Becoming a yoga teacher isn’t something every yogi has to do, but it is something that many consider at some point. With so many options for yoga teacher training out there, how do you know which one is right for you?
When you’re investing at least 200 hours in training and possibly thousands of dollars, choosing a yoga teacher training course that’s going to be the best for you isn’t an easy task. We’ve set out some of the things you should consider when you’re evaluating different yoga teacher training options.
Consider the style of yoga
Yoga teacher training programs will focus on different types of yoga, like Hatha or Ashtanga, Kundalini or Bikram. It’s important for you to choose the style that you want to use in your daily practice and teach to others. Of course, you can always change this later or learn more about other styles, but if it’s your first yoga teacher training then you should focus on the style that comes most naturally to you and that you enjoy. Why pay for something you don’t feel passionate about?
Look at the program
In addition to the type of yoga taught, different programs will focus on different aspects of yoga in general. Some will focus on learning poses, others on learning Sanskrit and yoga sutra. Look for something that is broad enough to make you a versatile teacher but narrow enough to focus on an approach that resonates with you.
It can be easier to teach intermediate students who already have a foundation knowledge of yoga, but will the program allow you to teach everyone from beginner to more advanced to injured?
Check how much experience is required to apply. If it’s not much then you may not find the program is advanced enough for you because some of the focus will go to teaching the basics to those who don’t know them.
Is it an accredited yoga teacher training program?
The Yoga Alliance is the international governing body for yoga, so you may want to consider programs that are accredited if you really want to teach in the future. There are plenty of great programs that aren’t, but it’s worth a credential worth taking into account as some centers may require you to have it.
Think about class size. Some program will offer small class sizes and others will be larger. There’s no right answer, just what’s right for you.
How long is the training?
You can consider a 200-hour, 300-hour or even 500-hour course, based on what you want to do later and your needs. 200-hour is usually the minimum you need to teach and most people start with this. A 300-hour course will give you more time on aspects like anatomy and may be better for more intermediate or advanced yogis looking to teach. A 500-hour course is usually a combination of a 200-hour and 300-hour course.
Once you decide on the hours you want to do, you need to decide if you want an intensive retreat-style training or to learn to teach yoga over a longer period of time. Intensive works best for some, whereas others need breaks between sessions to digest the information, so it’s all about your learning style.
If you choose an intensive session then remember to schedule some downtime after it’s finished. You’ll need to get back into your regular routine and give yourself time to absorb what you’ve learned.
Where is the training?
If you want to do your yoga teacher training over a longer period of time then you’ll need to choose somewhere near you where you can attend sessions regularly. It’s worth considering local programs if you want to work for a studio in your area because they may be more willing to hire students who have been through their own yoga teacher training.
Think about your work and social life when choosing a location. Is it convenient for you to get to, and can you make the commitment at this time?
You can also choose to do yoga teacher training internationally. Some popular overseas destinations are Bali, Costa Rice, Mexico, and India. But just like running a successful yoga retreat is not taking a vacation, neither is attending a yoga retreat training overseas.
What is the total cost of the yoga teacher training course?
The cost of yoga teacher training can vary widely. The most important thing is to make sure you fully work out what’s included. If you’re enrolling in training where you live think about transportation, course materials, extra workshops etc. If you’re traveling overseas for teacher training consider flights, whether meals are covered, accommodation, extra materials etc.
More expensive doesn’t always mean better, but cheaper isn’t always a great deal either. If you’re set on a particular location then you’ll need to check average prices for that place.
Look at reviews of the teacher training company and program
Check out the company running the yoga teacher training program. Do they have a long history of teacher training, or if not, do they have reliable reviews? Evaluate the syllabus of the course to see how the program is divided up between poses, anatomy, history, and philosophy. Pick the program that has the right focus for you. Yogi Times has published a great roundup of different courses that makes it easy to shop around.
Get a feel for the instructors. Evaluate their work, or try to go to one of their classes or retreats if you can. You’re going to be spending a LOT of time with them, and you’ll possibly experience some pretty heavy emotions and energy while you’re at it.
Consider your intentions
Why do you want to do a yoga teacher training course? Think about your intentions for the course, and prepare yourself. You’ll likely be adhering to a stricter version of yoga with regular training, meditation, vegan meals and little time for sightseeing if you’re doing intensive training overseas. Where do you see yourself after taking the course, what do you want out of it?
Make sure you have practiced regularly before going to yoga teacher training, as the schedule is likely to be quite intense. Overall, you’ll get out what you want to put in, and you’ll want to consider your future intentions in choosing the right program that works for you and that you’ll be able to fully commit to.
Yoga teacher training won’t include information about the business side of yoga. Building your yoga business, marketing, or how to plan retreats. This is something you’ll need to learn about outside of the yoga teacher training (consider our free resources for yoga teachers as a great starting point!).
When you first start looking at yoga teacher training programs the amount of choice can be overwhelming. But by asking yourself these questions you’ll have a much better idea of which course is going to be right for you.