From learning postures in Nicaragua, to exploring yoga philosophy in India, to performing hands on adjustments in Bali, there’s an abundance of yoga teacher training programs dispersed around the world – even in your own local community. With the myriad of options available to yogis interested in deepening their practice or teaching yoga to others, here’s a list of things to consider before making the down payment on a yoga teacher training program.
Yoga Alliance is a non-profit organization that represents international standards for all yoga teachers and training programs. In order to become a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT), students must participate in a teacher training from a studio or program that is listed with the organization as a Registered Yoga School (RYS). This ensures your training and teaching experience meet the Yoga Alliance’s guidelines and further establishes your credibility.
In addition to being a Registered Yoga School (RYS) with Yoga Alliance, you’ll want to do further research to understand if the program is well-established and how long it has been around. Programs with red flags are often way underpriced and promise you’ll be certified in extremely short time spans (e.g. 10 days or less). It’s literally impossible to accumulate 200 hours (the minimum certification requirement) of training in that timeframe! If you know of people who have completed a training at a studio that interests you, ask them how they liked it. When researching, be mindful of how they explain the program’s curriculum and organization.
It’s important that the structure of the training meshes with your overall interests. A good course of study includes a balance of hours in anatomy, asana, philosophy, and practice teaching. Some teachers tend to spend more time focusing on one subject matter more than others. If, for example, you know for sure that you’re particularly interested in an anatomy focused training, look for programs that specialize in that.
The cost for most 200-hour trainings in your local area generally start at around $2000 and go up from there. Programs in locations like Bali, Thailand and Costa Rica tend to be a little higher because they integrate living accommodations for the duration of the training. Before committing to a program you’ll need to know what the tuition cost includes. Does it include a yoga membership to that studio while you’re training? What textbooks do you need and how much do they cost? Will there be any workshops or retreats where your attendance is required? If so, is that a standalone fee? Will you have to pay to take the actual exam at the end of the training?
Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Bikram and more! While it’s certainly okay to explore the various styles of yoga that are out there, when it comes to selecting your first yoga teacher training I recommend going with a program that focuses on a style you’re comfortable doing. I personally am a lover of Vinyasa flow because it gives me room for creativity and in every class I can expect something different, allowing me to get playful with my practice. Always stay true to yourself and what you’re passionate about. Choose a program with a style that you love and truly speaks to you.
How long have they been teaching yoga? How long have they been conducting teacher trainings? Who did they study under when getting their certification? What are their personalities like? Attend some of their classes or workshops to get a feel for their teaching style and the energy they bring to their students to make sure it’s a good fit for you.
Yoga teacher training can range from one-month intensives where you’re meeting everyday for several hours, to a spaced out 6-month program where you only attend training one weekend per month. It’s important to consider your current commitments and work out how you’ll best be able to weave another priority into your life, dedicate the time and focus needed to absorb all there is to learn, and really enjoy the experience.
Do you want to deepen your practice in your own town? Or does the thought of getting out of your everyday environment and getting certified in an exotic location entice you? Whatever you decide, be mindful that while programs held in places like Thailand and Costa Rica offer a beautiful backdrop, you’re also there to work and dedicate your entire mind, body and spirit to your practice.
What do you hope to get out of the training? Are you interested in improving your communication skills, making lifelong friends, becoming a yoga teacher, or simply deepening your own practice? Are you undecided and open to the possibilities? These are always important questions to explore before investing money and time in teacher training.
There’s a fine line between completing a yoga teacher training that leaves you with a sub-par experience – or a life changing one. Considering all of the above questions will be sure to help you make a well-informed decision! Interested in browsing teacher training courses? Click here to see yoga teacher training courses in Thailand, Bali, Costa Rica, India and more!