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Many people practice yoga for its mind-body benefits. Some are even inspired to take their practice to the next level with formal training — whether that’s because they want to teach yoga classes, they simply have a desire to learn something new, or they’re feeling stuck in life and need a change. If any of those reasons resonates with you, then yoga teacher training may be something to consider.

Life Time’s yoga teacher training program goes beyond the practical skills of yoga to take participants on an empowering personal journey. Through 200 hours of coursework over 10 weeks, you’ll incorporate breath work, physical and energetic practices, yoga philosophies, and more into your life and awaken the teacher that resides within you.

To learn more about the experience and benefits of yoga teacher training at Life Time, we spoke with four recent graduates of the program about why they chose to sign up, what they enjoyed the most, and what they’re doing now.

Katie LeVoir, Life Time member and doctor of occupational therapy

What was your experience with yoga before you decided to take yoga teacher training?

I took my first yoga class as a graduate student in 2008 — shortly after my dad died unexpectedly. I was invited to join some friends at a small yoga studio as a form of self-care. I remember being in savasana (final rest post) and feeling a sense of calmness and acceptance that helped me grieve. Yoga allowed me space to move at my own pace, in my own body and my own breath, and just be. My yoga practice has been consistent ever since.

I integrated yoga into my professional career as an occupational therapist. As a student, I had the opportunity to learn from Matthew Sanford about the mind-body connection and disability, and participated in adaptive yoga classes. I now incorporate yoga in my work in neurological and physical rehabilitation, which has been very exciting and rewarding.

What led you to sign up for yoga teacher training?

After approximately 14 years of practicing yoga, I found a connection with a yoga teacher who I adore and respect. When I learned she was co-leading the yoga teacher training at my Life Time club, the stars seemed to align. It was a no brainer for me to sign up.

What did you enjoy the most about yoga teacher training? What did you get out of it?

My experience was among the most enriching and transformative times in my life. In addition to learning the foundations of yoga, the teacher training involved practice in meditation, breath work, and self-reflection. As with most things in life, what you put in is what you get out. I was committed to the daily disciplines of reflection, meditation, and physical practice, so I feel I reaped the benefits in profound ways.

After nine grueling years of unexplained infertility, I became pregnant a few weeks into the program! While I know many factors are at play to make this miracle, I truly believe that cultivating stillness with daily meditations and introspection helped allow my body to support a happy and healthy pregnancy.

How does yoga benefit your everyday life?

I was amazed at how well yoga teacher training — specifically learning about breath and meditation — prepared me for having a positive natural labor and delivery experience. The training gave me in-depth experience with how to tap into a calm headspace, use breath to ease discomfort, and explore sensations in my body without judgement of good or bad. Our assigned readings also taught me that pain is an inevitable part of the human experience, and how we cope with pain can give life meaning.

Professionally, the training allowed me to further explore the role of breath in calming the central nervous system, which is in overdrive in many of the post-concussion patients who I work with, for example. Being able to show up with a calm demeanor and help others use breath to activate the parasympathetic nervous system has been very valuable in my professional life and the healing of my patients.

What are you doing with your certification now or what do you plan to do in the future?

Now that my daughter is born and I’m adjusting to a new routine, I am committed to pursuing teaching more formally and am hopeful for opportunities. In the meantime, I offer classes to friends and family as practice.

Emily Victory, yoga teacher at Life Time in Chanhassen, Minn., artist, and muralist

What was your experience with yoga before you decided to take yoga teacher training?

I’ve been an athlete all my life, so I dabbled in yoga a little. When I had my third baby, I had three little ones under age three and my body was just needing calm to heal. Eventually, I tried a gentle yoga class — and I craved more.

I tried other yoga classes when my body got stronger — and I just noticed I was an all-around better person. Days with my three little boys were long and tough, especially because my husband traveled for work, but I had a sanctuary at yoga. That dedicated time and space became incredibly important.

What led you to sign up for yoga teacher training?

After a high-risk pregnancy in 2020 and my dad passing away in July of 2021, I was asked to coach for the local volleyball team. Life had been a little nutso, but I was trying to figure out how to make it work. One evening, my husband asked, “But what do you actually want to do, Emily?” and I just blurted out, “yoga teacher training!” So, he encouraged me to find a program and it felt so exciting and right to head in the direction of yoga again.

I found the Life Time yoga teacher training program, sent an inquiry, and had a virtual meeting with Tory Schaefer, director of class education and yoga for Life Time. He asked if I would meditate with him for five minutes. I closed my eyes and immediately felt tears well up. I quickly realized I hadn’t just sat in stillness since long before my dad was sick and my last kiddo was born. I knew dedicated time for myself and learning something new was right.

What did you enjoy the most about yoga teacher training? What did you get out of it?

I enjoyed the accountability of the program and experiencing growth in myself as well as witnessing it in others. I made many friends and now have a group of people who know me well. I also now have a fun side job where I apply all that learning and growth.

How does yoga benefit your everyday life?

I thought yoga teacher training would be learning poses, how to guide people into the proper shapes, and how to be a little more zen. But it was so much more. Yoga is about living intentionally with empathy, compassion, and care. Now, there isn’t a facet of my life that yoga and my training hasn’t touched. It’s in the way I move, eat, breath, sleep, talk — all of it.

What are you doing with your certification now or what do you plan to do in the future?

I hadn’t really planned on teaching. I took the training to simply learn and get pulled back into the yoga world. But I heard about a posting for a part-time yoga teacher and now I teach one class every Monday morning at Life Time Chanhassen.

What would you say to someone who is interested in signing up for yoga teacher training at Life Time?

I highly recommend signing up. I was hesitant to sign up initially because I thought I was unqualified. I didn’t know about muscle groups or bones or biology, but everyone is welcome. And after 200 hours of training, I felt ready to teach. I still have moments of imposter syndrome, but then I breathe and know that I care and have put a lot of work into this.

Jesse Schwab, Life Time member and financial services executive

What led you to sign up for yoga teacher training?

I signed up for yoga teacher training to push myself and deepen my yoga practice beyond the physical aspects. It was about embracing challenges and turning them into opportunities for growth — both mentally and physically.

What was your experience with yoga before you decided to take yoga teacher training?

Yoga was always a compliment to other types of training for me, but I really developed a consistent practice post-COVID. The primary purpose behind my practice has always been about building strength and flexibility.

What did you enjoy the most about yoga teacher training? What did you get out of it?

The inner journey was the most rewarding part of yoga teacher training. It pushed me to explore the limits of my comfort zone and provided an environment where I was able to confront obstacles head-on and use them to grow. It was an opportunity to develop physical and mental strength while discovering the full benefits of yoga.

How does yoga benefit your everyday life?

Yoga keeps me grounded and helps me maintain calmness and clarity regardless of what comes my way. Physically, it keeps me flexible and strong, which is crucial for my overall well-being. Mentally, yoga helps me reduce internal noise so I can keep moving forward. It’s a constant source of self-improvement and personal development, and I continue to discover its full benefits.

What are you doing with your certification now or what do you plan to do in the future?

I didn’t register for yoga teacher training with a plan to teach. Instead, the certification is a milestone in my journey of continued evolution. I use the lessons I learned on a daily basis to deepen my practice and share the benefits with those around me.

What would you say to someone who is interested in signing up for yoga teacher training at Life Time?

There is no “right” reason to sign up for yoga teacher training — everyone has a different why. I suggest embracing it as a season of self-discovery and growth. Even if you don’t plan to teach, the experience can be transformative. It’s an opportunity to evolve and understand yourself better. Stay open and be curious for where your path leads. It’s an opportunity to push yourself, grow, and develop into a stronger, more centered person while discovering the full benefits of what yoga has to offer.

Christina Hartman, yoga teacher at Life Time in New Hope and Eden Prairie, Minn.

What was your experience with yoga before you decided to take yoga teacher training?

When I was 13 or 14 years old, my mom got me into Bikram yoga. Years later, I discovered the yoga program at Life Time and took my first hot FLOW class. I loved it and started going all the time.

What led you to sign up for yoga teacher training?

One day after a yoga class at Life Time, they had everyone who was currently taking yoga teacher training stand up, and they all just looked so happy. I thought, I want to have what they’re having!

What did you enjoy the most about yoga teacher training? What did you get out of it?

Yoga teacher training sort of engulfed my world, and all I could think about for those 10 weeks was yoga. It hit the reset button and almost felt like a yoga retreat. The books you read during training are life changing. They really give you all the tools you need to teach. We were learning to cue on the first or second day.

The teachers for my training were extremely experienced — true yoga-teaching stars. They gave me a vision of how I want to be as a yoga teacher. I still think about them every day when I’m teaching now.

How does yoga benefit your everyday life?

Yoga as a personal practice for me has been a struggle, as it’s hard to stay consistent. But going to yoga classes really helps and I love the yoga community at Life Time. Yoga as a practice is very grounding, and the breath work that we teach can help with stressful moments in everyday life or if I am ever in physical pain. The simple practices of meditation and breathing are things that you can call on when you need them.

What are you doing with your certification now or what do you plan to do in the future?

I currently teach SURRENDER and FLOW at Life Time, and I want to learn to teach our BE meditation class. It’s a lovely platform for sharing the practice of meditation with people.

I’d also really like to give private yoga sessions. For example, if someone is afraid to take a yoga class because there can be fear in being vulnerable and a desire to be perfect, I would love to encourage them privately so they can be confident in group classes going forward.

What would you say to someone who is interested in signing up for yoga teacher training at Life Time?

If you’re wanting to be a yoga teacher, this program will thoroughly develop your skills and you will feel super prepared when you graduate. But the class structure is so enriching and beautiful that anyone who is interested in personal development could also just take this training and see where it leads! Who knows, it could be the beginning of something new.

Darcy Moffat, studio Leader at Life Time in Champlin and Maple Grove, Minn.

What was your experience with yoga before you decided to take yoga teacher training?

I had little to no experience with yoga. In fact, I would have told you I didn’t like yoga, but I was willing to learn.

What led you to sign up for yoga teacher training?

As a studio leader for Life Time, I became responsible for managing the yoga program and needed to know more about it. Initially, that was the reason I signed up for yoga teacher training.

What did you enjoy the most about yoga teacher training? What did you get out of it?

Yoga teacher training is so much more than learning how to teach yoga. It’s an opportunity to deep dive and explore who you are and why so that you can offer a space for people to do the same. You learn about the power of your breath and how it can be used to get through tough situations in life. You learn the ability to control your reactive tendencies with breathing techniques and movement. Whether you plan to teach yoga or not, the self-exploration and understanding you gain through this program can be valuable to anyone.

How does yoga benefit your everyday life?

I didn’t take yoga prior to my training, but now I try to incorporate the practice into my schedule at least once a week. I am a calmer person overall because of it. Yoga taught me how to take things as they come and move forward without judgement. It helps with both physical fitness and mental wellness.

What are you doing with your certification now or what do you plan to do in the future?

I am currently teaching SURRENDER yoga and plan to also teach ROOT yoga soon at Life Time in Maple Grove and Champlin in Minnesota.

If you’re interested in yoga teacher training at Life Time, learn more and sign up here or talk to a yoga teacher at your club.

Emily Ewen

Emily Ewen is a senior writer and content editor at Life Time.

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