Are you thinking of doing a yoga teacher training (YTT)? Congrats! You’re going to learn a lot. However, choosing a YTT can be quite hard. There are just so many out there. I’ve had many questions from different readers asking me how I chose my yoga teacher training. Here’s a Q&A on everything you need to know on how to choose a yoga teacher training. Please feel free to comment on them below.[updated 2020]
Q: What kind of yoga teacher training did you do?
A: I did the Santosha Yoga Teacher Training in Bali, run by former pro-surfer Sunny Richards. The YTT focuses on Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Krama, Iyengar, and teaching yoga in a safe way. Lots of anatomy lessons (including The Key Muscles of Yoga & The Key Poses of Yoga), correct alignment, meditation, and spiritual development. I am still so happy and grateful that I did a YTT, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.
Q: Is it important that a school is registered with Yoga Alliance (RYS)?
A: To me, not really. But I did want a YTT that has a high standard of teaching, that has been checked and internationally accepted. The Yoga Alliance is the biggest player in the yoga scene, but it doesn’t mean that a YTT that isn’t registered with YA is bad. With a YA registered YTT, you can register as a RYT200 (or 500) though, which will probably help you to get a teaching job easier.
Q: How many students does the YTT have?
A: Mine had about 25 students. Almost all women (and one awesome dude). To me, that was perfect. I would not have liked being in a group of 50 students, fighting over attention or feedback from the teacher. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have liked being in a group of 4 people either. A bigger group offers more different personalities, which makes it more interesting (I think).
Tip: Check what the maximum capacity of their class is and see how many students they normally have.
Q: What kind of yoga style should the YTT teach?
A: There are YTTs that focus on one style, such as Vinyasa Flow or Power Yoga. I’m sure they’re fun, but I wanted to have a more traditional training in Hatha. A training that goes back to the origins of yoga, so you understand where all the different styles of today come from. I guess it depends on what you like, on what you want to teach and learn more about.
Q: What should a yoga teacher training cost?
A: Mine was about 1900 USD. I think that’s a fair price, considering it’s a RYS 200-hour training. We got our paper manuals, and a lot of course material was digital (which was perfect for me as I was traveling for a long time). I did mine in Bali, but basic YTTs in my home country (the Netherlands) cost the same. I arranged my own accommodation. Of course, there are way more expensive courses: $4000 and up. They better put you in a 5-star luxury resort for that.
Tip: Check what you are paying for.
Q: How long does a yoga teacher training take?
A: Doing a 200hrs YTT fulltime will take about 4 weeks. You study 6 days in a row, with 1 day off in between (so you get 3 days off). It is hard work; it starts at 6 AM and finishes around 7 or 8 PM. You have to do homework at night or on your day off.
Tip: If you can’t take a month off, you can do it parttime.
Q: How much yoga experience should I have?
A: You should at least have some experience (one year or so at least), otherwise it’s just too hard to comprehend what the teachers are talking about. It’s not about how flexible you are, it’s about the language and the terminology.
Q: What should the course curriculum focus on?
A: To me, it was important to find a YTT with the right balance of anatomy/the physical side and the spiritual side. In general, my training had approx. one-third anatomy, one-third asana’s & pranayama, one-third meditation. The anatomy part really stood out for me, though. That taught me so much about safety – it changed the way I saw yoga. My whole training did, actually.
Q: How do you get a job after graduating? And is it possible to travel and teach yoga?
A: One of the best ways to start teaching is to practice on friends, family, and complete strangers. Once you feel confident enough, you can ask around if you can substitute for a teacher (who’s sick or on vacation, or otherwise preoccupied).
Tip: Traveling and teaching yoga go really well together. Central America, for example, is a paradise for yoga practitioners and aspiring teachers.
Q: How do I know if they are understanding and supportive of my issues?
A: Ask them your questions via email. No matter how many questions you have, if they’re not friendly, supportive and helpful over email, would you want to study with them? Communication is important and it starts with their answers to your first questions.
Whether you are going to do a YTT just for yourself or to teach others, you are definitely going to get richer from it!
Do you have any other questions (or answers for that matter)? I’d love to see them in the comments.
PS If you want to dive deeper into meditation and mindfulness, check out my 10 easy mindfulness exercises.