Seattle is blessed with a plethora of yoga teacher training programs. Most of them are awesome. So how do you choose the best yoga teacher training? Reflecting on the seven questions below may help.
1. What style of yoga makes your heart sing?
Some yoga teacher training programs adhere rigorously to a specific lineage; others teach a blended approach. Either way, make sure that you understand and can support (even love!) whatever style you’ll learn. Never embark on a teacher training program if you don’t appreciate the lineage you will be lineage. Doing so will lead to frustration and disappointment.
2. What are the strengths and limitations of your own body?
There is a yoga practice, style and teacher for everybody. But there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all. You can learn how to teach a style that’s not your personal favorite. In fact, many teachers blend methodologies. But it’s a waste of your energy (and not very yogic) to sacrifice your health while learning to teach yoga.
3. What populations do you want to serve?
Every yoga teacher needs to have their own personal practice, but it might look nothing like the one that would benefit students. Some yoga teacher trainings insist that trainees are able to do all of the poses “right” before certification. Others want their trainees to learn how to teach the students in front of them, regardless of what the teacher can personally do. Which is important to you?
4. Does the structure of the program meet your learning style?
Some students learn best when fully immersed in the teachings, as is the case with residential trainings. Others do better with what I call a trickle approach, in which bite-size pieces of information are provided consistently over a long period of time. There are also blended approaches that use weekend immersions spread out over time. Are you more likely to learn when you remove yourself from the rigors of daily life or when you integrate your yoga practice within it?
5. Do the program requirements realistically fit your budget and schedule?
Find out the program’s costs, time and additional commitments. Sometimes the costs are hidden. How much are books? Will you be required to pay for one-on-one mentoring? Are classes at the studio included in the cost of tuition? How about lodging and meals, if the program is residential? When you budget time, include the hours you will spend in yoga teacher training classes, personal practice, teaching practice and homework. Some programs have very little homework; others require extensive out-of-class work. Choose a program that has the flexibility you need while still offering the most rigorous learning experience possible.
6. Are you drawn to the primary teacher(s) of the program?
Some teacher training programs are taught by a single teacher, much like the teacher/student relationships upon which yoga was originally based. Others use different instructors for different topics, similar to faculty at a university. If you’ll be studying with multiple teachers, who will be responsible for assuring your success? If there’s a primary teacher, do you respect them? Do you trust them? At a minimum, you’ll spend 200 to 500 hours of your life with this person. If the relationship is sound, you’ll be with them much longer. Make sure the student/teacher fit is good.
7. Do you want/need Yoga Alliance certification?
A Yoga Alliance certification doesn’t prove that you’re a good teacher, nor does being registered with Yoga Alliance prove that a specific training is worthwhile. Yoga Alliance registration does, however, indicate that a training has an approved syllabus, experienced teachers and a required minimum number of contact hours. If your program is registered with Yoga Alliance, you may have teaching opportunities that other organizations do not. Is a nationally recognized certification important to you?
As with most questions in life, there are no right answers, only answers that are right for you. Best of luck in your yoga journey, whatever path you decide.
May your path lead you to wisdom, healing and growth.
What other factors would you consider when choosing a yoga teacher training?
[Photo by Jon Fife – CC BY]
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