A Student’s Experience: Yoga Teacher Training

Recently, Ohana announced their second 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training, beginning in late January 2019. When the news broke, I couldn’t help but think back to when they announced their first YTT program. I was fresh off of a win for most classes taken during their “Love Yourself” challenge month, and so, as an active member of the Ohana community, they tagged me in their YTT Instagram post announcement.

I have been practicing yoga on and off for 15+ years – many and various YTT opportunities have presented themselves to me before – but never had I really given them a second (or even a first) thought.

I felt no desire, really, to become a teacher. And yet – here I was, transfixed by this Instagram post, seriously giving the whole yoga teacher training thing some room to play out in my mind. I was perplexed by my innate fascination, yet also intrigued, and so I knew I needed to find out more.

I have always been a big believer that the universe gives us signs, points us in the right direction at the right time, and it’s up to us to lean in, to follow through, to see where it takes us.

On my next visit to the studio for class, I bumped into Devon, one of the YTT Program Directors (and Ohana yoga teacher extraordinaire), and we scheduled a time to grab coffee and chat about the opportunity.

Why YTT Program?

Over chai tea lattes, the conversation flowed so naturally. She assured me that people enter YTT programs for many reasons, not always for the express purpose of teaching (though of course many people know they do have that desire to teach, and for those of us that don’t, it’s worth staying open to the notion in case it ends up calling to you).

Many others simply want to deepen their practice – this was solidly the camp I was in. As a long-time yoga practitioner, I felt solid on alignment, but was suddenly realizing that I hardly knew anything about the history and philosophy side of things.

Another overarching benefit we discussed was building a community. Ohana was planning on hosting a small, intimate group for the session, in the spirit of enabling close connection. This spoke to me as a recent transplant to Denver still finding my footing and friend group (turns out it’s hard to make friends as an adult in a new city!).

We of course spoke about logistics and time commitment for the course, as well as finances (they are able to offer a payment plan – so helpful if needed). I took another 24 hours to think about my decision to enroll, but I already knew deep in my core that I was going to do it. The next day I paid my deposit, and began counting down the days (t-minus 30!).

The month flew by, and next thing I knew, it was the first day of our program. I walked down to Ohana with butterflies in my tummy, anxious yet eager to meet my fellow classmates and immerse myself in the course. To be honest, I still had almost no idea what to expect – for me, that was part of the excitement – the mystery of it all, and getting to experience its unfolding.

I arrived to find 15 other giddy students (three of whom I knew ahead of time from Ohana, the rest relative strangers) and two badass teachers. We pulled our bolsters into a tight circle, took a deep breath as one, and began our journey.

Being Part of A Tribe with YTT

I will always remember that first night, flooded with feelings and standing at the precipice of what I could immediately tell was going to be a great adventure. The intense and open emotions that my fellow classmates brought that evening was palpable, infusing the air with a heady blend of openness, fear, joy, excitement, and inner strength.

From that first night onward, we were a tribe – over the next ten weeks and 200 hours, we bonded in deep and complex ways. We shared hundreds of laughs, thousands of tears, sore muscles, late night study sessions, and plenty of wine. We dove deep into anatomy, alignment, chakras (oh, the chakras), the subtle body, the yoga sutras, Ayurveda, teaching methodology, theming, the list goes on.

We practice taught countless hours, trading off as teacher and student, providing gentle guidance and feedback to one another. We asked eleventy billion nonsense questions to Devon and Alyssa, our fearless guides on this teacher training journey, who handled them all with grace and humility (and, often, humor). We learned the meaning and amazing power of Om.

And then, all of a sudden, it was time for our final test – one written exam, plus one hour-long class which we were to theme and lead. We were so ready for this, yet so nervous. As that morning drew to a close, as we put our pencils down and led our students into savasana, a wave of relief washed over us all.

Regardless of the results, we had all gained so much. We deepened our practices and built bonds between us that can never be broken. We strengthened our bodies, minds, and souls. We gained confidence in our abilities, but more importantly, in ourselves. Some of us have gone on to teach regularly, some of us are still considering the option, and some have been fulfilled simply with the knowledge and community we gained.

On that final morning, we circled up our bolsters and breathed together as a group one last time – the emotion was again palpable, yet this time the composition was different – a mix of gratitude, grace, elation, pride, and unity circled through the air and held us together as Alyssa at last spoke the words we longed to hear, “You all passed!”

If Yoga Teacher Training is calling to you in any way, I strongly urge you to honor that inner voice encouraging you to learn more. Send an email to info@ohanayoga.com, and either Devon or Alyssa will follow up to share additional info and answer any specific questions you may have.