by Anna Rhein, Zuna Yoga assistant trainer
Recently, I was assisting a 200 hour yoga teacher training and was asked by many of the students about whether to sign up for a 300 hour advanced training. Since my own 300 hour yoga teacher training was an absolutely life changing event, I was inclined to quickly reply - "yes, of course you should!" However, if my enthusiasm isn’t a good enough reason, below are a few things that inspired me to take the leap. Hopefully this will help anyone who is considering taking the next step on the yoga journey, no matter what stage of teaching you are in.
1. Expanding your knowledge on the practice/history of yoga: Investigating why and how it all began is something that every teacher should make the time for. I feel there is a big gap between what people are teaching and what yoga really is. The advanced course provided just enough information to spark that desire to delve further into the history, while at the same time providing me with enough on the subject to have an intelligent conversation regarding the core meaning of the practice. Demonstrating in-depth knowledge on any subject you're teaching will have your peers and students respecting you even more.
2. Developing a stronger personal practice: Just like with any career field or hobby you choose to engage in, there is always room to grow. By expanding your own practice, you will be able to give back through your teaching and in everyday life. A yoga practice is never complete; there is no finish line. Taking the time to explore and deepen your practice can inspire so many other things to happen on and off the mat. Warning: drastic positive changes will take place!
3. Adding to your resume: The yoga world is rapidly growing. Everyday there are probably hundreds of people getting certified as yoga teachers. Hopefully, this means that as a whole, we are becoming more aware - and it also means more teachers out there, competing for limited jobs. You have to be able to attract students in order to be successful. To do this you, need to be able to weave different concepts into your classes, finding ways to engage many different types of yogis. A few things that stood out for me were the energetic discovery of building a balanced sequence, a variety of effective meditations, advanced pranayama techniques, the use of bandhas ,and last but certainly not least, the important role the breath plays in all of it. Sharpening your skills and adding new tools to the box is always a smart idea.
4. Taking time out to connect with yourself: You are the most important person in your world. If you aren’t taking time for your soul to be nourished and find that deep connection within, you wont be able to share it with others. As yoga teachers, we often forget what inspired us to be teachers in the first place; we take ourselves for granted. I was reminded a few times in the training of why I decided to follow this path. It was a beautiful thing to rediscover.
5. Feeding your desire to travel the world: Attending a course in another country was one of the best decisions I could have made. It provided a foundation to completely surrender to the practice, without the distractions of everyday life: work, hobbies, friends and family. There is something very special about taking a huge step up the spiritual ladder in a brief but intense amount of time, spent on your own. It also allowed for my travel bug to be appeased. I would suggest setting aside time to explore the destination of your choice either before or after your training. In Bali, for example: sinking your feet into its sandy beaches and crystal blue water, visiting the many temples and waterfalls for which it's famous, enjoying the breathtaking landscapes of volcanoes and rice paddies, snorkeling, diving, surfing and shopping its colorful textiles. There really is something for everyone, from the adventurous to the conservative.
I could go on and on about the jewels that I obtained over the month long intensive: confidence in my teaching and in myself; the ability to see the world through a different lens, a clear one; an unveiling of my purpose, and how to use it in the world; and a newfound freedom in my practice. I made lifetime friendships with yogis from all over the world, with whom I can exchange ideas and dreams. And lastly, I once again made myself proud for having the courage to leave the comforts of "regular" life to become a more powerful person.