Find the Right Yoga Teacher Training for You

Posted by Pamela Nixon, on January 8, 2013

This weeks post is by our friend Pamela Nixon over at Teachasana – a resource and community for yoga teachers

Congratulations! You want to be a yoga teacher!           Now what?

Looking for the right Yoga Teacher Training can be very exciting, but very stressful at the same time! If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you may fork over thousands of dollars for a training that doesn’t teach you what you want, or need to know. You don’t want to spend 9 months or more of your life in a teacher training that leaves you feeling like something is missing, do you?

NO, you don’t!

So what do you look for when it comes to finding the right teacher training for you?

Before you start sifting through all of the trainings out there, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What kind of teacher do you want to be? The yoga kind, duh. OK but let’s be a bit more specific. If you want to find the training that will best serve you, you need to know what kind of teacher you dream to be. Do you aspire to teach meditation? Do you want to be able to weave philosophy into your classes? Is it important to you that your students will gain knowledge of the yoga sutras from your teaching? Do you want to teach strictly asana based classes? Once you answer these questions, you will know what kind of things to look for in a teacher training.
  • What style of yoga do you want to teach? Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa, hot yoga, …This one shouldn’t be a hard question to answer. The style you practice and have a connection with is likely what you will be teaching. If you have been practicing Iyengar for years but never stepped foot in an ashtanga class, you probably shouldn’t head over to your local ashtanga studio and sign up for their training. If you love a power flow vinyasa and challenging arm balances, don’t sign up for training at a studio that offers mostly gentle hatha or restorative classes.
  • Do you want to stay home or travel? This of course will depend on your job, finances, relationships, responsibilities, etc. You can typically chose from a month long or more intensive program where you meet & study every day, or a program that is spread out over 6-9 months or more and meets on weekends, or a few times per month. What style of program would serve you best based on your life & learning style? If you have a full time job and a family to look after you will likely need to find something local and on the nights or weekends. If your solo, itching to travel, and your finances allow, why not look at a month long training in the Caribbean??

After you know a bit more about what kind of teacher you want to be and have started looking at some options for training, do a little more digging before you write a check and start making up your business cards!

  • Do you feel a connection with the teacher(s)? Be sure to spend some time with the teacher before you sign up for their training. Take their classes & workshops to see if the way they teach resonates with you. (You wouldn’t study with a teacher who acts bored in class, throws out random poses and plays inappropriate music in class, right?) Spend time in their studio to see how they run their business and relate to their teachers. (Want to learn from someone who treats their teachers poorly?) Send a few questions their way via email to see how available they are for their students. (If they don’t email back now, chances are they won’t be there for you half way through the training when you have lists of questions piling up!) Don’t be hasty about your decision; invest the time needed to see if the teacher is a good match for you.
  • Does the curriculum cover everything you want to learn? If the yoga sutras are important to you, make sure it is on the list. If you have a lot of interest in meditation but don’t see it mentioned anywhere in the course description, ask if it will be covered. Be sure that the program places an importance on the things that mean the most to you. If they don’t, look elsewhere!
  • Can you afford it? Teacher training is no joke! This is an expensive adventure to set out on! Trainings can cost anywhere from $2500 – $6000 or more! It may not be the right training or the right time if it’s out of your price range. Be sure you chose something that fits in your budget. If you’re close but just can’t make the whole thing, talk to the program directors to see if they offer scholarships, financial aid, and payment plans. Most teacher training programs will work with you to make it happen!

When it comes to choosing the right teacher training the last thing you want to do is settle. If you love the studio but not the teacher, keep looking. If you found a training that fits your budget but it’s half way across the world, move on. This may just be one of the most important adventures you embark on, so make sure that the training has everything on your list before shelling out that down payment. You deserve the best training out there so you can be the best teacher out there!

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Pamela Nixon is the owner & editor of Teachasana, an online educational resource for yoga teachers to connect, contribute and learn. A full time yogi, Pamela has been practicing for the past twelve years and teaching for five. She loves teaching yoga to people of all ages from toddlers to seniors, and enjoys teaching workshops for yoga teachers on Teaching Yoga to Children.