Thursday, February 04, 2010

"Surviving" Teacher Training

I owe a debt to Miss S (Yoga, Dogs and Chocolate), for my next My Yoga Mentor article. She did a wonderful post of suggestions for getting thru a teacher training with a minimum of bruised body parts and psyche, uh, parts. With her permission, I snagged the idea, and am in the midst of gathering sources and arranging interviews.

I have a good idea of what I'd like to ask the experts, but I wondered if any of you have some questions you'd like answered. What were some of the challenges you faced in training programs, and would have liked advanced warning about? Or strategies for dealing with them? Anything that came up after you finished?

I'm all ears...or eyes, I guess, since I'm reading the comments!


Kristin said...

Great topic and thanks for the link to Yoga Dogs and Chocolate.

I attended TT back in 2004, but what I recall is:

>the incredibly long weekends; Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon. You will NOT get any household items done, you will NOT be running and errands, and yes, you DO have to go into work on Monday.

>the amount of *sitting* (it seems my session did not have as much posture emphasis as other TT sessions do) and after a while no amount of shifing or bolsters was going to be comfortable.

>and, the potential for emotional overload with being around 18+ people in such an intimate setting for that long. There are going to be folks you resonate with and others, meh, not so much.

At least that's what I remember right offhand. :) It's a very different experience for each person.

heather said...

This is timely for me as I just started a teacher training and just posted about starting! For me one of the key things is going to be distance - the studio hosting the training is almost an hour away but was the only local one that really resonated with me and that I could realistically fit into my schedule.

There are only 3 people in my training class so the group dynamics will be interesting.

Also hard is going to be the loss of kid time during the weekends for me. My husband's willingness to support me in doing this has been amazing, but it also means that he definitely has some favors in the bank.

I'll be interested to see what other tips come up! I'll be doing it every weekend for the next 6 weeks, with 3-4 classes during the week.

It's A Yoga Thang said...

I am the Director of a program and took in consideration the long hours and family sacrifice when putting our program together. Though ours is a longer program than most, the weekend hours are shorter in order to keep life balanced. Some programs require more self-study study (ours does), so it requires some self discipline as well. I tell our students only to sign up if they are ready to work hard, make sacrifices, and go on a potential roller coaster of a journey of self discovery. I would also look long and hard at programs, as they are so varied. Brightest Blessings!

La Gitane said...

Wow Brenda, this is a huge topic!! I can't wait to read all the comments. :)

I did an intensive TT, a three-week course - 200 hours in 21 days. I think this was great for me, as I had already been practicing for about 6 years, but I think it was much harder for those who didn't have an established practice (and there were quite a few!) - several of the trainees didn't actually pass the course.

Being on an intensive course can be stressful - we had written as well as practical exams and had to cram a lot in to a short space of time. One of the trainees really didn't cope well with the stress of that, and ended up dropping out of the TT and taking home the attendance certificate instead.

The other thing that I remember is how some people were looking for definitive answers, especially in our Philosophy discussions. They would ask the teacher things like, "well, should I stop eating meat or not?". And he would reply, "well, what do YOU feel?". And they would get infuriated! LOL His point was that really so much of Yoga is about EXPERIENCE - and that can't be replaced by a lecture. You just have to see where the journey takes you. :)

If you haven't done Yoga so intensely before I think the level of emotion is also surprising. The things that come to the surface that have been long buried really take people off-guard. It truly is a purifying process.

And, yes, long periods of sitting!!!! LOL

babs said...

My hips ached from sitting on the floor for 30 days! I did an immersion training. I was totally intimidated by the spiritual aspect. Part of my training was going to temple and dancing aratis and chanting. I knew that was part of it, but I felt weird doing it, like I wasn't coming from a sincere place. Toward the end, I was beginning to understand and finally felt comfortable.

Also, as far as asana goes, be open to instruction. The training you choose might not do asanas how you originally learned them, but take what you want from it and adapt it.

Getting up at 4:30 AM took some getting used to! But, it really wasn't bad.

Namaste_Heather said...

I did my TT in 2006-2007 from September to May one weekend per month. I am very satisfied with the instruction I got and can definitely relate to all of the comments already posted.

The hardest thing for me was choosing what TT to take. This could be a very intensive topic, including all of the things to consider when trying to decide which one to take.

Can't wait to see what you compile from all of this. Good luck!

Sara said...

I took TT over a 6 month session - one weekend per month. The training weekends were awesome and brutal at the same time. We would meet for 3 long days (6 or 7 am to 9 or 10 pm). I would end each day exhausted.

But the day we learned Restorative Yoga, I went home invigorated. I was so happy and energized that I couldn't shut up about it. I knew right then that Restorative yoga was going to be a big part of both my personal practice and my teaching. I still love it and try to share with anyone who will listen.

Good luck in your training. It's a life changing undertaking.

Brenda P. said...

Such great thoughts to share! I'm filing them all away for the interviews.

I did an apprenticeship with my teacher in DC over a year. Weekend classwork, with some student teaching and assisting. I had difficulty with my own ego--I don't like to be wrong and--like some of LaG's classmates--would like definitive answers (not so much with philosophy, but still...).

So I, too, am looking forward to getting some advice...we never stop being students, right?

Mary said...

I loved Yoga Teacher Training. It was a one-month immersion, live-in situation. I remember my body aching from all the practice, 6am wake-ups (very difficult!) and a couple of emotional meltdowns.

Great curriculum, and sometimes even with the asana instruction, there would be no "definitive" answers! That was difficult at first, but now with teaching experience, I think I understand why that approach was used.

I came away expanded, with more questions than answers, and I knew that the study (and teaching) of yoga was going to be a life-long journey.

iyengaryogini said...

I am a certified Iyengar yoga teacher but before that, I took a vinyasa style teacher training that lasted about a year but had 2 weeks of 'immersion'. Interestingly, the difference between the two programs was not that big. Both were weekend-based, long-term commitments. But I did see some big differences between the immersion and the weekend type of teacher training. Immersion is nice as it makes you eat, sleep and breathe yoga. That can bring some profound changes. But when you come home, things there are the same as always, and the changes often prove fleeting.

What I liked about the long (years long) weekend trainings with multiple longer workshops (4-9 days at a time, 2 or 3 times a year) was that it really made me live yoga. Work yoga into my daily life. Balance it with home and family and work. This really made yoga seep into the very foundation of my life, and I don't think for me an immersion could have done the same thing.

So I would say that is a good point to look at - a shorter amount of time may seem interesting or more feasible now, but when you think about yoga as something that is there to stay, why not take a little longer time to really make it part of you?