Buongiorno amici belli!
I wanted to put a post together all about my journey to becoming an RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance) 200 hour yoga instructor as it was a seven month experience and I learned so much. This is something I had been wanting to do for many years and I’m excited to share some highlights and new insight I gleaned from the experience.
I graduated from my program in July and have already been teaching public classes at the studio where I’ve practiced for almost two years now. I live in Siesta Key, Florida and found a program at a nearby studio named CircuSoul in Sarasota. (They are now offering an online training program for those interested in attending the same course as me). It was a six month 278 hour alignment focused course from January through June, which I ended up completing in July due to some pandemic related delays. The program was based on the Hatha yoga style and was alignment focused. Hatha yoga is a branch of yoga and is a balance of strength, endurance and surrender.
With my background of practicing specifically hot yoga for the past 10+ years, I felt very confident going into my training as far as understanding poses, my body, and the class experience was concerned. I didn’t, however, know too much about the history of yoga or anatomy at a more scientific level. The whole program was centered around alignment yoga, so there was a huge focus on the anatomy and proper alignment of the body from the toes to the top of the head. We went through SO many postures discussing exactly how the body should be set up for safety and for obtaining the best results from your practice. A good deal of the training was in lecture format, and I enjoyed soaking in all this new information that I could pass on to future students.
The training was also divided into modules that corresponded to the seven chakras of the body. This was my favorite part of my training – diving into the understanding of the chakras (from root chakra to crown chakra) and the accompanying poses that awaken and balance each of them. Beginning with the grounding lower chakras, we made sure to have an understanding of the foundation of all poses and what the feet, legs, hips and pelvis should be doing. Then we moved up into the upper chakras which are more representative of our spiritual/mental side. There was SO much to learn and I found it all fascinating. We were required to read Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss which I would highly recommend and which also takes you on a journey through the chakras.
The following topics were included in the course I attended (I pulled them right from the website of the program I attended):
- Techniques: Instruction in Yoga Asana, Pranayama and Meditation – Classic postures and breathing techniques with a clear focus on alignment (Iyengar), body benefits, contraindications, and adaptation for special populations.
- Teaching Methodology – Practical and subtle aspects of teaching, including intelligent class sequencing, hands on assists, use of voice and body language, and trekking the room.
- Anatomy and Physiology – A comprehensive overview of the physical body, bones, muscles, bodily systems and organs, and the subtleties of the energetic body.
- Philosophy, Ethics and Lifestyle – An exploration of history of yoga, ayurvedic studies, classic yoga philosophy (8 limbs of yoga) and the applications of yoga to daily life (Yamas and Niyamas)
- Practicum – Leading peers in practice and a class experience, the art of giving and receiving feedback, and assisting and observing others teach.
- Business of Yoga – Review global and national industry trends and develop an understanding of creating your own yoga business with a combination of studio classes, private sessions and teaching at other venues. Learn how to create your own Yoga Business model to make your investment in yoga teacher training worth every dime. Learn how to use social media to help market your yoga classes.
My biggest struggle presented itself in the practice of actually leading a class and finding the right language to cue and explain postures. I’m still very much growing in this respect, as different verbs (draw, pull, plant, lift, etc.) elicit different responses in people and it’s important to be able to find the right wording. I was taught in my training not to demo the poses alongside the class, but rather to explain the postures as much as possible. This is really challenging, much more so than my previous experience teaching Zumba and letting the music kind of direct the movements and class.
I’ve taught a number of public classes now and have been finding teaching to be very rewarding. You have to be really in touch with your class and how they’re feeling and there’s a strong feeling of community and connection with others. It doesn’t hurt to see people leave calmer and in a more peaceful state than they arrived either. 😊
If you’ve been interested in becoming a yoga instructor, the typical place to start is with a 200 hour certification. Then you can add on 300 hour and 500 hour certifications if you’d like, but to teach, you only really need the 200 hour certification.
Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions about yoga teacher training that I can help with!