Ok. So you’ve finally decided to do a yoga teacher training. Now comes the big decision - which one to choose?
There are thousands of yoga teacher trainings out there today, and in a world of increasing choice, the decision can be more difficult. Every person has unique things they want out of a teacher training experience.
How do you choose a teacher training for you?
Here’s a step-by-step guide:
1. Get clear on your why.
Take a moment to fully realize your why. Are you doing a yoga teacher training (YTT) because you want to be a teacher? Is there a specific studio you’d like to teach at? Do you want to find international yoga jobs, and teach yoga while traveling all around the world?
Are you doing a yoga teacher training because you want to move deeper into your body? To connect deeper to spirit? Are you doing it for yourself, for others, or for both? There are so many diverse benefits of yoga and reasons to be passionate about teaching it.
Once you get clear on your why, it will be easier to sift through the thousands of different yoga teacher trainings that are now being offered around the world. In an oversaturated market, it can be extremely overwhelming to make a decision on which YTT to choose from. After all, there are thousands of teachers, in hundreds of countries that could certify you.
Not to worry — once you get clear on your why, the universe will provide you with your perfect, aligned vibrational match.
2. Don't Base It All On Yoga Alliance.
While Yoga Alliance is great in that they set a certain bar for teachers to meet and ensure your safety and assure validity in your certification, Yoga Alliance can also be extremely detrimental in the fact that you might be limiting yourself from some spectacular teachers.
Especially if you go to India for your YTT, there are teachers in India who have been teaching yoga far before Yoga Alliance even existed, and are now getting a run for their money from young, 20-year-old fresh yogis who are coming into India to from LA to host teacher trainings.
While every YTT is a beautiful experience, including the teacher training from the 20-something LA yogi, we shouldn’t limit ourselves to only doing a teacher training based on Yoga Alliance.
I’m going to be completely honest with you now. I’ve been teaching yoga since 2012, in six different countries. Not once was I asked to prove I’ve been certified through Yoga Alliance. Now I’m not saying to go out and start teaching if you’re not qualified. But what really “qualifies” you anyways? What’s going to “qualify” you in the end more than anything — is your confidence, your knowledge, and your trust. Trusting in yourself, and trusting in the teachings of Yoga.
I’m not saying you should boycott every ‘Yoga Alliance’ certified training. But consider this: let’s say you’re in India, or Bali, or even in the USA, and you find a teacher you really resonate with. Stay with that for a while. Trust it, and learn from it. If you happen to do a training that isn’t YA certified, you are still a teacher.
We are born teachers. And you don’t need a YA certificate to tell you so.
3. Pick a Location.
There are so many yoga teacher trainings these days to choose from, and all vary in terms of content, style, location, duration, and price. To make it easier, start with a location. Do you already have a home studio that you love and a teacher there you’re eager to learn more from? Do it there. Are you interested in traveling somewhere international? Pick a country, and start doing your research. There are lots of awesome tools out there to help you figure out what’s going on in the international yoga scene. I recommend picking a location and then going from there.
4. Ask your teachers.
If you have a teacher you resonate with and trust, go to them and ask them for advice. Your yoga teacher also has teachers, and maybe it’s their teacher that you’d like to go study with. If you don’t know where to start, start with your favorite yoga teachers. If they’re offering a YTT, then it’s probably best to do it with them! And if they’re not offering one, maybe it’s possible to do it with their teachers.
5. Figure out your budget.
Ah, money! We all have a different relationship with money. Some of us have so much we don’t know what to do with ourselves, while some have a strict budget, and might even feel like we can’t afford a teacher training.
For those of you on a budget, I recommend heading to India, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, or somewhere in Asia to do your teacher training. Not only will you receive a more authentic experience being closer to the root of Yoga, Buddhism, and eastern spirituality, but you’ll cut your price sometimes in half.
To give you perspective, you can do a teacher training in LA for up to $4,000, not including accommodation or meals, OR, you can do your teacher training in India for $1,000 including your accommodation and food for the 3 weeks. Crazy, right? Being a long term nomadic traveler, I’ve learned the trick that living in Asian countries with USD can take you a lot farther, for a lot longer.
6. Set Yoga Goals.
Finally, set some personal goals for yourself so you really commit to your teacher training. We can half-ass ANYTHING in life, OR, we can do anything we set our minds to. I’ve done multiple teacher trainings now, and you can always see the same personalities in every training.
There are the people who are there, eager and ready to learn. Then there are the people who are there ‘just to get the certificate’. Don’t be the latter! There is so much to learn from each and every experience, from each and every person. I’ve done two 200 hour trainings — two! In the beginning of my second training, I thought to myself “oh great, this is boring. I already know this stuff”. Then I caught my ego in this pattern and decided to dive in fully to the training just as much as I did the first one, and I’m so glad I did because I received so much from the course.
7. Don’t second guess yourself.
My last bit of advice for you is just to do it. No second guessing. In a world where there are infinite options, it can be easy to pick one and then instantly revert to a FOMO state of mind of “Oh, maybe I should have done it there! Or there…? Or there..!”
Just pick a training, know that it is the one for you, and don’t look back. There is no wrong decision in life.
By Brooke Nally
Brooke Nally (@brookenally) is a traveling yogi and writer currently based in Bali. She is the community manager for www.YogaTrade.com, with her personal goal being to help yoga teachers find their dream yoga jobs around the world.
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