As the year winds down and thoughts of the New Year are just beginning to form, one thing that may come up in your yoga community are the teacher training programs that’ll begin early in the next year. If you are thinking about teaching yoga in the future, then certainly teacher training is a must and the questions to ask yourself would be the type of program you would like to take and where. But what about if you’re unsure about teaching? Or even not thinking about teaching, but looking to take your practice deeper?
From that standpoint, teacher training may be a bit of a misnomer, but may still be worth looking into. While the lessons and workshops are to prepare one for teaching, they also provide a path to dive deeper into yoga: the philosophies, other branches – or limbs – of yoga, meditation and yes, the physical poses. And one thing that I found was that learning the physical poses and how to teach them, helped me internalize how to adjust based on cues I might hear from the teacher in a class.
So what does “going deeper” offer?
Having gone through a training with the studio a few years ago, I can speak to The Mat Yoga Studio’s teacher training, though other studios may have different offerings or a different structure. But The Mat’s series is broken up into three levels and if you start just with the first, you can enroll in the following levels if you decide to continue studying.
- Level 1: alignment, breath work, meditation and an introduction to yogic philosophy
- Level 2: introductions to the chakras, bandhas, koshas and mudras
- Level 3: anatomy, the nervous system, learning to sequence, assist and yes, learning and practicing to teach.
Throughout all of these levels though, you also learn the poses and guidance on teaching them with your classmates. You have the opportunity to see how different bodies align with different poses, and learn more modifications which can be something to aid in a personal practice. For me, I also found it interesting to think about how a “peak” pose may contribute to sequencing the start of your class (a peak pose might be a more complex pose to work up to, such as warming the back to work up to Dancer).
Personally, I was really excited to learn more about the philosophy and I found myself intrigued by breath work and how breath affects the body. Along with the physical practice, that’s something that stayed with me. And the value I found with learning the poses, coming into – and out of – them, and modifications have also stayed with me over the years in my own practice.
If teacher training is something you’ve thought about – and have questions – certainly reach out to the studio. Or keep an eye out for an upcoming Open House at The Mat where you can bring your questions and engage with the teachers and maybe even meet someone who will become a fellow trainee!
This is the part of a series of posts for The Mat Yoga Studio, sharing my thoughts and observations as a student only. The views and opinions are my own experience.