When I first started doing yoga a couple years ago I never thought of it as anything more than a good stretch.  I was previously a soccer player who had sustained an injury that put me out of the game.

I eventually turned to body-weight training since it was active, fast-paced, and self-competitive.  I enjoyed the challenge.  Having sustained many injuries from playing soccer my whole life, body-weight training also began to take a toll me.  I started looking for ways to help re-align, reduce pain, and gain flexibility.

One day I was at my gym and saw a flyer for a candlelight yoga class. I didn’t know much about yoga at the time but having an open mind about anything fitness I decided to give it a try. After my first class I left feeling calm and renewed.  I did experience some pain afterwards due to my lack of stretching properly and residual sport related scar tissue.  Nevertheless, I had an overall sense of well-being and I knew that I would go back to yoga.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Yoga provides an overall sense of well-being, and #YTT includes eight benefits beyond that.” quote=”Yoga provides an overall sense of well-being, and YTT includes eight wonderful benefits beyond that.”]

After some searching for a new program I found Core Power Yoga, which became my new training venue. Though I continued to benefit from my workout with this routine, it wasn’t until early 2015 that I began to actually understand and devote myself to yoga.

At that time my main reason for practising yoga was more for the emotional benefits which it provides. I loved the physical benefits, but I was starting to see a pattern in how I felt emotionally after each class. I came to a tough point in my life this past summer and I started looking for something to help me become more open, social, intuitive with my body and mind, and understand myself better.

After class one day I heard one of the instructors speak about yoga teacher training, and felt something nudge me inside to inquire further, so I did!  At first I was hesitant to pursue the training for two reasons, the cost of the program, and the time commitment involved.  However after I weighed both the immediate and long-term benefits which I would receive, it was a very easy decision to sign-up. I learned many more things from yoga, beyond the physical benefits.  Here are eight things my yoga teacher training taught me.

Eight Benefits of Yoga Teacher Training

Photo Courtesy of Michelle Blasen

1. Openness

Yoga teacher training has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Since I began the training I have had many emotional realizations, and I have also been introduced to fourteen other amazing individuals. You are in an environment where there is no judgement and you learn how to be open and communicative. We sometimes don’t realize how closed off we tend to be in our day to day lives with one another. Our culture has drifted to the point where people tend to bottle up emotions and to be less than cordial to people we don’t know. Working closely with other teachers has helped me be more open.

Photo: Lauren Prindiville

Photo: Lauren Prindiville

2. Release

On the first day of class it was silent in the room with a bit tension, but by the third class everyone was talking to one another and I felt really comfortable. Being a yoga student has helped me not to fixate so much upon my problems. I am learning to “let go,” and to think of other people more than myself. Releasing preconceived notions takes you to a place of calm and peace, and allows you just be yourself.

3. Acceptance

The phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” has really stood out for me through this training. We tend to be so quick to judge other people by how they look, when in most cases the person you think you won’t connect to at all, ends up being the person you relate to the most. It’s an amazing thing to see people who study biology, getting their Master’s degree, therapists, surfers, travelers, personal trainers, and dancers, can all come together to find one common ground of love; yoga.

Eight Benefits of Yoga Teacher Training

Photo: Carmela Phillips

4. Gratitude

Yoga Teacher Training sessions have helped me to realize that many people have been through a difficult journey in life. I have become more humbled and grateful for certain parts of my life now because of this. In addition, I have so much more patience in getting to know someone before making a judgemental assumption about them.

Eight Benefits of Yoga Teacher Training

Photo: Brittany Cunningham

5. Strength

Yoga isn’t just physical; it’s a very mind opening practice. The vital parts of yoga which include; deep breathing, stretching, balancing, and learning to be in the here and now, can all relate to your life outside of yoga. Through Yoga Teacher Training I have broken through barriers of doubting myself, learning to be patient with myself, and give compliments to myself instead of engaging in negative thinking. This takes strength, both physical and mental.  In short, I am much happier about myself than before. Muscles which I have used to hold emotional and physical tension are starting to release, enabling me to feel more free. Physically I feel leaner, stronger, more balanced, and I have a heightened sense of body awareness with increased mental strength.

6. Mindfulness

Before beginning Yoga Teacher Training I always wished I was somewhere else. I didn’t live in the moment, my confidence was shaky, and I was so consumed by issues in my own life. Those aren’t the ingredients for an up-lifting happy life. I knew I needed training which would affect me both physically and emotionally.  Learning to live in the moment, learning to be mindful is a skill that takes time to hone, but one I learned through yoga teacher training, and continue to develop.  The effects of mindfulness in your daily life bring peace and tranquility, allowing you to navigate the curves much more easily.

Eight Benefits of Yoga Teacher Training

Photo: Natasha Bajada Theuma

7. Positivity

I’ve learned so much about yoga itself, its history, the poses and what they mean, how to modify a class for myself, but most importantly I’ve learned how to process certain things in life in way that is positive. Being surrounded by so many loving and inspiring people has uplifted my spirit and given me the motivation to really step out of my box.

We are all beautiful beings with our own insight and wisdom which we are supposed to share with the world. By participating in the Yoga Teacher Training program I am now starting to open up and let my own light shine for the sake of someone else. We are here in this world to love and encourage one another along the journey of life. As I am now growing stronger physically, experiencing inner healing, and learning, I feel like I can be a positive influence in other people’s lives.

Eight Benefits of Yoga Teacher Training

Photo: Michelle Blasen

8. Knowledge 

Yoga teacher training isn’t just for people who want to teach, it’s for anyone who wants to deepen their own practice, to dig in and learn more about themselves, or for those who simply need an outlet. There is no wrong reason in pursuing yoga teacher training.  In just a two month program you can be on your way to a brand new you. I wish I had done Yoga Teacher Training years ago but as I have learned we are exactly where we are supposed to be.  So I am here now, in the moment.

[clickToTweet tweet=”All we really have is the moment that is right here. #yoga #mindfulness” quote=”All we really have is the moment that is right here.”]

As Baron Baptist has said, “All life happens in the present moment. All we really have is the moment that is right here, right now, in front of us. Any moment that happened in the past is a memory, and any moment that will happen in the future is a fantasy.”

So if you’re thinking of doing a yoga teacher training, don’t think about it too hard.  The eight benefits I outlined far outweigh the doubts you might have.  The cost and commitment isn’t much once you realize all you’re investing in; yourself.