What I Ate During Yoga Teacher Training / by lee tilghman

Ah, teacher training. What a magical month. So many lessons, opening experiences, new friends, and new ways of looking at things. I can't believe it's over!

I completed my 200 hour teacher training on Friday at Yogaworks. People had told me that teacher training was a life changing experience, but I don't think I really understood how intense it would be until it was over.

This past weekend I was able to sit back and reflect on the past month. It was such an amazing experience, but it was not all easy! Nothing worth it in life is. There were some early mornings, traffic jams commuting back to the East side at peak traffic hours, the sometimes stressful amounts of homework, the sore wrists on my 2nd week, the moments of tears in the middle of a pose, my grandfather's death in the middle of the month, and then those moments of clarity, where I'd look around and brim with happiness for where I was in the training. The overwhelming feeling of gratitude and how worth it it was. And then there were the best savasanas of my life. Never had I felt so present and focused in my entire life.

The Yogaworks Program was so thorough, and I cannot praise it enough. We learned so much about yoga- the anatomy, the philosophy, and how to find your own voice teaching yoga. Anybody who thinks that teacher training is a "vacation" or a "retreat" is fooling themselves. Through Yogaworks, they give you 5 manuals, and guide you through an extremely organize program that ensures full understanding of each concept before moving onto the next. We had an in class final, a teaching final, and a take home final as well. They really make sure you know your stuff before graduating.

I am really glad I chose the one month intensive versus the longer, more drawn out programs. This way, I was able to immerse myself fully into the program with little time to focus on anything else. I am definitely an immersive type of learner. I get the most of out things when I fully dive in head first. I grew so close with all 10 of my classmates in such a short period of time. We were all on such a special journey together, learning so much.  Our last day was very emotional for us all. We sat in a circle and went around to say said our parting words, and reflected on what was an incredibly life changing month for us all, and we cried. I jokingly called it waterworks instead of Yogaworks.  One resounding theme for all of us was our gratefulness for our amazing teacher trainer, Charlie Samos.

If you live in LA, I definitely recommend taking one of Charlie's classes through Yogaworks. He is an amazing instructor with the kindest heart and most genuine soul! Also, his classes are on point.

What I Ate During Yoga Teacher Training

Now to the fun stuff! Eating healthy is really important to me and teacher training was no excuse. I was very adamant about bringing nutrient-dense foods with me during the long days of practicing and learning. Sometimes we would practice for 3 hours in the morning and for another 2 hours in the afternoon. That's a lot of asanas! Snacks were my best friend during this training. Because we practiced so often and always had to be ready to plank, I found that eating smaller, more frequent meals worked best for me and my body. 

Packed Lunches

I did my best to bring a packed lunch 3-4 days a week. How did I find the time? Well, I guess you can say prioritizing. It's incredibly important to me to feed my body with good stuff- and the only way I can ensure I am eating the best of the best is if I am making it myself. On Sundays, I would go to the market and then go home to spend roughly 2 hours prepping food for the week ahead. I'd wash and cut my greens, steam my vegetables, roast up some tofu, and boil some beans for endless amounts of salad creations. This also came in handy for dinners, too, as often I would be studying at the library late, and if I didn't have the energy to whip up a healthy dinner, I'd have all the fixings already ready for me in the refrigerator. 

an example of a homemade lunch!

an example of a homemade lunch!

Here we have an example of a homemade lunch that I would bring with me to teacher training.

  • Salad of romaine, topped with butternut squash, avocado, edamame, and "creamy" broccoli (broccoli leaves tossed in homemade cashew dressing)
  • Spirulina Chia pudding with strawberries (basic chia pudding with 1 tsp of spirulina added in!)
  • Orange (citrus season, hey hey!)
  • Apple (sometimes I'd bring 2)
  • Medjool dates

Other times when I had less time to prep my food, I'd simply bring in a roasted sweet potato and some almond butter and eat that for lunch. So yummy!

Eating Out

On days that I didn't bring my own lunch, I opted to eat out! I'm not a huge eat-outer, so when I do dine out, it better be good. Not only good, but I want it clean, green, and VEGGIE heavy! Luckily, my training took place in Santa Monica, California, which I have dubbed one of the most vegan-friendly places to live, ever. There are so many options for veg-heads like me (I've been eating vegan all month long and it's going great) that I felt spoiled! Here are some of my favorite places that I ate out while at teacher training. 

Whole Foods Salad Bar

Lee vs. The Whole Foods Salad bar, part 4

Lee vs. The Whole Foods Salad bar, part 4

Can you ever go wrong at the Whole Foods salad bar? I don't think so! The one is Santa Monica had tons of veg-friendly options to make my salad both satisfying and beautiful. This one had curried tofu, marinated mushrooms, cabbage, edamame, beets, black eyed peas, cinnamon roasted squash, avocado (which I added myself!), and some herbs.

Lifefood Organic

The Green Burrito from Lifefood Organic.

The Green Burrito from Lifefood Organic.

Lifefood Organic was another great option for lunches for me. However, I only ate there twice over the month since their prices are a little bit higher for a girl on a budget like me. Both of these wraps were $14.00, but I knew I was getting the best- 100% organic, raw, and carefully sourced ingredients. The Sea Wrap, below, was my favorite- it had kelp, avocado, coconut meat, tomato, pickled veggies, and romaine all wrapped inside nori (seaweed). It was so tasty and satisfying, I'm still dreaming about it to this day. 

The Sea Wrap from Lifefood Organic

The Sea Wrap from Lifefood Organic

Sweetgreen

And last, but definitely not least, was Sweetgreen. Sweetgreen was my go-to dine out lunch spot over the past month. It was fast, easy, and absolutely delicious. Pictured below is the Portobello Wild Rice Salad, their vegan salad with beets and butternut squash served with a miso ginger sesame dressing. I kid you not, I think I ate this salad every week at least once. It was that good. The portobello mushrooms are marinated and grilled so perfectly and play off with the raw beets super well. 

Portobello wild rice salad from Sweetgreen in Santa Monica

Portobello wild rice salad from Sweetgreen in Santa Monica

Healthy Snacks

Because we practiced asana for 3 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon, I normally opted to eat lighter meals more often. I would grazing throughout the day, eating when I was hungry and stopping when I was satisfied. Before entering training, I had this silly idea in my head that I shouldn't eat anything 2 hours before a yoga class, but this training taught me that I can and should eat before yoga, but something healthy and light, and only if I am hungry. Teacher training taught me a lot about intuitive eating, that's for sure.

Go Macro Bars

Hands down my favorite protein bar, Go Macro. If you attended my workshop you know these are the best bars for sustaining energy. They contain 11 grams of protein and are really low on the sugar content level. Lots of bars these days are loaded with excess syrups and sugars to make them chewy and sweet, but this bar isn't fooling around. The best flavor is peanut butter chocolate chip because peanut butter chocolate chip. 

bliss balls

Find the recipe for my bliss balls here - and top them with any superfood you want! 

My bliss balls were a class favorite... I'd always bring in extra for my yogis to share!

My bliss balls were a class favorite... I'd always bring in extra for my yogis to share!

Nuts and Dried Fruit

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to snack healthy and eat on the go is to combine your favorite nuts with your favorite dried fruit. Think customizable trail mix! My favorite combos are golden raisins and pumpkin seeds, mulberries and almonds, and medjool dates with pecans. Below is a medjool dates stuffed with pecans- a heavenly combo to be savored and enjoyed. Medjool dates are nature's candy and should be treated as so. :)

Medjool dates stuffed with pecans or cashews quickly became my favorite snack!

Medjool dates stuffed with pecans or cashews quickly became my favorite snack!

Read more information about Why I Do Yoga here. Also, if you are looking for private lessons in LA, please email me at Lee@leefromamerica.com. 

If you are thinking of doing teacher training, please don't hesitate to leave a comment below or email me (info@leefromamerica.com) to ask questions! I am so grateful and humbled by this experience and feel so lucky that I can share what I learned with you all.

Namaste!