5 Ways Yoga Teacher Training Will Help Deepen Your Practice
Yoga teacher training (YTT) – which is, of course, how you get certified to teach – is a bit of a misnomer. YTTs are actually just as much about diving into the study and practice of yoga as they are about training teachers. Even if you have no interest in becoming a teacher, a YTT course like the ones at Vikasa will substantially help you deepen your own practice.
1. Refine your alignment.
Taking a YTT will transform your asana practice. The trainers will methodically break down all the key poses in a way that’s just not possible in public classes. You might think you already know all you need to know about warrior one, downward facing dog, or even mountain pose. But a YTT will challenge that assumption! Even if you don’t plan to teach, understanding proper alignment is critical for staying safe in your own practice and making it last. It will also help you get the maximum benefit from each pose.
2. Understand yoga sequencing.
YTT won’t teach you about each pose in a vacuum; you’ll learn about how they relate to one another, which is key to yoga sequencing. Whether you want to put together practices for other students or just for yourself, your sequences will be much more impactful if you understand how different poses fit together and complement each other and how certain poses lead up to more advanced ones.
3. Learn pose anatomy and benefits.
In regular public classes – when teachers are leading a sequence, cueing alignment, and offering adjustments – there’s only so much time to talk about the anatomy behind the poses. Yet, without knowing anatomy, you can’t really appreciate how they affect the body. Most YTTs will also introduce you to the anatomy of the subtle body; this is where you’ll learn about systems like the chakras and the koshas and how to work with them in your practice.
4. Explore the rich philosophy of yoga.
Similarly, teachers in regular drop-in classes have very limited time to incorporate lessons from yogic philosophy. The unfortunate consequence of this constraint is that many people practice yoga without really understanding why or knowing much about where it came from. Studying philosophy is a cornerstone of most YTT programs, and it’s a way to honor the origins of the practice. It will also help you begin to understand what it means to live yoga off the mat. Take a look at our previous article on exploring the other seven limbs of Yoga and get curious!
5. Develop practices that go beyond asana.
If you’re considering a YTT, you’re probably already aware that asana is just one part of yoga. Most trainings also teach meditation and breathwork, and others cover chanting, mantra, kriyas, and Ayurvedic techniques as well. You’ll be able to use the various tools you learn during training to create a more complete practice for yourself.
In the modern yoga world, taking teacher training is usually the best way to really dive into yoga. Whether or not you’re looking for a career change, a YTT will help you develop your physical and spiritual practices and understand how to take yoga off the mat.
Jen is a freelance writer, blogger, and yoga teacher who left her office job in Boston to travel the world with her husband. She previously worked in international development and academic research, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Rwanda. Some of her biggest passions include promoting responsible and mindful travel and helping her students develop their personal yoga practice.
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