Over the years I have met lots of folks who have done Yoga Teacher Training (YTT). Some have had wonderful experiences, and some have had awful experiences – I am in both those categories at the same time! My intention in writing this article is to help you find the YTT that is a fit for you so that you have a wonderful experience.
Taking a yoga teacher training program is a few things:
- Transformative and life changing
- A large investment of time, energy and money
- And if you pick a program that suits your needs – AWESOME!!!
I have been offering yoga teacher trainings in various communities in Ontario Canada since 2007, and taking teacher training all over the world since 2003. I have had the opportunity to experience a lot of teacher trainings – some amazing, and some less so.
I would like to share with you some considerations before you embark on your journey so that you can check ALL THREE items on the list above J
1. Are you interested in building your Yoga Community?
One of many things that happens in a YTT is the building of what I call “Yoga Family”. You have this incredible transformational experience that changes your life, and the people sharing YTT with you are going through the same thing at the same time… Talk about bonding!
A question to ask yourself is – do you want to have your “Yoga Family” nearby? To be able to meet your family members for tea, dinner, or regular yoga dates? If so, find a YTT that is close to home. It’s likely the others will be from your area and it will make it easier to stay connected.
If this isn’t a priority for you, then you can consider a destination YTT – like Costa Rica, India or Bali. At destination YTTs folks from all over come together and learn, and then go their separate ways back to their lives. With today’s technology, being geographically separate doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch. We simply seem to be able to connect more readily when we are physically closer together.
At Janati Yoga School, we have been some peoples’ destination (folks coming from Scotland and the US) as well as peoples’ hometown YTT. It’s also lovely to see YTT’ers come back and share in our community events, as well as workshops and other practices together.
- Can you meet the Teacher Trainer before registering?
Let’s be honest, you are signing up to spend a minimum of 180 contact hours (if it’s a Yoga Alliance Registered program) with your Yoga Teacher Trainer. 180 hours is a lot of time to spend with someone. Where you can, have a conversation first to see if they resonate with you and their approach to yoga resonates with you, it is a worthwhile investment.
At Janati Yoga School we offer free information sessions for this reason. We want to give potential participants the opportunity to meet our teaching team, to ask us questions, and to make sure the teacher training we offer is a fit for the folks who come. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that when it’s not a fit, it is disappointing to everyone – the person who signed up, the group that looses a trainee, and for the teachers.
- Do you want a relationship with your Yoga Teacher Trainer?
Some YTTs use a small group format. At Janati for example we take 12 participants per group. I have also attended YTTs that have up to 75 people in the group. Both approaches work, however higher numbers means less likelihood of you developing a personal connection with the lead trainer. In some cases, the opportunity to actually meet the trainer will not be available.
If cultivating the student-teacher relationship is important to you, you will want to find a smaller YTT where you will actually get to know the lead trainer and they can get to know you. The benefit with knowing your teacher is that they can guide your practice specifically – being able to do this requires either great intuition, or actually having the opportunity to get to know someone and their practice.
If you are looking for a mentoring type relationship with your teacher trainer, one where you could email with any questions and continue the conversation post training, you will need to ask about how this works. Some YTTs do not support post-training contact. Once the course is done, access to the Trainer(s) is done. In other YTTs there are mentoring packages that you can purchase. And in some YTTs access to the Trainer(s) is available at no additional cost.
At Janati Yoga School we believe strongly that the student-teacher relationship is very important on the path, and so
we provide support to our graduates at no additional cost.
- Do you plan to teach in your community after your Yoga Teacher Training?
If the answer is yes, then there is something to be said about taking your YTT in the city where you plan to teach. Janati’s YTT includes a 3 hour session on the business of yoga where we discuss business based logistics that you will need in order to get your yoga teaching started – everything from how much you can expect to be paid to where to get teaching insurance. It is also likely that the yoga studios in the community will have some form of relationship with local teacher trainings, which can be very helpful in terms of references and getting an actual job.
Often folks want to use their YTT as a “retreat”. I understand the need to retreat, however taking Yoga Teacher Training isn’t a cake walk; it’s a lot of work. If a retreat is what you need, go do that. If you want to become a yoga teacher it’s important to recognize that to truly benefit you will need to be able to integrate all the teachings (concepts, ideas, philosophies) into your everyday life. The practice of Yoga (for teachers in particular) is something we live, not something we do on weekends and when we have free time.
- Yoga Alliance – Registered Yoga School (RYS)?
To be a Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher, or not to be? That is a good question and in reality, it depends. A Yoga Alliance Registered Teacher Training will benefit you if:
You want the yoga teacher training you take to adhere to the current standards.
That’s what Yoga Alliance is all about. Schools submit their courses for review, and if approved they can register with the Yoga Alliance. A program that is registered with the Yoga Alliance is called a “Registered Yoga School” (known as “RYS”). You can look for RYSs in your area by searching the Yoga Alliance website at yogaalliance.org
You want to become a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with the Yoga Alliance.
If you graduate from a program that is not RYS, then the yoga alliance has no idea what the curriculum included, and so cannot approve the registration. If you graduate from an RYS, the online application is simple and easy. As long as you completed your course and have your certificate from your RYS, registration is guaranteed (the RYS did the background work for you to make it easy)!
Being an RYT is helpful in bigger cities where there are a lot of people who want to teach yoga. The RYT designation does not make someone a good teacher, however it indicates that the training you took is in line with the standards of the current yoga industry.
It is also helpful if you are applying for a teaching job somewhere that doesn’t know you, your practice, or the training you took. And so if you might be relocating or moving around a lot – it’s nice to have.
You want to become a Yoga Teacher Trainer with a Registered Yoga School.
It may seem weird to think about becoming a yoga teacher trainer before you have even taken your teacher training – absolutely fair. That said, the last day of my 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training I got a very clear message from the universe during meditation that I needed to move in the direction of facilitating yoga teacher trainings. And although I had never really thought about the Yoga Alliance up until that point, I found myself blessed to be in an RYS, which allowed me to follow my path with more ease.
At Janati Yoga School, we support the efforts of the Yoga Alliance to elevate the standards of teaching yoga. This is why I chose to register our Yoga Teacher Training courses with the Yoga Alliance. I also wanted to make it easier for our graduates to get registered in order to transition more easily into their teaching practice. With our RYS designation, it could not be simpler for graduates to register with the Yoga Alliance so they can get out into the world and teach yoga!
Most of the Yoga Teacher Training courses I have taken have added a multi-dimensionality to my life that I am eternally grateful for. And honestly, even the few that I did not enjoy gave me something (even if it was purely insight into my own psyche and preferences). I hope that you find the teacher training that will add richness and joy to your life. I wish you all the best on your journey.
Much love, light and peace,
Mona L. Warner, ERYT500 & CYA-E-RYT500
Owner of Janati Yoga School, RYS500 & CYA-RYS500