There are a lot of Yoga Teacher Training programs out there, with new ones popping up every day. Figuring out which ones are good (and which ones aren’t!) can be really hard, especially if you’re not even sure where to start!
To help, we’ve put together a list of things you can think about while you’re doing your research. It will help you clarify what’s important, so that you can confidently choose the right program, and get the most out of your investment of time and money!
We hope you find this guide helpful and we wish you an amazing Yoga Teacher Training experience. Let’s get started!
Question #1: Do I want to study at home while working around my regular schedule? Or do I want to travel somewhere exotic and immerse myself in my yoga studies for several weeks?
One of the first things you can think about to help narrow your choices is whether you’d prefer an Immersion training (also known as a Destination or Residential training) or a Local training (also known as a Studio training).
Immersion training is full-on. You live, breathe, and study yoga for several weeks straight. You take a break from the demands and responsibilities of your “normal” life. And, you probably travel somewhere exotic to do it all. If those things are interesting to you, then Immersion training is probably a good fit.
Local training is less intense. The most common format is to study at a local studio every weekend (or most weekends) over several months. Many programs take somewhere from 3 to 6 months to complete. If you feel that getting away from home and work for 3-4 weeks would be hard for you, or if you like the idea of staying at home rather than traveling for your training, then a Local training at a nearby studio might be a good fit.
Still not sure? Then take this quick little quiz. Every time one of the statements below applies to you, check the box next to it. When you’re done, you’ll probably have a good idea of which type of training is the best fit for you!
[ ] I want to take a deep dive into yoga – yoga all day, every day, for several weeks
[ ] I love the idea of going on an adventure…somewhere exotic
[ ] I think my daily life commitments will make it hard to fully commit to training over several months at a local studio
[ ] I’m in some type of life transition, or want to make some type of breakthrough or transformation, or want to gain more clarity and direction, and I think a yoga immersion would help
[ ] I think it would be cool to make new friends with people from all over the world
[ ] I think it will be hard or impossible to get away for weeks at a time
[ ] I’d feel safer or more comfortable doing my training from my usual home setting
[ ] I think cost might be a factor (Local training has no room and board costs, so it’s usually less than Immersion training)
[ ] I’m willing to commit to several months of study on top of my normal daily life responsibilities
[ ] Traveling abroad and meeting new people as part of my training is not that important to me
Question #2: Am I OK studying with only one or two teachers? Or would I prefer to study with a school, with a full faculty of teachers?
Another thing you can do to narrow your choices is to think about whether you’d rather train with only one teacher, or with a full school that has a larger faculty.
Trainings that are led by one teacher are usually cheaper than trainings that are led by a school with a faculty of multiple teachers, so if you’re on a tight budget, that might be the only option for you. The tradeoff is that you’re only getting the expertise and wisdom of one teacher. There’s also the risk that if you don’t resonate with your teacher or their teaching style, that you’ll be stuck with them for your entire training!
The other alternative is to study with a school that takes a faculty approach, with more than one teacher. This exposes you to a greater variety of experience, styles, and skills, and it also allows the teachers to focus on their areas of greatest expertise…one teacher may be an anatomy specialist, another teacher may be a philosophy specialist, etc. This helps keep the learning fresh for you, so you can get the most out of your training. Of course, a school with a full faculty has more expenses than a training led by one teacher. As a result, your training may cost more, so you’ll have to make sure it can work with your budget.
Question #3: Are the school’s teachers qualified to lead a teacher training?
You might assume that everyone who is leading yoga teacher trainings is qualified to do it, but sadly, that’s not the case. The truth is that just about anyone can start a yoga teacher training, regardless of whether they have the skills, experience, and wisdom to do it effectively.
And even if you enjoy taking classes with a yoga teacher, that still doesn’t mean they’re qualified to teach you how to become a teacher. There’s a lot more that goes into running an effective training than being able to teach a class that people like.
Yoga professionals who can skillfully teach others to become teachers are very unique and special. They need to understand how people learn, how to manage group energy, how to keep people engaged, and how to present information in a way that allows the material to be easily understood and retained.
Of course, there’s no way for you to know these things about teachers until you are in training. At the same time, there are some things you can look into that can help narrow your choices down:
- How long have they been training others how to teach yoga?
- How many teacher trainings have they led?
- Do they have teaching or training experience besides yoga teacher training?
- Do they have any training in adult learning principles and training?
- Have they ever run their own teacher training program before?
- How long have they been a yoga teacher?
Just because someone has led trainings for 10 years doesn’t mean that they’re twice as knowledgeable or skilled as someone who’s led them for 5 years. At the same time, there is something to be said for experience. If the teacher or teachers who are leading your training haven’t been leading teacher trainings for at least 5 years, it’s worth being extra careful. Eight or more years of experience leading teacher trainings is even better!
We hope you find this helpful! A yoga teacher training is a big investment of your time, energy and money. Be thoughtful and thorough! And, use your heart.