Thinking about yoga teacher training (YTT)? If so, chances are you might have a few questions about what YTT is exactly.
Before beginning YTT, it is important that you do a little research. Think about your intensions for taking teacher training and what it can provide you on your yoga journey.
For many yogis, teacher training can be a way for them to expand their knowledge of the yoga practice. But for others, it might be a way to learn more about themselves.
What is yoga teacher training (YTT)?
Remember when you were in high school and you took a variety of classes that gave you enough knowledge to go out into the world and earn a living at age 18? That’s sort of what yoga teacher training (YTT) is. It’s the basis and foundation for a lifetime of knowledge you can apply and use as a yoga teacher, both for your own practice and for life.
Post-graduation, you can choose to continue your education, jump right into the teaching world, or take a completely different path all together—utilizing the knowledge you’ve gained in everyday life.
Most training requires a certain amount of hours for a specific set of curriculum including anatomy, asana, philosophy, and dharma, which qualify you in becoming a teacher of yoga.
Why do I need YTT? What are the benefits of a YTT?
Whether you want to become an international yoga teacher by connecting with people around the world or want to simply deepen your own knowledge of yoga, both intentions are great reasons to attend YTT. On a personal level, you will benefit greatly—if your inner voice calls for you to share your knowledge and inspiration, then consider teaching yoga your calling.
How to pick a YTT?
Consider these variables when choosing a YTT, including the length, location, style, teacher, and most importantly, intentions for taking the training.
Length and location
Most training runs over the course of seven to eight weekends for around six months to a year. This is my favorite educational experience because it allows me to absorb and apply the information without feeling overloaded with content.
In addition, you can create strong bonds with fellow teacher trainees as you grow and learn together. Think week-long summer camp acquaintances versus high school life-time friends.
Another option is a 21-day or a full month of learning, where you are in one location for the set 200 hours waking up every day covering the topics and course.
Know whether you want to stay local or study abroad. There are plenty of options for whichever you choose.
Style and teacher
The style and the teacher are two important connections I encourage all inquiring trainees to consider when choosing a training program.
If you don’t connect with the style of the practice or the teacher leading the training, you’re not going to put your best foot forward in absorbing the knowledge. Connection and attraction to the content being offered is the key to making the most out of your training.
Last point to consider, what is your intention behind the training? What do you hope to get out of it? And, when looking for a training program, will this training have the potential to offer that outcome for you?
If you don’t know from reading the course material, ask the teacher or the studio. Be honest with your intentions.
How soon should I start teaching after graduation?
Tomorrow, one month, a year, or maybe five—whenever you feel ready and have the desire to share the practice.
This is a personal question to knowing your own intentions. Ask yourself, if there are any fears that may stand in your way and how you can outsmart them. Knowing myself, if I didn’t start teaching right away, fear may have taken over and I may never have started.
What qualifications do I need after graduating to start teaching?
Yoga teacher insurance and CPR certification are two important qualifications to have after graduating.
Most facilities that I have worked at, including corporations and being an independent contractor, have asked for proof of yoga teacher insurance and a CPR certification.
What’s the difference between a 200-hour training and 500-hour training?
Think of 500-hour training like the grad school of yoga education. Do we all need it? Personally, I don’t think so. If it’s something that will add to your offerings as a teacher and is something you connect with, then of course. There is no denying that you can benefit from a 500-hour training.
Do I need to do a 500-hour training to be a “qualified” teacher?
If your intentions are to become a yoga teacher, either part-time or full-time, then I’d recommend you complete your 200-hour degree. Get out into the teaching field, take advantage of the opportunities that will give you hands-on experience, and go from there. Often times, experience trumps all forms of education.
Think of each class as a learning tool but also a joy. It’s an honor to teach and share the practice of yoga, but it is important to never lose that connection to why you started practicing and teaching in the first place.
Sara’s YTT story
To be honest, it took me a while to fall in love with yoga. When I first began practicing yoga, I treated it as a workout. But, it quickly became a lifestyle and healing modality for a lot of personal issues I was learning to deal with at the time.
Yoga later became more than just an exercise. It was a feeling and a place for unexpressed emotion to find an outlet. It was a place for me to feel, heal, and reconnect to both my mind and my body.
After noticing the positive changes in my personal life, I knew the empowering practice of yoga was something I wanted to inspire many others to take part in as well. I began YTT a year before I finally graduated, picking right up where I left off.
With YTT, I wasn’t initially committed when I started, I knew my heart wouldn’t be in the training if I wasn’t fully ready or committed to learning the knowledge.
So, as the saying goes, “when the student is ready, the teacher appears.” When you’re ready to learn, the knowledge awaits you. I’m forever grateful for my teachers across the country and the world—a teacher by profession, but always a student willing to learn, grow, and share.