from that point I was totally lost. I spent the next 3 months researching, working through my fears and reservations, and then finally booked to go in India. Here’s what I wish I knew back then:
1. Your level of experience doesn’t really matter
I remember I had an impression that yoga teacher training would mean learning the more difficult poses like inversions and open-legged stretches. This isn’t really the case, at least in our trainings and most other trainings I know of. The teacher training (apart from ashtanga-based trainings) is not about testing you physically, it’s about developing the tools inside you for developing balance and peace. I feel strongly that even someone who had never done yoga once in their life could (and should) do most trainings. Don’t be afraid that the other students will be better at doing the poses than you. Some students naturally have been doing the poses longer, but you learn quickly that it’s not really about that at all.
3. You don’t have to want to teach yoga to do the training- most don’t.
I remember feeling a little uneasy about doing the training because I didn’t actually want to teach, at least not immediately. I actually feel that “teacher training” is the wrong phrase for it, as most come just to deepen their practice. The teacher training in my opinion is the best way to deepen your practice- at least that I’m aware of.
3. Find a teacher who is from, or was trained in India.
I often hear that where your teacher is from, or where they trained doesn’t matter, as long as you like them. I disagree strongly with this. Yoga is truly depthless, it’s been around for thousands of years, and teachers closer to the source of yoga share from a fundamentally different space. If you’re looking to use yoga as a workout and build a yoga career, that’s one thing- go to yogaworks or corepower. But if you a taste of the magic that’s inspired millions of people throughout the ages, the real experience, find someone connected to the source.
4. Don’t go with the cheapest option
I booked the training that was the cheapest available, and I deeply regret it. I loved my training, but at times it was pretty brutal. My rooms had no heat (it got to be about 35 degrees at night), the food was sub-par, and the teachers were not really invested. This seems to be typical of all the budget trainings.
I also wouldn’t go with the most expensive option. What you’re paying for if you’re paying more than 4 grand is really just the luxurious environment- not the quality of the teaching or program. What you really want is heavily invested teachers, and no amount of money can buy this.
When I started the east-west institute, I wanted to solve these problem for people and give them access to an authentic training in a very nice (even luxurious!) environments. All our trainings are led by true Indian Masters of yoga, combined with one western teacher who actually has a thriving yoga career, and set it luxurious resorts on Bali, one of the spiritual capitals of the world. I, and many of his other students truly believe that our teacher Gurumukh will be one of the great spiritual teachers of our time. He teaches from a place of pure joy, but is also incredibly intelligent, present, and caring. You feel like you are in the presence of a great being when you meet him, and I have felt that is it part of my life’s work to help facilitate his teachings. His presence is what has really guided our entire organization.
I truly with you the best, and that you find the program that awakens your inner potential.