How to become a yoga teacher

So, the simple answer is to do a teacher training and then teach!

I’m someone who rarely gives a simple answer, simply because I don’t see things simply.

I’ve been teaching yoga for about ten years now and I’m still becoming a yoga teacher. 

I’m not talking about continuing education after teacher training.Continuing education is important, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

I have to back a few years to start my story.

I had my first panic attack when I was 21 years old.For about 5 years without relief I suffered from major panic attacks, general anxiety disorder and depression.Then I finally got meds.Then I started practicing yoga.Super long story, very short.

At first practicing yoga asana was the tool that I used to replace my meds.It’s the thing that kept me functioning, kept me stable just enough to reintegrate into daily life. 

My yoga asana practice was my daily medicine, but I wanted more than to just function.My doctors said that the best I could hope for was to be able to “manage” my panic attacks.I refused this idea.Spend my life managing panic? No thanks.I simply wanted the panic to be gone. 

In order to go beyond panic management, I had to delve deeper into yoga and Ayurveda and learn, really learn what yoga was all about.My teacher training was therefore about discovering why I was sick—in all it’s complexities--and all the ways that I could heal.

When I first met my eventual main teacher trainer, Shiva Rea, my reaction was total fear as I was overwhelmed by the vision and intuition that learning from her was the path.The fear was that I saw the distance between the state that I was in and the state that I wanted to be in and I knew that the work was going to be oh so difficult. 

And it was difficult.

But at least, at last, I found hope.

I can’t count how many times I cried during teacher training sessions.I can’t begin to describe the pain that I experienced when coming face to face with my reality.I knew though that I had to go through it all if I wanted to truly get better. 

It was in my teacher training that the universe of yoga and all of its aspects were revealed to me. This is where I found a model of the existence of all life that made sense to me.All of my existential questions about life were answered. It sounds huge.Yes, it was huge.The state that I was in was so bad that the solution had to be huge.

It was what I had been looking for for years and I finally found it.Finally.

So I practiced and practiced and learned and studied and totally immersed myself in all things yoga.

And time passed.

I had a relatively comfortable situation going on.I was teaching high school and so had a steady income with a sort of flexible schedule.I taught yoga part time and continued taking teacher trainings.No big risk involved.I was pretty healthy and life was pretty fine.In any case, much much better than when I started my yoga life.

And then I hit a plateau.

There was something more that I needed to do.There was a growing feeling in my soul that this wasn’t the end.

I needed to leave my teacher and go far away and figure out this teaching thing on my own.There was more learning to be done.There was more healing to be done.And now, it was ALL up to my own, direct experience with life.It was time for me to become my own teacher. 

So I set off to teach in a foreign country where I knew no one in yoga.Not one single person.And even though my (now ex) husband is French, we settled into a region where neither of us knew anyone.No one.

When I first moved to France, the only thing that I missed from California was my yoga community.Being away from my yoga support system and from my teacher made me so sad.I cried a lot.

I made the decision to dedicate my whole life (at least until I reached whatever new state of being that was calling me) to teaching yoga.

All or nothing.No back up plan.

Seriously, this was it.

Some people go to India to experience this confrontation with the self.  Me, I went to France!  It’s sounds funny, but damn, this shit has been difficult.  The lessons that I have learned have been hard earned.  But I earned them and I have learned from direct experience, not just in a book or by listening to my teachers.

In the darkest of times, I lean on my yoga practice, on my teachers’ transmissions.My personal yoga practice (and I don’t mean just asanas) has often been the only thing holding me up.

I know the power of yoga to be true because I have lived it.I have put it to the test, out there in the real world, and it has proven itself to me to be all that it claims to be.

I have finally become my own teacher, my own guide.And NOW I can truly teach others.I know what I am talking about because I have lived it.

THIS, my friends is how to become a yoga teacher.

It’s how I became a yoga teacher in any case.By putting yoga to the test, by risking it all, by putting all of my faith, even when I had none, into the teachings, by putting yoga up against the real and modern world.

This is what I teach.I don’t teach yoga technique.I transmit the experience of life when insisting on living it consciously, courageously, humbly.I teach yoga as it interacts with daily life, as it interacts with trying to make a living, with difficult relationships, with healing ones pains, with going through the process of self realization.This is what I teach. 

And it’s still happening.It will never stop.I will always have something to teach as life, my life, keep pushing me forward.Now it’s the adventure of becoming fully actualized, of sustaining true prosperity, being connected with cosmic creativity and the act of creation, of integrating all that I truly am, of integrating the whole of life, of leading others and of truly becoming a being that is worthy of this precious gift of life on earth.These are the teachings of this period of my life and wow, what a gift.

It’s been intense and even though I often wish out loud that life had an easier plan for me, I have to admit that the reward of my life’s difficulties is proving to be great.

Would I recommend this huge risk for others?Not really.Unless you feel that you have no other choice.It’s so scary.Seriously, scary.Somehow I’m still alive.I’m still standing. Somehow, I don’t know how, I’ve survived.

I have lived to tell!

THIS, my friends is how I became a yoga teacher.

(Oh right!  I don’t have panic attacks anymore.)

Here's how you can do the official part of becoming a yoga teacher:

Click on the image to learn about my teacher training school.