First of all, I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and curiosity around starting my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training. It’s like you all knew I really wanted to do this or something 😉
Now that I just wrapped up my 3rd weekend out of 8 (Yes — already almost halfway through!) I figured I would summarize some of the most common questions I have gotten, some advice if you’re considering the same path and what this journey has done for me so far.
What made me want to invest 200 hours of my free time and quite a bit of money towards being a yoga teacher? Am I dropping my full-time career to teach yoga?
To answer that second question first — definitely not any time soon.
I have had a long term interest in health and wellness and it has taken me to many different places especially over the last 4 years. When I started practicing yoga over 10 years ago, it was a “like,” not a “love” and definitely not the passion or belief system that I see in it now.
Photo by oakie on Unsplash
When I moved to Seattle, yoga got me through some serious ups and downs. I remembered being gripped by anxiety and in savasana would find some immediate relief. Slowly I began to find real power in shaping my day to day around my breath. Moments of panic became more manageable and eventually I found myself not just getting by but in fact soaring, flying, with a lighter body, spirit and mind.
At this point in my life, it seemed like the perfect place to take my wellness journey. I realized over becoming much more consistent with studio classes in the last three years, that I was only getting a taste of yoga’s potential by walking in and out of 75 minute Power Vinyasa classes. I craved to know more and to be able to turn around an expose some of yoga’s magic to my friends, family and even strangers around me who I could tell are yearning for something a bit deeper too.
I sought out training with teachers in the Seattle area that I knew, had practiced with and fully respect. I was lucky enough to connect with Lara Ederer several years ago and have considered her a teacher I want to learn more and study with ever since. Through her I was connected with her partner-in-crime for this training, Dikla Kafka-Hamudot, who I was immediately drawn to and learn complementary skills and another approach from Lara. Working with them as well as the incredible women in my cohort is exactly what I wanted.
I actually was planning on being in their first training which started Fall 2017 and ran every weekend with exceptions for the holidays. With changing jobs and starting at DocuSign, I decided to pass on that training and it actually worked out in one of those magical universe ways, because Lara reached out to me that they were indeed doing a second one; and in fact this one would be one weekend a month and span from April – November: much easier for someone like me who is also managing a 40 hour a week full time job, pretty much completely unrelated to yoga.
Our format for each weekend looks roughly like this:
6 PM Power Vinyasa Class
7:30-9:30 PM Posture Clinic in line with our homework
8 AM Power Vinyasa or Hot Fusion Class
10-12: Lecture on Philosophy and Meditation
12-1 PM: Lunch
1-4: Sequencing Clinic
4 PM: Power Vinyasa
9:15 AM Power Vinyasa
11-1 PM: Lecture on History
1-2 PM: Lunch
2-4 PM: Lecture on Anatomy
4 PM: Restorative Yoga or Fusion Flow
In between weekends we have homework including reading, anatomy, sequencing and this is in addition to an expectation that we are attending yoga classes 3+ times per week and working in daily meditation and now adding in pranayama.
Our group has about 20 (happens to be all women this session) but we were broken into groups of about 4 or 5 based on where we live in the city and age which has also been so fun and helpful in building connection.
The studio where I am doing the training is definitely NOT the closest to my house by any means, but as I mentioned above, I picked it because of the teachers and in this case the format has ended up being perfect for me. I like having several weeks in between our weekend sessions to sit with the material, complete my homework, and I went into the process with an extremely open mind on what learning this stuff would do for my own practice; but I have been blown away with how much stronger and more thoughtful my practice is already becoming.
Obviously there was a question of preparing for the training beforehand. If you have been practicing yoga consistently for at least a year and you have a yearning to go deeper, you are ready. There is no physical requirement for starting a training like this one but it would be helpful to have the poses sound and feel familiar in your body or else I could imagine feeling a bit lost jumping into posture clinics and sequencing.
So… 3 weekends in. Almost halfway done. How do I conceptualize things now?
After the first weekend, I was convinced I would be so inundated with information that I would walk out of Weekend 8 ready to audition to teach classes. …Now I’m very humbled by that not being the case. I do think there will be an element in just having the confidence to know that I am teaching safe, thoughtful sequences but the rest, like so much in life, is going to take a little learn how to swim by jumping in headfirst kind of mentality.
As a white person there is also a lot to honor in the traditions of yoga that I am still exploring. I can now say with confidence that yoga is not a fitness program and I don’t agree with studios marketing it as purely such and forgetting the other seven Limbs of the practice. It’s also not just a “nice stretch” nor is there a requirement that you show up already flexible.
At the same time, I am ignorant and have many more years of study of philosophy, Hindu traditions, Sanskrit, history of the practice and more to be able to feel worthy of imparting this knowledge of students but I will strive to make it a goal to at least open up conversations in my classes beyond the physical. I’ve always been a deeply spiritual person and yoga provides a safe place for me to root my spirituality and continue to explore even within a Western context.
Speaking of physicality, although I just mentioned that I do not see yoga as a physical practice, I can’t deny the effects it has had on my body. Combined with my current routine of also training for my first half marathon, and incorporating some toning workouts with varying levels of weights, I am finding strength and mobility that I never had. When I started practicing yoga, I was a limber, teenage dancer and I dumped into my limbs by over-relying on my flexibility and not having the strength to support some of the poses. Now I’m playing upside down (a whole post of material on that topic alone) and on my hands and finding ease in postures not by taking the easy road but through breath in the toughest moments.
I had heard from asking in various communities about 200 Hour trainings that you will leave wanting more. For someone with a thirst for exploring other aspects of the practice it is like indulging in the sweetest treat — time spent asking Lara and Dikla every question under the sun about yoga and learning all I can is incredible. As far as teaching, we are gaining the foundational skills, with I believe an unspoken expectation that we will spend the rest of our lives and progression as yogis walking a path of learning.
If yoga is really speaking to you right now but you’re wondering if there is more out there than what you’re getting in your classes, the answer is a resounding YES. Even if you can’t imagine yourself ever teaching a room full of students, if you have a desire to deepen your understanding and change your own practice entirely, a 200 Hour certification program could be the best place to start.
I’d love to hear if those of you who have completed this course have had similar experiences and if you are curious to get more details from me, please do not hesitate to reach out. I could easily talk for hours on this subject and it is lighting up my life right now in incredible ways.