When I first started practicing yoga, I was the inflexible runner hiding in the back of the room. I never expected to have a regular practice or that yoga would find its way into every nook and cranny of my life. I definitely never expected to become a yoga teacher.
Finding the right program for me took time and a lot of contemplation. With the growing number of yoga studios and teacher training programs, there was a lot of information to sift through. But I’m glad that I took the time to research. Yes, it’s an investment of time and money but more importantly, it’s an investment in you.
If you are considering enrolling in a yoga teacher training program – whether to launch a teaching career or just deepen your practice – here are six must-ask questions to help you choose the right program for you.
- What’s your motivation? Do you want to teach? Are you there for a personal journey or self-exploration? Do you want to learn the in’s and out’s of every pose, the alignment and anatomy? “I think it’s important to determine what your motivation is and to find a program and instructors who can give you just that,” says Whitney Olson, registered yoga teacher, author of the blog LiveRunLoveYoga and Athleta Burlington Store 2013 sponsored athlete. For example, if you want to teach, find a program that will have you on your feet teaching.
- Who is leading the training program? Look at who is leading the program. Have you taken classes with him or her? Does their style of teaching resonate with you? You don’t want to be stuck for 200 or 500 hours with a teacher(s) who you don’t connect with or trust. “Yoga is more than just asana. Something I look for in a teacher is, are they living their practice? And, as my teacher, are they helping me discover that within myself so that in turn I can help others?” says Bobbie Marchand of Prema Yoga in Brooklyn, NY
- Who are your teachers? Are there teachers with whom you practice regularly? What do you like about their teaching style? Is it the style of yoga, their hands-on assists or attention to alignment? Identifying the particular teaching practices that you like and want to bring into your own teaching will help you examine programs more critically. “I fell in love with [Kelly] instantly! That was my hook line and sinker – her, her belief system, her challenging but fun teaching style, and her passion contributed to me choosing my program,” says Lindsay Klein of Younique Yoga in New Jersey.
- What style of yoga will you be learning? Does the training focus on a particular style of yoga? Is it a style that you connect with? Will you learn how to sequence intelligently or will you learn a set sequence? These questions will determine what will be in your teaching “toolbox” once you finish training and what you will be able to offer as a teacher.
- Can you logistically do this? What is the program’s schedule? How many contact hours? Are you required to do homework, class observations or assist classes outside of the official training hours? How much does it cost? How many students do they accept? “I am a full time radio DJ with odd hours, so when I first started looking for a program, I was looking for schools that could meet my schedule’s needs,” says Klein. Realistically consider the logistics and if it will work for you and your schedule and wallet.
- Is the program a Registered Yoga School (RYS) with the Yoga Alliance? Yoga Alliance is the professional and trade association for the yoga industry and sets the standards for teacher training programs. Programs registered through the Yoga Alliance will ensure that the program meets a minimum quality standard.
Best advice? “Research. Visit local studios in the area, take classes, talk to instructors, and program leads. Consider the cost and number of contact hours per week. Ask yourself: does this program FEEL right for me?” says Nichole Bellos, CYT – Colorado. And have fun!
Have you completed a teacher training program? What’s your best advice?