It’s so much fun when the Vacay Vans community “chooses my adventure” by voting in my Insta stories. It’s taken me on so many spontaneous adventures– from a full-moon drum circle on the top of a mountain to a nomadic fire pit party deep in the desert. This time you helped me decide between two very different paths: yoga teacher training in Bali or Burning Man?
You overwhelmingly chose Bali: the choice that scared me the most. As one follower put it, “Burning Man is epic, but Bali will forever transform your life!”
Thank you for giving me that extra kick in the butt I needed to do something way outside my comfort zone.
It’s been a month since I finished my 200hr yoga teacher training in Bali with Zuna Yoga. And honestly, I have complicated feelings about the whole thing. I loved it and I hated it. But before I dig into my personal story, here’s what you need to know about yoga teaching training in Bali.
An immersive yoga teacher training will transform you (guaranteed!).
If you’re considering yoga teacher training, I highly suggest traveling abroad to do it. Yes, it’s more expensive than weekend courses close to home, but flying across the globe to be fully immersed in this experience will amplify everything. You will live in yoga-land 100% of the time, and though it might drive you a little nuts, you won’t be alone!
You will make friends from all over the globe.
You will make intense, deep friendships with your fellow yogis. At Zuna Yoga, there were 27 of us in the program. You might assume that 27 women from 5 different continents in one room doing yoga for over 12 hours a day could potentially lead to some drama, but to quote one of the girls in the group, “27 girls and no bitch fights!” It’s true: everyone was authentic, open, and amazing. It was magical.
My favorite part of the training was connecting with so many amazing humans from all over the world. I can honestly tell you that I fell in love with every single one of our yogi crew.
My lovely friend Trina at @fitnessfoodflowsandviews said it beautifully: I have been so inspired by each and every one of my fellow Zuni’s and on my plane ride home I wrote down a quality I saw and admired in each of these beautiful being over the three weeks that I hope to learn from: To be…vulnerable, open, trusting, curious, kind, resilient, wild, independent, thoughtful, creative, ambitious, humble, positive, grounded, hilarious, wise, loving, fearless, enthusiastic, graceful, persistent, balanced, intelligent, perceptive, unapologetically yourself, brave.
It’s totally cool if you don’t want to teach yoga.
I recommend yoga teacher training in Bali even if you don’t actually want to teach yoga. Some people in the group knew they wanted to teach ASAP but most of the girls were just going for a life-changing challenge. Many had recently quit their jobs, packed up their apartments, and were getting ready to move across the world somewhere new. Some of us were healing from significant loss or health issues or heartbreak. Some just wanted a break from their urban day-to-day lives.
All of us were searching for something but we didn’t exactly know what.
If you don’t know what you want to do with your life, you’ll feel right at home at yoga teacher training in Bali. And you’ll likely walk away inspired to go in a whole new direction.
You will learn how to breathe.
I hate to break it to you, but odds are that you’re probably breathing wrong. Most of us breathe into our chest, which increases stress in our bodies and makes us weaker physically and emotionally. Yoga training will teach you how to breathe into your pelvis, which lowers the body’s stress response and will make you happier and healthier.
Breathing right will change your life. To quote one of the women in the program, “Maybe I’m not an anxious person after all, maybe I was just a chest breather.”
Tip- Newbie yoga students have asked me “What’s the most important tip for a beginner just starting yoga?” The most important thing to know is that it’s not about looking good or being super flexible. If you force-stretch your body to try to mimic how others look in yoga poses, your practice won’t improve and you could hurt yourself. In your asanas (poses), focus on keeping your core engaged, your tailbone down, and always remember to breathe.
There are a million rules.
Every school is different, but a big focus of yoga teacher training is mastering your practice through discipline. This was HARD for me because I’ve crafted my entire life to prioritize freedom. That’s what my vanlife is all about!
Suddenly I found myself in a world completely overrun by RULES: no talking, cell phones, alcohol, drugs, stimulants, sex, kissing, and even no masturbating! Show up to everything on time, pay attention in every lecture, pass all the quizzes, do all the poses properly, and commit to the process 110%.
The rules might seem a little extreme, but yoga training is all about learning how to harness our inner energy. When we use our energy intentionally (including our sexual energy), we learn how to harness our power.
Obviously no one is going to be knocking down your door at night, but abstaining from these actions will help you focus fully on your training.
You will cry and you will get angry.
Yoga teacher training in Bali (or anywhere for that matter) will definitely dig up some inner “stuff.” In this way, it really reminded me of vanlife. Everything is amplified in a tiny van similarly to how everything is amplified when you’re studying yoga for over 12 hours a day in a foreign island across the world.
Everyone cried and everyone got angry and everyone did it for completely different reasons (more on that below).
It’s not about getting in shape (but hot damn, you will get in shape)!
I know, I know– it’s not about getting in physical shape. It’s about understanding the universe and detaching from your ego and yada yada yada, but in addition to all that, you will get in shape. (You may also eat your weight in bread and dessert daily, so be aware of that too…)
Zuna Yoga was a lot of physical work: practically 3 hours of actual yoga per day (and sometimes twice that!). It was hard but I am so happy about how my strength improved.
Tip– A few people asked how much yoga someone needs to know before doing a yoga teacher training course. It depends on the program, but if you’ve taken at least 50 yoga classes in your life, you’d probably be fine at most level one yoga training courses.
- 6:00-8:45: Yoga & meditation (Morning Silence)
- 8:45-9:45: Breakfast (Morning Silence)
- 9:45-11:00: Philosophy lecture
- 11:00-11:15: Break
- 11:15-12:45: Philosophy lecture
- 12:45-14:00 Lunch
- 14:00-16:00: Anatomy lecture
- 16:00-16:30: Fruit break
- 16:30-18:30: Posture workshop
- 18:30-18:45: Meditation
- 18:45-19:30: Dinner