Have you been thinking about following a yoga teacher training, but aren’t sure if you can follow it well as English isn’t your first language? You are not the only one with this question. We get exactly this question several times a week by email. 80% of our students speak English only as a second or third language. And they still become confident and skilled yoga teachers. You really don’t have to speak English perfectly to be able to follow a yoga teacher training which is taught in English.
The reason is simple: Much more important than your language skills, is your desire to follow and complete the course and your ambition to grow. At the Arhanta Yoga Ashram in India and the Netherlands we have trained more than 4000 students from all over the world. We have trained people from Japan, Italy, Brazil, France, and many more countries, some of them barely spoke English. Some students had never actively spoken English and only had some basic knowledge which they had learned during high school.
Whenever we had students whose English was weak, their determination to learn and grow, and the the discipline to work hard made up for that disadvantage. Exactly this determination made it possible for those students to successfully complete their course. Often these students finish the course with better results than students who were very comfortable with the English language.
The following story of a student from Italy serves as a perfect example. In the beginning of the course he was asked to introduce himself to the group. However his level of English was so limited that he could only say his name and where he was from. During the classes he was very focused and throughout the course we could read the discipline on his face; a determined look in his eyes to understand the content of the classes no matter what.
He never hesitated to ask a question, even though sometimes it would take him a while to explain what he was trying to say. With the help of the other students, and sometimes also with the help of physical gestures and even drawings on the white board, he always managed to communicate what he wanted to say or ask. By the end of the course he was able to teach a 90 minute yoga asana class in English and he ended up as one of the top students from his group.
Of course it is important to have some basic knowledge of English. However, in our experience determination and will power are more important than the ability to speak a language. And the practice of Yoga is an international language that doesn’t always needs words to explain. Paying attention during classes your eyes will show you most there is to know about modifications and asanas.
We are committed to help each and every student to achieve their goal and complete the yoga teacher training successfully. Therefore our teachers are always more than willing to help you and are very experienced in supporting students that do not have English as their first language. If you truly want to follow a yoga teacher training, than just go for it! Don’t let any doubt or fear stand in your way. Life is too short for regrets!
Omkar Jain is a lead teacher trainer with teaching experience of over 5,000 hours. He has been teaching at Arhanta Yoga since 2011 and has become an essential member of the team.
Omkar was born and raised in India, and grew up with traditional values. He has studied with various reputed teachers like Saraswathi Rangaswamy (daughter of Sri. Pattabhi Jois). His classes are fun and challenging for students of all levels. He teaches with focus, discipline and humor at the same time. His ability to comprehensively transmit knowledge helps students to mature into conﬁdent teachers.