Benefits of a Yoga Teacher Training – besides becoming a yoga teacher
There are many reasons to do a Yoga teacher training besides working as a Yoga teacher!
Doing a Yoga Teacher Training has been on both of our bucket lists since before we met. After a busy summer in Ireland it felt right to take some time for mindfulness. A month of focusing on our mind and body seemed like to be the perfect start to our winter travels. Both having a bit but not a massive amount of yoga experience, our main motivation was to implement more mindfulness to our daily lifestyle and stick with it especially in busy times. Also building up flexibility and strength can only have a positive impact on our other favourite sports. What we found in Goa completely exceeded our expectations.
1. Treat yourself to self-care time
A Yoga Alliance certified Yoga Teacher Training Course (YTTC) takes 200 hours. There are various options where to do it, in which yoga style or in what time frame the course can be completed.
Especially if you decide to do an intensive course and complete the 200 hour training in about 4 weeks time, you will want to make sure you pick a location that creates a comfortable environment for you. Prepare to enjoy the ultimate “me-time” which at times, believe it or not, can be a tough job. Think about what type of environment makes you feel safe and comfortable. Where do you see yourself purely happy. What do you need around you to focus more on what is inside of you. Do you see an isolated green paradise in the middle of the jungle? Do you want to leave modern amenities and do your training in an ashram high up in the mountains? Are you up for sharing a simple hut with others or do you need more personal space and prefer a more luxurious accommodation?
For myself and Rachel it became pretty clear early on in our research that we need a warm place and preferably want the beach and the sea as close as possible. Having not many other expectations towards the location of our training we found ourselves slightly overwhelmed with the range of courses that are offered. Being able to choose from so many locations around the world we decided to go to the source and do our training in India. Given our love for the sea and beaches the south of Goa was the perfect choice.
I need the heat and the sea is my safe place. It’s up to you to decide which place is your happy place.
Even after narrowing down the area where we wanted to go it was not easy to pick a yoga school. Usually you can choose from different yoga styles or you can sign up for a mixed style course, which we decided to do. Decide for yourself if you already prefer one style much over another or if you want to deepen your practice in various styles.
Since we usually never book anything off the internet and prefer to show up and see for ourselves how we feel about a place, we found it difficult to pick a yoga school. Long story short we ended up booking a course based on pictures and some nice reviews. Unfortunately it turned out to be very different in reality than what it looked like on their homepage. Arriving there after a long day of traveling we felt tired and very sad about the bad decision we seemed to have made. Was that it? Will we spend the next month meditating next to a busy, noisy road and sleep in a dirty room around people we feel tricked us into coming here? Should we give it a chance? Is this the first personal challenge we have to face on our yoga path? Or is there actually an option to walk away from this?
We took a stroll down to the beach and immediately felt a little better. Patnem beach is everything you think of when talking about a beach paradise. A clean strip of soft sand with gentle waves crushing onto the shore. Cosy restaurants and yoga shalas are lining up next to each other. We wandered down the beach and after stepping into dog poo and washing my foot off in the sea we decided to check out other yoga schools. The first place that caught our eye was Lotus Oasis Yoga. From the start the place gave of the vibe we were hoping to find. And after telling the owner Manav our story and him offering us a spot in the upcoming course we both felt rescued. The gentle and welcoming vibe of Manav and his crew paired with the super friendly and laid back atmosphere of Lotus Oasis Yoga were exactly what we missed at the other place. It was meant to be – we found our happy place. And here comes our advice: Find YOUR happy place!
Participating in a yoga teacher training is your chance to spend a month treating yourself, whatever that means to you. This is your “me-time”. Your time out! You get the chance to get away from where you have to be and from whatever you feel you have to be. Pick a place that helps you to be you and that allows you to feel free to rediscover you.
A little 5-step guide to find your happy place:
- Close your eyes and imagine yourself happy. A smile on your face and you feel light and good. Look around you. Where are you? What is around you?
- Have you been to a place before maybe on a retreat or did you participate in a drop in class and it just felt amazing? If you know it and it felt perfect maybe it’s the right thing to go back there?
- Talk to friends who have done their training and what they loved about it. See if it matched with the place you imagine.
- Read reviews, reviews, reviews and pay close attention on what you are looking for.
- And our personal advice – if you arrive and it doesn’t feel completely right than make a change- this is an investment for yourself, your happiness, your journey.
You are not there to ‘get it over with’ or ‘fight through it’. This is your chance of taking care of yourself in a physical way but even more it’s a retreat for your mind and spirit.
Lotus Oasis Yoga | Our happy place
For everyone who loves the sun and the beach, Patnem beach in south Goa is a little paradise. The beach is clean and the water is clear. It’s a pleasure to jump into the gentle waves and cool off in between yoga classes. Lotus Oasis Yoga is located at the beach front with a yoga shala and restaurant overlooking the sea. In the offered accommodation you will find comfort in simplicity. The cosy bamboo huts all have their own en-suite bathroom and are equipped with mosquito nets and ceiling fans. As an added extra every hut comes with a hammock on the front porch.
Almost all meals are included in the course and the 3 buffet meals a day are an absolute highlight in themselves.
But the most beautiful location wouldn’t mean much without the right people in them. Manav, Samita and their teacher crew are amazing. In every interaction you can feel their love and passion for what they do and for their welcoming nature.
We certainly found one of our happy places here in the south of Goa. The whole Patnem beach strip has an amazingly welcoming vibe to it and invites you to linger around a little longer.
2. Enjoy the deep and long lasting effects
Most of us will know the feeling of returning back to routine after a relaxing holiday. Even though we promise ourselves it will be different this time, we still seem to fall back into old patterns faster than we realise.
I’m not trying to say doing a yoga teacher training will magically change our life for the better. But it can be an extremely helpful step.
Firstly you will be practicing asanas twice a day for a couple of weeks. This will activate not only your muscle memory but also your brain will get used to the regular practice and it will become your normal.
In addition to the physical practice you will get the chance to attend theory classes to learn more about postures by the masters. Even for very experienced practitioners it can be extremely helpful to discuss correct alignment and right adjustments in detail for every posture. Attending a yoga teacher training will definitely have a long lasting effect on your personal asana practice.
But besides the obvious fact of making positive changes to your physical yoga practice you will experience that asanas are only a small part of yoga. Even though most of us will have heard something about Buddha or Karma before, only a few will know more about where yoga originated and the deeper philosophy behind it.
A yoga teacher training course is your chance to get under the skin of yoga and let yoga get under yours. You will get the chance to reflect about your lifestyle, your motives and your values. And most likely this is only the start because some questions you will ask yourself will stay with you after the course has finished. By creating the time for yourself to enjoy a yoga teacher training you will create space in your mind for something you always needed.
“It’s all about the balance” We’ve all used this phrase before. We are all seeking for balance but do we actually know what is balancing for us? There is no one fits all recipe of what is good for us and what creates balance. Your yoga teacher training is an opportunity to create awareness of what can help balance your body and mind. It’s time to learn how to be gentle to yourself and allow yourself to feel how you feel.
In the end, it’s up to you how much of your experiences you can take home with you and how it effects the rest of your life. It’s certainly one of the greatest opportunities for a change you can find.
3. Become a part of the community
In a yoga teacher training, a group of people from different countries and cultures come together to share a very special experience. Everyone will have a unique story and a different motivation bringing them to this very place at this particular time. I found myself simply amazed by the variety of motivations and expectations towards the training. Our class consisted of yogis between the age of 21 and 59, some with many years of experience, some had only recently discovered yoga for themselves. Some came here with the intention to start teaching while others wanted to become better teachers for themselves.
Oliver, the Kundalini teacher of Lotus Oasis Yoga, told us at the start: “You might not like everyone in your class but you will love everyone when you leave”. For me his words became reality.
It’s natural to click better with some people than with others. But I couldn’t be more grateful for every single person who shared this experience with me. By talking to my classmates about yoga, life and pancakes, by listening to their stories and by just practicing in silence next to them, I felt they were my teachers just as much as the person in the front of the shala giving instructions.
In our philosophy class we talked about the deep connections of the universe and the flow of energy and thanks to my classmates I could begin to feel and understand – we are all in this together.
Here is what our classmates say about their experience
What I learned from Yoga Teacher Training besides how to teach yoga:
1. To completely let go of the past, like that boyfriend I thought I was over but still harbored some hurt emotion in my hip joints.
2. I can actually like and be friends with people I was averse to in the beginning of the month.
3. I can still enjoy having a roommate and nighttime giggle-fests at 37 years old.
4. People are addicted to unnecessary stress (likely related to previous karmic lifetimes and ingrained human instincts).
5. Dancing my butt off still feels really good (Kundalini Yoga and celebrating our graduation).
I began practicing yoga when I was living abroad in the Czech Republic. I didn’t understand what the instructor was saying in Czech, but I loved the feeling I had after each class nonetheless. When I got home, I started going to yoga there and understanding more of the (more important) mindfulness of it. It really inspired me in a time when I was feeling quite uninspired, while finishing my master’s degree. Signing up for the yoga teacher training here was one of the best decisions of my life. I have gained so much self-awareness, self-love, gratitude and inner peace since; and with it more appreciation for my surroundings and others. This school is so amazing that I will be coming back for a third time in just over a year, to continue developing my own practice, and sharing my love of yoga with aspiring teachers and retreat guests. It’s been a precious journey so far from student, to assistant teacher, to junior teacher, and I feel very thankful to have the opportunity to continue the journey here.
It has been few months that i have started doing yoga. Since the day I started doing it, i had always wanted to do certification in the same. But at the same time, I wasn’t sure whether i would be able to afford it at present or not.
I had been following Samita on instagram since a long time because i was a big fan of her yoga poses which she used to post. I used to save each and every post of her and then i would try doing that myself. 🙈
Once, she had posted a story about free yoga teacher training, and i was like “wow, exactly what i wish for”. But I wasn’t so sure whether I would be able to win the contest or not as i was not so much experienced and at the same time, I didn’t even take any classes. On the day 1 of the contest, i was thinking, “Sonali, you have to do it. It would be your best birthday present to yourself.”
Then i gave my 110% to win that contest. I still remember the feeling on the day when i was declared the winner! I was numb! I couldn’t speak anything for few minutes. I was so happy. One of the happiest moments of my life! Aah! 😍
The day i arrived at Lotus, it felt like a dream come true. It was the best 1 month of my life. It was the first time in my life that i was able to connect to myself. I started loving myself. I started respecting myself. I started taking care of myself. I found the inner peace and happiness within myself. I could feel each and every emotion within me.
Thank you Lotus and team for this experience and all the love! 🙏🏻 ♥
4. Dive deeper into yoga philosophy
Yoga has become a trendy sport in the western world. Most yoga studios try to offer the best workout in the smallest time-frame possible to their clients. It’s all about efficiency. The whole spiritual part of yoga is often packed in a little OM at the beginning of the class while the mandatory shavasana at the end is the closest to a mental yoga practice most people will ever get. The word karma has found its way in our daily language but only a few actually know what it means.
Participating in a yoga teacher training will change that. Breathing exercises, learning about chakras and meditation techniques are on your daily schedule and will leave you wanting to experience more.
You will learn where all those practices originated and why there is a Buddha statue found in almost every yoga place.
We got lots of fascinating input from our teacher Maitri and some of it will certainly resonate within every one of us for long time. Be open and prepared for words of wisdom to really get under your skin and might change your perspective.
For me the most important lesson was: Don’t just believe something that you are told or that you read about. Go there, see for yourself, experience it and then decide if it’s beneficial for you. If it is good for you – keep it, if it isn’t – let it go!
5. Ayurveda – It’s all about balance
If you decide to venture to India for your yoga teacher training , you will get the chance to learn more about Ayurveda – an Indian alternative system of medicine primarily focused on keeping a balance of physical, mental, social and spiritual wellbeing as a prophylaxis of health rather than becoming reactive once a disease has already occurred.
After just a few hours of class with our teacher Maitri, we were left fascinated, completely enthralled and ready to make some changes to our lifestyle.
Ayurveda can provide you with an analysis of your (body)-type and gives suggestions on your lifestyle, your diet and for example the type of yoga that balances you best.
It’s a unique opportunity to experience a different perspective. I have to admit I was completely sceptical until I got the analysis of my body type (body dosha) and it was oddly accurate. It confirmed the ideal diet and lifestyle habits for my balance which I know is 100% true although I hate to admit that icecream is not ideal for my dosha 🙂
Learning about Ayurveda will give you the chance to look at your life from a different perspective and if it sparks off a new idea that you feel like implementing into your lifestyle to get your balance right- even better!
I think you have really captured the spirit of this YTTC. What an amazing month of intense learning, both inside and outside of the classroom. I had serious doubts before I arrived. As someone who was cow-phobic, not a lover of sand nor high temperatures and very fond of having my own space … why had I signed up to do my YTTC. In Goa? Well, the course description appealed with its variety of yoga styles and Rishikesh was probably going to be a bit too chilly in November. Well, I quickly learned that a yoga shala right on the beach is one of the most awesome places to practice: With a beautiful breeze, stunning view and the meditative rhythm of the waves. I soon got used to the sand and there was plenty of shade in which to keep cool.
I found myself sharing with the most amazing roomie (Maybe I should call her my Rumi because she was so wise). As for the cows, they were quite small and gentle, so unlike their European counterparts.
This was my first trip to India and I instantly fell in love with the country and her people. The explosion of colour and so many beautiful smiling faces. The trust that people put in you, my optician (yeah, I lost a pair of specs in the sea) and stall holders would let me take things home with the understanding that I would return to pay in the next few days. Things can be a bit chaotic and don’t always go according to plan and, in this way, India teaches you surrender. Don’t sweat the small stuff. If there’s a power cut, go outside and look at the stars.
I feel so blessed to have landed at Lotus in November 2019. I met some wonderful people and perhaps learned to regard events with more equanimity. The big revelation for me was how awesome Kundalini yoga could be. I always thought it was for crazy people … guess I’m just more crazy than I thought.
I need to make this jump while I can still jump. Not many Builder’s that practice yoga. I could be the first.
Go for it Adrian, it will improve your flexibility, mental strength, comfort on the bike and you will be building twice as fast so you’ll have lots of extra time to explore even more on two wheels:) Let me know if you need some tips/links to get you started..