Am I good enough for a teacher training and how do I actually prepare for it? Do I have to teach afterwards? These are questions that Lisa Amenda asked herself before her teacher training at Kale&Cake and which she answers in this article. Your FAQ about the Yoga Teacher Training at Kale&Cake from a graduate.
Suddenly it was there, the idea to do a yoga teacher training. I even remember exactly when: in the summer of 2019. I was strolling to the subway with my best friend after a yoga class and suddenly I told her that I was toying with the idea of doing a yoga teacher training. Wait. What, like what? A yoga teacher training? Me? Because I wasn't really toying with the idea, it came straight from my head out of my mouth at that moment. My best friend just replied, "Lisa, I can so see you doing that!" Really, with me? I'm going to have to back up a bit on that one.
How I wanted to become a yoga teacher as an awkward athlete
Because I wouldn't call myself a classic yoga student. You probably already know that there is no such thing as a classical yoga student. But well, I'm not particularly flexible. Because I've been doing sports since I was a kid. Lots of it. Skiing, mountain biking, gravel biking, track and field, tennis, and on and on. You see, no gymnastics or dancing. At least I gave gymnastics a shot as a kid. Long Story Short: Neither is my metier.
The sports I prefer to do, on the other hand, are oriented towards strength and endurance and, above all, mostly downhill fun. But that also means: My hamstrings are pretty short and I can only get my hands on the ground after years of yoga practice. On top of that, I'm 5'7". That combined with shortened muscles from my sports and a 40-hour office week probably gives you an idea that I can't hop straight from my desk into the full bike. And yet somehow I had a feeling that yoga teacher training might be for me. The feeling was just right, which is much more important in deciding whether or not to do a YTT than having the longest hamstrings in the world.
Which YTT is the right one?
So I started doing some research. I didn't want a too classical YTT. I wanted to combine yoga with modern components and not chase after a millennia-old tradition that today - in the 21st century - can not be integrated into everyday life. That's why I followed a few yoga teachers on Instagram, went to different studios and found out about Sinah and Sophia via Instagram. I followed them for a while, liked them just from the screen and one day they posted that they were offering their first Yoga Teacher Training. Along with their teacher Simon Park. I read through the description and thought, "Okay, this is it. Combining traditional yoga and influences from modern sports science and psychology."
The Kale & Cake YTT spoke exactly to my needs and my expectations of a Teacher Training. So I attended Sophia and Sinah's on-site classes and signed up for a workshop by Simon. And bang, I was hooked. This was exactly what it was going to be. I booked the teacher training. However, with the email sent, doubts started to pop into my head. What if I'm not ready for this at all? What if everyone else there is much better at yoga than I am? And what if they won't let me be a yoga teacher because I can't do handstands?
What do I have to be able to do for a YTT?
Because basically it is not defined what you have to master on the mat to successfully complete a YTT. The announcement says: 'One year of regular yoga practice'. Okay, I have that. But what does 'regular' mean exactly? There were weeks when I didn't go to the studio at all. Other weeks, on the other hand, I not only went to the studio, but even practiced daily at home for myself. Yoga has been a more or less regular part of my life since I was at least 21. In the meantime more than 12 years in total.
In the end, I defined 'regular' for me in such a way that yoga is integrated into my everyday life - whether on the mat or next to it. Just as importantly, I don't just get on the mat yesterday because you're doing yoga at Lockdown now. Much more important than practicing at least three times a week is that you have an individual connection to yoga and don't just want to jump on the trend. Of course, it makes sense to know what the Downward Looking Dog is and what a sun salutation looks like. If you are told to do asanas, you should at least have an idea of how to get to them. Do you have to know them all perfectly in Sanskrit? No. That comes with time and you still have enough time on the side to teach yourself these things.
Do I have to know how to do a handstand?
But what about more difficult asanas like Pincha Mayurasana or the handstand? Do I have to be able to do that too? No. Honestly, I still can't do that either. But I'm not really an arm balancing fan either and I'm taking the liberty of being a lifelong student here. I guess it's my construction site then, practicing on my mat with me. Purely from the physical aspect.
How do I prepare for a YTT?
Even if you haven't mastered difficult asanas yet, it makes sense to prepare yourself sufficiently for the teacher training. We started each of our training days with at least two hours of Vinyasa practice, and when I say Vinyasa, that's what I mean. For me, it wasn't just the breath and the movements that flowed, but also the sweat, especially with an outside temperature of 35°C. A good level of fitness, stamina and strength are therefore essential. Good fitness and endurance as well as strength are therefore essential. Do they protect you from sore muscles? No, sorry, I have to disappoint you. It will come and it will stay during the intensive week.
If you have your YTT in the summer, I therefore recommend you to jump into a cool body of water during your lunch break. That was with us the Isar. For the next teacher training it will be the Chiemsee. By the way, cold water also helps to regenerate the muscles! Otherwise, take Sophia's and Sinah's appeal in the announcement seriously and practice regularly before the training. Once or twice a week at least, more often if you like. Not only did I make a leap in my practice this way and adjust to Sinah's and Sophia's classes, but most importantly, it made me feel much more prepared. Now it's also convenient because you can practice anytime and anywhere thanks to online lessons.
What if the others are much better than me?
If you still have the idea in your head that the others are much better... Well, I can't take that away from you. There will be other students there who maybe dance ballet or have been doing gymnastics for years. And you'll see that in their practice. Is that supposed to scare you? Absolutely not! Your YTT, your practice! Always remember that you are doing Teacher Training for you. Exactly where you are in your practice is where you are at! Almost sounds like a yoga teacher, doesn't it? And yes, that's what the training actually taught me. There's no point in comparing yourself to others. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, but that's no reason to compare ourselves against each other, but to support each other above all.
Because no matter whether someone from the Wild Thing comes directly into the wheel or not, we have all moved forward together and supported each other. The participants as well as Sinah, Sophia and Simon. Despite everything it will be exhausting, you should be aware of that. Physically as well as mentally. I would describe myself as relatively relaxed and pragmatic and I couldn't quite understand when I read in advance about participants who described their YTT as life-changing or an emotional rollercoaster. Emotionally it gets, and I've never burst into tears at dinner before like I did after one of the days at YTT. I can also kind of agree with the life changing: For years, my partner and I have been considering moving out of Munich, to the countryside and closer to the mountains. During the YTT we did it. Especially Susan Michel and her holistic anatomy lessons have contributed a part to it.
What does the schedule look like at the Kale & Cake YTT?
One question that always bothered me before the Teacher Training was what will my schedule look like? What will we do each day? How many hours of asana practice will we have? When do we have anatomy? And when do we have special workshops? In short, what can I look forward to? And this is also a special feature of Kale & Cake: there is no schedule. You get start and end times for each day and then you can expect to always start with a two-hour Morning Practice.
In between? Who knows. Simon, Sinah and Sophia have a certain plan in mind, but often react spontaneously to the mood in the group. The good thing for you as a student? Let yourself go with it. It makes you more relaxed and you actually take with you for your everyday life that you can't influence everything, that you simply have to give up responsibility sometimes, learn to trust others and above all to let go. This attitude also helps the next time your boss needs something from you at short notice.
Do I have to teach yoga after the YTT?
If you have now decided to do a YTT at Kale&Cake - it will be great! - then you are probably still wondering if you have to teach yoga afterwards. No, you don't. But everyone, including me, who wanted to do the Teacher Training for themselves first, is teaching now. And I love it. I wouldn't have thought that before. But even if you don't feel the urge to teach yoga to other people afterwards, then whatever, do it for you. Just for you. Because at the end of the day, even if you eventually get a taste for teaching, it's always your practice that you pass on to your students. You teach solely from your experience of yoga and your practice.
Sign up for the 200h YTT!
On our K&C YouTube channel you also have the opportunity to take a look at lessons with Sinah or Simon.
And if you want to know even more about our 200hr Yoga Teacher Training, feel free to check out our podcast. In the episode "Am I ready for a yoga teacher training with Sophia Thora" Sinah and Sophia talk about the questions you can ask yourself before starting your YTT to find out if you feel ready for a yoga teacher training.
About the author: Our guest author Lisa Amenda is not only an enthusiastic mountain lover, but also a graduate of our first Yoga Teacher Training 2020. Lisa writes for Bergzeit and various outdoor magazines and has studied geography, which is why the topic of sustainability plays a big role for her, about which she has already written a wonderful article in K&C Magazine, which you can access here.