They say that after you go through yoga teacher training you never experience a yoga class the same way. Is that true? On the year anniversary of my graduation from Yoga Tree’s teacher training in San Francisco, I asked myself how am I, and my yoga practice, different? Here’s the answer.
I am more body-aware
I practiced yoga off and on for almost ten years before I did teacher training, and only in the last few years did I have a regular practice of a few days a week (before that it was a once in a while kind of thing). I had a pretty good foundation of practicing asana and knowing the poses. However, in going through yoga teacher training, I became much more aware of how my body works in asana.
It’s shocking how out of touch people are in their bodies. I’ve taught a few classes in corporate environment. You ask people to raise their right leg in downward dog and they start looking around in confusion. Being in front of a computer all day, we’ve become incredibly disconnected from our bodies.
Spending 200 hours focused on your body changes you. The anatomy training by Harvey Deutch in Yoga Tree’s teacher training is beyond excellent. I knew nothing about anatomy before and left with a functional understanding of my body – something that translates out of the studio. You are no longer a “talking head” but someone who is in their body – can read it’s cues and work with it, not against it.
Because of this, you don’t experience yoga class the same way after going through a teacher training. Even in the simplest pose, you are more engaged because you know how to move your muscles and bones, where to engage and where to relax, and are constantly elevating your practice through your awareness.
When I am in a class now, I can hear a teacher’s cue and know what it’s supposed to feel like in my body, not just what the shape is supposed to look like. I know how to work functionally to prevent injury and get the desired energetic effect, so even simple poses are more powerful and I get more out of them.
I learned the energetic effects of yoga
I already had a sense of how yoga made me feel, but going through teacher training dramatically deepened it. I learned how different poses have different energetic effects, and how to sequence to create a feeling in the body and mind. This allows you to be more in control of your yoga practice.
For example, I don’t do more than one or two wheels in an evening class if I know I need to sleep. When my friends ask me to teach a class, I ask them how they want to feel afterward and plan my class around that. In addition to being more body-aware, I’m more energy-aware.
This elevates your experience of yoga from strictly a physical exercise to an inner alchemy, choosing the style and practice of yoga that gives you what you need in the moment.
I discovered a new level of spirituality
I didn’t expect to fall in love with the philosophy of yoga, but honestly that was my favorite part of the teacher training. Through it I found a new spiritual “home” in the teachings and the teacher training opened a door that introduced me to a new understanding of the world. As a life coach, I often use concepts from the philosophy I learned in teacher training with my clients. I was also introduced to a new community and a deeper level of yoga.
I’ll be honest – yoga teacher training is addictive! Once you start, you really can’t stop. Even though I graduated only a year ago, I’ve taken several more workshops and trainings. As you start the path of a yoga teacher trainee, you realize that the more learn the more you don’t know. The amount of knowledge – both philosophical and physical – is so incredibly deep that you can devote a lifetime to studying it.
One of the things I discovered in yoga teacher training that you will too are the areas that light you up and excite you. Then you have the rest of your life to continue to learn and explore them, and that is such a gift.