students in a yoga teacher

Anxiety Stories In Yoga Teacher Training

A good chunk of people who do yoga teacher training (ytt) have incredible levels of anxiety. I speak not just from word of mouth evidence but also from personal experience.   In this blog, we will discuss some of these stories and tell you what it really means.

My Story

I did my first yoga teacher training almost 10 years ago. I did so after practicing yoga for almost 10 years. I first came to yoga as a way to manage my own stress and to look good. 

As I did yoga,  I didn’t just look and feel better, I started to take on challenges.  Which I had been avoiding up to that point in my life. 

students in corpse pose in a yoga teacher training program

Fast forward 10 years, just before my first ytt, I showed all the signs of avoidance. This was very evident when I was doing my ytt, all my walls were up – I was very rigid.  I also didn’t talk to anybody.

Eventually, I was emotional at the end after completing my certification yoga class. The point is, it wasn’t the other students or the training that were the issue, it was me and my anxiety. This serves as an example of how yoga doesn’t make us have less fearful, it just makes us braver.

Kim and Others

Go back 5 years, when I was teaching my first yoga teacher training as a lead in Vancouver, there was a student named Kim.  Kim was about 30, and had a daughter who was 7. She did not dress like the majority of the class. She was a single mother, working a full time job and she certainly was not rich. 

After a few days of the ytt, she hung around at the end of one day and started to discuss with me some of the other programs she was interested  in doing, like yoga to children. 

A women dealing with anxiety

Upon that as she was leaving she admitted to me how on the first day of the yoga training she was crying in a car and was ready to turn around and go home. She admitted to having high levels of anxiety.  This is another sample of how a good chunk of people coming into yoga training have social anxiety problems.

What This Means

It is the effort in doing a yoga teacher training that these sort of people think that they want to become yoga teachers.

But in the end, what they’re doing is they’re facing their anxiety and fears by undertaking something that is substantially challenging for them. And upon the completion of their yoga training they become much more confident, open and less anxious people.