What I Really Learned At Yoga Teacher Training

Written by Jessica Cooper

I just returned from an amazing adventure: yoga teacher training.

I chose an immersion program in Baja California, Mexico. Just under three weeks filled with delicious organic, local vegetarian meals, sun, waves, sand, mountains, beautiful yogis, no technology — and, of course, meditation, asana breakdown, anatomy, pranayama, chanting, yogic philosophy and teaching.

I learned a lot. I learned how to structure a class. I learned how to talk someone into and out of almost every asana. I learned how to use direct language. I learned how to properly assist and modify for injuries. I learned the anatomy and physiology of the asanas.

These are the things one would expect to learn at a yoga teacher training.

What I took home was much more than that.

I went into the training with a lack of self-confidence. Prior to my arrival, my main worry was that I would be the “worst” yogi there and that I made a huge mistake, that teaching yoga wasn’t for me. How dramatic. This made no sense, even to me, the one having the thoughts. I know yoga is about much more than ones asana practice. I know the physical part of the practice is only providing a container for an experience. I know and believe this. That's why I love yoga. But the thoughts were still blooming.

I'm usually a positive person who believes that the universe has my best interest at heart, and that if I'm living my truth, all will be well in my world. This belief was tested. Signing up for yoga teacher training was something I knew I wanted, so I went for it and followed my gut. But right after, I had immediate feelings of lack. That I wasn't good enough for it, and “Who am I to think I can teach yoga?”

I woke before the sun the first morning. Sitting in my tent, nervous for the first asana class. My thought pattern was repeating. “I hope I can get through this class without people thinking I'm not worthy of being a teacher.” As the thoughts entered my head, I threw them in my journal. Although I was aware they were negative, they were still coming up.

I got through the first class with ease. No issues. We were all around the same level. We were all worthy of being there. My nerves were put to rest.

But this brought up many thoughts. Why did I ever feel unworthy? I noted this pattern throughout my life. In most new situations I've thrown myself into, I would soon after let my brain get involved and feel less than, and silly for thinking I could do X,Y,Z. And soon after that, realize I can do it. How exhausting and unnecessary! This cycle ended at yoga teacher training.

I think simply accepting that this cycle was my norm allowed me to begin to release it. I cultivated a true sense of self. I found my voice. I started letting my confidence out ... for me, this meant speaking openly and honestly in our truth circles without worry of judgment. It meant teaching with a new voice that I didn’t even recognize, and it felt amazing. It meant I sang the mantras at night, when normally I would shy away from putting my voice out there. It meant really connecting with those around me, sharing special memories of soul to soul love and understanding.

I feel new. Renewed. Loved. And worthy.

I learned how to trust myself, how to listen to my intuition without regret, and how to cultivate healthy and sustaining self-confidence.

For me, this was an overdue, much needed lesson.

What soul lesson do you think you're ready to learn?

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