How to Overcome Self-Doubt as a New Yoga Teacher
January 13, 2015

Expect the Unexpected: An Insider’s Guide to Teacher Training

Keep these insider tips in mind as you embark on your journey to become a yoga teacher.

When you start a yoga teacher training, you often come in with a certain expectation of what it’s going to be like. Expectations are fun in this type of setting because you are challenged, your mind changes, and you develop a new way of thinking—this environment is all about growth.

I practiced yoga for years before I started training, so I thought, I’ve got this, no problem. I quickly learned I didn’t know nearly as much as I thought I did. In fact, training showed me just how much there is to learn and just how little I had learned before.

Here are some insider tips to keep in mind as you begin your journey to become a yoga teacher:

• You will have moments of complete clarity.

During these times, you will be so in the moment, you can’t imagine being anywhere else in the world. Enrolling in teacher training will feel like the best choice you’ve ever made.

• You will also have moments when you feel overwhelmed.

This is especially true for those who are training in addition to working full-time jobs. There will be times when the material, reading or homework assignments will feel impossible. You will question your decision to enroll. Know that these are just passing moments—part of your journey. They will pass, and you’ll get back to those blissful moments of clarity.

• Your interests will grow.

You’re going to learn about things like doshas, koshas, gunas and chakras. Your friends may get tired of hearing about these things because, believe me, you’re going to want to talk about them. But these are the moments you turn to your classmates and begin to form bonds.

• You will learn to stop changing yourself and start being yourself.

I learned I am a fire sign to the core—leo, pitta, rajasic. I tend to get wound up and overexcited. Instead of wishing I was calmer, I now embrace that it’s a part of me.

• You may not like everyone at first.

But you will learn to stop judging or, at least, to judge less. If you don’t like someone initially, remember there’s someone who may not like you. Training is a great time to get off of your soapbox. Everyone has a story, and every story is interesting. Take time to get to know the people in your class. They all have something to offer, just as you have something to offer everyone—even if you’re not sure what it is.

• You will be humbled.

It might be someone else’s story, something they overcame, or a pose they nailed, despite you practicing for months. Regardless, you will be awed at some point, and you will open up because of it. Training to become a teacher is kind of like peeling the layers of an onion. Enjoy the unraveling.

These 200 hours of training are unlike anything you’ve ever done in your life or anything you will ever do again. You may go on to a 500-hour program or to specialize in another style—no matter what, it will never be the same as starting your first training, meeting your first set of classmates, and really digging your heels into yoga for the first time. It’s a wonderful journey, so go into it with an open heart and an open mind. Namaste.

Jennifer Minchin
Jennifer Minchin

Jennifer Minchin is a lover of yoga, words, and a good challenge. After 13 years of a dedicated yoga practice, she continued her journey with a 200-hour teacher training. She has always been drawn to more challenging classes, believing that you can find tremendous personal insight and courage when working at your edge. She believes that yoga is a path to transformation and a great healer. She hopes to share her love of yoga, and what she has learned in her studies, through her writing. Jennifer resides in Hoboken, New Jersey.

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