There are a lot of teacher trainings out there – trying to find one that suits you can be overwhelming. Yoga Travel Tree offers a unique experience that goes well past the physical and truly prepares you to take the next step towards teaching. Read on to learn what sets Yoga Travel Tree apart from the rest.

The Teaching Begins on Day 1

On the first day of the training, when our teachers asked us to break into small groups and teach Sun Salutations, everybody balked. The teaching begins already? People were nervous – and rightfully so! It’s scary to try something new, in front of new people, in a new place. I remember stumbling through my words from beginning to end, as if I had never even performed a Sun Sal before. It was not my finest hour. The next day, we had another teaching opportunity and I did a little better, and then even better the following day. Every day, we worked in small groups and were given a diverse teaching opportunity that helped to build our skill sets. Each week progressed us a little further in teaching to a large group; the first week, we stood in front of everyone and taught one pose. The next week, we taught a 10 minute sequence to everyone. By the time we had to teach a whole class, we were old hats at it – and very good teachers, I might add. I’ve heard of programs where teaching opportunities are extremely limited and a student might teach two poses throughout the entire course. If that had been my case, I’m not sure I would have had the courage to step in front of a class and I know I would not be the teacher I am today.

Learn What Vata/Pitta/Kapha Means

When I first left for Mexico, all I knew about Ayurveda was that it was yoga’s sister science, it was an ancient form of Indian medicine, and that maybe I was a Pitta? After YTT’s introduction to Ayurveda, I have such a greater understanding of Ayurveda and all the ways that it can help heal. I learned what my prakriti is (Kapha/Pitta) and how this makes me who I am (Kaphas are nurturing and love nature, Pittas are fiery and intelligent). I learned why following a specific daily routine is essential, as certain times of the day are dominated by different elements and these elements can help you achieve optimal health. For example, Ayurveda recommends that you awake and meditate during the Vata time of the morning (2am-6am), as Vata’s element is air and it is easier for your body to rise and your mind to meditate when the dominant element is air. Best of all, I received a consultation with YTT’s incredible Ayurveda practitioner/yoga teacher, Kate Towell, and I have already noticed the benefits from her recommendations. Ayurveda is vast and complex, but the YTT curriculum simplifies it so that you understand the basics and can continue your exploration from there. Trust me, you’ll start saying things like “She’s so Vata” or “What a Kapha”….it’s inevitable.

Get Down to Business

Before I chose YTT, I looked at several other immersion trainings and none of them offered any schooling on the business side of yoga. I find this so hard to believe. Understanding where and how to get a job is arguably the most important part of a teacher training – what’s a yoga teacher training without employed yoga teachers? YTT took the time to explain all the details about finding and keeping a job, including working at studios, booking privates and corporate gigs, and finding volunteer work. They told us how we should expect to paid, advised on legal issues and insurance, and included a discussion on the student/teacher relationship and ethics code. In addition, we learned about the 7 Steps to Building a Business with Soul – part of Brooke Roberts’ Business Soul Boot Camp – and it was informative and inspiring. Seriously, I have two pages of notes from it. With all the information they unloaded on us, I was able to find a yoga job within 1 week of receiving my certification and am now a working yoga teacher. Thanks, Yoga Travel Tree!

Start a Daily Meditation Practice (Finally)

Before the training, I did not have a regular meditation practice. I meditated occasionally, sometimes twice a week, but certainly not everyday. I attended meditation classes occasionally or listened to online guided meditations at home, but I simply could not implement it into my daily routine. Life was too busy! In Mexico, we started each day at 6am with a 30 minute meditation. I swear, I have never felt better in my life. Each morning, our teachers led us through a different type of meditation. We experimented with mantras and mala beads, Buddhist meditation, chakra meditation, and guided visualization. The aim was to introduce us to all different types of meditation, so that we could find something that worked for us and stick with it. Ganga, one of our amazing teachers, even gave us personal Sanskrit mantras in order to to help us work on ourselves through meditation. When we left, Kate and Ganga challenged us to try a home meditation practice for 40 days. Upon returning home, I made meditating a priority. Eventually, I began to look forward to my daily meditation and I found that if I didn’t do it first thing in the morning, my day would go a little differently. I’m happy to say that I just achieved my 40 day last week – and I’m not looking back. Even more than asana, I feel that meditation has changed my life. I’m calmer, less reactive, more mindful, more grateful and just….happier!

Find Your Yoga…and Your Voice

There are so many different styles of yoga out there, and as a result, there are so many different styles of yoga teacher trainings. One aspect of YTT that drew me in was the training’s style description as“Creative Vinyasa Flow.” As a Hatha yogi myself, I was encouraged by the fact that the program was designed to develop our authentic teaching voice and I wouldn’t get roped into one specific type of yoga. While I was in Mexico, I practiced much more Vinyasa than I’m used to while many of my fellow students were introduced to Hatha for the first time. We also studied Yin and Restorative, two slower-paced practices that I now love. Our group was so diverse in both skill level and interest, that it was truly incredible to see how everyone’s teaching style developed. When we all had to teach our classes on the last week, everyone’s personalities shined so brightly that each class varied greatly from the next. Some classes had beautiful intentions, others were power classes, some were focused on alignment, and we even had a yoga-dance fusion class! It was almost hard to believe that all these teachers spawned from the same training. For me, a class is only as good as it’s teacher. Every teacher has something unique and different to offer and a class will resonate much more strongly for me if the teacher’s voice is from the heart and not a prescribed set of sequences or instructions. Yoga Travel Tree gave this voice to our group. As a result, there are now 9 amazing and beautiful yoga teachers out there in the world, finding their yoga and sharing their voices with all who would like to listen.