The How, The What, The Who, The When, but most importantly, The WHY!
Seva, in the philosophy of yoga, means “Service” – Service to ourselves and service to others. Becoming a yoga teacher is just that… Service! We serve ourselves on the yogic path; becoming the best versions of ourselves we can be and connecting to the divine qualities within ourselves – love, joy, compassion, harmony. We serve others by walking the walk and being open to sharing all the knowledge that has been bestowed upon us. We serve our families and friends by striving to embody the yogic values of non-harming (ahimsa), truthfulness (satya), contentment (santosha) and self-enquiry (svadhyaya) to name a few. We serve our communities; leading by example and helping others do the same. We serve our planet by contributing to it as much as we can rather than hindering and taking from it without replenishing.
If you’ve read this far, you’ll note that there is a lot more to being a yoga teacher than just facilitating asana practice. Yoga is not just something we do; it is a part of who we are. It is not only practiced on the mat but more importantly off the mat also. Yoga is a life long journey of self-discovery and transformation. At Power House Yoga, we offer that journey in our classes as well as our Teacher Trainings.
Ask yourself this question… Has yoga helped me? If your answer is yes, then wouldn’t it be amazing to help others also? Whether it’s on a physical or metaphysical level, as yoga teachers, we have the avenue to change people’s lives. This, in my opinion, is the highest form of community service! Changing people’s lives for the better!!
The biggest obstacle in my experience of why someone doesn’t want to “teach” is fear of being judged. The negative self-talk of “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not smart enough”, “I’m not experienced enough”. But we are all teachers already! We teach every single day by the way we communicate; by the way we respond or react; by our daily interactions. We all have unique qualities and gifts to share with our communities, we all have a dharma (a life’s purpose). In Power House Yoga’s Teacher Trainings, Core Belief work is a focus and a thread (sutra) into teaching. Getting clear on the self-talk as well as our triggers, leads us to a place of freedom and empowerment. Yoga teaches us that in order to free ourselves from the shackles of fear and judgement, we must step outside our comfort zones, do the internal work and rise above the lower mind which is holding us back. “I remember the first thing Dee got us to do on our first day of the course was write in the front of our journals in BIG, BOLD writing… “GET COMFORTABLE WITH BEING UNCOMFORTABLE!!” ~ Jenna – PHY TT Graduate 2015. Yoga teaches us to doubt our doubts and connect to our true selves to live life from a place of authenticity and passion!!
When it comes to our life’s purpose (our dharma), the late David Simon taught us to ask our heart two questions in meditation: 1/ What are my natural talents? 2/ What do I most enjoy doing? Then sit quietly and listen to your hearts response. “As you gain insight into what your heart and soul is longing to express, you will notice that what you’re doing to satisfy your own needs also serves those around you.”
A lot of people (including myself) that have embarked on the Teacher Training journey did so without the intention to teach. Speaking from my own experience, I saw significant changes in myself and in people close to me that I felt a pull to the yogic path and wanted to learn more about this great science. Once the journey began, the momentum continued and I kept it going. Teaching was a natural progression for me but for others it’s not. Regardless of whether you teach or not, the journey is where the impact lies. The journey is what’s worth a million first steps!! That journey has led you to Power House Yoga. If not the studio, then at least this article. Don’t stop there. It’s up to you!
“The journey of a thousand miles
Begins with a single step.”
Following is a compilation of the How, the What, the Who, the When and the Why to answer some frequently asked questions and to hopefully shed some light on the path of the yoga teacher training journey. At Power House Yoga, we offer a format of accelerated learning suitable for all learning styles. Using systematic teaching techniques, all teacher trainees are given the time and tools to learn the material. Every experience is different as we are all very unique! Being open to the process is essential and being open to transformation is a game changer. Ask yourself this question: What is holding me back? Then put into motion the actions required to overcome the obstacles in your way.
How do I become a yoga teacher?
The short answer is: by completing a registered 200 hour teacher training course, obtaining your Level 2 First Aid Certificate, taking out an insurance policy for teaching yoga and registering yourself as a yoga teacher with a governing body (i.e. Yoga Australia and/or Yoga Alliance).
Long answer is: There are two main governing bodies of yoga – Yoga Australia and Yoga Alliance. Yoga Australia is the Australian version similar and associated with Fitness Australia. Yoga Alliance is the international association. Even though they are the governing bodies, they do not police the people teaching yoga.
Currently Yoga Australia have a provisional membership for 200 hour registered teachers where you have a time limit to complete an additional 150 hours to be considered a Level 1 Registered Teacher. You can then go on to complete 500 hours for Level 2 and 1000 for Level 3 with teaching hours and year’s restrictions.
Yoga Alliance has a 200 hour registration where you can stay for your entire yoga teaching career if you like. They then have an additional 300 hour registration to take you to 500 hour registration. They also have specialty areas of Pre-natal and Kids Yoga.
A lot of gyms and yoga studios do not require you to be registered with either of these bodies. At Power House Yoga, our teachers are required to be registered with at least one of the governing bodies. The reason for this is twofold. 1/ for continuing professional development and 2/ if the teacher has not completed their teacher training with PHY, the standards of teacher training courses out there are extremely varied. Registration with either of these governing bodies is an indication that the course completed was registered and met a certain standard of teacher training.
What do I need to do / know / prepare?
Know that it is a hell of a journey!! It is not easy by any stretch of the imagination! It will be challenging physically, mentally and emotionally! The amount of applied learning is vigorous, complex and varied. Everyone learns differently and at different paces. You may or may not need to do extra work outside the contact course hours to keep up, catch up or really cement the topic areas.
Prepare yourself physically by taking extra classes in the lead up to your teacher training course and prepare yourself mentally with your meditation practice.
Find out which texts you will be using to study from and if possible, start reading them. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and The Bhagavad Gita are arguably the most important Indian texts relating to the teaching of yoga. These teachings are also quite detailed and require great commitment to learning how to understand them fully. These are the two text used for Power House Yoga’s 200 hour Teacher Training course. The Upanishads and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika are the other two important texts used in Power House Yoga’s 500 hour Teacher Training pathway.
“It is better to look ahead and prepare
Than to look back and regret.”
Who should I train under?
My number one advice for potential teacher trainees is to find the style and school of yoga that you connect with the most and are completely passionate about. “To be inspiring, we must be inspired.” So without the passion of the style you are teaching, you cannot be a powerful, transformational teacher.
Make sure you try before you buy! Practice at the studio you wish to do your teacher training with to make sure their philosophy, style, approach etc. suit you and your yogic path.
“Never underestimate the power of passion!”
When should I embark on the journey?
Ask yourself the question: “If not now, then when?” Is anytime a good time for most things? We so often get caught up in our heads making excuses to hold off in life – whether it’s getting married, having kids, buying a house etc. There is never really a good time for anything when we are constantly forcing expectations on ourselves. Sometimes we just need to surrender to the power of the Universe (Ishvara-pranidhana) and let whatever just be; without struggle.
Some courses will have a requirement of continuous personal practice time to be able to apply to complete the course – 6 months continuous personal practice is generally the standard. However, for your own benefit and assurance that you are embarking on the right path for you, those 6 months may only be 3 or could be 12 or more! Like most things in yoga, there is no definitive response as the path is so very personal. You need to find what is right for you!!
“There are seven days in the week,
And someday isn’t one of them!”
Finally: WHY should I become a Yoga teacher?
Why should we do ANYTHING in life…??? Because we are passionate about it!! As mentioned earlier in the article, everyone and everything has a purpose in life. We were all put on this planet for a reason. It is up to us to find out what that reason is and to live out our dharmic path by giving away our gifts. Pablo Picasso said “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
If you feel a pull to the yogic path then you are already on your way by reading this article. If teacher training keeps finding a way to occupy your thoughts and/or dreams, then you are already being pulled in that direction. Everything happens for a reason and there is a lesson in every experience as long as we are open to receiving it. Are you open? Are you ready to help others open? You already know the answer! And you already know where you need to go from here!! If not now, then when?
“Follow your heart!”
Words Of Experience:
Louise – Power House Yoga 200hr Teacher Training Graduate
As I reflect back on my yoga teacher training I am filled with gratitude. I am a firm believer in the phrase “everything happens for a reason.” Although I knew I wanted to eventually teach, something was holding me back. Could I actually do this? Am I good enough? These were common doubts that I contemplated over several months before making the commitment to take on teacher training. I remember speaking with family and friends who were so encouraging and with that I finally took the leap. What could I lose? It has changed my life in more ways than I could have imagined. For me, I feel as if I am finally awake, living my life in the present moment. Not to mention what I learnt about myself along the way. I get to share my passion and love of yoga every day. If I’m not teaching yoga I’m certainly talking about it. Yoga inspires me to be the best version of myself. The training was physically challenging which I was ready for but the mental challenges were the toughest. The mind is an amazing tool and as I often quote Buddha in class “think the thoughts you want to see”, anything is possible if you take the first step and continue taking small steps you will get there. It’s so worth it, if you are considering teacher training, I encourage you to take the leap and just do it. Block out the doubts, accept the challenge and don’t look back. As Rumi says “what you seek is seeking you”.
Pete – Power House Yoga 200hr Teacher Training Graduate
Back some years ago I witnessed first-hand the commitment needed to complete 200hr yoga teacher training. I would have never imagined that I could complete it. After practicing for 8 years I actually thought that I should give teacher training a go to further my knowledge of Yoga and help deepen my own personal practice. I had no intentions of becoming a teacher at this stage in my life. About half way in I had a change of heart and really started to love the aspects of teaching. Yoga had given me my life back and made a huge difference to my day to day living after serious injuries etc. I thought I need to give back to the Universe what I had taken from Yoga and share this with as many people as possible and hopefully they will receive the gift of Yoga that I had found. Teacher training, I found to be difficult at times, but I was able to feed off other students and of course Dee as the teacher and to be totally honest I was worried about the final exam. A pass rate of 80% was something I had never achieved throughout my schooling but I managed to get in the 90’s! So my advice would be; if you are thinking about teacher training, stop what you are doing and just do it. Don’t think, don’t make excuses and most of all don’t put it off until later.
Jenna – Power House Yoga 200hr Teacher Training Graduate
Where do I start; I remember the initial written application for Teacher Training at PHY, it asked general questions relating to your heath, past education and so on; Questions which were not hard to answer at all. It was only when I came to the very last page it asked for me to write a personal statement to share/explain a little bit about yourself, to delve deeper, below the superficial surface. There was a whole blank page, how was I ever going to fill it with words about myself? I contemplated how to answer the question for way more time than needed, before coming to the realization that I wasn’t quite sure of the answer. Who was I? Throughout the TT journey I was challenged physically but more than anything mentally. You learn things about yourself that you may not have even been consciously aware of. It is confronting and yes, you will be put in situations that make you uncomfortable. At Power House Yoga the course was offered in a supportive and non-judgmental space. The content delivered was designed to challenge you but from a nurturing place that only encouraged personal growth. I look around at other training facilitators with large class sizes, students who get little to no individual contact or coaching with the lead facilitators and it makes me feel so grateful that I was able to undertake my TT in a small group where we each had abundant time with Dee as the main facilitator, to really help us grasp all the information being offered. The course was well delivered and blew all my expectations right out the door. There was a lot of hard work, study, sweat and self-inquiry but plenty of laughter, fun and new friendships. At the very end of the course, we were all given back our initial personal statements as a reflection of where we had started to where we were now. It was more of a shock than I was expecting!! I knew myself better and on a much deeper level than 3 months prior when I started the training. Even if you do not have the intention to teach yoga, this training was such a powerful, eye opening experience, a journey to get to know one’s self and I couldn’t recommend teacher training at Power House Yoga anymore!
I wish you much love, light and laughter on your yogic path and if teacher training is part of that path then take it on whole heartedly and be open to being the best teacher you can be – Authentic, inspiring, passionate, honest, committed, accepting and patient to name just a few qualities of a truly powerful teacher.