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Beyond Asana: How to Choose a Yoga Teacher-Training Program

A yoga teacher goes through an asana practice during her yoga teacher training.

If you've dabbled in yoga–or thought about teaching yoga–you've likely spent time looking at yoga training options. A few quick searches on the internet will tell you that there are plenty of training courses out there 

The good news about yoga teacher training? There are endless options, which means the right training for you is possible. The bad news? Because there are so many options, it can make finding the right training a challenge. 

There's no denying it–yoga teacher training (often simply called YTTs) is a commitment, and the decision to choose a program can be daunting. Open any yoga magazine, enter a yoga studio, or browse online and you will find an overwhelming amount of information about teacher trainings. 

That doesn't mean it's impossible to find the right pick for you, though. If you know what to look for, you'll be on the right track on narrowing down your options. Want our advice? We've added a few must-consider factors for every training out there. 

KEY TAKEAWAYS: In this blog, yogis will learn the top six considerations they should keep at the forefront when picking their perfect yoga teacher training. They'll need to think about cost, time commitment, location, and overall goal of the training itself. Ultimately, though, it's up to intuition and what's best for each yogi. 

Top Considerations When Choosing a Yoga Teacher Training 

Expectations

First things first, let's talk about what you want to get out of your yoga teacher training. You know that setting intentions before a yoga practice is vital–the same goes for your YTT search. 

For example, are you looking to teach, deepen your practice, or simply gain a greater understanding of yoga? There is no wrong reason for taking a YTT program, but it is important to know why you are beginning this endeavor.

When you focus on the why behind your choice–and consider your ultimate goal–you can find a program that makes the most sense for your specific needs. 

Style

As a yoga teacher, you give your students a part of yourself; and teaching what you love is the easiest way to be a transparent teacher. 

Take training in the style you enjoy. There is no point in training in power yoga if you love restorative classes.

Two yogis train breathwork together during their yoga teacher training courses.

Keep in mind some styles, such as Bikram or Iyengar, require you to train with a studio certified in that specific style.

Location

Do you have commitments that require you to stay home? Or will this be an opportunity to travel? These are important considerations.

If you cannot leave your area, there is no point looking into the YTT in the Bahamas. On the other hand, if you want to go explore India, this a great place to start inquiring into YTT programs.

As a side note, there are also plenty of online courses you can consider–just make sure they're meeting your hourly requirements (which can be tricky digitally!). 

Time

Teacher-training programs vary in length. Some are held for a one-month intensive; some last six months to a year.

If you cannot take time off from your weekday job, you will need to find a program that holds training on evenings and weekends.

Most YTTs require students to attend all sessions as well as practice in their spare time. You've heard of hourly requirements, right? Well, they're crucial in YTT. Make sure that before you choose your YTT, you're aware of–and OK with–the time commitments of that particular program.

Cost

Even if we don't like to think it, cost is a reality (and a factor) for pretty much everyone.

Just as teacher trainings vary in length, they vary in price. Be realistic about how much you can spend. Sometimes students believe that once they become a yoga teacher, they will make a lot of money.

Teaching yoga is a difficult way to earn a living with no guarantee you will make back the cost of your teacher-training course. If money is tight, ask if a program offers work trade, early bird discounts, or payment plans.

Certifications

Many studios will only hire teachers trained by a Yoga Alliance-certified studio.

Yoga Alliance sets the standards for yoga teachers and teacher training programs. If you want to be able to teach in a variety of places, be sure a program is Yoga Alliance certified.

When you find a program that interests you, talk to the graduates of the program. Take yoga classes from the teacher trainers. If you don’t like the teacher’s style, you may not enjoy the training.

 

Choosing the Right YTT–It's Entirely Up to You

There's no one-size-fits-all way to choose the right YTT for every person.

Ultimately, it's up to you, your goals, your needs, and what you're looking to get out of training. The best advice we can offer is to do your research and then follow your intuition.

Teacher training is the tip of a rich iceberg. When you start your yoga teacher training, you embark on a lifelong journey. Yoga is a living art that will change and deepen as your interests and knowledge expand.

The best advice we can offer? Enjoy the journey–there's good in all aspects of it. 

kimi marin
Kimi Marin
Kimi Marin discovered yoga over a decade ago looking for an activity to complement running. Over time, yoga became a way of life. Kimi teaches yoga to help others find clarity in their mind, body, and spirit. She guides students through their practice by riding the waves of breath, continually aligning breath and body into a rhythmic flow of consciousness. Kimi has a master’s degree in literature, and loves to combine the power of stories with yoga. She often weaves the myths and stories about various poses into the class. Her transformative Yogic Lore workshops are a fun combination of stories, asana, meditation, and mantra. Kimi was featured in Origin Magazine’s Inspire Series, was the featured ambassador for Ahnu Footwear June 2013, and her writing has been published on several blog sites. When Kimi is not teaching or writing, she can be found playing in nature with her dog and husband. Learn more at http://kimimarinyoga.com