Hello you guys! It has been a long while since I’ve done a Yoga Hacks post on here, and I figured it would be a great way to get started again by taking questions from you guys on tumblr. As many of you may know, I completed my yoga teacher training (YTT) on 11 May this year, after nearly 5 months of part-time yoga teacher training on weekends. Before I get started on the 6 common questions that I’ve received with regards to YTT, I thought I should share some of my experiences with you guys!

Photo credit: Stefanus Ian

My YTT experience

I was lucky to have found the part-time yoga teacher training that happens just on weekends, which meant that I was able to juggle my school commitments on weekdays and then continue my yoga teacher training on weekends. Because I knew I wanted to be a yoga teacher and pursue a teaching career after my college graduation, the timing worked perfectly for me as I would have graduated from YTT the same time I graduate from college.

The pro of doing a part time weekend YTT is that I get the weekdays to absorb what I have learnt on the weekends, and get more time to expand on my asana practice at the same time. The extra time allowed me to soak in whatever I have learnt both in practice and in theory, and it did not feel as rushed as it would have felt if I were to take the weekday YTT.

That being said, 5 months felt like a really long time, and it definitely wasn’t easy juggling both school and YTT! School is stressful and at the same time I had teacher training to worry about. Not having time to revise my material before the next weekend swings around is not uncommon either. Sometimes I feel so stressed and overwhelmed from school that I didn’t feel that I fully immersed myself in my teacher training.

With that, let me now address some of the most common questions you guys have when it comes to doing your yoga teacher training! I would like to emphasize that ultimately, my opinions are based on my own teacher training experience and it may differ for individuals! I try to answer these questions the best I can.

Photo credit: The Smart Local

Q: How advanced do I need to be before I start my yoga teacher training?

Personally, I was practicing for nearly 2 years before I got started on YTT. Like many of you, I had a lot of doubts in terms of whether I was ready to embark on my teacher training journey. I wanted to make sure that I was physically and mentally ready to be a yoga teacher before I started the course, especially when the certification is not cheap to begin with. Most importantly, I wanted to make full use of my teacher training journey and gain as much experience as I can.

With that, I would say that while there is no base requirement in terms of when you should do your YTT, many studios do ensure that you have at least a year of regular practice before you sign up for YTT. For me, I knew that the weakest link in my practice at that point of time was inversions, so a few months leading up to my YTT, I attended inversion classes regularly and forced myself to face my fears of inversions. Without a regular inversion practice, I felt that my own asana practice reached a roadblock. Being able to confront my vulnerabilities in my asana practice in that aspect helped immensely in preparing my mental and physical self for the upcoming YTT journey ahead.

Some studios may not have any pre-requisites for you to join the YTT course. If you haven’t been practicing for over a year, it is good to speak to the trainer to ascertain your suitability before you embark on the journey. I always believe in preparing myself adequately before taking the leap. Of course, if you find yourself hesitating just because you don’t know when is a good time, then just take the leap. There is never a better time than now!

Q: Is there a minimum age for me to do my yoga teacher training?

From what I know, I don’t think there is a minimum age for you to do your YTT. I believe some studios do set age limits because of liability issues. And do you know that the youngest yoga teacher in the world was 6 years old? I have also met some friends during my YTT journey who were 17, 18 years old. So as far as I am concerned, there is no minimum age for you to do your yoga teacher training.

Q: What materials did you use when you were doing your teacher training? 

Besides the materials that my teacher training school provided me with, we also use the Key Muscles of Yoga by Ray Long, to study the human anatomy. It is a great book with very vivid illustrations that made learning the various muscle groups a lot easier and entertaining.

Personally, I also use Yoga Sequencing by Mark Stephens. It is a great book that has guided my teaching from the very start. It focused a lot of sequencing yoga classes based on themes, chakra points, special needs, and many more.

Q: What is a regular day like in a yoga teacher training course?

The yoga teacher training course started at 7.30am, with a 3 hour asana practice until 10.30am. Then we have an hour long break before we start on our theory lesson from 11.30am to 1pm. It is a 5.5hr session every weekend for the next five months. Towards the second half of the course, we then focused more on teaching techniques. We were split up into small groups and everyone would take turns teaching each other in preparation for our teaching exam at the last few weeks of the course.

Q: Was it easy to find a job after you have completed your yoga teacher training?

I was fortunate to apply for a marketing job at a yoga studio which eventually doubled up into a full-time yoga instructor at that studio when I graduated from YTT. It is important to find your edge and your branding as a yoga teacher in order to differentiate yourself effectively from many other yoga teachers in the market. Most importantly, you need to have the passion and drive to pursue what you want to achieve in your teaching career. Building a rapport with your students is extremely important, and taking the effort to be in tune with your students’ needs, strengths and weaknesses in their practice would go a long way in catering yoga classes according to their needs.

Q: What was the most challenging part of the yoga teacher training course?

Personally, the most challenging part of the yoga teacher training was to study the human anatomy. Coming from an Arts and Humanities background, I was never adept in Science since I was young. Having to dust off the biology books to relearn the human anatomy was pretty intimidating, even though I must say that it is also very fascinating to learn how the human body works. Being able to break through that barrier was rather liberating because having that extra anatomical knowledge would inform your sequencing in class a lot better. It is still a very difficult part of my practice as I continue to read up and study about the human anatomy after graduating from YTT, and it is a challenge that I still have to overcome on a day to day basis.

Photo credit: Belif Singapore

Hope this post has given you a much better idea of what to expect out of a yoga teacher training course! If you have any other questions about YTT, feel free to comment below and I will answer them the best that I can. If you’re getting started on YTT yourself, share them with me and I would love to be a part of the journey too.

Good luck! x

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