Choosing The Best Yoga Teacher Training Program for Yourself

From learning postures in Nicaragua to exploring yoga philosophy in India, there’s an abundance of training programs to choose 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 training.

Is the program Yoga Alliance certified?

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.

Is the program reputable?

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.

What is the curriculum focus?

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 of yoga, and teaching practice . 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 a particular subject area, such as yoga therapy, meditation or an anatomy focused training, look for the programs that specialize in that.

How much will it cost?

The cost for most yoga teacher training programs start at around $3000 although you can find them cheaper in India.

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?

What style of yoga will I learn?

Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Yin, Restorative 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.

What is the background of the teachers who lead the training?

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.

How long will it last?

Trainings 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.

Where should I get certified?

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 are my ultimate goals?

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.

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Jaimee Ratliff
Jaimee Ratliff

Jaimee Ratliff is a writer, traveler, yogi and passionate advocate for living a life you love. She can be found writing on all things travel and inspiration over at This Way North. Jaimee is also the author of Party of One: An Inspirational Guide to Letting Go of Fear and Loving Solo Travel.

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