Over the years I've been asked why I enrolled in Yoga Teacher Training (YTT). From where I stand now, the answer is obvious - fate, kismet, destiny. Or as yogis say, dharma. However at the time and even months after graduating, I had no answer. I just felt pulled. With no intention other than to learn about this thing that made me feel so good. Every so often after someone asks that question, they follow it with their own curiosities about YTT. For some, YTT is purely educational and never about teaching. For others it's an investment in self-exploration and growth. And others still, it's a healing modality to infuse into their current profession. If you've ever felt that pull, keep reading as a few of Humble Haven's teachers share their own thoughts on their YTT journey (all taken at different times throughout the world).
Why did you decide to enroll in your 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT)?
- I wanted to learn how yoga works - physically, mentally, emotionally. My practice had reached a point where I needed to know about the process and the history in order to grow. I had a lot of apprehension about starting a teacher training - Was my practice where it should be? Had I been practicing long enough? Was I ready for the emotional and mental commitment? I tried to get answers, but in the end I just felt called to this experience. It wasn't something I could rationalize, it was something I felt drawn to that needed to be explored and felt. – Rachel
- I received a nudge from a friend that made the suggestion to enroll. After realizing that I would already be attending a retreat in Costa Rica immediately after training, I figured why not! It was also a decision made during a transitional time between jobs and not feeling fulfilled in my work/passion pursuits. It felt like a necessary time to foster some self-discovery and self-reflection, no less during the coldest months of the year on the east coast. Four weeks in sunshine and sharing the experience with an incredibly supportive community felt a little too wonderful to pass up. Now I know, listen to the nudges and keep an open mind. – Allison
- After experiencing the benefits of yoga in my own life, I knew I had to share with others. What I didn’t know then, was how much I was going to learn about myself after becoming a teacher. - Margo
- After being a swimmer my whole life, I turned to yoga for physical relief in my body and quickly noticed the positive impact on my life. I was intrigued by YTT because I wanted to understand how to deepen my practice and how to share the practice with others. Wellness and fitness had always been important parts of my life and I was passionate about learning how to positively impact others. At the time, I couldn't imagine teaching yoga. I never thought I had "what it takes" but the idea of challenging myself in a new way was exciting. – Mina
How long had you been practicing before your YTT?
- 9 years -Aimee
- I practiced on and off since high school, but only seriously for about a year. – Rachel
- I enrolled in my YTT after practicing yoga for about 2 years. - Julie
- ...about 3 years before I went to level one and 5 before I did my YTT. - Margo
- 2-3 years - Mina
- I'd been practicing for about 7 years. Honestly, it could have been the first day of my yoga practice and it would have been worthwhile. It's such an amazing way to enhance your own personal practice even if teaching is not on the horizon. - Jennie
Was YTT what you expected it to be?
- No. It was like the internet - It made me realize how little I know. There are so many layers. All I think I really knew before training were asana and pranayama. I still, after practicing, reading and studying for over 21 years feel like I know so little. 200 hr training is a doorway. It is transformative in ways you will never know and may not be conscious of at first. The practice fundamentally changes you from the inside out, your brain, your DNA on a cellular level. The training will bring things to your awareness that you would never know otherwise. -Aimee
- Not at all! But that's the beauty of it, isn't it? The first time we stepped into the studio together, we learned we needed to drop our expectations to be fully open to the experiences we would be having. YTT was one of the hardest, yet best things I've ever done. I've never felt more challenged emotionally and physically, learned so much, or been so sore, but I've also never felt so full in spirit and love. I left each weekend not just with my cup overflowing, but with it growing in size. - Rachel
- My YTT was so much more than what I expected it to be. I anticipated it would deepen my physical practice (and hopefully show me how to teach others how to "do" yoga), but I had no idea about everything else! Who knew that the asana practice is only one piece of the yoga puzzle? The physical and mental challenges (as well as breakthroughs) of my training were astounding and an experience that continues to shape my yoga practice and teaching to this day. -Julie
- It was more. I did not anticipate the depth of friendships developed. I did not anticipate the health and awareness of body I achieved. I did not anticipate the steadiness of mind. - Jennie
Has your practice changed since completing YTT? If so, how?
- It has definitely changed my practice. I now practice with a deeper purpose and intention every time I step on my mat. I am able to connect so much more of my practice to how I live my life outside of it. Yoga is not just a bunch of a meaningless postures - it's a lifestyle. - Julie
- Completely, and especially over the past year. I am still very strongly attached to a vinyasa-based practice, but my body's needs have changed over time and I have started to welcome more yin/restorative practices. Some days I need the power and heat, and other days I need straight up horizontal rest...and that becomes my practice for the day. There's never an ounce of regret when I show up. Fully packed class or self-practice in solitude, the experience is completely different every single time and I love that. I just try to listen and honor it all and remove any pressure surrounding what I think I should be doing or practicing. – Allison
- Yes, my practice changed greatly. Oddly enough, not in the way I thought. I figured I would be doing more experienced poses and levitating off my mat by now. What happened though was more adaptions, modifications, self-care, and self-compassion. – Margo
Have YOU changed since completing YTT? If so, how?
- In so many ways. I woke up to things I didn’t want to see and am probably living more authentically than ever. It does that. This practice isn’t easy on so many levels. I think if you are even considering teacher training you must listen to that teacher, the one always present, the best teacher ever, the knowing, and explore your dharma, the unfolding of your life in a more conscious way. -Aimee
- I am more open to sharing my experiences, on and off my mat. I feel more connected to the community that surrounds the yoga practice, and I feel compelled to share and grow within that community instead of outside of it. I am more honest with myself and those around me, which is a truly freeing feeling. -Rachel
- I have changed. I feel more calm and confident in who I am as a person. – Julie
- Well I'm still me, but I've absolutely evolved in big ways since completing YTT. The practice has helped me to become more in tune with my body (especially off the mat) and has been the catalyst in every way possible to pursue more fulfilling work - even if that's meant I've had to say no to a lot of things along the way. For awhile after training, I felt very isolated since all of us were from various parts of the world, so it was hard to relate to others about my experience, lifestyle choices, and so on. Suzanne's haven is the first studio where I actually began teaching consistently, and she, as well as the community, have surely contributed to my sense of belonging and personal growth. Finding my voice, watching me simultaneously struggle and grow and supporting my journey for however it evolves. My gratitude has grown tremendously. – Allison
- I found my voice through teaching yoga. A voice which is truly my own, uncensored and unapologetic. Connection to that true part of self is a gift that will continue to give to myself and to others. – Margo
- More than I thought possible. I started to approach my practice with a new sense of self-awareness and intention. I had a newfound appreciation for how yoga can help you connect with people on a real level. I learned and experienced the power of vulnerability and the art of letting it be. The knowledge I gained in YTT and the experience changed how I live my life and the lens through which I view it. I came out full of compassion, gratitude, and excitement. – Mina
- I have. I find that I am less quick to judge and more quick to forgive real or perceived wrongs. My life is grounded in response rather than reaction. - Jennie
What was the best part of your YTT experience?
- The community. It's amazing that none of us really knew each other before YTT, yet we all felt so open and comfortable to share our experiences and practices. Throughout the experience, we knew we were in it together. No matter what we were all feeling, we always showed up (and continue to show up) for each other. I've never felt so close to a group of women. – Rachel
- The best part was getting to know all of my fellow YTT classmates. Even though we are all in different parts of the country, we continue to share our yoga journeys with each other, offering up stories and support when needed. It is a bond that will never be broken. – Julie
- Sharing vulnerability with others. Knowing I was not alone and being fully accepted by others. – Margo
- Learning. I know that seems vague, but after college it was one of the things I missed most. Studying and immersing myself in a topic that I cared about. Learning and feeling like I was expanding my mind. The whole training felt like an investment in myself and I was seeing the pay-off along the way. With that I'll add-- being challenged. It felt so good (uncomfortable but good) to be seeking out something that I didn't feel came naturally to me at the time. I loved learning from the journeys of my fellow trainees and seeing the growth in myself as a teacher, practitioner, and human being. – Mina
- I have loved the process of both teacher trainings. I enjoyed the way my mind expanded and my heart evolved. In my most recent training, I truly found the love of sisters in yoga. Each and every woman with whom I studied is connected through a place of knowing. It is that place within me where I shape shifted in to the woman I am proud to be today and saw my "sisters" do the same. - Jennie
Do you have any regrets about your YTT?
- Not one. -Aimee
- None - the experience was honest, challenging, emotional, and amazing. I wouldn't trade the experience I had for anything else because it was just what it was supposed to be, even if it wasn't what I had expected or thought I wanted it to be. - Rachel
- None, whatsoever. – Allison
- That I didn’t do it sooner. Sounds cliche- but it’s true. I thought about doing it so many times and always made excuses. It wasn’t until a friend signed up and convinced me that there was never going to be a perfect time. - Margo