The decision to begin yoga teacher training should not be taken lightly. Before you embark on this difficult (but rewarding) journey, it's important to understand your reasons for doing so. Here are six questions to ask yourself before becoming a yoga teacher; make sure you know the answers well, and that they speak your truth —whatever it may be.
To give you an example of how I began my path, I've included my answers to each question. But remember: there's no response that's better than any other!
1. What does yoga mean to you?
To me, yoga is a place to connect to my higher self. When I practice, it's a time to disconnect from the outer world and connect to my inner world. I can listen to my body and soul and clear out by mind, allowing for a kind of self-healing. It's a place where I work on what comes up, and what I feel. I allow it to surface and try to use breath to let it go and clear it from my energy so that I no longer hold on to what doesn’t serve me.
2. What is the most unpleasant pose for you? Meditate on what could be the internal source of the difficulty.
The most unpleasant pose for me is pigeon and half pigeon. I am very tight in the hips naturally, so it's a very challenging pose to stay and breathe into. I find myself wanting to get out of it and have to remind myself to stay in and let feelings come up. I often cry in this pose, I think it has something to do with my dad, since that's what comes up in this pose over the past few years. I feel like a lot of it has been let go through breathing into the emotions, but sometimes I still have a strong emotional response when in this pose. Lately the response is happiness, too, while it used to be more of a sadness response.
3. What is the most important lesson yoga has taught you about yourself?
Yoga has taught me to trust myself. It's taught me to listen to my intuition. I now know it's never wrong. It has taught me how powerful dedication to a spiritual practice is, and it has enhanced every aspect of my life.
4. What do you believe is the most important quality a yoga teacher should possess?
In my book, it's empathy. This quality allows the teacher to meet each student where she is, without forcing something that wouldn't resonate or benefit her. I also think empathy makes a teacher approachable and allows each student to make yoga her own.
5. What does Satsang mean and how it could support you as a yogi?
Satsang means the company of the "highest truth," or a guru. I often read and study scriptures and ancient texts from the East, and it's important to bring them to life. Living out the meanings and truths of the teachings supports me as a yogi since the teachings align with one another and allow me to live in the holistic message.
6. Savasana is often cited as being the most important and most difficult pose. Why do you think this is?
Savasana ties us to the spiritual. Since yoga means to unite, and Savasana is the death or corpse pose, in this pose we kill the self or ego. This is so important, because the more we can let go of the self, the more we can live. This also makes it the most difficult pose because you have to be willing to let go of the ego, of everything that holds us back from the true self, but also of everything that we are used to and comfortable with. It's worth it, though, because in Savasana we access the true self; when living from the true self, there's access to infinite knowledge and bliss.