– Testimonial by Karen, volunteer during the July 2018 TTC –
There are many schools offering a wide variety of yoga teacher training courses, not just different styles, but also very different duration, some of them of 1 year, 2 years and even more, almost like university studies. In my personal case, I was never able to coordinate my time with those schools, even though I wanted to. At the time I thought that one month training would be less effective. But I wanted to try it. The idea of traveling to another country to take this course, to practice with Indian teachers, to be completely disconnected, and to meditate every day was appealing enough for me. On the other hand, I was challenging myself to speak English and to overcome my strong shyness. Because of that, I was not very eager to actually teach my own classes.
During one of the first classes, Ram asked “who doesn’t believe that it is possible to become a yoga teacher in four weeks?” some shy hands were lifted. I was one of those who came to study yoga to improve my own practice, to learn more about the yoga philosophy and to have a new experience, but to become a teacher? No.
Here, at the ashram, I experienced a teaching method that surprised me. Simultaneously with the yoga philosophy and anatomy classes, lectures and asana classes, we started teaching from the first week onward. Because of that, we soon started to experience the evolution towards becoming a yoga teacher. It is an intensive course, it is hard, with a lot of information to learn, but the most important was the teaching experience. In this training you have to give a class since the first week. The first time can be scary and frustrating but step by step it becomes more fluid and natural. Lots of emotions can appear in the process, you learn to observe and know yourself in a new situation. The fears are confronted in the yoga hall during this same month. This was a key to develop my confidence outside, with real students.
The teaching method is very intelligent. As I was encouraged to see the yoga class from different perspectives, as student, as a teacher and as an observer, the information is integrated in your system, and the possibility to be a teacher becomes real. Later, as a volunteer I can see this process and evolution in many different students, and I am sure that this is a very effective technique.
The theory provided here is a lot and you have to learn it fast to prove in the exam that you have at least the minimum knowledge to give a class. After this, we all return to our normal lives and continue to learn on our own. The Arhanta teachers not only give good tools to learn during the course but they are also accessible to solve doubts and answer questions after the training has finished.
As a comparison, I have heard some people who are following a yoga teacher training spread over a long period of time. Even after a year of study, they don’t feel confident yet to teach a class. I have also heard yoga teachers with years of training who discredit this kind of intensive course.
For me, I can say that I came with other expectations (mainly inner growing), shy and without much confidence. After 4 weeks, I returned home as a real yoga teacher. What I conclude from this unique experience is that we should be open minded, humble and accept different ways to arrive at the same point, without prejudice or criticism, and allow ourselves to be surprised by our yoga teacher training experience.