Valuable addition: Why you should use journaling as a yoga teacher

Journaling is all the rage. The many variations of therapeutic writing are suitable for almost any situation in life. Numerous journals that you only have to fill out are now on the market to help you get started.

Journaling has also arrived in yoga classes. By means of specific reflection questions, the effect of the individual asanas can be additionally deepened, whereby the students profit even more from the practice.

As a teacher, you should definitely consider making journaling a regular part of your own routine, and not just offer it in your classes. Why? Here are my top 3 reasons why you should use journaling as a yoga teacher.

Personal growth as a teacher through journaling

Of course, in addition to teaching, you shouldn’t neglect your own practice. By documenting it-whether you’re practicing on your own or taking a class-and noting what felt good and what didn’t, you’ll get a better sense of what might be good for your group, which asanas are appropriate for which subject, and more. But you shouldn’t just write about your yoga practice, you should also engage with yourself through journaling.

With regular journaling you get to know yourself better: As a person and as a teacher. You learn who you are, what your values are, what you want to stand for, what you are comfortable with and what you are not. The better you are in touch with yourself, the more authentic you can be in the classroom.

Refined cuing

As you get into the habit of keeping track of your own practice, you will notice that your announcements become more accurate over time. Why? You are much more intensely aware of how individual exercises feel and what they can trigger on a mental level; what parts of the body are involved, where attention should be directed. If you incorporate this knowledge into your announcements, they will become much more understandable and vivid for your participants.

More creative lessons

Have you ever wondered where to get fresh ideas for new lessons? One way is to keep an “inspiration journal”. In it, you record everything that could be inspiring for your classes: creative sequences and transitions that you picked up as a participant; asanas that you didn’t know yet; announcements that were particularly on point; but not only things from yoga class, but also from everyday life. Quotes, experiences, and interesting conversations might give you topics for new lessons.

No matter what strikes your fancy or how banal it may seem to you – write it down! Feel free to add comments to the entry about why you think you could use this point in your teaching.

So, both personally and professionally, you can benefit greatly from journaling. Just grab a blank notebook and pen and get started right away!

Have fun writing, teaching, and growing!

Man sieht die Knie und Hände einer Frau, die gerade eine Yogamatte ausrollt

Yoga Teacher Training – My Experience

“Yoga teacher training – yes or no?”

I never thought I would ask myself this question. It had taken me too long to get into yoga as a student to imagine taking on the role of teacher.

Me? In front of a class? NEVER!

But once I was hooked, it happened pretty quickly.

Before  – the decision making

Barely a year had passed since I started practicing yoga regularly when my then-teacher mentioned in class that a new training was starting soon. “Doesn’t concern me,” I thought. “What am I going to teach people, I haven’t been at it that long myself.”

But then, the following week, my teacher came right up to me after class and approached me about the training. She said she had a feeling about me that this path might be right for me, and that she was sure I would make a good teacher – and no, she doesn’t get a commission for recruiting “yoga trainees” 😊

Hmm… could I do this?

With a warm tea in hand, we talked for a long time that evening. About the training, her own experiences, my concerns about it, but also about us in general. In the process, we realized: we have a lot in common. When she signed up for the training, she was in a very similar life situation as I was at that moment, and for her it was the best decision ever.

She also shook my conviction that I was too inexperienced when she told me that another participant in our course had already signed up – you don’t need any profound prior knowledge or practice, it’s enough if you have the desire and interest to delve deeper into the subject matter: the philosophy, the mythology, the anatomy, the correct alignment of the asanas and much more.

In any case, I felt like it, and so I took an information brochure home with me, which I read from cover to cover over the next few days.

Ok… maybe I can see myself in this role after all 🙂

It quickly became clear to me: this is actually exactly the right thing for me. But to be honest, I also had some jitters. Two years is quite a commitment, not to mention the cost and work involved. Training once a week, plus several intensive weekends a year… that intimidated me a bit.

However, I also saw the great experiences I would have; the things I would learn; the interesting people I would meet.

Over Christmas, at home with my parents, I talked to them both about it. My mother advised me to wait another year to solidify my own practice. I distinctly remember my gut feeling at that moment: no. It’s now or never.

I didn’t know it yet, but two years later, that feeling would prove to be absolutely right. But more on that later 😊

Back in Frankfurt, I registered – and got the very last place. Shortly after that, the training started. That’s how much time I had taken to make the decision!

The first experiences

Just in time for the very first evening of training, I fell ill. With a sore throat, a headacheand fatigue, I dragged myself to the studio because I did not want to miss the first evening under any circumstances.

Despite my condition, the special atmosphere totally resonated with me. The magic of the getting-to-know-each-other ritual was clearly tangible, and I felt: this is the place for me. Although I still had concerns about my personal practice level, I became calmer during that first evening.

All set for yoga practice….
…and for theory

Shortly thereafter – still a little under the weather – I went to visit my parents and went to yoga in their area. When I returned, my mother (who was rather skeptical about the training) was completely blown away. She was like, “You suddenly look so much healthier than you did before class – if that’s what yoga does for you, I’m all for it!”

Once the initial sickness was over, I really got into it. I felt right at home with the flow of the training evening – meditation/pranayama, theory, asanas – the content, and especially the people. An environment that had previously unsettled me quickly became my comfort zone.

Ashram and studio weekends

This positive impression was confirmed on the first weekend we spent together in the yoga studio. On two days, we dove extra deep into exciting topics such as Hindu mythology and got to know each other even better.

But the real adventure were the intensive weekends in the ashram. For many of us it was the first time in such a place, so we were not yet used to the long days, the early rising, the eating rhythm and the extended kirtan singing in the evening. Especially the latter was strange for many of us at first and then quickly became something to look forward to.

Breaks on Ashram weekends – yoga in nature!

Eleven girls in one room – can that work? It sure can!

We had a lot of fun in the room, which we were allotted to on every training weekend, with only one exception. In the evenings, before going to bed, we exchanged reading material; during breaks, we sat together in the bunk beds with our newfound friends, chatted, snacked and sometimes even drank a “smuggled-in” coffee.

This very special mix of “class trip meets spiritual retreat” very quickly became something I began to look forward to. Yes, it was also exhausting, but at the same time I refueled my energy every time.

My ritual after a weekend of multiple hours of doing yoga


Those who know me know: exams are absolute hell for me. In the yoga teacher training it was no different. It already started at the first teaching rehearsal: Palpitations, sweaty palms, stage fright, fear of failure.

That’s what my weekends used to look like – and I didn’t hate it!

Fortunately, however, it turned out quite quickly that I felt very comfortable in the role of teacher and the nervousness went away as soon as I sat in front of my group. So the practical exam was much less nerve-wracking for me than the theoretical one. Teaching a lesson whose exact sequence was precisely prescribed – which I didn’t have to plan from scratch – and which I had practiced in this form umpteen times before, that wasn’t too scary.

The theory, on the other hand, scared the living hell out of me, and that was despite the fact that I was studying diligently. I wrote flashcards with which I repeated the material on the bus and train, but I still worried that I wasn’t prepared well enough. The idea of taking a written exam for three hours made my stomach hurt – my lucky hamster, who has accompanied me during exams and job interviews since my school days, was of course essential and was by my side during both practice and theory..

All my flashcards and my lucky charm hamster – good to go!

At least the studying was fun because the topics were super interesting. I dealt with anatomy, mythology, philosophy, teaching didactics, yoga for special target groups and much more. Even today I am amazed at how much knowledge I accumulated during this time. And actually, I was able to reproduce it, because I passed the exam 😊


I completed the exams in January 2020 – shortly after that, Corona hit.


Soon after, I realized that the inner voice that had advised me to rather not wait another year had been absolutely right. Corona spread, due to which I came into short-time work and suddenly had a lot of time. So I had enough free time to do the Ayurveda correspondence course, which I had already flirted with during my training; and to do further training in therapeutic writing. Then, as soon as it got warmer outside and it was possible to teach outdoors, I was soon teaching four classes a week at a senior citizens’ residence in Frankfurt.

None of this would have been possible if I had joined a year later. And not only that: the training itself would have been completely different – with fewer face-to-face and more online evenings, without the intensive practice of corrections, without the cozy ashram weekends with eleven of us in one room.

Looking back, I am still incredibly happy about my decision to follow this intuition.

Personal development

It sounds like a cliché to say that a yoga teacher training makes you grow personally a lot. But I can assure you: it’s true.

Because I did a two-year training, it was a very sustainable process. I wasn’t in a kind of bubble for three weeks and then thrown back into everyday life, but the training with all its teachings and people became part of my everyday life.

I established some new habits (for example, starting the day with yoga, not eating meat anymore…), learned a lot about myself (I can be really striving when my heart is on a subject) and made friendships that last until today.

New morning routine – better than coffee!

Another aspect that was a real enrichment for me was the spiritual component of the training. While rituals, kirtan & co. were alienating for me in the beginning, they soon became things I even longed for when I was going through difficult phases.

Probably most importantly, I discovered a new comfort zone for myself and feel right at home in the yoga world and in my role as a teacher. I’ve broadened my horizons tremendously and couldn’t be more grateful for it.

My advice to you

If you are thinking about training, I can only encourage you to do it. Even if you don’t want to teach afterwards, you will benefit greatly from it – I promise! If it is somehow possible for you, I would advise you to choose a longer in-service training instead of doing an intensive training in an exotic place for a few weeks. Why? First, you logically learn much more theory in a longer training and also gain much more routine in teaching. In addition, as described above, you build the new activity directly into your everyday life. If you spend three weeks in Bali, for example, the content and new habits can fade away very quickly back in Germany.

However, this is only my personal view. The choice of the right education is very individual, so inform yourself, look what fits best to you and your needs and possibilities.

I wish you from the bottom of my heart that your experience will be as fulfilling as mine!

A lifelong student, but also a yoga teacher trainer: A conversation with Vimala

Today I am in conversation with Vimala and am especially excited about it. Vimala is a trained florist, yoga teacher, spiritual coach and also a yoga teacher trainer. I couldn’t imagine my own yoga teacher training without her – so I can’t think of anyone better to talk about this exciting topic to! Even though she now trains yoga teachers, she is always a student herself and is constantly continuing her education, for example to become a relaxation trainer or in the area of pregnant women’s yoga. She especially enjoys teaching themed classes and workshops. When she is not on the mat, you are most likely to find her in nature, doing geo coaching or photographing. I am very happy that in the midst of all her various activities she found time to talk to me about yoga teacher training, tell me about her own yoga path and share anecdotes from her training groups.

Dear Vimala, tell us a bit about your yoga path. How did you get started with yoga?

I started yoga thanks to my best friend and my physical therapist at the time. I had work-related tension in my shoulders and neck and the physical therapist told me to do something that involves movement, like yoga. I ignored that for the time being and devoted myself to autogenic training. This did me a lot of good, but it didn’t relieve the tension. I was still of the opinion that yoga was not for me and so I didn’t bother with it any further… until my best friend suddenly started talking about nothing else but yoga. So we both decided to attend a beginners course at Yoga Vidya Frankfurt. With the firm conviction to do only this one course and that yoga is absolutely not for me, I went to our first class…

… and you were proven wrong?

Yes, it was love at first sight. I felt so good after the first class that I actually threw my preconceived notions right out the window and yoga has been an integral part of my life ever since.

What was it exactly that made you stick with it?

That the effects are so profound. Yoga works not only on the physical level, but also on the mental, emotional, spiritual, all levels. I noticed this quite quickly and I also very quickly had the feeling that asanas are only the tip of the iceberg. I don’t know where the knowledge or the certainty in me came from, but I wanted to go deeper, to get to know and understand yoga in its entirety.

I went to the yoga center almost every day and I’m still there on average three times a week, even though I no longer work right around the corner.

So yoga takes quite a big place in your life today?

Yes, yoga, or rather holistic yoga, is my approach to life, so to speak. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are my main guide and also the Bhagavad Gita and other scriptures have become an important part of my life. Meditation is at the heart of everything.

How do you integrate your practice into everyday life?

The whole life is practice 😊

That’s a beautiful attitude! Did it also lead to the decision to train as a yoga teacher?

I was approached about it. One day a sevaka, an employee of the center, said to me that I should do the training. I was at the center several times a week and asked for yoga literature. My first book about yoga was the Yoga Sutra by Patanjali with commentary by Sukadev. A sevaka recommended the book to me, saying, “It’s good for a start.”

I read the book, sometimes indeed laboriously, to the end, and it awakened an inner fire within me. I truly did not understand everything, but it ignited the spark and intuitively I knew: this is my path. The classes and open hours I attended were good, but they felt like they were only scratching the surface, and so after this stimulation from the sevaka, I actually began to think seriously about doing the training.

I was still of the opinion that I needed more experience and practice first, but it germinated in me. I then met many fresh yoga teachers or trainees who all told me that the training was the best thing they could do. At some point I gave myself a jolt and signed up, half a year before the training began, that was in 2011. Then in 2012, the training finally began.

When she is not practicing or teaching yoga, Vimala can be found in nature

How did you experience your training?

On the whole, it was wonderful and very enriching. I made friends, found myself again and had great experiences. However, there were also moments that hurt or when everything was in disarray. I haven’t changed externally, but my entire outlook on life has changed and this is not always easy. The training is just so incredibly transformative, I didn’t expect it to that extent. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I felt very similar, and there were only a few exceptions throughout the entire training. Others, however, have also had “dry spells” and thought they would never make it. Do you know something like that from yourself?

Not really. In fact, I was never overcome by thoughts of ending my training prematurely, and I never really had the feeling of a lean period. But I seem to be the exception to the rule when it comes to what I experience as a trainer. As I mentioned earlier, the two years were not always easy, but the training also carried me through “difficult” times. The only thing that got on my nerves a bit was the exam preparation and the constant repeating of the questions. This is where the feeling set in that now it’s enough and it could slowly come to an end.

What happened after your training? Did you start teaching yourself straight away?

I started teaching my mother and her work colleagues in the first half of the training. Through this group I learned an incredible amount, especially being flexible and able to change the plan spontaneously, because they had all kinds of aches and pains and couldn’t do this and that.

Towards the end of the first year, I started assisting in yoga classes and from the second year, taking substitutions for classes.

I can recommend the assistance to every new yoga teacher, because you take a lot with you. 

From about the second half of the second year, I was already teaching regularly at the center, including pregnant women’s yoga and continuing to teach my mother and her colleagues.

After the training, I also began quite quickly to teach outside of Yoga Vidya and also took very many substitutions in the most diverse places. I was allowed to learn so much and am grateful for it. In the meantime, however, I hardly accept any substitutions outside of Yoga Vidya, because my schedule is quite full and there has to be time for my own practice, and I also have a part-time job as a florist.

How did it come about that you now train yoga teachers yourself?

I was simply asked if I could give the yoga class for the 6 Darshanas at the center weekend and I said yes. That was my first yoga class as part of a training and the topic is known to be one of the most complex of the training.

Then followed the question whether I could give the theme evening “Pregnant Women’s Yoga”, since I have been teaching this for some time and had also attended further training on this.

And at some point, I was asked if I could imagine giving most of the Hatha part of the training. Why I was asked, I don’t know (laughs). I said yes directly, without knowing how I could even reconcile that with my work. In 2017, I started my first training, which I accompanied completely.

As a good yoga teacher, Vimala knows: laughing is healthy!

For all those who were not lucky enough to be in one of your training groups: What are your responsibilities at Teacher Training?

I teach 90% of the practical part, but often also give the lectures and lead pranayama and meditation. In addition, I am available to the participants for questions and like to give sometimes special lessons for the training in addition. During the pandemic, things like technique preparation and technique consultation have been added. Giving good training requires some organization and intuition in the background. The lesson plans, for example, are not that easy to create and you have to pay attention to a lot of details here. My colleague and I complement and support each other very well here.

What do you like most about it?

That’s hard to say, because I enjoy almost everything. Sure, checking the lesson plans with the literature references and such isn’t quite as nice, but it also has to be done and serves the greater good.

It is simply wonderful to be able to accompany people on their way for two years and to see the developments. So it fills me with deep joy to be able to give the trainings.

Is there also something that is rather difficult for you?

Proofreading the lesson plans is not necessarily my favorite task and of course some topics are easier and others more difficult for me to teach.

How long have you been a part of Yoga Vidya now?

In the training team since 2017, but before that I have also taught one or the other topic in the yoga teacher training.

In these 6 years of training support, has one experience in particular stuck in your memory?

This year (2023) I was present for the first time at a final weekend in the Westerwald and this was very touching and beautiful.

Overall, there were many beautiful and touching, as well as many funny and exhilarating moments. For example, the son of my training colleague, he must have been 4, sat down on my seat shortly before the beginning of the hour – most of the participants were already in Savasana – and simply said “it doesn’t work like that, you’re all doing it wrong.” Last year he was there almost the whole time during the partner yoga, despite his arm being in a cast, and we all had fun, especially when he then asked completely seriously who all wanted to eat pizza after the class.

How did you experience the trainings during Corona?

I was able to learn the names of the participants much faster thanks to the name insertion in Zoom (laughs).

Oh, it’s rather rare to hear people pointing out advantages!

That was definitely an advantage. Overall, I felt the training was even more intense in a certain way, and I can’t describe it exactly.

Suddenly, a lot of the training leaders’ work revolved around technology and optimizing it. We had to adapt many things again and again at short notice on all levels and a lot of time was spent keeping up to date with the Corona regulations. All this organization was going on in addition to the actual training, and that was quite a challenge. For example, I now know what can be used for online lessons. 

It may sound strange, but in retrospect, the crisis has been very enriching for me. Many new ideas have developed and some of them have already been implemented. Without Corona, many of them would probably not have come into being.

Nevertheless, I am very happy that the actual training now takes place exclusively on site again, which makes the training evenings much easier. Whereas purely online is also quite okay, but hybrid is really exhausting, especially when the technology or the Internet does not play along. 

A less enjoyable and extremely challenging part of the time was the division of opinion among the training participants regarding the Corona measures. We always tried to bring everyone along, to understand everyone, but unfortunately, we weren’t always able to.

What kind of classes do you give when you are not training new yoga teachers?

I often give the pregnancy class or the class at the center and teach online on Sunday mornings. The last two years I have given a lot of workshops. This year I am leading the meditation teacher training in a weekend format at my place in Bad Nauheim Steinfurth. I substitute for a class now and then or teach additional classes, gladly special classes.

Before Corona I also had a great group in Steinfurth, but unfortunately this fell victim to Corona. At the moment, however, I don’t have the feeling of wanting to set up an additional permanent class again. Let’s see what the future brings.

Where would you like to put your focus in the future?

Right now, everything is good as it is, and everything else will show up and happen.

What do you wish for future yoga teacher trainings?

Motivated and inquisitive participants and a great training team.

In closing, what tip do you have for anyone considering taking a yoga teacher training?

I would check out the center beforehand, get to know the style and tradition a bit, listen to yourself and if it fits to some extent, then just be brave and go.

Thanks a lot for your time, Vimala!