Choosing a Yoga Teacher Training can feel relatively easy for some people who just know instinctively where they want to train and have their heart set on one and only one training. Others may find it extremely daunting and not know where to start when having to choose. If you already know where you want to go this article will only help to reinforce and support your choice, and if you have no idea it may help you choose between various courses you are considering. Whether you know or you have absolutely no clue where to begin, keep reading as you will find a few questions to ask yourself in either case as well as some bonus tips.
1. Who is or are the main Tutors?
If you already have a Yoga Teacher you love, consider training with them or ask where they did their teacher training. If you know what teacher you like and would like to become, following their training is always a great way to start. Especially if you know that when you are in that teacher’s class you are receptive to their style of teaching.
If you don’t have a favourite teacher or teaching style and are considering a course, it is a great idea to attend a class of the teacher who will be the lead teacher on the training if you haven’t already to ensure you like their way of teaching and style of speaking. I have taken yoga courses with well-known tutors who had great knowledge to share yet due to their style of teaching I struggled to follow or gain interest, and at times was even bored. That is extremely personal - it is not a reflection on that person not being a great
teacher, it's more a reflection of teaching methodologies and what styles I resonate with. For example, a teacher was speaking, super super ssslllllooowww and re-explaining things over and over again. Making each lecture feel like it was dragging. I had to work hard to stay focused and keep my attention on the content and then realised after a while why I was struggling. I discussed this with the friend who took this teacher's course as well and for her, that’s what she loved, she learns better when someone speaks slowly. So it's not good or bad - it’s recognizing what teacher you connect with.
2. What percentage of the training does the Lead Tutor teach?
How much access to the main tutors do you have during the course? Do you see them once a week and the rest of the time a junior teacher teaches you? These are important questions to ask the organisers when choosing a training. It is great knowing there is an Amazing Yoga Teacher running a training course, however, if he or she is not physically there teaching you regularly, you may end up a little disappointed after. I’ve spoken to people who joined a yoga teacher training and expected to be taught by the lead teacher and then found themselves being taught by recent graduates and meeting the lead teacher once a week. Make sure that the main tutor or tutors advertised on your training are actually teaching you and not just showing up twice a week for a lecture here and there. Being guided and followed by someone with experience makes all the difference for your learning, because at the end of the day that is what you go for: learning to be a great yoga teacher from someone with experience in teaching teachers.
3. Do I learn better in person or online in an intensive set time or learning over a few weekends to space out the learning material?
This is a tricky one. Most people feel they learn better in person and I fit into this category, however with all the creativity of online courses during the pandemic I will admit I have been able to experience
great teacher trainings from which I gained interesting new knowledge! It mostly depends on you: your lifestyle, the cost, the way you learn. If you need more time learning, want to pay a little less and would benefit from spacing out the training over a few months: go for weekend options. There are many online and you can fit it in whilst you work. I would recommend that you go for training that can be done in less than 2-3 months rather than 2 years. Training 1 day every other week, will not be as easy to remember all the info and tie it together. They do great online live 200-hour yoga teacher trainings like the one offered at Fierce Grace where it is online and not prerecorded (sorry, I help organise this so I can't help but think it's great!). If you know you learn better in person, appreciate the cost might be a little higher and only have 1 month set time to do it: go for a training in a yoga studio.
Obviously, other factors may arise like childcare for mothers or work commitments, both factors you can take into account. Just remember, if you truly want to certify there are ways! Find the training you like and make it happen!
4. Cost - do I think it's worth it?
(Answer to this most likely will have to do with questions 1,2,3)
Yoga teacher training is an investment. Why are they so expensive, some may ask? Let’s start from here. It’s an educational course and the cost to run a teacher training when there is more than one senior tutor involved and hiring of venues is usually the reason one may look like it costs so much more than another. Prices for renting a yoga studio in New York or London will differ greatly from renting one in Thailand or Mexico. You also would have to factor in how much the senior tutors are paid: rates of more experienced tutors living in Dubai will not be the same as someone who has 2 years of teaching experience and is based in Bali. The price is a big factor that will undoubtedly influence your choice. Best to evaluate the pros and cons of paying less - will you still get the support to become the amazing teacher that you are looking for?
“If there is a will there's a way” - so don’t let cost stop you. If you can't afford a training course, look for scholarship opportunities or offer work in exchange for discounts or financial support.
5. How many years has this Teacher Training been running for?
Not all teacher training you take will have to have been running for 20 years, but checking that the training is not a sudden pop-up course a yoga teacher just put together overnight is a good thing to look out for. Experience is the best teacher - you will learn this as soon as you start teaching yoga yourself. The more you teach, the more you learn how and where to improve. So the same is for Teacher Trainers - the more trainees they have taught, the more bodies they have seen and the more diverse the teaching experience they have, the better it will be for you on the other end. So go ahead and ask how many years teachers have been teaching for as that could inform your decision as well. I have made this mistake once before. I did not research the Tutor offering a graduate specialist course as I was so keen to learn more about the subject they were offering. Once I took the course, I realised it was all information I had already learned in my intensive training and was being taught by someone without many years of experience who was teaching things I already knew from having had a strong foundation 200-hour course. You live and learn!
Recap & check your answers to the above and then follow the bonus tips below.
BONUS TIPS: If you are having doubts, here are a few things you can do to help inform your decision:
Set up a call with the Teacher Training Coordinator
Ask to speak to a past trainee about their experience
Attend an open house if they offer it
Check if the course has support post completion of training to help you as a new teacher to enter the teaching world.
Do the teachers themselves or trainers have an agenda? An agenda that is not about teaching you how to teach yoga but brainwash you into something else, maybe their belief system on what you should eat, what you should look like, or any other strong belief.
If you are wondering why I chose to write this article, and what my agenda is, it's simple: I talk about this all the time! I get asked frequently at work and outside of work by students who took my classes a
nd are interested in taking on the journey to becoming a yoga teacher. But I admit I am biased. I know I am. I took the Fierce Grace Teacher Training in 2016 and then never left. I became the Teacher Training Coordinator of Fierce Grace the following year and have been ever since working on supporting the senior Tutors throughout the training. Each training I am honoured and humbled to watch new yoga teachers step into this wonderful journey.
Good luck - or better research! - in finding the teacher training that works for you and I hope you enjoy your yoga journey wherever it may lead you.
A FEW OF MY FAVOURITE AND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TRAININGS:
(Obviously!) Fierce Grace Intensive 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training: Online Live Training or In-Person London Based
Functional Yoga with Paul Grilley: all online and super, super informative even for those who have not done a 200-hour training but are just interested in learning more about anatomy and the human body.
Baby Bliss Pre/Post Natal Yoga: 65 hours CPD all online, take at your own time course. You meet with the tutors' mid-course and discuss your final paper at the end.
Rainbow Kids Yoga: 40 hours CPD YA Professionals. In real person is recommended as you learn methods to teach children in groups.