The dirty little secret of yoga school

Photo: extended hand reach forward


I thought I was going to get a weekend off after 12 straight days of yoga teacher training (YTT) at Thrive Yoga. But we will have mid-term exams and our first 20-minutes of demo teaching on Monday. I am not afraid of the written exam: the test just reminds me how far behind I am with the reading and the homework. The practice teaching is a whole different story.

Remember, I’m the guy who’s taking YTT  for the deep immersion in yoga, the sweat and the me-time, not because I want to get as new career as a yoga instructor. Put me in front of my classmates and teachers, and I become a quivering heap of stuttering, Sanskrit-impaired, body-blind jello. This weekend, I will draft versions of my sequence script, critique my cuing, record my voice, watch myself recite it in front of a mirror, act it out in the living room, recruit my wife and daughter for rehearsal, and probably become so wound up that I naturally unfold into a fakir contortionist.

The dirty little secret

Yoga schools are not made to flunk their student teachers. After all, one guiding yama (the yogic code of ethical behavior, according to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali) is ahimsa, meaning non-harming. The schools will run you through the curriculum, observe your efforts, encourage you in your accomplishments (large, small and non-existent), and see what comes out at the other end of the schedule. The non-performers will simply not complete the formal requirements. They may fade away, change yoga studios, undertake other careers and, perhaps, still carry the seeds of yoga into life’s challenges.

Those who persevere in yoga training will have to fight like hell to get a slot in a fitness club or after-hours school program just to earn the opportunity to acquire hands-on experience in teaching yoga. Whether I am able to perform before my peers in a mock class on Monday will have a marginal impact on my future. In just two weeks, I’ve come to realize that it takes so much more than 200 hours of training to become a yoga instructor.