I’ve been practicing yoga regularly for approximately two years. It’s something I continue to love as I discover new things about myself or my body in almost every class I attend. The first time I talked with a teacher about going deeper into my practice they told me to attend a Yoga Teacher Training, but I had no desire to become a teacher. So why would I go through yoga teacher training?
The answer became clear after another year of practicing yoga and even working for a yoga studio. Yoga teacher training is poorly named. It has less to do with creating a new career path (although it can do that for you) and so much more to do with personal development. YTT is built for those who don’t want to teach and for those who do.
Yoga Teacher Training Helped Me Find My Spirituality
The number one reason I love yoga teacher training is it brought me back to my faith. Having grown up in a conservative church and been a part of conservative communities most of my life, I felt put off by Christianity. And yet, after all these years I’m still drawn towards it.
It was in studying a philosophy that has nothing to do with Jesus that I actually felt closer to the religion I was rooted in. By diving deep into Vedic philosophy I found the parallels to Christianity. It reminded me of all the good things that came with the religion of my childhood. Studying yoga philosophy offered a space to research the parallels and start shaping new ideas about what it means to have faith.
Along with learning about the philosophy of yoga, we spent a lot of time in self-reflection and meditation, which became a time for me to return to prayer. I loved exploring the customs of a new philosophy while returning to old ones that could now serve a heart that was ready to receive it. Yoga teacher training taught me beautiful things about cultures around the world and did wonders in bringing me back to my own.
A Space to Find Community
Yes, training is all online, but I’ve met some incredible people through this online training. Between breakoff groups during our Zoom classes, the class stream in Google Classroom, and sharing our contact info to build deeper connections allowed me to find new friends.
I know that many people sign up for yoga teacher training in an attempt to build community. It was never my intention when signing up. But it’s been a great bonus to see friendly faces for 8-weeks and to know I have friends to lean on when I have questions or just need some human interaction.
You get what you put into something, so be vulnerable and open during your yoga teacher training. The more vulnerable you are the more connected you’ll feel to this amazing community as the weeks go on.
Find Your Voice and Use It
If you have a fear of public speaking or need a tool to better articulate complex ideas and directions, yoga teacher training will change your life. In my day-to-day, I run a marketing consulting business and am a freelance lifestyle photographer. This means that I have to be really good at giving directions especially when I’m on a shoot. The thing that yoga teacher training taught me, that I would have never thought about going into it, was how to give directions. By learning how to teach yoga, I now am better at directing people on a shoot and leading my clients to poses that make sense to them and look great on camera. After all, teaching yoga is all about telling a person how to move their body through space, and directing a shoot is the exact same thing.
Even if you aren’t a photographer, the tools you’ll gain from yoga teacher training will help you speak in public or better articulate yourself in meetings. It has the power to guide you to your voice and show you how to use it. Who doesn’t need more of that in their life?
Anxiety and Depression Relief
I started a yoga practice to help control my anxiety and depression. I had a job that was high stress with late hours that brought me to a not-so-healthy time in my life. Even now, I struggle with staying healthy, and using the tools I know will serve me to aid in my anxiety and depression.
I’ve read all the studies about how yoga helps relieve stress and alter the chemistry in our brains. It’s the go-to prescription for anyone who struggles with anxiety, like me. By practicing every day and sometimes multiple times a day for yoga teacher training, I’ve seen the powers of this practice. Combine that with the teaching about the philosophy of yoga and you have a toolkit to really change the way you see the world.
YTT allowed me to find a connection with my faith that I’d lost years ago. I became a part of a beautiful community that I got to be with weekly. It helped me own my voice. And I gained control over the anxiety that’s followed me since I was a child. If that list right there isn’t reason enough to sign up for a yoga teacher training, I’m not sure what is.
While others might use yoga teacher training as a career move to start teaching classes and healing bodies, I saw it as a way to heal myself. Any additional healing that happens since I’ve graduated is just icing on the cake.
– If you’re interested in learning more about Ohana’s Yoga Teacher Training Program or have more questions about what the experience is like, click here!
Katie Leigh Jackson is a Brand strategist and lifestyle photographer based out of Denver Colorado. She graduated from the Fall 2020 Ohana Online Yoga Teacher Training. If you’d like to learn more about her or what she’s doing post YTT graduation, you can check out her website.