How to Know You Are Ready for Yoga Teacher Training

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon teaching yoga. As always, it was a fabulous encounter, and I was feeling exhilarated, tired and motivated. To me, there’s nothing like learners who are starving for more–who have chosen to research what they’re learning because they truly love what they are doing — and who have so much knowledge, encounter, and wisdom to share with one another.

Working with this group of women last night (it was all women, which was also very powerful!) got me thinking about a question that not long ago I got from an audience. So today, I thought we would talk a bit about yoga teacher training, and particularly, some pointers for determining out whether or not you’re ready to step in.

How do you know when it’s about time to enroll in an instructor training (TT) program? Although I think the reply definitely is a very personalized one, here are some tips that I’ve discovered about TT, both from working with instructors and an instructor over the past couple of years.

Practice “level:” Although I’ve shared my thoughts already on what it takes to be an “Advanced” Yogi, and this name, “advanced,” is definitely contentious in the yoga realm, I do think that in order to enroll in a teacher training program, you need to have some level of ease with asanas, or feel comfortable in what you are doing.

This does not mean that you have to know how accurately to do everything from arm balance, inversion, or “the advanced yoga poses,” as I certainly did not know these things when I did TT (and still cannot do many, many innovative poses!), but you should feel comfortable enjoying with some of the more innovative asanas for your advantage, trying them.

The desire to learn: More important than an “advanced” exercise, in my thinking, is the actual desire and need to learn more about yoga. You have to want to try, to force, to learn, to research, to devote your power and time to exercising and teaching yoga.

When I enrolled in TT I couldn’t do a headstand, most arm levels out, or many of the more advanced inversions, but I had a desire to know everything, and that wish led to my studying how to teach and gradually do these poses over time (many of which I discovered how to do during TT!). But to be obvious, this wish to learn should be broader than just the asanas–it should also consist of other things of the exercise, such as pranayama, anatomy, meditation, philosophy, etc.

Life situation: If you know that you want to do yoga teacher training and have the time and money in your life to do it now, do it now. I know lots of people who had desired to do it for years, but kept keeping it off because of one thing or another; then, when they lastly do it, its life changing and they wish they’d done it years ago.

If it’s something that you know you want to do gradually, but you can do it now, just do it, so that you don’t end up feeling like you’ve lost many years not working to achieve your goals. I know this sounds goofy, but if your life opens up a bit and you have time, then do it.