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7 Things You Won’t Learn in Yoga Teacher Training

A yoga teacher training can teach you a lot–but it won't teach you everything.

A well-rounded and all-encompassing 200, 300, or even 500-hour yoga teacher training can give you so much insight into what it takes to become a yoga teacher and prepare you for a successful and fulfilling yoga teaching career.

Even though all yoga teacher trainings are crafted with care and intention, even the best training out there can’t teach you everything, and some things you just have to learn as you go.

After 10 years of teacher yoga, and 5 years leading yoga teacher trainings, these are 7 things I believe that you just can’t learn in yoga teacher training.

7 Things You Won't Learn In Yoga Teacher Training

Your Authentic Voice as a Teacher

This just comes with time. When you graduate from your yoga teacher training you will naturally sound a lot like the teacher that just taught you.

You will use similar cues, your sequencing will be just like what they taught you in your ytt, and you will be focusing on getting the foundations of leading a yoga class. When you graduate you might not quite sound like you yet and that’s ok. 

As you are teaching, check in with what from your training aligns with you and how you want to lead classes.

It’s ok to deviate from what you learned at times, and to try something new.

As you share classes, get more flows under your belt and check-in with how you want to teach and show up for your students you will begin to develop your own unique voice and ways of saying cues, sequencing, and even how the class flows. 

The more you teach and get comfortable with the basics, you can start to let your own unique personality and perspective begin to shine through the classes. 

How to Laugh at Yourself

Here’s the deal.

You will mess up, you will accidentally repeat a side twice and not realize it, you will say the wrong word and maybe you’ll even fart or burp in the middle of a class.

 These things will happen, embrace it, it is a part of learning and being a human. When these things happen you can either feel embarrassed or get down on yourself or you can just laugh and move on.

When you mess up and are able to laugh at yourself and show your humanity it gives your students the permission to do the same and they will be able to relate to you on a whole new level.

A yoga teacher works with her students, learning lessons she didn't in her yoga teacher training.

Playlist Curation

You may learn about how to use music in your classes during your yoga teacher training, but when you are actually creating a playlist, teaching with the music and in the moment it becomes a bit trickier. 

First, you get to decide if you even want to use music in your classes, you may want to opt for silence or maybe you play singing bowls or white noise.

But if you do choose to use music and create a playlist, you will start to get a feel for what type of music goes best with your style and your teaching, you will build a library of playlists to use and you’ll start to find the right volume to play your music at.

What Your Signature Style Is

Signature style is a little bit different than finding your unique voice as a teacher. 

Although they are related, there is so much more that you can convey about who you are as a teacher, and what you do without even saying a word.

Think of your signature style as a bit like your brand. It is those elements that make a class yours. You may start teaching a signature style of yoga where you always add a certain element, or flow or maybe you fuse two styles together to make a class that is uniquely yours.

Or maybe you always use a certain type of music, or start your class with a certain ritual or practice.

The more that you teach, and connect with who you are as a teacher you will begin to develop your own style and flare for teaching and these elements that are unique to you will start to become your signature style in the yoga world and what your students will grow to love about your classes.

How to Build a Business

A well-rounded yoga teacher training will have some elements of business and finding success teaching after your training, but learning about building a business in theory and then actually doing it on your own is a different ball game.

Each yoga teacher will want something different from their business. 

They may want to teach full-time, part-time, a few times a week, or maybe you want to teach all online. It is hard to know what you want from your business until you are in the thick of it, and designing it from scratch. 

There are also so many variables like the market you are in, the time you have to invest in your business, and what your signature style is that will impact how you build your business as a yoga teacher that you can’t learn in yoga teacher training.

It's About the Students–Not You

When you are in a yoga teacher training you are the focus.

This is how it should be, it is about your individual learning and being able to develop the skills needed to lead students in a practice.

However, once the training is over and you dive into teaching you will quickly find that it isn’t about you anymore, and it is all about your students.

You need to meet them where they are at, help them grow and thrive in their practice and give them the tools they need to explore their practice and deepen their understanding of yoga and that will be different for each student.

One of the most beautiful things you will experience as a yoga teacher is the growth and breakthroughs your students can have on the mat, and the best ways to aid them in that journey is to remember it is about them and your job is to meet them where they are at and provide the tools they need for their own success and that will looks different for each student. 


This one just comes with practice.

Each time you get on the mat to lead a class your timing will get better.

You will get more comfortable, you will start walking around the room more, you will be able to interact with your students more, and get a feel for the right timing.

The more comfortable you get, the easier it will be to time out your classes and not be as worried about getting the timing just right.

You will start to find an ease and rhythm in your teaching that will start to naturally guide you with your timing and this is something that always comes with time.

Each time you teach you will get better, you will get more comfortable, and your teaching will improve. So stick with it, enjoy the process of learning and growing and the rest will come with time. 

Kelly Smith
Kelly is the founder of Yoga For You, and the host of the Mindful in Minutes podcast. She is an E-RYT 500, YACEP, and a location independent yoga and meditation teacher. She spends her days traveling globally offering trainings in restorative yoga, meditation, yoga nidra, writing blogs for beYogi, and recording meditations from her closet.
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