Hello dear yogi, or should I say potential future yoga teacher :) I know there`s so many options for you out there when it comes to wanting to deepen your yoga practice or turn it into a career. It can be overwhelming to know what would be best for you. I`ve been in your shoes so don`t worry, I`ll guide you through all the points you need to consider and need to know before making your decision. Now it`s time to relax, all the info you need is gathered in this article. Grab a smoothie, get comfy, and read on :)
Who is a teacher training for?
As a yoga teacher and organiser of yoga teacher trainings I can confirm that half of the people who already signed up to a teacher training still call me less than a month before the start, wanting confirmation that they are definitely fit to take the training. Imagine the doubts of those who don`t even dare signing up yet. Most people think they already have to be a master of all advanced postures in order to become teachers. Let me just make all your doubts go away (if you have any) with one single sentence: the only requirement to do a foundational yoga teacher training is for you to love yoga and have an irresistible want in your heart to learn more. Everything you need to become a yoga teacher will be given to you at your training. Believe it or not, everyone will learn everything from the basics. A great teacher is not the person who knows the most, but the one who can convey even the basic knowledge in the best way to someone who`s never done it before. Someone once told me that as a teacher of anything you only need to know 1% more than the person you`re teaching. It`s not a race. It`s not a show off. Practice what you preach and preach what you practice. Your students will need you to be you more than you to be someone who is a know-it-all.
Now that we`ve established that all you need is the love of yoga and enthusiasm, let`s see more in detail about the teacher trainings.
What to expect to learn at a yoga teacher training?
Although today we mostly only see the asana (physical posture) part of yoga being taught at studios, to become a teacher you`ll have to learn about all aspects of yoga. When you can immerse yourself in the whole of this science, which is a lifestyle really, you`ll start to embody it all and that is how one becomes an authentic teacher of anything.
So what is all these aspects that you`ll be learning about?
Yoga postures, how they`re done, what effects they have on the body & mind, what variations we can give to people with different abilities
How to put these yoga postures into sequences
Different meditation techniques
Different breathing techniques
The ancient history and philosophy of yoga
Human anatomy, and specifically yoga anatomy
Teaching methodology - what makes one become a yoga teacher from a yoga practitioner
Not taught in every training, but it becomes more and more of an essential part of trainings:
The business of yoga - meaning how to make it as a successful yoga teacher in a world where everyone is a yoga teacher
Teacher Training set-ups
There`s two ways you can do your teacher training:
A part time training is usually one that local studios organise for their students who want to become teachers, or to deepen their practice. These programs are held over a few months time and training days are weekends, sometimes evenings. Usually a local group of students come together and do this journey together. Usually these trainings include a pass for the given studio so outside of training hours you can go and practice as much as possible. This set-up is more for those who cannot leave their jobs for a longer period of time, but still can make time in their lives to study.
Full time immersive:
An immersive training - as the name suggests, is an intensive set-up of classes and training days back to back. Usually in less than a month you can complete these trainings and get certified. These trainings are also usually held at beautiful, tropical locations, where everything around you supports your leaning - nature`s closeness, organic food, time and space dedicated to only learning and nothing else. A truly magical experiece for those who can take a month off life.
Which set-up to choose?
So now that you see your options the question arises - which one is better to choose?
Choose a part time training if:
You cannot give up your job, and only have weekends for education
You have a local studio with great teachers that you`d love to learn from specifically - why travel around the world when you have the best teacher in your neighbourhood?
You intend to get a job at a local studio - if you do your teacher training with them, you`re very likely to get an apprenticeship or even a job
You`d like to get involved with your local yoga community
You`d like to have time between training days to deepen your practice by yoursef and apply the things you learn slowly
Choose an intensive training if:
You can hit pause on life and immerse yourself fully in learning for a month
You`d like to spend a month in paradise, get to know like-minded people from all over the world and have some adventures on your days off
You learn most effectively when you dedicate your full time and attention on one thing
You want to study with a specific teacher who`s holding an intensive teacher training somewhere beautiful
You want to go travelling for a longer period of time and have a training as part of your journey away from home
I`m sure as you`ve read through these points, within you you already know which category feels closer to you. Now let`s go deeper and see what your intentions are with taking a teacher training and how this will affect on what kind of training to choose.
What are the most important things to consider when choosing a training?
Before you enroll to any trainings, check in with yourself and see what do you want to get out of it. What is your true intention?
Would you like to deepen your personal practice?
Do you want to know more about the other aspects of yoga other than the physical practice?
Do you have physical pain or a condition that you`d like to ease with proper knowledge of how to exercise and align your body?
Would you like to become a yoga teacher at a studio?
Do you aspire to lead yoga retreats in the future?
All of these are beautiful motivations and intentions and it can vary of what training can serve these best.
To have more and deeper knowledge on asana, and to become a yoga teacher at a studio, find a training that is based on hatha yoga, and the main teacher has a good deal of experience in teaching this aspect of yoga
To learn more about the whole of this lifestyle called yoga with all its aspects, find a training that emphasises immersing their students into a set, yogic, daily routine, has an experienced teacher in the meditation, food, cleansing technique, etc parts of yoga as well. More can be found on these trainings` websites about chakras, kriyas, spirituality, etc.
To become a retreat leader, find a teacher who does this and also teaching yoga teacher trainings. Who could teach it best than one who does it themselves?
We must briefly talk about Yoga Alliance here. You will find that there are trainings that give you YA certification and some don`t. Is it important? What do you gain by having a YA approved certification? Or more importantly do you have any less of a valuable training if it`s not YA approved?
Yoga Alliance is a worldwide non-profit organisation that serves the purpose of standardising the trainings of the yoga world. It means that schools have to comply to certain conditions to be able to give certifications to people that YA will approve. This is certainly a great thing, and if you aspire to do more trainings and track these in an official way, and over time as you get more experienced maybe even become teacher trainer, you better choose a training that gives you a YA certification. Basically if you want to professionally teach, make sure your school is approved.
But I`d like to pinpoint that just because a teacher trainer school isn`t registered with Yoga Alliance doesn`t mean that their level of education is necessarily lower than ones who registered. It can simply mean that they didn`t want to go through the paperwork and they`re confident enough in their teaching abilities. If you want to learn for your own practice, it really doesn`t matter if you become YA approved or not!
If you want to know more, check out this article with all details about Yoga Alliance.
Key points to consider before enrolling - summary:
Know what you want to get out of a training - what`s your intention, your goal?
Know how much time and money you have for this training - go for a part time or an intensive training?
Know what is your most effective style of learning - your decision of part time or intensive training can depend on this as well
Is there a specific teacher you`d like to learn from?
Is there a specific style of yoga you want to study?
I`m confident that once you have the answer to these key questions, the training that will be the most suitable for you will stand out, and you`ll enroll to the best one FOR YOU.