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200hr Yoga Teacher Training Immersion - What To Expect

Are you considering taking your 200hr YTT? I took an immersion style 200hr yoga teacher training program and am here to share what I wish I knew before going.



Choosing The Right Program For You


There are many options these days for a 200hr yoga teacher training program. You could do your entire program online, there are hybrid options for partially online and partially in person, many schools offer weekend programs over several months, or you could take an intensive or immersion style training, long days for two or three weeks.


I chose an immersion style training, and am glad I did. I wanted to dive in and learn and experience all at once. That works well for my learning style, ask what would work best for you. Some need to go at a more gradual pace and integrate teachings slowly.

Of course, also consider the commitment you are able to make. With work and life and parenthood and many other factors, what time are you able to give? Are you able to take vacation from work this year? If not, try a weekend program. If you have time and space to give but are not comfortable travelling or sharing space, try an online program perhaps.


When I took my YTT in spring 2021 I had the availability to join a 14 day intensive.




Choosing the Right School For You


I spent about 5 years looking for the 'right' yoga school for me.

There are SO many options these days. Its a big investment of energy, time, and money, so it is important to do the work to find what will most align with you, your philosophy, and where you want your career to go after graduation.

My advice would be to not rush. Really do your research.


I am very happy I found SOYA, South Okanagan Yoga Academy, shortly after I moved to the Okanagan Valley from Vancouver Island. SOYA teacher training programs are very rooted in philosophy and tradition, which felt like such a success to find in a Western culture dominated by 'the exercise of asana.' I was determined to find myself in a school where my peers and I were interested in the deeper roots of yoga and how to teach meditation, breathing, and history as well as asana practices.

The years I spent shopping for a YTT program were a bit discouraging, as so many schools were just teaching the physical, superficial practices of yoga. But of course, I know that everything happened at the perfect time for me.


SOYA offers programs not only in the Okanagan, Canada but also in Mexico, Florida, Michigan, New Brunswick, Prince George, and Alberta. Find out more about SOYA here.



My Tips For Preparing For a YTT Immersion


If you have decided that an intensive or immersion style of yoga teacher training is for you, here are my biggest tips.


  1. Get the books on the reading list. Whether mandatory or not. Spend a month or two before your immersion working through the suggested reading list.

  2. Limber up. Are you used to doing two asana classes every day? Gradually start preparing your body for this. Ideally, take a couple months to work your way up to practicing asana every single day and preventing injury.

  3. You might as well pack light. In my experience, there was so much info and activity packed into every day from dawn until dusk that there was no leisure time. There was a half day to refresh our groceries, but otherwise we were fully occupied. I didn't need to bring that extra fiction book or all my journals, as I had no time to use them. Expect to be fully immersed and when you are not in class you are eating or resting or processing.

  4. Bring healthy food that is fast to prepare and put in the effort to meal plan. Programs will vary - in my YTT there was no catering option: we all made our own food. We organized a dinner rotation, sharing cooking responsibilities in the evening, and each of us made our own breakfasts and lunches and snacks. This was by far the biggest challenge for me. I was dedicated to eating the most nourishing food during this time, and struggled to have my meals prepared and eaten in the 30-50minute window of time available for lunch. If you are in charge of your own food, I recommend splurging on healthy instant meals. Buy the fancy granola bars and organic cup of noodles. And if you have the option, I would spend the extra couple hundred dollars for catered food.

Bonus Tip: My favourite study snack is peanuts and m&ms. Not peanut m&ms, regular m&ms with peanuts. Protein + sugar helps the body and brain go. Works as a nice motivator for reading text books too - have one bite after finishing a page perhaps.




What Surprised Me The Most


Sitting cross-legged all day takes quite a toll on the body. I never imagined that I could be so sore from sitting still with good posture. My advice here would be don't be a hero. Don't try to push through. Surround yourself with prop options and don't be afraid to modify your meditation seat or to shuffle about or reorganize your limbs frequently. Do what you need to to make sitting on the floor work for you, you will be doing it A LOT.



I thought I would be doing so much journaling in the evenings. I did ZERO journaling. There was so much to process and like I mentioned above, hardly any free time. I ended up being completely present with my peers and after dinner worked on the bit of homework we had and then went right to bed. Sometimes I forget how much energy learning consumes. Physical asana practices aside, I often found the classroom learning exhausting. After receiving so much new and inspiring information all day, I was content to just fall right asleep after dinner most nights. I trust I processed some in my sleep and in conversation.



 


These tips won't resonate with everyone and that's okay. All I can do is share from my perspective and hope that some find it helpful. Trust that you know what is best for you. This is yoga, union, after all.


My teacher Lalita and I at my YTT200 graduation

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