10 Tips to Find the Right Yoga Teacher Training

It has been a couple of years since you started practicing yoga. And so far, you enjoy almost every single moment of class. That word “almost” probably made you chuckle?
I mention it, since there are many asanas where you do not yet feel comfortable in.
It is not that you do not your best to get better at it. But your brain has not yet processed all the information for the body to expand and relax in the posture.

Only once you fully understand how to properly build up the pose, that you grasp which muscles to engage and which to relax, that your body aligns so that the energy can freely flow, only then you will truly feeling the liberating effect on your body.

Now you want to dive deeper into your yoga practice, and study intensively.
Congratulations, you are ready to sign up for a teacher training program!
You start to surf the web and are overwhelmed by the sheer number of trainings out there?

Here are 10 tips how to find the best yoga teacher training for you:

 The best Yoga Teacher Trainings offer long experience of the teaching faculty, a clear structure and attention to detail.

The best Yoga Teacher Trainings offer long experience of the teaching faculty, a clear structure and attention to detail.

1. Experience

The number one consideration I would give to choosing the right program is experience:
For how long has the training been around?
What’s the experience of the lead trainer guiding such a YTT?

Nowadays you find newbie yoga instructors with  2-4 years of teaching experience, who offer teacher trainings. WhiIe I am the very first person to be happy that yoga has become widely accepted as a technique to keeping the body and mind healthy – what a change since the end of the 20th century!!! – I’d like to illustrate it for you:

Ask yourself, who would your rather trust for your surgery:
The young doctor straight out of med school?
Or rather the specialist who has been around for many years and seen it all, but who still is young enough to keep training and applying the latest techniques?

 

2. Meet & Greet with the Teachers

Can you meet the founders of the training? Or can you connect with the lead trainers?
Can you participate in one of their classes so that you see the teaching style and personality? How they interact with the other students in class speaks volumes.
If you are worried that the organizers of a YTT might come through salesy, reach out to the students in class about their personal experience with the founders and lead trainers. You can also reach out to graduates.

Graduates

Can you get feedback from graduates of past trainings on their experience and how the training impacted their lives?
If the training is offered by large yoga school, are there teachers who took the training themselves? Take their classes and they will be able to give you insightful information.

 A clearly structured content and teamwork in small groups helps the learning process during the yoga teacher training.

A clearly structured content and teamwork in small groups helps the learning process during the yoga teacher training.


3. Structure

Can you get a clear understanding on what is offered at the training?
Do you get to see a short presentation of the manuals and the content? Is the content clearly structured and neatly designed?
Or do you see handouts that are photocopied from other – copy-righted and most often illegaly used – sources?


4. Contact Hours

How many contact hours with the lead teacher and additional teachers are effectively scheduled?
Many trainings offer the bare minimum of contact hours requested by Yoga Alliance. You should have the strict minimum of 65 contact hours with the lead trainer and a total of 125 contact hours. The rest is composed of self-study and homework assignments.

To give you an idea, at INNERCITYOGA® for the RYS-200h Deep Flow Yoga Teacher Training, you will get 164-165 contact hours with the lead teacher.

 Does the Yoga Teacher Training offer enough contact hours with your lead teachers?

Does the Yoga Teacher Training offer enough contact hours with your lead teachers?


5. Certified by Yoga Alliance

Yoga Alliance was founded at the end of the 1990ies to offer a common standard for trainings. While not everything is perfect, at least it gives you reassurance that there is a certain structure of the content to convey.
Trainings which fulfill the standards do receive the certification RYS-200-Hours for the 200 hours program, respectively RYS-300-Hours for the continuing education program.
When you graduate from your certified training, it usually makes it easier to propose your services as yoga instructor to teach for studios.


6. Continuing education

Does the organizer offer continuing education for graduates of the foundational 200 hours yoga teacher training?

As a long-time yoga teacher, I keep educating myself continuously with masters of different lineages.
Check with the yoga school if it offers an advanced RYS-300-Hours program for graduates. In a 300 hours training several specialists will help you deepen the professional approach in different fields of yoga. You will also experience mentoring sessions to help you find your voice as a successful teacher.

 What style of yoga is offered in the teacher training? In this image, it's an asana based teaching with correct alignments for the student's anatomical specifcities.

What style of yoga is offered in the teacher training? In this image, it's an asana based teaching with correct alignments for the student's anatomical specifcities.

7. Style

What style of yoga are you trained in? Is it asana based? Hatha, Vinyasa, Hot Yoga?
Or is it more esoterically driven where you will be working on the energies? Does it involve karma yoga? Or is it more bhakti yoga driven where mantras and meditation play an important role? It’s up to you to ask what you would like to get out of the training!
 

8. Local vs. Destination Trainings

Is the training taking place at your local yoga school or will you be asked to travel to exotic places?
As nice as a training in a retreat center overseas sounds, I think it is most often taken as a sort of a yoga vacation. You will be living in a bubble for a couple of weeks.

My question is how will you be integrating what you have learned into your daily life once that the vacation bliss has gone?
 

9. Intensive Program vs. Weekends

Most trainings in the 200 hours format are scheduled over a month. The same training is sometimes offered as weekend only courses taking 9-10 months.
I guess it is a personal decision what works best for you.

If it was up to me, hands down, I would opt for the intense program to get fully immersed. Taking the occasional segment one weekend a month, with life interfering would not allow me to really focus on the training.

At INNERCITYOGA we split the 200 hours training into two segments with 2 months interval in between. It is intense, yet leaves you a lot of time to deepen your understanding of yoga in between.

 Personal attention in smaller groups by the  lead teachers  to adapt the content of the teacher training to every student's specific needs.

Personal attention in smaller groups by the lead teachers to adapt the content of the teacher training to every student's specific needs.

10. Number of attendees

Finally, figure out how many participants will be attending the teacher training.
Many international trainings register 30 to 40 attendees. A few programs even register up to 80 or even 300 participants! While assistants help the lead teacher, wouldn’t you rather learn from the source?
On the other hand, very small trainings with 3-4 participants offer only limited variety when it comes to observe and adjust other students' bodies.

At INNERCITYOGA our trainings usually welcome 12-14 students of yoga, capping at the maximum of 16 attendees. A smaller group allows for a more intensive learning experience and direct teacher - student exchanges, yet allows for enough participants in partnerwork.


I hope you find these tips helpful for finding the training of your dreams.
If you have questions or input to share, please feel free to contact me.

Namaste,

Ioana Pop
Founder of INNERCITYOGA in Genève / Geneva, Switzerland and the RYS-200 and RYS-300 Deep Flow Yoga Teacher Trainings

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