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How to Take Your Yoga Teacher Training to the Next Level


It’s summer, which means most yoga studios are gearing up to begin their summer sessions of yoga teacher trainings. However, throughout the past few years I’ve started to hear from more yoga studios and clients that they are struggling to fill their trainings. If this sounds like you, it might be time to take your yoga teacher training to the next level.                     

The past five years of offering yoga teacher trainings globally, conducting trainings audits, and working with teachers and studios to design well-rounded teacher trainings, are just a few things you can do to level up your yoga teacher training this summer.

Conduct an audit and check in with former students. 

Alright, this first tip is probably the hardest, but also the most effective. If you really want to level up your yoga teacher trainings you might have to be vulnerable

Reach out to all of your former graduates and ask them to take five to ten minutes to share their honest experience about training with you. Ask them real and open ended questions. You can do this a few ways, either by having them fill out an anonymous survey, you can talk to them on the phone, or in person.

People will be more than willing to share their honest feedback, you just have to ask. Will it be hard? It sure will! Will it give you insight into how to level up your training? Absolutely!

Another way to look objectively at your course, is to hire someone to do an audit of your course. This person should be an extremely experienced yoga instructor that has a strong track record for offering incredible and well-filled trainings.

Have this person look at your entire course, and I mean everything, and have them do an audit and come back with a report on what they think you should be doing differently, and have tangible action steps for you to take to improve on your training, and grow your enrollment.

There are many business coaches out there that will offer this service, and would be willing to run an audit on your course, just make sure you do your research and you find someone that is reputable.

Teach all 8 Limbs of Yoga.

Having a training that primarily focuses on the physical poses, alignment, and learning Sanskrit terms for the poses is one of the biggest mistakes that I see in 200-hour trainings.

Yes, asanas and the physical aspect of yoga is extremely important, and without a comprehensive knowledge of the physical practice, alignment, cues, and sequencing it is nearly impossible to teach a yoga class, but the issue appears when that is all we are teaching. I have had students come to me with a 200-hour training already under their belt that had never heard of the 8 Limbs of Yoga.

They thought it was just asana and that was it. When I hear students tell me this it honestly makes me more sad than anything, because for many the true magic of yoga resides in the other seven limbs and the asana is simply a vehicle for the body, and if we don’t share this with teachers how can they share it with students?

Going back to the roots of yoga, and remember what made it special for you will give you insight into what you need to add to your training. Remember, all eight limbs and that they all equally make up the practice of yoga. Incorporating these limbs and infusing your classes and trainings with elements of breath, meditation, even the Yamas and Niyamas creates more depth and understanding of the practice, and it takes teaching to a whole new level.

Focusing too fully on one limb creates unbalanced trainings and one that does not truly teach how to practice yoga in it’s entirety. If we do not learn all eight limbs we will never truly learn how yoga can be a way of living life and not just moving your body.

Introduce different styles into your training.

If you’re a studio owner, chances are this one will be easy because you probably already have teachers on staff that are proficient in different styles. One of the first things that I do when I’m working with a studio on their training or with a teacher that is trying to expand their offerings I ask them about other styles they teach or are offered at their studio. Even if your yoga teacher training is one specific style, like Vinyasa, it’s not the only style that exists.

Offer style highlights or even electives in your teacher trainings in other styles such as Restorative, Yin, Meditation, Ashtanga or even kids. Reach out to your staff that you know have been trained in other styles and ask if they would be willing to come and share that style with your trainees one afternoon, incorporating knowledge of different styles will enrich your training, inspire your trainees, and make you stand apart.

There is also the potential that these elective could turn into stand-alone weekend trainings, where you can grow your teacher knowledge and your business revenue.

Get accredited.

I personally have had dozens of students that have reached out to me specifically because they are looking for an accredited program or they already took a training that was not accredited and now they can’t find a job because their program isn’t recognized.

I am the first to admit that going through the registration and accreditation process is somewhat time consuming, and it feels like just another hoop to jump through, but in the end it will better serve you and your students. The accreditation process will also give you ideas on where you might have gaps in your training or where you’re spending too much time in your curriculum.

I have also found that offering specialty trainings has been one of the best ways to grow my teacher audience and grow my business revenue, and be able to share what I love with fellow teachers. Of course something that makes your training unique and unlike any other is because it is taught by you. That is something that cannot be recreated, or taught, but simply is part of the magic of your training.

So, no matter how you choose to level up your teacher training don’t forget why you started running trainings in the first place, and keep the parts of the training that are uniquely you there because that’s something no one else can offer.

Yoga Teacher Training FAQs

Is yoga teacher training worth it?

While this can vary from person to person and what you want to get out of yoga teacher training, on the whole, the training is absolutely worth the time, effort, and money it takes to successfully complete it. Beyond the knowledge and experience you gain during yoga teacher training and the subsequent marketability of someone with advanced yoga training, you’ll also grow personally. You’ll discover new things about yourself as you learn more about the ancient healing arts that surround the entire yoga philosophy. Some of the return on your investment can’t be measured monetarily but will continue to benefit you for the rest of your life.

Where can I get a yoga teacher training guide?

Because our yoga teacher insurance program eats, lives, and breathes yoga as much as our members do, we’ve developed an entire guide just for yoga teacher training. Here, you’ll find all the information needed in order to choose the best yoga teacher training for your unique situation.

What is yoga teacher training like?

Yoga teacher training is usually structured like any other higher learning curriculum. You’ll progress through different courses and modules with a blend of hands-on and online learning, workshops, group sessions, and of course, testing to ensure you're absorbing what is being taught. Certified yoga teacher trainers are accomplished yogis who will empower you with more than just poses and flows. You’ll learn new elements of the 8 limbs of yoga, different yoga practices from around the globe, and even spend time on learning how to effectively run a yoga business. If your prior experience in yoga is college, then yoga teacher training is your masters degree. Once complete, you will have the confidence required to teach your own students.

Which yoga teacher training should I do?

This depends on where you see yourself after graduating the yoga teacher training program. It can be beneficial to try and find a program that focuses on a particular yoga discipline that you are most comfortable with or as a means of honing your skills in a particular area. Research both the training program and the availability of employment in that particular field. If there’s a ton of competition for vinyasa studios in your area, maybe branch out by being able to offer some other disciplines as well. In this light, however, it’s important to consider what your yoga teacher insurance will cover. Some insurance programs only cover a limited few modalities, so if you wanted to offer something outside of those you’d chance not being covered in the event of an accident. 

A cool aspect of beYogi’s yoga teacher insurance program is that it covers literally hundreds of different health and wellness disciplines so that our members have the greatest flexibility in choosing disciplines to offer to students and still be covered.

How do you physically prepare for yoga teacher training?

First and foremost, you should be consistently practicing yoga as you near your anticipated start date. This will prepare you physically, emotionally, and mentally as you embark on this transformative journey. It’s a good idea to practice a variety of styles to start gaining familiarity with some of the disciplines you are not as strong in. Another good habit to start is physically journaling i.e. pen and paper or on a laptop. As we’ve said, the journey is transformative for mind and body and it's really effective towards understanding and allowing this transformation to take the greatest effect by writing down what you are learning and how you’re feeling. You’ll be amazed to see how far you’ve come when you complete your yoga teacher training in its entirety.

Can you fail yoga teacher training?

Absolutely. Just like most things in life, if you don’t invest the time and effort to learn and grow it's going to show in your inability to meet the basic levels of aptitude required to pass yoga teacher training. Being in charge of leading a group of students in a yoga practice requires a lot of skill and maturity. If someone can’t master the material during training, they may be seriously lacking the skills needed to be an effective teacher. With a program that can run several thousand dollars, it’s far wiser to dedicate yourself to getting the most out of your experience in yoga teacher training as possible.

When should I take yoga teacher training?

There is no right age or time in your life for taking yoga teacher training, that definitely varies from person to person and your own yoga journey. However, for anyone considering signing up for yoga teacher training, you should make sure you are at the right time in your practice and with enough experience under your belt so that you go into your training with a good basis from which to build. You’re already going to be learning so much about everything from anatomy, to poses, to styles, to business. With so much information thrown at you over the course of your program, students that get the most out of yoga teacher training are those that come into it as prepared as possible.

How long should you practice yoga before teacher training?

This definitely varies for every individual but ideally a solid year taking several classes per week would be enough of a foundation for starting yoga teacher training. When you first start out, don’t take more than 2-3 classes per week for a few weeks as your body adjusts. Gradually, you can work up to 5-6 times a week or even every day for some practitioners. From day one in your yoga teacher training you’ll be learning the ins and outs of what it really means to be a leader of students practicing yoga. In that role, you will be trusted, looked up to even. To really be effective, you need to put in the time it takes for your mind and body to steadily progress through your training, which all centers around your foundation. In summation, the more time you have to develop yourself in the world of yoga before training, the better. You will be much better equipped to hit the ground running and get the most out of your investment in the program.

How does yoga teacher training change you?

You will go through an incredible transformation by successfully completing yoga teacher training. With a curriculum that requires demonstrating your mastery of a wide variety of subjects, as well as hands on application and testing, by the end of your training you will have a library of new knowledge with which to draw from in lessons with your own students. But beyond this huge influx of new yoga knowledge comes an emotional, if not altogether spiritual transformation. This is very different for everyone but the ancient practices of yoga impart some pretty powerful benefits. When you’re fully vested as a yogi, these benefits will permeate through everything you do in life.

How long does it take to train to be a yoga teacher?

For most people taking a traditional 200-hour yoga teacher training, the time to complete the program runs anywhere from three to six months. However, there are many options out there, especially with some study-abroad programs, where a 200-hour course is full immersion over just a few weeks. Make sure to research the program well and make sure you’re comfortable with the time commitment required to match the progression of the material. Weigh your present commitments - job, kids, social life, etc. - and be honest with yourself as to how much time you will be able to devote to the program. Then, choose the option that works best for that time frame. Going at the pace that’s best for your present situation means less stress and more focus on learning the material and building your career.

How much do yoga instructors earn?

Many yoga instructors working at a larger studio will be compensated for their time at a fixed hourly rate and get a bump in that rate if there’s a certain amount of people in the class. The average base salary for a yoga instructor in the U.S. is $31.48 per hour. With higher earning cities like LA and New York, the average shoots up to around $43 per hour. 

When you are starting your own studio, you can choose many different ways to provide revenue for your business. Group classes can be on a per head basis, usually running $5-$10 per person per class with a membership-type plan in place or around $20 per class for a drop-in. But the real money maker is in conducting private sessions. Setting your hourly rate is based on a variety of considerations like your experience level and the locale, but a typical range for privates are anywhere from $50-$100 per hour. Not bad for doing something that benefits you just as much if not more than the students you teach.

How do you get the most out of yoga teacher training?

To get the most out of your yoga teacher training, you should begin by preparing as early as possible. Take as many different classes as you can in a variety of disciplines. Observe classes in these different styles and even take notes on the things you notice the instructor doing really well. Once you’ve enrolled, pour yourself into the program and the material. Be active and engaged with your instructors and put forth the effort to master each module. The more you put in during training, the better yoga teacher you’ll be when you begin your own practice.

How much does yoga teacher training cost?

This varies on the location and the school. Rates for a typical program run anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000. If you’re traveling to a program in the U.S. or abroad, you’ll need to also factor in the costs of travel, meals, sightseeing, etc. into your total program costs.

Kelly Smith
Kelly is the founder of Yoga For You, and the host of the Mindful in Minutes podcast. She is an E-RYT 500, YACEP, and a location independent yoga and meditation teacher. She spends her days traveling globally offering trainings in restorative yoga, meditation, yoga nidra, writing blogs for beYogi, and recording meditations from her closet.
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