The hardest thing about yoga teacher training really surprised me. It wasn’t the tests or the speaking in public. It wasn’t memorizing the Sanskrit or even the long hours. What I found the most challenging about yoga teacher training was the other students in my class! Now I’ve taken many teacher trainings (and I’ve also started leading my own teacher trainings!) and time and time again, what shows up as the greatest and most unique obstacle to overcome is the group dynamic. Yep, biggest challenge of them all.
Picture this: you show up to day one of your yoga teacher training feeling fully confident, prepped and excited to dive into this experience. You’re excited to deepen your practice and learn more about yourself both on and off your mat. You can’t wait to pick your teacher’s brain and really figure out what’s holding you back from yogic greatness, and the idea of potentially sharing this passion for yoga with your own yoga students is blowing your mind. Sounds great, right?
Now picture this: you walk into day one of teacher training and meet 20 other YTT students with their own agendas, all willing to ask too many questions, take up too much of your teacher’s attention, show up late to class, sweat all over your mat, argue with everything you say, pass gas in Happy Baby Pose (yep, happens all the time), etc. etc. etc. Now this might sound insensitive or extreme, but I’ve watched so many students over the years get frustrated by their class dynamic because they kind of forgot there would be other students in their class that would ultimately steer the direction of the program.
Fortunately, one of the first things you usually learn in yoga teacher training is radical acceptance and compassion! So, the irony of the situation is that even though you might be initially distracted by some guy’s smelly feet, the practice of yoga is ultimately all about embodying non-judgement. Any frustration you feel caused by other people in your YTT group IS the yoga (*mind blown*).
So, consider this your gentle warning (and, it will happen) – on day two of your yoga teacher training, the woman behind you in class is going to spend the entire lunch break telling you about her cat Herbert and you are going to sit there thanking me for letting you know that this is actually your first yoga test. Challenge yourself and listen to her – like, really listen! And, show her nothing but love and compassion because we all need it, especially cat lady and smelly foot guy. Don’t worry about trying to control your YTT group or teach them life lessons about politeness and personal hygiene (your teacher will take care of all that needs taking care of). Simply allow the experience to unfold however it unfolds without any resistance on your behalf. After all, it’s all yoga.
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