Yoga teacher training is like all fresh starts of life and always bring along unexpected challenges. However, like everything else, these are momentary hurdles and with a strong will you will definitely overcome unexpected challenges of yoga teacher training as well.
If you have planned to embark on a new journey as a yoga teacher in your life, yoga teacher training is your first step. We would, first of all, congratulate you on falling in love with yoga. When in love, no hurdle that can stop you from achieving your goal, no hurdles which can stop you from living your dream.
You might be anxious or filled to the brim with over-excitement that your dreams are finally turning into reality. It’s perfectly normal to feel that way. After all, it is an intense life changing experience that you are going to go through.
Challenges of yoga teacher training are a part of it and are always there in every aspect of life. The world is afraid to discuss the challenges of anything, yoga teachers training is no different. Teachers and schools don’t talk about it as they don’t want to discourage students, other students don’t talk as they don’t want to share their bad experiences and their weaknesses.
Yoga is an art, which encourages self-motivation and relaxation. But, if these challenges are going to scare you then the entire goal of the art remains unaccomplished. The final truth is that if you are able to conquer these snags and glitches, you will rise like a Phoenix from the ashes even in the worst case when you have an injury during the course. Even this is for your own good, as it would make you ready to triumph over anything that life throws at you.
Hence, to guide you and keep you on top of your game throughout the journey of gaining knowledge, in this blog post we will discuss a few challenges of yoga teacher training. You will come across these challenges as you proceed ahead with your goals of becoming “the yoga teacher”. Along with that, what will also accompany these challenges are tips to overcome these challenges.
6 Challenges of Yoga Teacher Training
Here we have listed the 6 big challenges of yoga teacher training and tips on overcoming the challenges and get the best experience on your yoga teachers training.
1. Population of students in your class
Not all yoga classes teach a small group of students and even if it does not seem like a challenge to you right now while reading this. Whether you believe it or not, it is.
The sole reason for this being, the smaller the group you practice in, the more your teacher can concentrate on you as an individual. Another aspect of it being your own comfort level. You will not feel lost and out of space in a smaller environment.
Imagine this. It’s your first day of your yoga teacher training class and you walk towards the practice room all prepped up and ready for experiencing your life’s calling to becoming a yoga teacher.
But to your surprise, as soon as you reach class, there is a crowd of yogis, all ready with their yoga mats in place. You never expected this, and your excitement levels go down as fast as it grew.
There are a million thoughts running in your mind; the struggle of finding a place, where you are neither going to be noticed much, nor where you could miss out on the teacher’s instructions.
You instantly regret ever coming to such a place for the most important journey of your life. Your next possible thought is to run away, but you decide to stay because this is what you have been looking forward to. So, you stay. At the end of it all, you do not feel the satisfaction or experience of being able to connect to oneself as you were hoping to.
Furthermore, it was more difficult, than you expected, to make acquaintances through the practice. There was no one to guide you or tell you whether you were doing the yoga asanas correctly. All-in-all everything comes in as a disappointment to you and you just wished you had never come there.
Overcoming the Challenge
It’s easy to feel this way in larger groups. It’s the fear of being ridiculed that makes you act this way. Though there are some who do not care, yet there are also those like you, who feel anxious and swamped when the crowd is too much.
It’s natural human behavior and there is nothing to be ashamed of or something to beat yourself up with for days. These things happen to a majority of people, even if you are a yogi. You are human, and you are supposed to have emotions.
Nevertheless, if you’re not comfortable being around too many people during practice, you can always avoid being in such disastrous situations with one simple step.
Do your research well. It is only obvious that you do not just land inside any yoga retreat, school, or ashram by chance. You talk to people, browse the internet, or read about them in magazines and then choose one that you feel will fit your requirements. However, you often miss out on this teensy bit of information. “How many students does the class accommodates?”
Not important to many, but a detail important to you. Yoga teacher training is all about knowing and learning about the human anatomy, misalignments, injuries, and techniques which are all beneficial for you. It’s about connecting to yourself on a spiritual level. So, if your doubts cannot be cleared away when you are in training, having just a certification does not serve any purpose for you.
2. Feeling Imperfect
This is one of the most common feelings amongst aspiring yoga teachers and one of the greatest challenges of yoga teacher training. When you feel imperfect, you are always going to doubt yourself, hence making a mental barrier, which in turn, makes you tell yourself that you are never going to be good enough or handstand or headstand can never be conquered by you.
You will see numerous yogis struggling to get into asanas just because of this mental state of mind. This way of thinking brings in fear of falling and getting hurt. Fall you will, especially because you have unconsciously replaced your goal of perfecting an asana with falling. You must not have realized it until of course you read this, but it’s true.
Overcoming the Challenge
Practice makes perfect and in Winston Churchill’s words, “Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.” It’s alright to be imperfect, for it is human to err. However, what’s not alright is for to accept the imperfection and allow it to remain stagnant, as it was in the beginning.
If you are a yogi and if you are unable to master an asana like the Tree Pose (Vrksasana) for three-four months would you just let it go? Or would you practice it more, trying to understand where it is that you are going wrong and what is it that you are missing out on? Wouldn’t you ask your teacher to help you and show you.
You might not have realized it any sooner but your imperfection is your path to greater learning and understanding of your body and its anatomy. So, keep practicing and take as much assistance as you require from your teachers and you will overcome this obstacle.
3. Balancing between your job and classes
It’s a mind-baffling situation when you need to choose between your job and the long awaited chance for completing your yoga teacher training. You cannot afford to lose your job just about now because you have bills to pay as well as the costs of your training depend on it. So, what do you do?
Overcoming the Challenge
It’s a challenge to lose your job, but jobs end everyday and everywhere for someone or the other all around the world. You might have to give up your job in most cases if you are hell bent on pursuing training for yoga teacher because it does take up all hours of your day.
However, depending on how understanding your workplace really is and the duration of classes that you choose, you might not have to leave your job at all. If you choose to take up 100-hour, 200- hour, 300-hour yoga classes for teacher training, the least amount of completion time is 28-30 days. So, that means a month’s holiday, which is acceptable, if you have not taken too many leaves already.
Furthermore, if you are choosing to pursue yoga as a profession, then you will always have the income coming in via the classes that you host after getting certified.
4. Lack of knowledge when it comes to terminology
Yoga terminologies can be tongue-twisting and not every yogi can easily get a hold of the words easily. The age-old art has numerous terminologies, which many have not heard of and you might feel a little embarrassed if you are in that position.
After all, you are training to be a teacher and you have to have that knowledge imbibed in you. Else, how are you going to guide your students. Right?
Overcoming the Challenge
That’s the beauty of yoga. Yoga is kind and does not expect anything of you. So, whether you know how to pronounce “Adho Mukha Svanasana” right or don’t understand what “Aparigraha” means, you can still continue on your path to yoga teacher training.
You actually do not have to overcome this challenge instantly. As you practice and study, this will come to you in time. Not every yogi is a genius from the start and you are not expected to be one either. To overcome this challenge, just be who you are and keep your studies as regular as your practice and you will learn.
5. Choosing the right school for yoga teacher training
With the multitudes of yoga teacher training schools available on the internet these days, it is truly a challenge to find one which is genuine, teaches you your style of yoga, and meets your other requirements. Few of these schools are run by con-men and fake yogis who only love your money, and are gone once the work is done.
Overcoming the Challenge
Your question is, “How do I find the right yoga school, ashram, or retreat in such a case? Will the internet give me a true picture and the information I need to make the decision?
The internet can seem to be flooded with a web of lies, but if you do your research well, you will uncover the truth.
Today, people are smarter and they leave reviews for everything they buy and every place they visit. For more in-depth information about a retreat, ashram or yoga school, join forums where you will meet like-minded individuals, who are also looking for answers as you. This place on the internet is where you can find the absolute truth about your school for teacher training.
Other than that, since you have been in the practice for a long time, take suggestions from friends and acquaintances about their experiences during their teacher training and ask as many questions as possible so that you end up in the right place.
This point is the most important of all challenges of yoga teacher training and if you can overcome this, then everything else will be taken care of.
6. Not knowing your yoga style
Everyone tells you that you need to have a sense of the type of yoga style that you want to follow. You know that too. But, you are in a dilemma because you are really not sure.
Most yoga schools will accept you for training as a yoga teacher, but learning will be chaotic for you as you are not sure of the yoga style that is best for you and your body. You certainly do not want to be lost and wandering in search of your style while on a journey to find yourself.
Overcoming the Challenge
To overcome this challenge, you simply need to wait it out for some more time before you go ahead and pursue your journey as a teacher. There are a various types of yoga styles like Hatha, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Kundalini, or Bikram yoga.
Keep practicing and try understanding which style your body best responds to. Once that is decided, you will feel more confident, clearer, and at ease with yourself.
Still in doubt, go for the most ancient and authentic form of yoga, Hatha yoga. Furthermore, it will help you guide your students better after the certification is complete.
As the saying goes, “Where there is a will, there’s a way,” and the same can be said for yoga too. If you really have the will and desire to become a yoga teacher, there is no stopping you, no matter what obstacles come your way.
You might not feel ready because there are poses that you have not perfected, or you might doubt your ability to teach others. However, believe it or not, you are more ready than you know. So, go for it and elevate your skills for suitable Hatha and Ashtanga yoga teacher training courses that can help you deepen your practice. Stop at nothing, overcome these challenges of yoga teacher training, be determined and you will soon become a successful yoga teacher.