Why a Yoga Teacher’s Training is Never Over

The greatest joy of teaching the art of self-inquiry lies within the inquiry itself.

Registration for the 75-Hour Art of Wanderlust Teacher Intensive is still open. The training runs from October 21–28 or May 21–28, 2018 at Wanderlust Hollywood.

There are many good teachers—but to be a great teacher, it is our responsibility to walk the path of the perpetual student. To always be learning. Stepping into the role of “student as teacher” means to regularly drop in and explore the Self. Though knowing our true nature is not always easy, it can be facilitated with humility and a hungry curiosity. To be a great student of yoga—and of life—means to continue our studies with an experienced teacher of integrity and authenticity.

There is obvious face value to yoga teacher training, though the certification itself, the piece of paper, is only the beginning. Since there is still no nationally recognized accreditation for yoga teachers, it is our responsibility to continue training ourselves so that we may give our very best to our students.

“Getting that 500-hour under your belt is certainly a good kick in the pants,” says Schuyler Grant, a co-founder of Wanderlust and leader of the modular 75-hour program at Wanderlust Hollywood. But Schuyler’s goal for her continuing education programs is more of a “choose your own adventure” style, since she recognizes that everyone has a different way of learning; that everyone is on a different path—financial and otherwise.

When she began the 75-hour program some 12 years ago, she realized that it may have been one of the first of its kind: practical teaching tools (like intelligent sequencing) that bridge the gap between graduating from a TT program and stepping into a well-established studio to teach for the first time. By shaving off the extraneous, albeit useful, information that is often packed into a longer program, students can really get down to the “nitty gritty” of postures, and teach more methodically and effectively as a result.

“As the vinyasa world moved away from the Ashtanga primary series and it suddenly became like, everything goes, it started to feel so stupid,” she says. “I wanted to help vinyasa teachers be smart!”

The Wanderlust 75-hour immersion is a safe space where teachers can drop their ego because they’re surrounded by peers and not their students. They step into the role of studentship—not just from a learning perspective but also a teaching standpoint. Here, refinement of teaching becomes possible when the proverbial veil of illusion is lifted and teachers are given the opportunity to really look at their bad habits and move past any sticking points with plenty of feedback. 

While the average teacher might agree that taking time off from their already packed schedules to participate in expensive trainings isn’t always ideal, there are other ways for teachers to regularly plug back in to fill their cup with a steady drip of inspiration.

“It also depends on what stage of life you’re in,” Schuyler says. “If you’re a parent, for instance, you might barely be finding the time for anything as is, and so your ‘teacher’ is getting your ass kicked every day, learning from the ‘teacher of life’.” For Schuyler, aside from being surrounded by a wellspring of gifted, high-quality teachers within the Wanderlust community, will attest that at the end of the day, her own mat and her children are often her greatest teachers of all.

And thus as yoga teachers, aside from the constant hustling to stay on top of industry trends, and juggling our myriad responsibilities and gigs in an effort to make ends meet, we are also learning to become more creative, more malleable to continue our studies.

“Just because we don’t have an archetype of a teacher or guru doesn’t mean we can’t have a satisfying relationship to continue to learn,” – Schulyer Grant 

So what’s a good teacher to do in order to become great?

Schuyler would recommend practicing with senior Iyengar teachers, despite any previous background or trainings; teachers that provide solid foundational instruction to help keep students honest. And while there’s nothing quite like the experience of an in-person transmission with a great teacher, there are plenty of quality online trainings available on the Internet. By looking at continuing education through the lens of necessity rather than luxury, the avoidance of burnout becomes possible. And sure, while subbing out your classes so that you can spend money on a training and lose money at the same time might seem paradoxical on the surface, what happens when we can flip our perspective and think of it as a sabbatical, or even a vacation? 

“The teacher that thinks they’re done with learning is a dead teacher,” Schuyler says with conviction.

Perhaps the greatest joy of teaching the art of self-inquiry lies within the inquiry itself: to take on the role of the perennial student. The reward of practice is not in finding answers, but in tirelessly asking questions and practicing a beginner’s mindset—by reminding yourself that more often than not, the more you know, the less you know.

For more information on Schuyler’s 75-Hour Program, as well as other Wanderlust teacher training programs, click here. 

Andrea Rice is a writer and yoga teacher in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, Yoga Journal, NY Yoga + Life, SONIMA, mindbodygreen and other online publications. Connect with Andrea on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and her website.