I’m in deep. I signed up in January 2019 for the first weekend of Yoga Teacher Training for an additional 300-hour yoga teaching certification. This training is led by Sue Hopkins, of Etowah Valley Yoga in Cartersville, GA. My idea is that, by this November, I’ll have completed 500 total hours of yoga teacher training. I never would have guessed that this would be my path one year ago, when I had just completed my 200-hour teacher training with Infinity Yoga (now YogaWorks Atlanta)!
Upon graduating from that first teacher training, I knew that I wanted to teach yoga; I just wasn’t exactly sure how to get started. There are, in most major U.S. cities, just so. many. yoga teachers. I find it to be a strangely competitive field, given the relatively low pay that most teachers make teaching public classes, which is the common starting point for new (and seasoned) teachers. But then again, I shouldn’t be so surprised, as low pay is an issue across most sectors of education, which I previously encountered when substitute-teaching high school after graduating college, and when job-searching after earning my master’s degree in international higher education. Though students may unconsciously believe their yoga teacher lives off the land in a blissful state of bartering yoga lessons for all she needs to survive and thrive (ahem, Instagram), in reality, most of us still pay rent and buy our groceries.
The pay issue is why teachers try to diversify our offerings by hosting workshops, teaching private clients, hosting online classes, mentoring new yoga teachers, managing a yoga studio or aspect of a studio, going on retreats, and yes, working full- or part-time jobs outside of yoga teaching.
For me, it made sense to invest time and money into the additional 300 hours of teacher training, since I know I want to continue teaching yoga indefinitely, whether part-time or full-time. I’m also a nerd and love learning and structured educational programs (no shame!). How am I funding it? Well, I am one of those teachers who works full-time outside of teaching yoga. It honestly leads to an extremely packed schedule, and I currently work seven days per week. (I’m looking to change this particular piece of insanity, however, in the near future…) The only way I am able to do this is because I absolutely love teaching, studying, and practicing yoga. It balances out the other areas of my life. I felt this way about working with international students at U.S. universities. With any new job or role I undertake, I promise myself that I will only do it until I no longer enjoy or find benefit from it, for both myself and others. I find that the beauty of education, combined with entrepreneurship, is the ability to pivot and constantly explore both new and changing markets, as well as my own abilities.
Just as with 200-hour teacher training programs, the advanced programs can vary widely in scope and can draw upon many different yogic lineages and traditions. Increasingly, these programs seem to be a mix of different traditions as they become more and more mainstream.
In my current yoga teacher training program, which is held primarily one weekend per month, we cover topics including advanced anatomy; stress effects on the various systems of the body; pranayama; meditation; yoga business and marketing; sequencing; yoga and the organic body; the pelvic floor; and we have a week-long chakra retreat. There is an option to also become certified to teach prenatal yoga.
Part of what delights me about advanced teacher training is not just the camaraderie that develops among teachers, but that my fellow teachers in the program have SO MUCH experience and knowledge about yoga! It’s not like in my 200-hour training, when we were all struggling to memorize the yamas and niyamas, though we all contributed to each other’s learning in different ways then.
Yoga offers continual Self-discovery. It requires constant practice and study. That does not necessarily have to come from an advanced teacher training; it’s just one method to continue honing skills and knowledge in the presence of an experienced teacher.
Updates to follow as I progress through the program… 🙂