There is no doubt that undertaking yoga teacher training will change your life. It is a chance to broaden your knowledge and enrich your yoga practice by learning from skilled teacher trainers.
With so many yoga teacher training (YTT) courses available, how do choose one? And once you have chosen a course, how do you prepare yourself leading up to the training?
Consider the following questions before embarking on your yoga teacher training journey. They will help you to understand what you hope to get out of your YTT, as well as pinpoint certain aspects that you should look out for prior to enrolling.
Questions To Ask Yourself Before Enrolling In A Yoga Teacher Training Course
1. What Are Your Intentions
Just as you would set intentions for a class, set intentions for your course. This will help you to define what it is that you hope to achieve from your YTT. Are you learning to enhance your personal practice, or is this the starting point to becoming a world class instructor?
Although you may well find that your intentions change as your training progresses, if your goal is to enhance your own practice then starting with an immersion program that has a focus on mindfulness and meditation may be better suited than one that focuses on sequencing.
2. Are You In Touch With Your Expectations
Although expectations can set us up for failure if things do not go according to plan, it is important to have an idea of what to expect from the course.
As an example, an entry level 200 hour teaching certification is generally divided up into practice and theory on asanas, the chakra system, mindfulness and meditation, anatomy and alignment, pranayama, sequencing, teaching techniques and heading a business as a professional.
Be aware of what lies in store for you so that you are comfortable with the tasks that your teacher sets for you.
3. What Is The Best Method Of Learning For You
There are a number of delivery methods for YTT courses.
Online training courses are valuable for people with limited time and a lower budget. This is because learning is done online at a time convenient to you, and savings are made by studying at home instead of in a studio or at a destination.
On the other hand, destination training provides an intensive program where people live and breathe their yoga teacher training over a stipulated period of time. This is a suitable option for people who wish to immerse themselves in training, and have enough free time off from other life commitments.
4. Is The Course Certified With Yoga Alliance
Not all yoga teacher training programs are certified by Yoga Alliance (YA). For some aspiring yoga teachers, an accredited course is a requisite due to its worldwide recognition. For others, it may not carry as much weight when choosing a YTT.
Completing an accredited course, and registering with Yoga Alliance thereafter, will give you the RYT and E-RYT designations to put with your name. However, undertaking a course that does not carry the accreditation still results in a qualification, just not one endorsed by the trade association.
Ultimately, it comes down to a matter of personal preference.
5. Are You Mentally and Physically Prepared For Your Training
This is especially true for intensive and immersive courses where your mind and body will be tested.
Put your ego aside at times when your body does not achieve certain asanas that you usually have no trouble with. Each day is different, and with it, your accomplishments will differ too.
Expect to spend a great deal of time on your course doing physical practice. With this in mind, help your body to cope with the intense pace by going into your yoga teacher training with a good fitness level.
When you are away from your comfort zone and loved ones, it is fairly common to feel overwhelmed at times as you push your limits physically and mentally in your training. Take these feelings in your stride, and draw strength and encouragement from your group and your teacher. Remember that you are not in this alone.
6. Who Is Your Teacher
You will be spending a great deal of time with your teacher trainer, so make sure that this person is someone that you connect with and trust to guide you on your learning journey.
Do some research on the school and the trainer to make sure that their values and yoga philosophy resonate with your own. You want to know which style they teach and their reasons for teaching.
Look for past student reviews to see what they say about the course and the teacher too. Your YTT is an investment of your time and money, so do not feel shy about asking for opinions from people who have done it themselves.
7. Does The Course Curriculum Resonate With Your Style
As a seasoned practitioner you likely already have a yoga style in mind for your training course. On the other hand, a teacher starting their YTT journey may want to take the time to explore new, possibly complementary, types of yoga. This may lend greater perspective on who you wish to teach and how.
Different courses cover different aspects of yoga, so ask for a copy of the curriculum to make sure that it covers the topics you wish to learn about.
8. Is The Daily Schedule Manageable
Your destination course itinerary should allow for a certain amount of downtime so you can rest, catch up with your family, buy supplies, do your laundry, etc.
The daily schedule should be both manageable and enjoyable to keep you motivated for the duration of the course. Depending on which one you choose, this could be many months; in the case of extended format trainings, perhaps a year or more.
It is therefore important to be realistic about your ability to cope with the schedule and see the training through.
9. What Is Included, And What Will Be Extra Expenses
As we just mentioned, your yoga teacher training course can span over a lengthy period of time. As a result, expenses easily add up if they are not already included in the course fee.
Are airport transfers, laundry charges, and meals included in your destination training course fee? Do you need to buy textbooks? If you are doing an online YTT course, then will you need to book the additional contact hours required at a studio in order to obtain the designation from Yoga Alliance?
Find out what is included in your course payment and what is extra so that you can budget appropriately.
Undertaking a yoga teacher training course is an enriching and fulfilling way to add depth to your practice, regardless of your prior experience and intentions around seeking work as a teacher.
Either way, it is the start of something life-changing, and you will find your practice taking on a new dimension. Committing to a course is ultimately an investment in yourself, so make sure that you are ready to embrace the challenge.