So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and do your 200hr yoga teacher training course. Maybe you want to teach, maybe you just want to deepen your own practice. Whatever your reasons for doing the course, you might be wondering what you should bring with you.
Eagled eyed readers will have noticed that I spent the last month doing my yoga teacher training course in India, and there were definitely a few things that I didn’t pack that I wished I had. So if you want to learn from my mistakes, read on!
- Stationary – The 200hr course is surprisingly detailed. There’s a lot to learn! And an exam to pass at the end. So you’re going to want to study. I brought notepads and pens of course, but what I didn’t bring, and could have done with, is highlighter pens and post it notes/page tab markers. These would have come in very handy for marking up my textbook and notes.
- Clothes – ok, so this one is pretty obvious, but you’re going to be doing yoga. Lots of it. Chances are you’re probably doing it somewhere hot too so you’re going to sweat a lot. You may not have access to modern laundry facilities either so make sure you bring at least a week’s worth of yoga outfits. Some travel washing liquid may come in very handy too!
- Microfibre towel & handkerchief – Again, if you’re going somewhere hot a small towel to mop up your sweat is going to make your life that little bit more comfortable. Also, a handkerchief will be absolutely invaluable. It’s likely you will be doing cleansing practises such as Jala Neti, and trust me, you’re going to need a handkerchief!
- Myofacial release ball – Following one from the last point I repeat, you’re going to be doing yoga. Lots of it! Unless you’re already used to doing 4+ hours of physical practice a day, you’re probably going to get a few aches and pains. As much as I would have liked to have brought my beloved foam roller, it’s not exactly practical for travelling. There’s no way I could have fitted it in my backpack! My roommate did bring a myofacial massage ball though, which was a stroke of genius and made me wish I had thought to bring mine from home too (something like this would be perfect). On a related note, here in India we have managed to get some lovely auervadic oil for aching muscles and joints, but you might want to bring some deep heat or something similar from home.
- Treats from home – Ok so maybe this isn’t very Yogic of me, but I can’t tell you how many hours I spent lamenting the fact that I didn’t bring my Areopress with me to make coffee. This was a mistake of epic proportions (especially when combined with the my failure to bring an eye mask – see below!). Thankfully, the lovely Indian couple on our course made use of one of our few days off to drive the 4hrs+ home to stock up on treats and pick up their own coffee making device. I will be eternally grateful to them for this because, coffee addict that I am, this made the month infinitely more enjoyable. But chances are you’re not going to have such a charitably inclined couple on your course so learn from my folly and pack some home comforts. Maybe it’s some nice herbal tea bags you like, or a particular brand of protein bar. Whatever it is, bring it. You won’t regret it.
- Eye mask & ear plugs – This is a travelling essential in my opinion. Which makes it all the more inexplicable that I decided to leave my eye mask at home this time. I think I’d been lulled into a false sense of security by my last trip to Cambodia, as I hadn’t really needed the eye mask except when I was staying in hostels before my yoga retreat. I knew I’d be staying in an apartment this time, so reasoned the eye mask would be unnecessary weight and, in the name of traveling light, I left it behind. Big mistake. Turns out, it’s pretty light here; a combination of the fluorescent display on the air con and ambient light from outside made it hard for me to sleep. I had to resort to tying a pair of trousers around my head, much to the amusement of my roommate. So don’t make the same mistake, bring earplugs and a good quality comfortable eye mask (I can’t recommend this one enough, it’s pricey but well worth it.)
- Photocopies of your passport and a few passport photographs – Another general travelling essential, but worth a special mention particularly if you’re heading to India. Carrying a copy of your passport is always a good idea, but it is particularly useful in India where even the simplest of tasks is often laden with bureaucracy, as my roommate discovered when she tried to get a pay as you go sim card for her stay here. A simple endeavour you may think, but the rules in India are very strict and you won’t be able to buy a sim card without a photocopy of your passport and potentially a photograph of yourself. Even then, depending on the state, you may not be able to get one without the ID documents of an Indian resident who is willing to act as a guarantor for you.
- A refillable water bottle – This is essential for obvious reasons. Ideally this should be glass or metal as plastic gets pretty smelly and disgusting in the heat! Although you may not be able to drink the tap water, a lot of places provide free drinking water for you to fill your bottle up with. Don’t rely on buying bottled water, especially if you’re somewhere really remote.
- Books/games/magazines/music – You’re going to be living and breathing yoga for the best part of a month, and that is wonderful and one of the things that makes the course such a fantastic experience. But in the rare moments where you have some free time (and are not studying!) you might want to have a break from yoga. It’s definitely worth bringing some music to listen to or a nice book (not about yoga!) to read when you want to relax a bit.
- Finally, and perhaps the most obvious of all, is your yoga mat. Now you might be thinking you can save some space in your bag and just use the mats provided. Please don’t. As I may have mentioned (once or twice!) you’re going to be doing a lot of yoga. You’ll be so much more comfortable doing it on your own mat. If you’re going somewhere hot I’d really recommend you take a non slip yoga towel to put over your mat too. I didn’t and I really wised I had, if only to protect my mat from the orange earthy footprints I managed to get all over my mat that now won’t wash out!.
So there you have it – the 10 must have items for yoga teacher training. Do you have any other tips for things to pack, or things to leave at home? If so, please leave a comment below with your suggestions.