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How to design a yoga teacher training? A program might have great content but if it is not assembled in an integrated way, you may be in for a rough ride. The design of a programs could be the difference between feeling lost and finding your life’s path.
It is important that you can assimilate the content you study.
It takes years of experience to work out the kinks in any training; to integrate theory, practice and pedagogy into a smooth and continuous flow. Every hour of training is a precious opportunity. You do not want to waste time backtracking or feeling adrift. Imagine a book in which the chapters are in no particular order. Huh?
Imagine a book in which the chapters were in no particular order.
Some programs take the McDonald’s approach and offer many, many homogenized yoga teacher training sessions a year. It’s a business. On the upside, the program will be predictable. They may even have a nice brochure. On the downside, the presenters may be hemmed in by too many rules and you lose out on the magic of yoga. It may still be a good experience but not live up to its full potential.
A cohesive and integrated training has three components:
- The actual content of the training. Most interviewing students zoom in on this part. It’s important and there is more you should know.
- The quality of the teacher’s knowledge and their ability to present effectively.
- The overall architecture of the program (how individual topics fit into the whole).
Denver Yoga Underground takes all of these components into consideration to deliver a cohesive and integrated training. The architecture supports the students to gradually assimilate the content, and the teachers deliver the content to the student. This combination supports the student’s growth and are essential parts of how to design a yoga teacher training.
If you got this far on the site you are probable already sold on yoga. Maybe you want to take that next quantum step in your practice, maybe even teach, and finally do a YTT. As you consider your options I’ll share two reasons to do a yoga teacher training.
Reason #1: Find and Live Your Dharma.
Living a dharmic life is a far greater measurement of one’s success at yoga than how long one can hold warrior III. The word dharma means ‘greater law or order’, it is what gives a particular thing its unique qualities. The dharma of a pumpkin seed is to become a pumpkin, and the dharma of a swallow is to build nests from mud and migrate thousands of miles each year without getting lost.
Because of our capacity for higher reasoning and reflection, human dharma is more dynamic and complicated. Every thought, word, and action can express one’s highest dharma, or not.
Every thought, word, and action can express one’s highest dharma.
Overstimulation, harboring resentment, fantasizing or neglecting one’s responsibilities undermine the ability to live in alignment with higher dharmic virtues.
Yoga helps us to discover and live into our unique dharma. Yoga allows us to get still and quiet enough to hear the voice of our conscience and make peace with shortcomings. Following the path of dharma gradually leads one down the path of greater fulfillment and meaningful contribution – something everyone wants at their core.
Reason #2: Learn to Teach. At some point yoga becomes a lifestyle. It shapes how you eat, who you hang out with, how you think and even how you breath. Teaching can be a natural extension of your values and your personal relationship to yoga. It feels good to live congruently.
I consider it to be a blessing for both you and the students.
Many people are searching for some way out of their current working life and feel the need to make a greater contribution. Yoga could potentially be that outlet. I suggest easing your way into the transition to becoming a full time yoga teacher. What ever path you choose, there are at least two reasons to do a yoga teacher training.
Back in the day, there we’re very few yoga teacher trainings to choose from. That has changed drastically over the past 10 years, and now, with the advent of the Corona Virus, you can find many, many trainings online. So, how do you select the best yoga teacher training?
Best is a very relative term. From a yoga philosophy perspective, “best” is entirely subjective. There is not definitive standard by which we can say one object or concept is superior to another.
Most people would agree that a Tesla
is “better” than an AMC Pacer, however….
Yes, most people would agree that a Tesla is “better” than an AMC Pacer, however it is not 100% agreed upan and the distinction between the two is in the mind of the beholder. (Personally, I have an affinity for the Pacer, a classic in its own right!) This is distinct from a Universal Truth such as “everything changes”.
Philosophy aside, some yoga trainings will resonate with you more than others, and your subjective like or dislike of a program has merit. Afterall, YTT is a significant investment and – potentially – has much to offer you in the way of personal and spiritual enrichment. Not to mention a career life path.
Back to the initial question, how do you select the best yoga teacher training for you?
The first step is to identify what you want in a program. Some programs just focus on the postures and are ignorant of the traditional roots of yoga or actively reject those teachings in favor of their brand message. No Om Yoga is a clear example of this.
Other trainings, will embrace the rich heritage of yoga and present it as a holistic system. Denver Yoga Underground falls into the latter category.
Start with self inquiry. Ask what you ultimately want at the completion of the program? I recommend you explore this and other questions with a free-write journal exercise. Move the pen for 5 to 10 minutes.
Some questions to get you started:
- In a perfect scenario, how would things be different at the end of the training?
- Reflect upon teachers who inspired you. What was it about their demior or the content the presented, that was most enriching. Be as specific as possible.
- Are you more interested in personal growth or actually teaching?
Over the next few months I will continue to post thoughtful questions and reflections to help guide you on your path to select the best yoga teacher training.
Reasons To Do A Yoga Teacher Training
No matter what program you decide to go with (ours or another), a yoga teacher training costs a lot of money, takes a lot of time and asks a lot of you personally. There are many reasons to never take one up. In my view, there are also four reasons to do a yoga teacher training. And it’s essential if you want to teach.
Reason #1: Adios Sporadic Practice. You’ve read my thoughts about the importance of having a consistent personal practice. I believe that the most potent way to develop one is to do a more involved training. Maybe you had a real streak in your practice at one time and faintly remember the magic.
I’ve spoken with so many people who think that what they need is to improve on their downward facing dog and develop a positive attitude, when what they really need is a steadfast and safe container in which to be guided into practices that unravel years of accumulated tension and start to re-vision how they see themselves and the world in which they live.
Start to re-vision how they see themselves
and the world in which they live.
Reason #2: Exponential Momentum. A 60 minutes asana class will only take you so far. The content of classes more or less repeats itself week after week versus a teacher training that builds sequentially and continuously, like a staircase taking you to the top floor balcony where you can see the entire landscape of yoga and your life.
Dedicated attention from a knowledgeable teacher and a committed circle of peers will exponentially increase your growth. You will receive the support of the class and give support in turn.
Reason #3: Who You Become. One of the biggest benefits of doing a yoga teacher training is who you become. You learn how to manage your mind, eliminate distractions and chart a new path of greater peace and fulfillment.
You don’t just read about these things, you do them for 3.5 months. Yoga teacher training will put yoga at the forefront of your life. Practicing yoga on a consistent basis for 3.5 months will forever change how you see yourself and how you relate to the world.
Reason #4: Become More Self Reliant. At the end of the program you may discover that you’ve become the source of your own happiness, rather than projecting your sense of worth onto objects or individuals. You’ll probably find that you live in greater accord with what is most important. Yoga provides a handbook.
There are lots of yoga trainings in Denver. Each with its own approach and clientele. Here is a traits of yoga teacher training students that resonate with us. And, in full disclosure, the qualities that don’t.
- Yoga is not a fad for you.
- You want to teach yoga (formally or informally). You know that life can be impossibly overwhelming. People struggle to manage their emotions, feel trapped within their lives, and spiritually depleted. Yoga helped you to address all of that and it can help others as well.
- You are easy going, friendly, giving and supportive of one another. You can get on board with a culture of ‘service’ and ‘support’.
- Value being punctual, and starting class on time out of respect for your peers. You participate in classes and workshops by asking questions and even challenging some of the ideas presented.
- You have a home practice (in some capacity) and want the most of each class.
Other Traits of Yoga Teacher Training Students…
- You are willing and able to complete assigned papers and readings.
- Crave to know yourself more fully and to be inwardly resourced when facing the challenges of life. You stretch into new territory and the discomfort that may go along with that
- You regard the roots of the yoga tradition. You want classic teachings beyond common cliches such as “this practice is for you”.
- You have a genuine interest and curiosity about yoga beyond simple asana. Asana is a means to a much greater end that includes stability, equanimity, and spiritual development.
- You have been doing yoga for 2-10 years.
- Are drawn to a yoga teacher training with these kinds of reviews
And we have a special place in our hearts for people who…
- You desire conversations and philosophies with depth. You value wonder and mystery more than “knowing things”. Our yoga training content is multidimensional.
- You can be open, honest and self-reflective and are willing to be vulnerable.
- If I ran into you at Natural Grocers (Vitamin Cottage), at the Tattered Cover bookstore, we could strike up a nice conversation
- You are dubious of excessive technology and excessive materialism.
- A rich supportive community of like-minded seekers is your jam
- You care about the welfare of the underserved and may want to bring yoga to those communities. You resonate with underground movements that do a lot of good although they don’t get much recognition.
- Appreciate that we are a good-hearted and small business. Some administrative details will feel more like a drive through a scenic country road than mainlining on the interstate.
- You continue to seek balance in your life between your own needs offering help to others.
The following kinds of people are not a good fit:
- People who are not interested in introspection and just want the yoga teacher training certification
- Principally want to study yoga as a form of exercise, and no interest in the entire scope of yoga, including spiritual or personal growth
- Habitually late, and have minimal regard for the collective learning environment
- Are better suited for a luxury cruise liner than being on a sail boat working side by side with their peers actively contributing to complete the journey together
- Dependent on technology and could not envision a class, a 10-minute break, or even shavasana without checking their phone
- Have no interest in personal development.
- Are exceedingly dependent upon mobile devices. They could not see themselves getting through a lecture, or even a 10-minute break without logging in.
Ever studio has its own culture and set of expectations. These traits of yoga teacher training students offer a clear indication of whether or not our program is a good fit for you. Go with a program that most resonates.
It’s always fascinating to hear how people got into yoga. For some the process was quite gradual. For others it was a more immediate and affirmative knowing. “I did not even know it was possible to feel this way!?” For others the road to yoga may have been more rocky and could generally be classified into one of five ways. Perhaps yoga pulled you through hard times:
- A Traumatic Event: For some this was a difficult divorce, ending a significant relationship, or an accident. Something has changed their lives forever and they can’t go back to how it was before. Yoga has provided shelter, healing and renewed hope and they want to build on that foundation and perhaps teach others.
- Burned Out: Whether it’s being a social worker who is continually exposed to the plight of so many, a parent or caregiver (or just an over-giver), many people come to us depleted. The stress of “trying to keep it all together” has become too much. Maybe they are looking for a career change. They may also come to us in malaise or even depression. They are ready to fill their cup for a change (and not feel guilty about it).
- Wound Up: Others have come to us with unwanted anxiety, a stressful job, feeling trapped, questioning if they will ever “be enough”, or generally frustrated with life. They want to know how to regulate their emotions.
- Physical Situation: a persistent health issue, sports or dance related injury, body image concerns, or general bodily discomfort. While we won’t promise any miracles and we are here to support one in feeling greater ease and vitality in one’s own skin.
- Conscious Life Shift: Some have felt lost and without a compass. Others have overcome an addiction, a career change, a recent move or some other big life shift. The timing seems right and they are ready to mature spiritually and finally do that yoga teacher training that they have been waiting for.
Regardless of the issue, yoga has pulled you through hard times. Perhaps it even healed you.
Who are the best yoga teacher training students for DYU’s program? Here is a robust list of the student qualities that most resonate with us. And, in full disclosure, the qualities that don’t make for a good match.
You are the kind of person who….
- Doesn’t see yoga as a fad, hell bent on nailing handstand or getting a ‘workout’. You don’t obsess about getting the best yoga pants.
- Wants to teach yoga (formally or informally). You know that life can be impossibly overwhelming. People are confused, unable to manage their emotions, feel trapped within their lives, working stressful jobs, spiritually depleted to the point of numbness, have destructive coping mechanisms, isolated, and or scared. Yoga helped you to address all of that. You know it could help others as well.
- Is easy going, friendly, giving and supportive of one another not competitive with each other. You can get on board with a culture of ‘service’ and ‘support’ for one another
- Values being punctual, and starting class on time, out of respect for and in support of your peers instead of consistently disturbing class by showing up late. You participate in classes and workshops by asking questions and even challenging some of the ideas presented.
- Committed home practice (at least 15 minutes per day or are working towards that) and are dedicated to making the most of the classes attended.
- Is able to complete assigned papers and readings.
- Eager to learn, transform and crave to know yourself more fully and be inwardly resourced when facing external challenges (e.g. relationships, the pace of modern life, or unexpected crises). You are okay with being stretched into new territory and some of the discomfort that goes along with that.
- Appreciates that there are many modern styles of postural yoga and have regard for the roots of the yoga tradition. You are drawn to study traditional, classic teachings and texts beyond common cliches. You want to know the bigger picture of yoga because you are dubious of what western yoga has become.
- Genuine interested and curiosity about yoga beyond simple asana. You recognize that asana is a means to a much greater end (i.e. stability, energy, equanimity, meditative awareness, and spiritual development).
- You have been doing yoga for 2-10 years
And we have a special place in our hearts for people who…
- Drawn to conversations and philosophies that have depth. You want to expand the lenses through which you see the world and yourself. You value wonder and mystery equally with “knowing things”.
- Can be open, honest and self-reflective and, in so doing, are willing to be vulnerable. People who are aware of their own stuck places and were healed through the grace of yoga.
- Found at Natural Grocers (Vitamin Cottage), at the Tattered Cover bookstore, dancing, outside, and at meditation and yoga classes.
- Dubious of excessive technology, inordinate materialism, and living in a culture that is consumed with anxiety and fear.
- Desire a richly supportive community of like-minded seekers.
- Care about the welfare of the underserved or underprivileged and possibly want to bring yoga to those communities. You are drawn to underground movements that do a lot of good although they don’t get much press.
- Recognize that we are a good-hearted and small business and some administrative details will feel more like a drive through a scenic country road than mainlining it on a speedy interstate.
- Yoga teacher training students who seek balance in your life between tending to your own needs and community support; receiving from and offering help to others.
From experience we’ve found that the following kinds of people are not a good fit:
- People who are just in it for the certification and the cool clothing.
- Are really only interested in yoga postures and not the greater picture of the yoga tradition
- Tend to isolate themselves from and not interact with their peer group.
- Have no interest in personal development
- Are exceedingly dependent upon mobile devices and could not see themselves getting through a class or even a 10-minute break without logging in.
The Denver Yoga Underground began in 2003 at the request of dedicated students who wanted to study yoga as a holistic system. Over the years, a diversity of people, seeking education outside of a studio, found a welcome refuge in DYU.
Today we specialize in grassroots Pay What You Can workshops, accessible retreats and our signature yoga teacher training, for the outlier yogi.
Derik Eselius ~ 720.934.6934
Sixth Ave. UCC 3250 E. 6th Ave