yoga teacher in runners lunge anjaneyasana

Why I Started 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training

This post was originally written when I began my Yoga Teacher Training in 2020. I am now a 500-Hour Registered Yoga Teacher. This post provides insight into my experience and what I learned about yoga and myself during the yoga teacher training. Curious about the very first class I taught in person? Read the post here.

yoga teacher in anjaneyasana (lowe lunge) yoga pose

Recently, I received a Yoga Teacher Scholarship in Support of Black Wellness from My Vinyasa Practice in support of my completion of a 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training. Yes, you read that right: 200 hours. (Also, yes, a totally free yoga teacher training!) While I haven’t hit my 200-hour mark just yet (I’m at about the 100-hour mark), these hours have been filled with philosophy, anatomy, theology, and a hefty dose of self-reflection. I had been thinking about signing up for yoga teacher training for some time, but the scholarship really opened up a new opportunity for me, and the virtual nature of it was just the icing on the cake. (Listen to some of the ways I talked myself out of yoga teacher training in my podcast mini-episode about it.)

I am absolutely in love with my yoga training, in addition to yoga itself. It is a very intensive yoga training, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to go through this training without the high cost normally associated with yoga teacher training. I dive into this a little more in the podcast episode but just know that this is one of the reasons I never took teacher training previously.

Now, before you go hunting down this training, I have to warn you: The scholarship is now closed; nonetheless, the 200-hour and 500-hour training courses are often on sale/discounted, so you should consider it! Once I complete my 200 hours, I suspect I will end up registering for the 500-hour certification. I’m just soaking up all of this information!

There are lots and lots of reasons to incorporate yoga into your life, and maybe I’ll talk about that once I’ve been officially certified, but my purpose today is to tell you why I wanted to start 200-hour yoga teacher training.

Connecting with a Community When We Can’t Connect With Anyone

I’ve had many friends go through yoga teacher training and one of the things that always impressed me was the connections that they made during their training. This was appealing to me, despite the virtual nature of the training. Fortunately, there are lots of online lectures, virtual office hours, and weekend-long virtual training sessions. I’ve been able to connect with some of my classmates via social media, and I’ve even forged deeper connections with some of my friends who are going through the training. 

In these difficult times when we’re unable to connect in person, these virtual sessions have been a big help for this extrovert. I can see and talk with people that I haven’t been seeing and talking with since mid-March. New people for the win!

yoga teacher training journal

Learning About Myself

A few years ago, once I had gotten pretty regular with my yoga practice, yoga took on virtually religious experience and meaning for me. I would leave the yoga studio after class feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and generally much happier. By signing up for yoga teacher training, I thought I could explore the deeper meaning of yoga, and learn more about my connection to it. I have learned far more than I ever could have expected, and it just makes sense to me now.

Journaling as part of the training has also been pretty transformative for me. Once a week, I put pen to paper and write a pretty brief update on how I feel physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually at the moment of my writing. It has been transformative and therapeutic, and I highly recommend journaling to everyone out there reading these words!

Diversity in Yoga

It’s so fascinating to me that a practice that originated in India could be so… white… here in the United States. The scholarship I received from My Vinyasa Practice stated the following as its purpose:

The Yoga Teacher Scholarship in Support of Black Wellness is a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training brought to you by Yoga Pose and My Vinyasa Practice. At the end of the program, you will receive a Yoga Teacher Training certificate that allows you to teach yoga. The program is entirely virtual, making it accessible from your own living room.

While the scholarship is a heartfelt response to the voices of our Black community, the goal of this program is to address the lack of diversity in today’s health and wellness world.

During this difficult time, yoga can be used as a tool to advocate for change, educate about Black mental and physical wellness and unite communities.

I believe that this is a very important mission, and I hope that it drives up diversity in virtual offerings and in-person. Our world is very different now as we push through this pandemic, but I think the fitness world – and that includes yoga – will be very different by the time we emerge from the social-distanced cloud. 

Mental Health

My mental health has been, in a word, wack. This pandemic has forced me to grapple with the fact that I hadn’t been taking enough rest time and that I had been overscheduling myself. I knew that practicing yoga more frequently would help me with both mental and physical restoration, but I had no idea how much it would truly help with my overall mental health. 

It’s taught me to exercise more self-compassion, set boundaries, and set aside time for myself each week. I’ve also begun meditating with regularity, and I have done restorative yoga in the evenings, which has helped me with my sleep. In a nutshell, yoga hasn’t completely erased all of my stress, but it has given me the tools to address it. 

So… What’s Next?

Now, I need to complete my training and start teaching! I’d like to start with some free classes for friends and family members so that I can get more comfortable with it. I’m really drawn to restorative yoga and vinyasa flow, but who knows what I might be into once I complete this training. We shall see!

I’m going to get registered with the Yoga Alliance, and I’m also looking into the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance (bonus: it looks like they’re based right here in Maryland!). 

I don’t have a crystal ball, so I don’t know if I will end up teaching at a studio, corporate office, hospital, school, or even my own place (#goals), but I do know that we can all use a bit more yoga these days!

Are You Interested in Yoga Teacher Training?

Are you looking for a registered yoga teacher school in your area? Check out this search tool through the Yoga Alliance. There’s not really a huge point to finding a yoga teacher training near you right now, so I suggest looking into a reputable yoga teacher training online, like My Vinyasa Practice. If you want to teach at a studio, I suggest looking for a school that is registered with the Yoga Alliance. While it’s not necessarily required, it is often a registration that studios and other venues look to for determining the quality of your training. 

If you aren’t looking to teach, but just want to deepen your practices 

If you’re a beginner, I suggest starting with a 200-hour yoga teacher training. If you go through it and decide it’s not for you, at least you haven’t spent all of the money and the hours on the 500-hour training. (Some places may allow you to add on the extra 300-hour yoga teacher training once you’ve completed your 200 hours so that you can receive your 500-hour training. Be sure to ask the places you’re looking into if you think you might want to go beyond the 200-hour training.)

Questions? Comments?

I’m curious about whether any of you have gone through yoga teacher training, or if you’ve considered it. You can always leave a comment here on the blog, slide into my DMs on social media, or even better: Send me a voice note on Anchor

There are lots and lots of reasons to incorporate yoga into your life, and maybe I’ll talk about that once I’ve been officially certified, but my purpose today is to tell you why I wanted to start 200-hour yoga teacher training.

Listen to The Sweat Fearlessly Podcast episode on this topic:

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