What I Learned in Yoga Teacher Training

Posted November 7, 2016 in yoga teacher training, yoga, yogi, healthy living, self-confidence, body image, self-care, yoga practice, ahimsa


I finished my last weekend of yoga teacher training! 

Going through the 200-hour yoga teacher certification program may have been one of the best decisions I've ever made. The experience was so much more than I ever expected. 

I went through yoga teacher training through Avani Yoga Studio in Hastings with Evolve to Harmony Yoga in Omaha. My teachers, Carole Westerman, Suzanne Wright and Elizabeth Israel, were absolutely amazing. I feel really lucky to have learned from them and the other teachers at Avani. 

Getting Answers About my Health

The one thing that I didn't expect about yoga teacher training was all the opportunities for self-reflection and personal growth. 

We learned about so much more than the asanas (poses) of yoga. A huge part of the curriculum was about living yoga off the mat. Those lessons really spoke to me.

Living yoga in all aspects of your life is really about being mindful. Over the past few years, I was struggling more and more with headaches and migraines, and experiencing unexplained weight gain. 

I truly believe that living more mindfully was what pushed me to seek answers about my health. 

Because yoga teaches flexibility (on and off the mat), making changes to improve my health has been easy.

Photo by Elizabeth Israel

Gaining Confidence

However, gaining weight caused me to experience some old body image issues that hadn't surfaced in years. I felt my confidence diminishing as I began equating my self-worth to my weight, an old habit I shed years ago. 

When I started yoga teacher training, I felt uncomfortable in my body. My old yoga clothing felt too tight and my body felt different during my practice. 

One of the Yamas of yoga, the guiding principals of yoga, is Ahimsa, which means we must live a life of compassion, love and kindness. Thinking about this concept made me realize that I wasn't practicing compassion toward myself. 

I was being really hard on myself for gaining weight. As a health coach and fitness instructor, I put a lot of pressure on myself to look a certain way. Gaining weight made me worried that people would think I wasn't practicing what I preach.

Photo by Kim Borrell

When I began to be kinder to myself and accept that my body was going through something, I realized that I diet and exercise wasn't the answer. I needed to slow down, seek help and practice loving my body as it changed. 

Yoga has helped me cultivate a deeper gratitude practice, which made me realize how abundant my life is. 

Yoga also helped me make self-care a bigger priority. Focusing on taking care of myself by nourishing my body with healthy food, moving in ways that felt good, taking time to rest, slowing down when I noticed my schedule getting too full and making room for fun and play really helped me to feel better in my body.

Photo by Carole Westerman

Cultivating Relationships

Another unexpected aspect of yoga teacher training was developing relationships with the other yogis in my class. 

Everyone began their yoga practice for different reasons, but we all came together to deepen our practice and learn how to share yoga with the world. That's pretty amazing. 

I loved getting to know everyone and feel so grateful that everyone was so open and willing to share their personal stories and connection to yoga. 

When I began yoga teacher training in May, I thought the following seven months seemed like such a long time. But the seven months of training flew by! I feel like I've grown so much during that time. What an amazing experience!

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