According to UN news, there are over two billion people around the world doing yoga. The statistic was collected in 2016, and I can only imagine the number has increased tremendously since then. For many people, yoga is a hobby for relaxation and body conditioning; for others, yoga is a way of life. Perhaps right now, you are considering turning your yoga hobby into something more serious. Maybe you’re thinking of quitting your 9 to 5 job and becoming a yoga teacher. Does the thought of ditching your pantsuit and heels, fly away to a secluded island doing yoga and drinking matcha excite you? If so, I think you’re ready to execute your dream plan.
Personally having taught and assisted over twenty yoga teacher trainings around the world (and attended well over ten teaching programs), I am here to offer some tips on how to choose the right yoga teacher training for YOU. Keep in mind that these are just opinions I’ve gathered from years of experiences. I am now dispensing them in hopes that you will not spend your money in vain and best yet to sign up for the program you’d hope for.
So here they are, 8 tips on how to choose the best yoga teacher training for you:
1. Identify your objective
This may sound like a no-brainer. But trust me, identifying why you’re attending a yoga teacher training in the first place will help you, in the long run, to stay on task and keep your eye on the prize when things get hard or foggy. Ask yourself whether you want to become a yoga teacher or simply to advance your yoga knowledge but not necessarily go on teaching afterward. Once you’ve identified your objective, it will make your search for the perfect yoga teacher training a lot smoother.
2. Style of Yoga
Nowadays, there are many forms of yoga ranging from Hot yoga to Acro yoga (not to mention Beer Yoga and Goat Yoga, seriously people). Obviously, not all styles of yoga are suitable for you. For the physically-inclined bunch, Ashtanga, Power, and Vinyasa yoga are great choices; for the less physical individuals, Yin and Restorative might be a better fit. There are also yoga styles that focus more physically like Acro and less energetically like Kundalini. So if you’re at the beginning of your practice, go and explore many styles of yoga and see what works for you.
3. Finding Your Teacher
So now you have decided on which style of Yoga to train in, the next question is who are you going to train with? Who your teacher trainer is will have a huge impact on your teaching skills, attitude, ethics, and spiritual outlook. The first place I’d suggest looking in is your local yoga studio. Talk to the teacher whom you regularly take classes with, ask them where did they take their courses or if they are running one themselves. If you don’t go to a local studio, there are many prominent yoga teachers on social media whom you can connect with. As of the past decade, Instagram is the no.1 hub where many authentic yoga teachers post their schedules, pictures, and videos. You can send them a direct message and strike a conversation. Ask them their training/teaching history, what areas of teaching they feel most confident in, why do they teach yoga for a living, and other insightful questions you might have. This is where technology has helped to close the gap of geographic distance. If you feel connected to this teacher, it might be worthwhile to keep them in mind for your teacher training certification.
This is a big one. Yoga teacher training is a heavy investment ranging from USD 2000-5000 depending on the location and school. Remember that amount is just tuition exclusive of accommodation, travel cost, and food. In the past, I have paid up to USD 10,000 for a teacher training in New York City (it was worth every dollar, but again- it’s a matter of perspective). Here’s the thing, not all low tuition schools are subpar compared to their expensive counterparts. Schools price their tuition based on various factors such as geography (India vs. London), business structure, taxes, so on and so forth. The bottom line is, finding the school that fits your budget will help you down the road financially. Freshly graduated yoga teachers do not make a lot of income. Many teachers struggle to find a steady paid job, and a lot of them succumb to living off their savings or taking on another part-time job. Thus, it’s not recommended to take out a loan or borrow from friends/family to pay for your tuition knowing that it is unlikely you will return that money anytime soon. Solutions? Look for schools that offer scholarship programs, early bird discounts, and payments by installment.
Normally a 200hr yoga teacher training ranges from 24-28 weeks. However, I have seen many yoga studios packing these hours into different formats. Some studios divide the training over six months to a year, and students come only on the weekends. Other studios would shorten the training into two weeks top, but you’ll be in the studio 12-15 hours straight. None of these program styles are more superior than the other. You have to find a schedule that works for you. For people who can only take two weeks off work, the intense 15-hour day program sounds like a match made in heaven. For others who are taking a year off traveling around the world, spending 24 days in Thailand doesn’t seem like a bad idea.
6. Training Credentials
So far, Yoga Alliance (YA) is one of the most recognized yoga institutions around the world. Many great yoga schools are Yoga Alliance accredited, but likewise, many great yoga schools aren’t. Whether or not you should pick a registered school goes back to point number one (identifying your objective). If your goal is to become a yoga teacher, I suggest you go with a school that is accredited. Many yoga studios request their teachers to be Yoga Alliance certified, mainly for credential and insurance purposes. Being a certified yoga teacher will help your job hunting a lot easier down the road.
7. A Well-Rounded Training Curriculum
Although Yoga Alliance sets a standard for what should be included in a training curriculum, some schools emphasize certain areas over another. For example, when I did my first 200hr training, I did not have any anatomy lectures and very minimal philosophy lectures. That training focused a lot on practice teaching and techniques. My biceps definitely gotten a lot more defined, but I’d appreciate the missing knowledge. So when you’re searching for a school, ask for their curriculum, see the daily sample schedule, and read the testimonials online.
Attending a yoga teacher training can lead you to meet like-minded people, expanding your current beliefs, and kickstarting a new lifestyle/career. So take your time and use the points above to find your perfect yoga teacher training.