Ups and Downs of YogaFit training

I am a yoga teacher in training.

If you are a yoga teacher reading this, I’m sure you have far more training than I. You probably went somewhere far away for weeks at a time, or else spent every weekend for a few months devoting yourself to your YTT. You probably spent a few thousand dollars and experienced something truly life-changing. You know the intimate details about the doshas, the chakras, the yamas and niyamas, the Bhagavad Gita, all of the many, many poses (in English and Sanskrit), all of the different types of salutations and pranayama, etc, etc, etc and the list goes on.

I do not know all of the details about all of those things. I know the basics. I have chosen a different type of program: YogaFit.

The YogaFit RYT 200 track includes the following classes: Levels 1-5, Level 1 retrain, Level 2 or 3 retrain, Anatomy and Alignment, YogaFit Seniors, and either YogaFit pre/post-natal or YogaFit Kids. So far, I have attended Levels 1 and 2, and I will be attending Anatomy and Alignment in July.

Why did I choose this non-traditional, more mainstream version of Yoga Teacher Training? There are a few answers:

  1. Cost. Other YTT programs I have found cost upwards of $2,000-$3,000. Each YogaFit training costs around $400 plus travel and required materials (with the exception of Level 4, which costs twice as much). As half of a newly-married couple, $400 is hard enough to come up with at one time – something in the four digit spectrum falls into the category of “cost-prohibitive”. Spreading the cost out makes training accessible to me.
  2. Time. The YogaFit program allows you to complete your 200 RYT in one year, five years, or however long it takes you. All of the trainings are two-day weekend trainings, and I can usually find one within three hours of my home (again, Level 4 is the exception – it is only held at certain conferences, is four days long, and will require a lot more travel). This means less time off work and no deadline to get everything done.
  3. Approach. The YogaFit program fits in with my idea of accessibility. They do not require you to show documentation of all the impressive people you have practiced with. A lot of people take Level 1 just to further their own practice, with no intent of continuing. It doesn’t matter if you can’t do a handstand. There is no feeling of being not good enough to teach yoga.
  4. Commitment. The three things I have already described combine to make Level 1 a pretty un-intimidating event. It’s a few hundred dollars and one weekend. If you go and you hate it, or if you go and find out teaching isn’t for you, you aren’t out a month of your life and several thousand dollars. You also don’t have to wait until you feel like a yoga superstar to begin your training. You can grow in your training as you grow in your practice.

Once I went to Level 1 last October, I decided I was interested in continuing on with the program. I went to Level 2 in January, and I have a rough goal of attending a training every six months or so.

However, YogaFit is like anything else in life – it has its advantages and disadvantages. You go to the trainings, you take away the parts you like, and you leave behind the parts that don’t sit well with you.

The only problem I have with the choice of training I made is this: sometimes I feel like a fake. I don’t know as much about the intricacies of yoga, because I am still learning. I didn’t go to India and study in an ashram. I haven’t read the Gita. I haven’t been practicing that long, in the scheme of things. There are questions I don’t know how to answer. Sometimes I wonder if I should be waiting until I take all of my training to start teaching.

But then I remember that the teacher who helped me fall in love with yoga had no formal training. And I think it would be silly to hold myself back from doing something I’m passionate about for some silly reason that stems, deep down, from my own insecurity.

So I don’t have thousands of dollars right now to travel to far and distant lands to learn this stuff – that doesn’t make me less of a yogini.

So I can’t quite master bakasana – that doesn’t mean I can’t teach it.

So it takes me five years to earn my RYT – five years is the blink of an eye anymore.

So I don’t know the answer to a detailed anatomy question a student asks me – I can look up the answer when I get home. That’s what e-mail is for.

Because I am a lifelong student of yoga, and I am a yoga teacher in training.

I am still learning.

Namaste,
Jamie

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21 responses to “Ups and Downs of YogaFit training

  1. i know you just wrote that sometimes you feel like a fake.. but in speaking what you just did, i find you more honest than most. pretty un-fake, in fact. thank you for speaking the truth, your truth!

  2. When I started teaching liturgy through my synagogue I felt like I was totally unqualified. I felt like I couldn’t answer any questions. It was really scary. Then I told myself “If you know even one bit of information that your students don’t, you can teach them something.” That helped.

    I feel like a fake about everything. I think maybe that’s just the way it works.

    Just keep learning! You’re awesome!

  3. I am a beginner yoga teacher, and I feel like a fake sometimes too. Except that I really really really care about my students, and I am constantly learning more and more. And I believe in yoga. That matters.

    I love what Kate said above about being able to teach your students one thing they don’t know. In addition to that, authenticity matters a lot, and I think your authenticity and your dedication are evident from your post. I think you will be a great teacher.

    PS I haven’t been to India either, and I struggle with bakasana every single time I try it.

  4. Even as a yoga teacher of five years experience with a three and a half year training programme behind me (yup we don’t do things by halves in the UK), even having done retreats in India and having read the Gita and the Upanishads (although not having necessarily understood them), I am still in training. We all are. That yoga – a journey and not a destination.

    Despite all this I cannot sit in lotus, do bakasana or breath evenly in both lungs. :)

    I think you’re doing great. Love yourself. Learn, share and teach and never ever think you are inferior to anyone.

    Much love <3

  5. I don’t think it’s a question of you being authentic or passionate about yoga, because you clearly are. Instead, it’s a matter of practicality. It wouldn’t be fair to your husband or future children for you to spend thousands of dollars out of your savings for one training session. Yoga should be a passion, a lifestyle and an approach to life… not the most expensive hobby ever!

    And as far as people asking questions that you don’t know the answer to, that happens to every kind of teacher! It is awkward, I’ll admit but as long as you stay positive…. “That’s a really great question and you know, that hasn’t ever come up before. I don’t want to give you the wrong information so let me look into that and I’ll get back to you…” and then make sure to get them the answer quickly, that person will respect you even more because you’re not pretending to be a know-it-all and you’re taking the extra time and effort to help them out. I always hated it when teachers wouldn’t know the answer and respond with, “Why don’t you look that up and then let us know?” Hey @$$hole, you’re the teacher! lol :p

  6. There’s nothing wrong doing what’s right for you! I am definitely intimidated by my upcoming training- I probably weigh more than 95% of the class, and I can’t do handstands or Bakasana either! Hopefully it will just allow me to enter with more of an open mind. And I think it’s great you aren’t letting life hold you back- it’s awesome that you are training, period!

  7. @Emma you’re so sweet : )
    @Kate that’s an awesome point, thanks!
    @Tiffany bakasana is the hardest, right?! great point you make about how much you care.
    @Rachel – THANKS – much love right back at ya!
    @Sarah : ) thanks, and I agree
    @callah I totally know the feeling. I always feel like a giant at yoga trainings.

  8. Hey lady…hope I’m not too late to put in my two cents!

    You are totally, completely, 100% a true yogini! You are not a fake. Don’t waste one moment of this life second guessing something you feel so passionately about. Anyone who would dare to think that you aren’t “yogic” enough has a hell of a lot to learn :D

  9. Hi Jamie,
    I just found your blog and really connected with this post. I struggled with the decision of whether or not to go forward with the Yoga Fit YTT program … I felt the advantages were *exactly* what you listed … while I am not a newlywed, I do have three kids under 6, and finding the time for a traditional program seems daunting! However, for me, I ended up deciding to wait for 2 years until my youngest is 3, because I personally felt like I wanted to explore the philosophy/spiritual side of yoga a little more than the YogaFit program offered.

    So for me, in the compromise that I made by waiting (it has been a year since I made that decision – you’re right – time flies!), so I don’t feel frustrated in the meantime, I have begun doing more in-depth/weekend workshops at our local yoga studio so that, even though it’s not “official”, I feel like I am starting my training now. It allows me to grow in my practice even though I am still in Ohio (no ashrams for me either) and not in a YTT program yet.

    It’s awesome that you are pleased with your decision and I definitely do not consider you a fake! YogaFit certainly has something to offer, and it sounds like you, personally, have something to offer as well.

    Good luck with your yoga journey!

    • Zippy Mama- Thanks for sharing your story : ) The main reason I decided to step on the YogaFit path was because I can see myself in your spot pretty soon! I figured I might as well get as much of the 200RYT under my belt before the hubs and I start having children, while it still feels accessible and do-able. I feel lucky that yoga found me early enough that I could do that. It sounds like you also made the right choice for you, and I hope your TT goes well! I agree that the YogaFit classes don’t offer as much as the philosophy/spiritual side of the practice. I try to seek that out elsewhere, but it’s tough sometimes. Thanks so much for finding my blog! : )

  10. Thank you for posting such an honest piece. It resonates more than you know! Good luck with your teacher training. I am in the process of finding the right TT to go through, and it is certainly a big decision!

  11. Jaime,
    Its funny that I came across your post on this topic. 2 friends who I met during our Yogafit trainings were just discussing this subject. I have been teaching for 4 years now and I have no regrets with my choice of yogafit. My two friends feel less willing to tell people they completed their training with yogafit and one has even gone on to take a 2nd 200hr anusara training locally. I however am not concerned with what others think of my training. I have continued my education with many well know teachers and I find that my yogafit training gave me a strong base of knowledge that made my advanced trainings more meaningful. I don’t believe we have to travel to far away lands for weeks on end to learn how to teach. You are obviously a honest well intentioned person and should not ever feel fake. I found your post to be very real. Here is some advice I got when I first started teaching; Teach what you know and what you don’t know go learn, read and investigate. And then always teach from your heart. Good luck with your training. In the end yoga is not about the teacher, its about the student and we are all students.

  12. I know this is like 3 months late, but I just came across your blog and felt the need to comment. I too am going through YogaFit training, and although it was not my first choice, I have a husband and two children and cannot take off for a month or two. YogaFit “fits” into my lifestyle. So here are my thoughts…you will learn the Chakras, Yamas & Niyamas, and read the Bhagavad Gita and learn the many many poses in English and Sanskrit. It just all happens in levels 3-5 and Anatomy & Alignment. I have been through many YogaFit trainings in North Carolina, Boston, and California and the one common denominator with all of my training has been each person in each of my trainings is 100% passionate about yoga! I have friends and yoga teachers who have done trainings elsewhere and do not think of me as a “fake”, I do continue to train elsewhere, but doesn’t everyone, true yogi’s don’t stop at one training style, but are always learning. I also teach at a great studio and have never taught at a gym, however I would if given the opportunity. I think the best thing about YogaFit is there are sooooooo many teachers out there, with no training and no certifications and as we all know there are poses that can get us and others hurt…. big kuddos to you for being safe!
    On a side note, one of my Level 4 trainers, tearchers, guides was born and raised in India, she now lives in Los Angeles, she grew up in a complete Yogic lifestyle and she believes in YogaFit! I hope this helps even though it is 3 months late:)
    Namaste~
    Holly

  13. Thanks for sharing Jamie. It helps with my research on what type of training I want to do.

  14. I have enjoyed reading all of your thoughts and comments. I am looking at starting the YogaFit training next month and it is great to hear the positive feedback. I have a husband and two young children and this program is a great option for me. Thanks for sharing!

  15. hey there,
    I am so glad for your posting. I’ve been practicing yoga for many years and have wanted to do teacher training. I was seriously contemplating yogafit, in part because it doesn’t have the same religious aspect as other strains of yoga (for example, a chant “Jaya Ganesha” is praising the divinity Ganesha — as a Jew, I just can’t comfortably sing prayers of praise to Hindu gods). I was worried, though, that it would completely eliminate the philosophies of yoga altogether. I am so glad that this is not the case. I was also a bit afraid that my years of ecclectic yoga practice will be completely poo-pooed in favor of some kind of fitness type ideal. Again, this does not sound like the case at all. Ultimately, it sounds like it gives you a good base. Your experience sounds so positive and I think this is the right thing for me.. and I’m now registered for Level I. Wish me luck.

  16. Hi,
    I really enjoyed reading your post as it hit home. I have been doing yoga for 14 years and it has improved my life. I also work as an RD and have 2 young kids at home. Currently I am looking into the YogaFit training due to the convenience and it is a good starting block to find the path I really want to take.
    I wish you well.
    Carie

  17. I’m so happy to have read the comments and the original post!

    I’m researching which type of training I’d like to take and this sounds like it will fit into my life more easily! Plus, the ACE credentialing is very pragmatic.

  18. When I first started my training, YogaFit only had Level 1, Seniors YogaFit, YogaButt and Level 2 in their training offerings. They evolved, to fit the Yoga Alliance standards, and because everyone, who was getting training wanted more! I took the first offerred Level 4 training in california, and we had the Gita, Sutras, Sanskrit and more. YogaFit is not considered to be of a traditional yoga school. It has to, if it was to meet the Yoga Alliance standards.

    There are other programs out there, where you can also take weekend trainings and such, but probably not as easy to do, as YogaFit is, if you are near a major city and such.

    After it was all said and done, with my two trips to California (before all the regional mind body conferences), I probably spent nearly $7,000 on my training. (Air travel, meals, lodging, training fees.)

    Congrats on your path.

    Gaileee, E-RYT

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