5 Things I Wish I'd Known Before My Yoga Teacher Training

5 Things I Wish I'd Known Before My Yoga Teacher Training

What to know and what to embrace - By Lizzie Wright

Reading time: 5 minutes

So you're thinking about Yoga Teacher Training. Firstly - I'm so excited for you! Yoga Teacher Training is one of the best things I have ever done, and I know I will cherish the knowledge, memories and friendships for many years to come. Before leaping into the training though, months of thinking and researching left me feeling rather adrift, and looking back on it now, there are a few things I wish I'd known ahead of time. For context, I did my training at the wonderful Spirit Sadhana School of Yoga in the heart of Barcelona, where I studied for one month, Monday to Saturday, in Hatha and Vinyasa yoga.

3 words - rest, rest and rest!

Looking at the schedule before touching down in Barcelona, I knew the intensive nature of this training would be a big adjustment. I grew to love the immersion in yoga that this provided, but the exhaustion was very, very real! Long weeks, scorching heat and an influx of brand new information makes for a tired body and mind, and I found myself more fatigued than I have been in a long time.

Coming into the training with as much energy in the locker will stand you in great stead for an intensive course - if you can, I would suggest putting a deliberately restful week into the calendar ahead of your training start date, to begin reserving physical and mental space for the month to come. Equally, in your first week, be mindful of pacing yourself for the remaining weeks ahead - two full out yoga classes a day might leave you stiff for the coming week.

Listen to your body and keep the weeks ahead of you in mind when you set your intentions for practice - my teachers always encouraged us to rest when we felt it was necessary, and those times I pushed through sometimes came back to haunt me in the following days!

Read up on your yoga philosophy

A part of training that I absolutely loved surrounds the history and philosophy of yoga. This spans a huge range of texts, eras and yogic paths that broaden your understanding of yoga and create a fundamental basis to your teaching.

My teachers sent some reading for us to do ahead of time, and I would encourage any incoming yoga teacher trainees to delve into these texts, research them, watch some videos on them, to get a basic understanding before training begins. Write down any questions or thoughts that come up - when you're in front of experienced teachers with valuable insight, you will thank yourself for having some queries ready!

If you aren't provided readings from your teachers, you could reach out to them ahead of time to see if they have any suggestions based on their course content. In my case, having read the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali* was fascinating and really helpful context, and since training I have read the Bhagavad Gita*, which we touched on in training and also struck me as a great text to begin exploring before training.

Nurture new relationships

Starting any new course can prove nerve-wracking. Who will be in my group? Will I make friends? Going in with an open mind to the humans around you and all their various walks of life could open you up to lasting friendships and diverse insights that will only deepen your practice and training experience.

Reflecting on my training, the moments I hold dearest are with people I only just met, and yet who now hold such a significant place in what was a turning point of my life.


Yoga Teacher Training is an intensely unique and shared experience - look to your peers for support, you will find that like-minded people converge in these courses and so you are likely to find many a helping hand, person to confide in, or shoulder to cry on. Meeting such wonderful people of all ages and backgrounds was a privilege I'll never forget - soak it up while you can!

Create that group chat, suggest a shared meal, organise an outing to the beach - these relationships are ones that will carry you through your training and even beyond. My cohort still talk regularly, offer advice, trial each others yoga flows and give encouragement on the group chat.

Don't kick yourself - pack smart!

If you're training abroad chances are you will spend some time agonising about what to pack. It's always worth finding out what your yoga school provides. More than likely you won't have to worry about bringing a mat or props, but better safe than sorry. Of course, make sure you have plenty of comfortable yoga gear.

I would suggest bringing at least a fresh outfit for every day of the week so you can do a big wash on weekends - I for one had to discard my yoga clothes in the wash after every day of training!

After Asana (the physical) practice, the body cools down. In hindsight, I would have brought more comfortable layers for these parts of the day - cardigans, tracksuit bottoms or loose dresses to throw on over the top of yoga clothes. Equally, as an avid notetaker, notebooks, pens, revision cards and highlighters were invaluable. I bought a lot of things there, but if you know you're a visual learner and have your own techniques for memorising and absorbing information, you could consider bringing some of those tools along with you.

Rest assured, it's rare that anyone packs perfectly, and most things you find you need you will be able to get or borrow!

Sometimes the 'right' time never comes

Worrying if now is the right time? Of course career, family and other responsibilities can dictate when to start teacher training. These are realities of modern life. Sometimes though, aspiring teachers are put off by their perceived 'low level' of yoga, thinking that they aren't yet 'good' enough to embark on this next step. This was at the core of some of my hesitancy too. I was conscious that I couldn't do some of the most acrobatic postures and therefore was it valid for me to teach?

I quickly learnt that being a good yoga teacher is not synonymous with being the most strong, flexible or picturesque practitioner. These things are great in their own right, but there's so much more that makes a yoga teacher, including compassion, knowledge of anatomy, clear communication, preparedness and safe practice.

My cohort had a whole range of yogis who all brought something unique and beautiful to their teaching styles. Indeed while both of my teachers had a beautiful Asana practice, it was more often their words, insights and energy that touched me profoundly and taught me the most.

Not being able to hold a headstand for minutes at a time doesn't make you less likely to be a great yoga teacher! In any case, as we know, yoga is less about achieving some sort of advanced status and more about the journey.

I quickly surrendered to this journey, soaked up what all my peers and teachers had to offer and was endlessly grateful for not only their wisdom, but also my decision to look past my insecurities and delve into teacher training.

If you're headed off for training - enjoy, absorb, thrive and surrender!

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Lizzie Wright

Lizzie Wright is a Hatha Vinyasa yoga teacher based in South East London.