For many a yoga practitioner, the precipice of our yoga journey may be symbolised by our teacher training and our metamorphosis into an instructor of the art and science of the practice.
Training institutions use flowery language and promises of spiritual learning and physical breakthroughs to lure their students – whether their claims are true are debatable.
There certainly are enough posts on the internet telling you why you should do the training so in the spirit of balance and transparency; here are some yet discussed points on the post-training transformations, that some future teachers may expect.
1.You practice less
Classes that you teach invariably happen at the same time that you could or would have been practicing.
Tip: Schedule in your “practice” classes and stick to them as diligently as your teaching.
2.Your practice may slow down or regress
As a yogi with a regular and consistent practice you may have felt that your strength and capabilities were either maintaining or progressing. As a result of your prioritising teaching, you may find that it is more difficult to make progress or you may even regress in certain postures that you had been working on.
Tip: Develop a self-practice.
3. Your practice is no longer your own
Before teaching, your yoga class was your time. A sacred hour for healing, reflection, day dreaming, and a sense of diffuse attention. A moving meditation with no clear intellectual goals. When you become a teacher, you practice with a ‘teacher’s mind.’ You understand the practice from a more mechanical perspective and can’t help but think about how and why a teacher might be moving you in certain ways. You might unwillingly critique the experience, in a different way because your insight into the process is deeper.
4. You become critical of your teachers
It’s an unfortunate consequence of our training and one most teachers might be unwilling to admit, but we may resort to a sense of yogic-superiority, critiquing our experiences and choosing teachers that we feel can improve our practice and teaching, rather than simply enjoying moving and breathing.
5. You become self-conscious of your yogic prowess
There is a prevailing naivety amongst teachers-in-training that good teachers are only those that are able to do impressive yoga postures. They then assume that should they wish to be a ‘good teacher’, they need to become “better” at doing postures to externally prove their worth. This may reinforce point 3 and increase your guilt and anxiety about points 1 and 2.
6. You become self-conscious of your body
Another myth that we tend to live out in our minds, is that good teachers, (scratch that) all teachers are skinny, beautiful and ‘clean’ looking. As a teacher one may feel obligated to change one’s body to fit in with our fantasy of what this ethereal being looks like. This may cause an unnecessary amount of anxiety and guilt perhaps even ‘Imposter Syndrome’, that might lead to extravagant sports bra purchases and unhealthy juice cleanses.
7. You may want to stop doing things you enjoy
You might occasionally enjoy a glass of red wine, perhaps even a cheeseburger or like me, a sneaky cigarette with a friend on the rare occasion. As a yoga teacher you may internalise your idea of yourself as a ‘clean-living-do-everything-right’ type of person and may feel guilty for occasionally indulging in something that before may not have seemed too bad.
Tip: Be naughty every now and then- it is important to play.
My intention is not to villainise teachers, trainers or even the experience itself but I do hope that those that are about to embark on their journey might bolster themselves against some of the unexpected consequences.
Feel free to comment with your thoughts below!