Choosing your yoga teacher training is no easy task. You want to pick the one that fits you, in a style you like, with inspiring teachers. In what follows, I’ll go into some key factors to consider when making your decision.
#1 What style of yoga would you like to teach?
There’s endless styles of yoga. The yoga teacher training that you choose should teach a style that you have experience with, that you practice yourself and, most of all: that you like.
This doesn’t mean that you are forever ‘stuck with’ the type of yoga you learnt at your yoga teacher training. You can always continue your studies, and you should definitely experiment for yourself. However, choosing a vinyasa teacher training when you really only enjoy yin yoga wouldn’t be the smartest choice.
#2 Get to know your teacher.
Maybe you love a teacher at your local yoga studio, or there’s a yogi that has inspired you via social media for a long time – find out if they offer teacher trainings. You may have also found a yoga teacher training that speaks to you for one reason or another. Regardless, research who will be leading your yoga teacher training.
Do you like their way of teaching? Do you like what they stand for, and will you be comfortable with them? These are all important questions to keep in mind, since you’ll not only be spending a lot of time with them, but you’ll probably be influenced by the way they approach teaching.
#3 Course Structure
Taking a 200hr (or even 300 or 500hr) yoga teacher training is a big time commitment. There are of course different course structures:
- four week intensive program (either residential or self-sustaining)
- a split four week intensive, with each session either one or two weeks long
- spread out over six months with training sessions on the weekend or one day of the week.
Which type you ultimately pick depends entirely on your personality and lifestyle. Have you got the vacation time to take four weeks for an intensive? Have you got kids or other commitments that prohibit you from doing so? Maybe a more spread out yoga teacher training might be more suitable for you. Are you better at understanding and studying when you have time to let the information sink properly, or are you the all-or-nothing kind of person who thrives on the intense focus that a four week intensive requires?
#4 Take a look at the curriculum
Yoga teacher trainings may be similar in what they teach, but they can also differ drastically in what they choose to focus on. Some may include sessions on the business of yoga, while others place a greater emphasis on pranayama. Led your personal preference guide you in this respect: we are all interested in different aspects of yoga, and that is perfect. However, some time for teaching labs, during which you yourself actually practice teaching, is generally advisable.
#5 Trust your intuition
When I found my teacher training online, I knew right away this would be the one I’d sign up for. It just felt right. And I wholly believe that the universe and your intuition will give you a sign whether a specific yoga teacher training is right for you.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Check whether upon completion you’ll be eligible to register with the Yoga Alliance, the largest professional organisation for yoga teachers. It is not necessary, and there’s some studios that don’t recognise the Yoga Alliance (such as Jivamukti), but many yoga studios will want to know whether you’re a registered yoga teacher (RYT) later on.
- Great resources for your search can include the Yoga Alliance list of schools, Yovada and Bookyogaretreats.
- What is your intention for the yoga teacher training? Do you simply want to deepen your practice, or are you dead set on becoming a yoga teacher?
- Some studios will rather hire you if you’ve completed their own yoga teacher training.
- Prices can vary greatly. You can find some teacher trainings for under $1000 including accommodation, but you can also pay over $6000 on just tuition. More money does not always guarantee a better yoga teacher training, but your yoga teacher training is definitely not something you should skimp on, either.
- Don’t rush the decision.
How I chose my yoga teacher training
During the semester, I know I am to busy with course work to be able to keep weekends completely free for weekend workshops, let alone enjoy them. I also enjoy focusing on something intently, I want to learn a lot about teaching, and I want my yoga teacher training to be a spiritual experience. A four week intensive gives me the opportunity to dedicate myself completely to yoga and my studies, and that’s exactly what I want – although I know it will be tough to be away from my boyfriend for that long.
I practice a blend of vinyasa and hath yoga, and that is also what I’d like to teach. My teacher training offers just that, and even includes some yin yoga, which I love.
The curriculum is perfectly balanced to my liking, and includes teaching labs, meditation and anatomy, which was very important to me. We will also study some of the ancient yogic texts and specific asana groups.
I don’t have a specific guru, so I am perfectly happy with my choice to study with teachers that I don’t know yet, but I did extensive research on them – yikes, that sounds stalker-y. It’s a woman and a man, which is exactly what I wanted, and they have extensive experience teaching yoga teacher trainings. They focus heavily on service and karma yoga, and they have a beautiful practice. I have read stellar reviews on them, and some yogis that I trust have trained with them and loved it.
Most of all, it feels right. I am so excited about what I’ll be learning, and I trust the teachers. So without further I do… I will be studying with Daphne Charles and Anton Jager of Routes of Yoga in Bali!
I know it can seem daunting to make the decision, but remember: this is a position of privilege. Enjoy it!
I hope this will help you in your decision, and don’t hesitate to ask me any questions you might have! I look forward to hearing about your yoga teacher training, so definitely let me know once you’ve made the decision.
PS: only 90 days to go!
Don’t forget to check out part III of the yoga teacher training series on how to prepare for your YTT!