Laughter, tears, moments of extreme awkwardness and moments of victory … no, it’s not the latest Netflix drama, it’s yoga teacher training!
I promised this post when I first started writing this blog – what can you expect from a 200-hour hatha yoga teacher training (YTT)? This post is based on my own research and experience with YTT programs in the U.S.
The answer depends on a few things:
Professional Organization Membership
Is the teacher training program at a Registered Yoga School through Yoga Alliance, a large U.S.-based membership organization? If so, the following criteria from Yoga Alliance’s website give an overview of what you can expect:
“The RYS Educational Categories are:
- Techniques, Training and Practice
- Teaching Methodology
- Anatomy & Physiology
- Yoga Philosophy/Ethics/Lifestyle
The spirit of the Yoga Alliance Standards is to include a school in the RYS® (Registered Yoga School) Directory only when its YTT (Yoga Teacher Training):
- Has a definite, pre-defined curriculum that meets the Yoga Alliance Standards.
- Is taught by yoga teacher trainers who are qualified to train teachers.
- Offers a consistent approach that is conducive to depth, rather than a survey of different approaches.
All standards for a RYS are intended to be clear, implementable reflections of the above criteria.”
Even within this designation, programs may differ greatly. However, you’ll likely learn about anatomy, alignment, and sequencing; how to safely perform assists and adjustments with students; some philosophy and ethical considerations; teaching techniques; and of course, lots of practice.
If the teacher training program is not registered through Yoga Alliance or another professional organization, it has the liberty to organize the training pretty much however it wants. The program could include varied hours; it could choose to focus largely on philosophy and very little on anatomy; and so on.
Having discussed membership with professional organizations, who will be teaching your program? It could be one teacher or several teachers. There’s no “best” way, though I enjoyed learning from teachers with different styles and backgrounds in my training. For example, we had a teacher with an acro yoga background; a former professional dancer; and a teacher with a healthcare background, to mention a few. Each brought their own unique contribution to teaching.
How do you want to devote your time? Some programs offer a two-week or month-long intensive to achieve the 200 hours. Others, like the one I attended, are spread across 3 months, with a program being offered in the Spring, Summer, and Fall of each year. The program I attended was structured such that I spent 10-12 hours of training most weekends, and took the required 40 hours of asana classes on my own time prior to graduation.
Another point to discuss is the cost. A 200-hour program could easily cost you $3,000 USD or more, depending on where you live. It could cost you less if the program offers tiered pricing based on when you sign up. Some programs offer scholarships and in rare instances, some employers pay for part or all of your training.
Do Your Research
Your choice of a yoga teacher training program really depends on what you are looking for. If you’re location-bound, choose your biggest radius and narrow in to select the programs within your region that meet your schedule and interests. In general, hatha yoga teacher trainings are fairly broad in scope. The program I attended left me feeling excited to dig deeper into certain areas; for example, I wanted to study more history and philosophy of yoga.
Do your research, read reviews, talk to people who have gone through the program, and go to Q&A sessions with studio owners/program leaders. There are so many schools of thought and lineages in yoga; therefore, it’s best to gain a sense of what tradition you’ll be taught and how that knowledge can be applied to your future career as a yoga teacher, or to your own yoga journey, whether or not you decide to teach.
Feeling tired and sore! Your teacher training will certainly be tiring, in particular if you have full-time responsibilities outside of the training. Even with a less intensive training, you’ll likely sacrifice many of your normal activities for more yoga. That being said, with the right program for you, you will cherish the knowledge and experience you gain, as well as the friendships with your teachers and fellow students. And one day soon, you can pay it forward.
Good luck 🙂