When I finished my 200h teacher training, I felt unqualified. I believed I was nowhere near prepared to teach and, in that moment, decided teaching yoga wasn’t for me. With this blog I sincerely hope to provide you with tips on how to prepare for your YTT as a multilingual yoga teacher or even a native speaker. I also want to give you the tools you need to feel better equipped, more confident and more capable when you start your yoga teacher training.
‘How do I prepare for my yoga teacher training as a multilingual yoga teacher?’
I asked my friend Helena this question before I did my first teacher training, and now I have been asked many times by you. Preparing yourself for yoga teacher training totally depends on your preferences, the skills you’re naturally good at and what type of training you want to do. If you would like help with choosing a teacher training, go to our previous blog for tips and inspiration.
When you start your training, you are going to be educated on all the different aspects that come with the job of a yoga teacher. So, really, good training doesn’t require you to know it all beforehand. However, many training courses do require you read a set of books and study a lot on your own before you start.
Let me start by explaining a couple of things that I wish I had known before my training.
If I had known the following things before, I would definitely have made different decisions. And even though I slightly regretted them at the time, I can now use those experiences to help you not make the same mistakes.
My 200h training only lasted for 3.5 weeks.
All the material was crammed into 10-12 hour days, without weekend breaks. It was exhausting and my brain didn’t have the time to actually give meaning to all the new knowledge that I was gaining. As a result, I forgot most of it within the first few weeks. If you have the time, I’d highly recommend a training that’s spread over a longer period of time. Time allows you to process information in a way that suits you best and doesn’t rush your learning, increasing the quality of it. Longer training gives you plenty of time to give meaning to your new knowledge and integrate your new learnings on and off the mat.
Some training only included about 5 hours of yoga asana practice.
To finish your yoga teacher training without having practiced a lot of yoga asana might surprise you, and you’re definitely not the only one! Despite my teacher describing the training as having an academic focus and lots of personal development, I still expected to be practising yoga at least every morning. This wasn’t the case in mine and, from what I’ve heard, it’s the same in many others. I truly think that practising with your teacher is necessary for integrating all your new knowledge. It’s a great source of inspiration and lets you experience the things you’re learning in real-time practice. If this is what you’d like, ask your teachers about the amount of actual asana practices led by them.
That said, what could help you to prepare yourself for your yoga teacher training?
If you’re like me, you like to read, write, take notes, do research and get practical practice of what you (are going to) teach. There isn’t just one type of good teacher. Nor is there one way to become an effective teacher and all of this depends on your personal learning style. Most training will provide you with a list of recommendations and some even give you their manual beforehand. Other training starts on the day you arrive. Either way could work, but I believe that your personal learning style plays a big part in how you access and digest new information. Some of us are visual learners and like to see and read things, others are tactile and learn through moving, touching and practising. It could be that you’re an auditory learner and you need to listen or hear new information before they start to make sense to you. Knowing your personal learning style allows you to choose what actually works for your preparation. If you have no clue about the way you learn, take this test here. And if you’d like to learn more about learning styles, have a look at the article here.
Reading and/or audio books
As mentioned above, most yoga teacher training provides you with a list of required or recommended reading. Whatever your learning style is, I suggest you do not postpone this and start reading well before you start your training. This way, your brain is stimulated with new vocabulary and terms you don’t speak about (yet) on a daily basis. If you have a hard time concentrating on words in a book, the solution could be ‘auditory’; check if there’s an audiobook version of the required reading for your training.
Here’s a list of books I recommend most of which are also available as audiobooks.
- Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
- Light on Yoga: The Definitive Guide To Yoga Practice – B.K.S. Iyengar
- The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice – T. K. V. Desikachar
- The Language of Yoga: Complete A-to-Y Guide to Asana Names, Sanskrit Terms, and Chants – Nicolai Bachman
- The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice – Deborah Adele
- Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques – Mark Stephens
- Yoga Anatomy Colouring Book – K. Solloway
Documentaries & podcasts
If you’re a visual or auditory learner, documentaries and podcasts could come in handy! Documentaries, just like books, introduce you to the language of yoga; language you may not use every day or is simply completely new to you. For example yoga anatomy, Sanskrit terms, affirmations, expressions or sayings, hymns taken from the yoga sutras, Bhagavad Gita, etc. Books and podcasts don’t only offer a great introduction, they also expose you to conversational language and give examples of how to use these terms in real life.
Here’s a list of documentaries I recommend:
- Breath of the Gods – Jan Schmidt-Garre
- Iyengar: The Man, Yoga, and the Student’s Journey – Jake Clennell
- My Dharma – Alessandro Sigismondi
- Yoga Is – Suzanne Bryant
- Awake: The Life of Yogananda – Paola di Florio, Lisa Leeman
Here’s a list of podcasts I recommend:
- The Lucas Rockwood Show
- Triyoga Talks Podcast
- Headspace Radio Podcast
- Your Yoga in English Podcast (our own podcast)
Yoga Practice and Conversation Practice
Unite, connect and share your journey with other yogis. Even though each journey is unique and we all take slightly different steps, we’re all on very similar paths and sharing this with people that you feel connected with is very empowering. If you don’t know anyone close to you that you can share your experiences with, connect with others via international yoga Facebook groups, Instagram or other social platforms such as Twitter, Clubhouse or LinkedIn. Surrounded by others, you’ll experience growth and evolution in a way that’s even more inspiring than doing it all by yourself.
Some yoga teacher Facebook groups I really like are:
- Learn and Teach Yoga – Community for Yoga Practitioners
- Yoga Teacher Resource Group
- Yoga Teachers Support & Mentoring
- Comunidad en ESPAÑOL de YogaHispana – Yoga y Meditación (Hispanohablantes)
- Yoga in English // yoga en inglés – Enga’s group
- Teach Yoga in English (this is the group we use for your 5-Day Challenge and it will reopen on the 9th of May 2021).
Let me help you prepare for your YTT as a multilingual yoga teacher too! Have you seen the 10 tips for multilingual yoga teachers already?