A great yoga teacher is forever a student.
Once you finish your yoga teacher training (YTTC), you’ll no doubt have gained a ton of new knowledge. 200 hours, though, is merely one drop of wisdom in the vast ocean of the yogic science, and hopefully only the beginning of your yogic education! Don’t let a teaching certificate end your quest for knowledge—a great yoga teacher is forever a student. Check out these four ways to continue soaking up knowledge like a yogi sponge.
1. Keep taking classes.
Just because you’re a teacher doesn’t mean you should stop taking yoga classes. But you may have a harder time finding a good teacher who challenges you post YTTC. If you’re fortunate enough to have a stimulating yoga teacher nearby, then by all means keep learning from them.
If not, diligently continue a home-based practice. Attend studio classes every so often to remind yourself what it’s like to be a student. Observe how other yoga teachers teach, and what you should or shouldn’t integrate into your own classes.
2. Attend workshops.
Whenever your schedule and budget allow it, enroll in yoga workshops. Workshops develop your personal practice and your teaching. You’ll gain an in-depth understanding of topics like tight hips, headstands, or yogic philosophy. Once you have a more astute sense of any one subject or asana, you can sum it up and teach it to your own students from a place of genuine knowledge.
Keep your ears open for well-known yoga teachers visiting your area. They’re usually famous for a reason and have a lot to share. Even if you don’t particularly jive with their teaching or yoga style, it can be insightful to observe how they interact with their students, how they go about marketing, and what makes them successful.
3. Attend yoga conferences and festivals.
Yoga conferences are a great way to experience the modern world’s most famous yoga teachers, meet like-minded yogis, and envelop yourself in a few days of pure wellness. For dates and locations in the U.S. and around the world, check out www.yogafestival.com.
Here are some popular yoga festivals to consider:
- Bhakti Fest has a few festivals in California and Wisconsin each year. These are bhakti-based with a spiritual mission: embracing yoga, kirtan, and meditation.
- Yoga Journal conferences are put on multiple times a year by Yoga Journal LIVE! and feature big names in the yoga industry
- Telluride Yoga Festival is a yearly, three-day festival set in majestic Colorado.
- Wanderlust Festivals take place across the country and around the world multiple times a year. They call their festivals “all-out, ecstatic celebrations.”
4. Enroll in an anatomy and physiology course.
There should have been a yoga anatomy segment in your YTTC; but it probably wasn’t more than a few hours long and gave you only the briefest overview of bones and muscles. If you want a serious understanding of the body’s inner workings, consider enrolling in an anatomy and physiology (A&P) course. It’s well-worth the investment. When the body is less of a mystery, you become a better teacher. You’ll be able to teach students how each asana affects the various body systems, plus you’ll know why and how to modify poses for individual bodies and conditions.
Here are some course options to consider:
- Local community college courses are generally inexpensive, and schools often have night class options.
- UCLA Extension has several different online A&P course options. Online classes are great for those who are self-motivated and can’t commit to being physically present in class.
- Clovis Community College also offers online A&P courses that can be transferred for university credit.
- Leslie Kaminoff’s Yoga Anatomy course includes three 12-week trimesters focusing on the breath, spine, and limbs; and you can move entirely at your own pace. This online course is on the expensive side, but unlike general A&P, it’s taught entirely in terms of yoga.
Along with these four ideas, expand your knowledge after YTTC by reading yoga books, meditating, and above all, teaching.