Yoga Teacher Training: Misconceptions and Transformation
The questions or comments I usually get about yoga and teacher training are:
"I can't be a teacher, I am not flexible"
or "I don't want to teach yoga. I just want to do the training for myself"
My take on these misconceptions:
"I am not flexible, therefore, I don't belong here"
Yoga is not about being flexible, it is not even about your body.
Yoga is about balance and your body is the vehicle for attaining balance. We start with our bodies and move deeper into the other areas of ourselves like the mind. If your body is ill, agitated, stiff or overly bendy, then it makes it difficult to get somewhere and to be balanced.
If you are more on the flexible side, then you might benefit from more strength and stability. If you are more muscle and less flexibility, you might need to work on releasing the grip and contraction and focus on flexibility to find the physical balance.
I am not the flexible type and I thought that I cannot be a teacher because of that. I said that to my teacher at the time and he said to me that I had an advantage by not being flexible: I know the steps and how to get to more flexibility because I had to do it incrementally and I can guide people since I went through the experience. Someone who is naturally flexible and can do a pretzel shape, might now know how she or he got there and what it takes to achieve the pose. Yoga is inclusive, it does not matter if you are wearing the latest "faux fur" leggings or if you have the "right body" portrayed in the magazines, it does not matter if you are in a wheelchair or you are athletic, it is about being who you are and becoming more of yourself. So you start where you are, that is the only requisite.
I don't want to teach yoga. I want to do the training for myself.
This comment makes me happy. When someone tells me they do not want to teach yoga, then I know that they are going to go through the teacher training as an experience and transformation for themselves first.
I did not want to be a teacher. I just knew there was something else beyond the daily life, that there was something deeper out there, besides, I was not happy and I had back pain and I wanted to be someone and prove to the world that I belong, and so much more stuff that I had in my head.
It turned out that the deep thing I was looking for was not out there but "in here".
The teacher training is an experience of unfolding or transforming into yourself. We might think of a transformation as becoming something else, but it is the transformation of becoming you, to clean the mirror and see yourself. I think of it as "namaste", this word that can become so overly used and sometimes we are criticized by saying it, but I love one of the interpretations of it: The light within me, sees and greets the light within you"
So, I am glad you want to do the teacher training without any intention of teaching. I do know that after you go through it, and because you are a compassionate and kind human, you might want to share these tools with others, even if it is family, co-workers or friends. That will come later, now just go through this process without a goal or a plan.