How to Choose a Yoga Teacher Training

How to choose your yoga teacher training in English

When I was searching for a school to do my 200h teacher training at, I felt overwhelmed. The variety and options are countless and with the growth of the yoga industry in the past years, you really can need  help choosing a yoga teacher training that really suits you. With this blog I want to provide you with tips for choosing your yoga teacher training as a multilingual or even native English speaker. I will also give you the tools you need to analyse your needs and find your direction and future as a multilingual yoga teacher. 

Why do I believe it’s important to carefully choose your teacher training?

I finished my training with very little teaching practice and very little help from the school. I simply didn’t know where to go next and actually gave up on teaching yoga. For about 6 months I didn’t even practise it. 

I went back to teaching English because it felt comfortable, but also because I knew that it filled my heart with joy. The connection I had with the people in my class I loved the most; watching them grow and gaining confidence in their language abilities. Also, I felt that my purpose in life was to help other people who wanted to travel, live abroad or work, or study internationally. I wanted to help them with the skills they needed to communicate effectively.

Deep inside, I was yearning for the studies, practice and teaching of yoga. However unsupported, discouraged and unprepared I felt to teach, I knew that this could all have been avoided, with more thorough preparation and support. 

I knew I wasn’t alone and knew I had to do something about this feeling of uncertainty we feel after our teaching training. I wanted to fill up this gap: this void of insecurity and lack of practice, to help other teachers gain the confidence they need to succeed. 

And that’s what I do today. I combine my English teaching skills with my yoga teaching skills and help multilingual people, like you and me, prepare for teacher training, but also help you gain the confidence you need for teaching yoga in English effectively with actual teaching practice, before, during and after teacher training. 

So today, let’s dive into how you choose the ‘best’ yoga teacher training for you. 

The yoga industry is booming and growing faster than ever before. There’s a lot of yoga teacher training out there: online, in studios, retreats abroad and so on. They vary from 3 to 4 weeks, spread over a few months or even a year. Their focus can be put on anatomy and alignment, yogic philosophy and lifestyle, the energetic bodies (chakras and kosha system), or even personal development. 

For you, it’s important to brainstorm what you like most, what you would like to teach or your plans for the future. I know these are big questions  and your answers will change over time  as you gain experience. If you aren’t sure now, have a look at our How to Find Your Voice blog and answer the journal questions included there. Your answers to these questions could provide clarity as to what to look for in a training.

Let’s choose a yoga teacher training that really suits you.

Here is a list of questions and concepts to consider:

What style of yoga do you practise and would you like to teach?

If you have been practising Vinyasa for the past few years, you probably love it and the logical next step would be to pick a Vinyasa yoga teacher training. However, maybe you simply haven’t exposed yourself to other styles that you might like. I believe it’s worth practising different styles before you choose what style you’ll do your yoga teacher training in.

Do you know your training teacher?

Some of us have been practising with our training teacher for years. Some of us pick a training because it covers all the Yoga Alliance requirements, it looks and sounds interesting or, simply, because it is the most convenient. Please at least meet your teacher once before you start training and get a feel for them. If that’s impossible, ask for a phone call, video chat or practise with them online. I believe it’s extremely important that you ‘click’  with your teachers: that you feel comfortable with them quickly and naturally. It’s also important you can trust them and don’t feel intimidated by them. If one of these things seems off, continue looking! Don’t feel rushed and choose someone you truly feel comfortable with.

Would you like the training to be completely led by them or would you like a group of teachers?

Two know more than one. I believe a team of teachers is extremely beneficial, because it shows mutual commitment, teamwork and union. It also gives you different perspectives, ideas and explanations that could help you with understanding things in different ways. Try not to compare one with the other, because teams of teachers  don’t mean that one is better than the other; collaborations improve the work of everyone and as a result, improves your learning experience.

 

What’s your ideal time frame? Would you like to complete it in a few weeks or would you prefer to have your training spread over a few months?

How much time are you willing to spend on your teacher training? Would you like to go abroad and make it your only focus for a few weeks? Or would you like to complete it over a longer  period of time? There’s no right or wrong answer to this, because we’ve all got our own timetables and learning styles. Think of your past learning experiences and be honest with yourself. Fast isn’t always better, but slow could also be demotivating.

Would you rather be really good at one thing or have a little bit of knowledge of everything?

Knowing this will help you define your options, depending on the focus of each training. Below you’ll see that every training requires a certain amount of hours spent on very specific teachings. However, your teacher trainer(s) will naturally have a preference or give more importance to specific aspects. Again, there’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s something to bear in mind.
My training for example was very focussed on personal development and overcoming trauma, but I’ve seen other training with an extreme focus on anatomy. Choose what suits you and the people you want to teach!

One possibility that is increasing in popularity: have you considered doing it online? Why or why not?

Online training is becoming more and more popular. Especially during a pandemic, these provide you with everything you need from the comfort of your own home. Again, this type of training needs to comply with the requirements and normally involves a lot of Zoom meetings so that it  meets your contact hours (see next paragraph). But it’s understandable that, especially for your first training, you wish to do it in person. Consider your options and go with what suits your needs best. 

 

Do I need to be registered with Yoga Alliance?

No, but it’s highly recommended. You do need to be registered with YA before you teach in some studios or participate in certain events. There are studios and other opportunities that ask for your registration after graduation before you can teach with/for them. Students have also asked me if I was registered before joining my classes. However, it’s not obligatory and I do know of very well respected schools that aren’t registered with them, for example the Ekhart Yoga Academy.

According to Yoga Alliance, which is a professional organisation for yoga teachers, a certain amount of hours should be spent on certain concepts and therefore should always be included in your training before becoming  a qualified teacher. They have an extensive list of things they require which you can find here. Most teacher training does include them anyway and most are registered with Yoga Alliance as a school which, in return, allows you to register your training with Yoga Alliance too.

If you wish to register your certification with Yoga Alliance after your training, look for a sentence along these lines: ‘includes 200-hour Yoga Alliance certification’. If you want to double check, visit the Yoga Alliance website and go to ‘schools’ to see if they are registered with them. 

Yoga Alliance is a very supportive and communicative organisation, so if you are ever unsure, simply send them an email and they can give you more clarity on these requirements.  

 

I hope this blog helped you find some clarity on choosing your yoga teacher training! In this episode I’ll give further explanation! Also, stay tuned for our upcoming blogs on how to prepare for yoga teacher training, and finding support afterwards! 

In the meantime, register for the 5-Day Challenge: Teach Yoga in English to get a feel for what a teacher training could be like or as an opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in the key areas that many teachers in training need more support with before, during and after their training.