Everything you need to know about the Namaslay® yoga teacher training
Namaslay® 200hr intensive yoga teacher training. Intensive. That word can be quick to read and easy to gloss over. I’ll be the first to admit I underestimated what it would take; what I would need to give. I’ve had no fewer than three people ask me how my ‘retreat’ was. Yeah, nice one mate. We were in a beautiful location, and I think that’s probably where the similarities end. We were not doing yoga all day; we were sitting in a sweaty shala for hours on end. We were not taking it easy by the pool; we were trying to keep our minds engaged for prolonged periods of time on very little sleep. We were not exploring the city; we were rooted to the spot getting absolutely annihilated by mosquitoes. It was physically, emotionally and mentally taxing. It was a big melting pot of fears, anxieties, epiphanies, emotions, sleep deprivation and camaraderie like I’ve never known.
I went into the training having just left a holiday with my husband and the first day we had been up since 5am, had lectures until 7pm only to stop for breakfast and lunch, we had already been given approximately one million assignments and my head was absolutely banging. All I wanted to do was go to bed, but we had homework for the next day. I thought, “Well holy shit, you bloody idiot, what in the hell have you done?” I missed my husband, I missed not having to think about anything, I missed the easy life and I thought I had to keep it all to myself. I felt overwhelmed and angry and a little scared – this was just day one, how on earth was I going to handle three more weeks?
The next day, headache gone, I was speaking to one of the trainees. They told me they found the first day really overwhelming. I practically screamed in their face, “ME TOO!” And that was that. I held nothing back from anyone anymore. When they asked (and often when they didn’t) I told them exactly what I was feeling. And they got it. Because they were feeling it too. We were weirdoes together, safe in our little bubble of having absolutely no idea what we were doing. It felt so liberating not having to hide behind a façade of smiles, when I just wanted to lie down and close my eyes, or just let the tears flow.
Yeah, you’re really selling it to me Danielle. Let me be clear, the smiles and laughs were there too. They were regular, amplified and completely genuine. I laughed until my eyes were streaming, my sides hurt and the sounds no longer audible, shoulders shaking silently. I threw back my head and cackled in my far-too-loud, overbearing way. I shot off smiles in more directions than I can count and my heart was completely full for every second I spent in that magical paradise. I connected with people deeply on a soul level, like we had found each other after years of searching. I felt such a tremendous sense of union - which is what the word ‘yoga’ means.
I did a lot of growing too. For the first time in my life, I let myself truly feel everything. I didn’t try to change it, to ‘think positively’, to trivialise what I was feeling, to try to cover it up or make it go away. I just allowed myself to feel. And I was completely honest about it, with myself and with anyone who asked. It was empowering. And exhausting. I experienced the whole spectrum of emotions. I laughed until I cried; I actually cried; I was sociable; I wanted to be alone; I was fearful and doubted myself; I was confident and surprised myself; I was frustrated, elated, tired, energetic, grateful and resentful. It felt like a full-time job just trying to allow space for all these things I didn’t even know were buried deep inside because I had not allowed myself to fully feel before. I was having to break down walls I didn’t even realise I'd built. I thought I always had to be stoic and held together. But being that hot mess of emotion, I’ve never felt more like myself. Same same, but different.
I learned so much it still makes my head spin. We learned yoga philosophy, anatomy, cueing, assisting and adjusting, yoga for athletes, yoga for bigger bodies, yoga for trauma, kundalini yoga, chakras, bandhas, Sanskrit, yin yoga, prenatal yoga, yoga for addiction recovery, yoga for the elderly, the business of yoga, strength, planning retreats and workshops, how to build a successful playlist, intelligent sequencing of classes and we also had two written exams and nine assessed practicums, including a workshop we designed and taught.
What else did I learn? I learned I am quite an emotional person but I don’t always allow myself to feel it. I keep a lot of things bottled up and slap on a smile for the rest of the world. I am an extroverted introvert. I like to be around people, but sometimes just sitting in silence or being an observer. I have a lot of ‘stuff’ that I didn’t even know I had, constantly being dislodged and brought up to the surface. I let my need to be perfect stop me from being myself. Some days I am incredibly introspective and self-aware; others I don’t have the energy and I just shut it down. I have a compulsive need for people to like me. And I learned I am resilient, I am brave, I appear calm when I’m terrified, I am fun to be around and I put a smile on people’s faces. I learned I inspire others to think about their impact on our world, and to laugh more. I learned how to be a ‘yes’ person. I learned that yoga is so much more than the poses on the mat. I learned that I am creative, smart and funny, and I am a good teacher. One day I might even be a great teacher.
As you will have noticed, the curriculum was comprehensive. It was the second reason I chose this training. The first was Candace. I discovered yoga about two and a half years ago with a free strength program of hers I found as I was scrolling through pinterest. I practiced with her exclusively for two years in my living room, all the while building confidence, strength and an undying love which has now become my life passion. She is so authentic and creative in her teaching, and she is every bit as sweet, down-to-earth and badass in real life as she is on-screen.
Anyways, the curriculum: it went above and beyond what was required and no stone had been left unturned. Candace brought on a whole host of incredible teachers who drew on their collective experiences of what was missing from their own teacher trainings, along with what they had come to learn since they started teaching, and prepared us for every single thing we never would have even thought of, down to the last detail. A note about these teachers: they all had completely different personalities, teaching styles and areas of expertise, but every single one of them was incredibly kind and it could not have been clearer how much they wanted each of us to succeed. They made themselves completely available to us 24/7, near enough forcing us to pick their brains, practice on them, ask them questions, bounce ideas off them and basically just completely exploit their collective knowledge and experience whilst we had the chance. Not only that, but they always made time for us to open up about our fears, self-doubt and our struggles with the intense and demanding environment. I learned so much from all of them and I feel so incredibly blessed to have been able to share this journey with each and every one of them (definitely go check out Kat, Dan, Dan, Lucy, Shj’ara, Jen and Candace obvs).
In many ways, the transition into real life has been harder than the training for me. It’s like when you get the post-holiday depression, but on a monumental scale. Thankfully, I have amazing family and friends who I love back home, otherwise I may have curled up in a ball and never come out. Yes, I went to Thailand for a purpose, so I could come back and share yoga with the world, but some days I feel like a prematurely-born baby, taken from the comfort of the womb too soon. I feel separated from these people I shared my soul with for three weeks and sometimes I feel exhausted from trying to keep up the momentum we created there, like I’m scared to slow down. It’s a process of finding a balance, and I’m still learning to be kind to myself.
On graduation day, we had ‘the talk’ about going out into the real world. I was holding back tears the whole time, because I was scared. Scared to go back where I had to make things happen for myself, where I had to force myself out of my comfort zone instead of other people doing it for me. I was scared of losing the connection to this lifeline, scared of bursting our bubble. I was scared of retreating back behind the mask I wore to hide the real me, scared I would lose the parts of me I had found. I’m still scared. Of teaching, of doing things I have absolutely no idea how to do, of being completely out of my depth and of being completely myself. But slowly, I’m finding my feet, because I’m not doing this alone. I’m never alone.
This post is called ‘Everything you need to know about the Namaslay® Yoga Teacher Training’, so here’s a summary if you’re thinking about doing your own or are already signed up:
It is intense AF
You will almost certainly have an emotional breakdown
You will almost certainly have an emotional breakthrough
You will be severely sleep-deprived
You will doubt yourself and you will compare yourself to the people around you
These people will be your biggest cheerleaders
You will learn a LOT of anatomy
You will learn how to turn your passion into a business
You will learn a lot about yourself
You will learn a lot about a lot
You will be shit-scared about teaching
You will be so far outside your comfort zone you won’t even be able to see it anymore
You will be so well promoted by Candace before, during and after the training
You will feel loved, supported and encouraged every step of the way
This will continue once you’ve gone home
Your family and friends WILL think you’ve gone on a nice three-week holiday
This is not a holiday
You will leave your family, but you will find a new one
You may become a gooey, woo-woo yoga hippy who talks about their feelings and stuff
You won’t care
You will find your people
You may just find yourself
How was yoga teacher training?
You want to be a yoga teacher?
You want to be a yoga teacher? You should know what it’s about
You want to be a yoga teacher? You’ll be shrouded in self-doubt
You want to be a yoga teacher? Get comfortable looking inside
You want to be a yoga teacher? There is no place for you to hide
You want to be a yoga teacher? Get used to facing all your fears
You want to be a yoga teacher? Time to kick it up a few gears
You want to be a yoga teacher? Your emotions will run high
You want to be a yoga teacher? Crying but you don’t know why
You want to be a yoga teacher? Time to be honest about what you feel
You want to be a yoga teacher? Time to be raw, unfiltered and real
You want to be a yoga teacher? You’ll be outside your comfort zone
You want to be a yoga teacher? You will never be alone
You want to be a yoga teacher? You will laugh and cry together
You want to be a yoga teacher? Form friendships that will last forever
You want to be a yoga teacher? You will be working through your pain
You want to be a yoga teacher? There is so much for you to gain
You want to be a yoga teacher? You’ll stir what’s lurking in the depths
You want to be a yoga teacher? Lots of taking big deep breaths
You want to be a yoga teacher? You’ll get up early every morning
You want to be a yoga teacher? You’ll do things which scare you, without warning
You want to be a yoga teacher? There is so much to smile about too
You want to be a yoga teacher? You’ll meet other people just like you
You want to be a yoga teacher? You will be living minute to minute
You want to be a yoga teacher? You will be pushed beyond your limit
You want to be a yoga teacher? You may change ever so discreetly
You want to be a yoga teacher? You may be broken down completely
You want to be a yoga teacher? You will be humbled to your core
You want to be a yoga teacher? You’ll think you can’t take any more
You want to be a yoga teacher? You will find your inner strength
You want to be a yoga teacher? Be prepared to go to any length
You want to be a yoga teacher? It’s time to look deep down within
You want to be a yoga teacher? You’ll learn so much your head will spin
You want to be a yoga teacher? You will be doing so much growing
You want to be a yoga teacher? The real you will end up showing
You want to be a yoga teacher? It’s one of the hardest things you’ll do
You want to be a yoga teacher? You might just find the best version of you