Teacher Training: My 40-Year Yoga Practice

First Impressions:

The first day is filled with surprises, assurances, and the realization that this is a gift. Yes, there is investment of money and time. Broken down, the 200-hour RYT takes about seven months to complete, taking places over two Saturdays and two Sundays a month. In that space of time, there is a lot of  yoga and a lot of learning, two of my favorite things. The cost is just over $3,000, but it is still a gift: time to practice, time to learn, time to think, and time to bond. 

Although I have been teaching yoga for more than 20 years, and my practice is 40 years old (I tell everyone it is my longest relationship), I became a teacher long before there was “certification.” I originally studied in one of the first yoga “studios,” out in California (this was 1985) and, over the years, have written a yoga book, written for Yoga Journaland have taught yoga in five states. These days there is a certification board that helps ensure our teachers are prepared, consistent, and well versed in the latest developments in the practice to ensure our experiences are positive, safe, and fun! I have seen some bad teaching over the years and because no one ever taught me how to teach, only how to practice, I decided that it was time for me to become an officially certified teacher.

A Welcome Surprise!

I am not the oldest person in the room and the other students aren’t all slender athletes. We resemble a typical Honor Yoga class in our diversity. Our Asana leads, Jess and Angela, are warm and welcoming, and it is clear that they have no expectations of perfection. In other words, you don’t have to be the “best” (deepest backbend, ability to do handstand) yoga student to become a yoga teacher.  The tone is inviting and the energy reflects our enthusiasm and desire to learn more.

Case in point, Angela begins by telling us that only about 10% of students in yoga teacher training go on to become yoga teachers. Most of the people in the room simply want to deepen their practice and spend more time practicing. We are not there in competition with one another but as a group sharing a journey together.

And so we begin…

From our initial welcome, we dove in. For our Asana study, we broke down Sukhasana (Easy Seat) and learned modifications. In the afternoon, we discussed the eight limbs of yoga (yamas, niyamas, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi) and discussed some yogic history.

At the end of the day, I feel both relaxed and energized, just like a yoga class, but I also feel excited that I’m coming back tomorrow for more!


Consider Teacher Training and give yourself the opportunity to deepen your practice and your understanding of yoga. Honor Yoga’s 200-hour RYS Teacher Training programs.



Dana Toff
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