Our yoga journey is a very individual experience transpiring within a community practice, or at least that’s our perception. You may find in discussion with other yogis similarities to your internal practice, reactions and questions. This is certainly true when it comes to choosing a yoga teacher training! We may all have a very unique experience, but we often have the same curiosities and questions ahead of the training itself. To help you make the right decision for your yoga teacher training experience, here are some questions I frequently get asked and the best answer I can supply without knowing you and your context individually.
Is my yoga practice advanced enough to do a yoga teacher training?
Although I have had students with very little experience ahead of their training, it’s best to have a regular yoga practice ahead of your yoga teacher training. The more experience you have, the more information you have to apply to what you learn. When yogis have very little yoga experience ahead of doing their training, they may need to apply the learning of their Yoga Teacher Training to a regular practice before they begin teaching to amass experience.
However, you certainly do not need a certain level of physical ability to do a Yoga Teacher Training. For example, many yoga teachers cannot do a headstand and they teach excellent classes! A Yoga Teacher Training will radically change how you practice yoga and you will see great leaps forward in the effectiveness of your personal practice. If practicing headstands or other advanced postures is of interest to you, the course will give you the tools to chart the course to getting there.
If you had a specific concern about your personal ability to participate in the practice portion of yoga class in training, that is a good question for you to discuss with us. Otherwise, a regular yoga practice, a desire to learn and an open mind is all you need to participate in training.
How much practice is there going to be?
Some teacher trainings are about developing your own personal practice and you spend a lot of time on your yoga mat. Other trainings are more focused on the philosophy and theory of yoga, and you’ll spend a lot of time sitting!
A blend of both is ideal, because it offers you a balanced approach to what is a very multi-faceted system. In a balanced training you will cover philosophy, theory, and anatomy, which require lots of sitting and listening, but you willl also do a lot of personal practice, hands-on enhancements, and posture clinics, which are much more physical. Some days you’ll be tired from sitting, some days you’ll be tired from practice. It’s part of the journey! (And we have RMT’s we recommend in case you need a good back rub, and a warm soak at night with Epsom salts will help, too.)
Should I go away on retreat or do a program with my local studio?
It depends on what you want! Yoga retreat trainings can be a lovely way to enjoy a break from daily life and go somewhere warm to immerse yourself in training. Some people really like to roll vacation into their training, but you do lose the opportunity to really absorb the material because the intensive format offers little to no downtime.
A question to ask yourself is if a student/teacher relationship is important to you. Retreat-based teachers may have too many students to develop a relationship with you and this style of training tends to be transient in nature. If you’re looking for someone you can reach out to or ask for advice in the future, training with someone who sees the student-teacher relationship as an ongoing practice will be best for you.
Especially if you want to cultivate teaching opportunities, it’s best to practice with someone who knows the community and network you’d be trying to work in. Your teacher can help make suggestions about approaches to teaching that would best suit your skill set, and guide you in the right direction when you’re approaching studios.
What costs go into the yoga teacher training tuition?
This will vary training by training. If there’s a retreat included in the course, that’s a big cost, but there’s space, insurance, teacher income, administration costs, printing costs for manuals, supporting resources and supplies, books, and guest instructors.
At PranaShanti, we are registered with HRSDC, which means we’ll provide you with a tuition tax receipt that allows you to claim the tuition fee on your annual income taxes.
Does my yoga teacher training need to be Yoga Alliance registered?
Yoga Alliance is an organization that provides regulation to Registered Yoga Schools (RYS) and Registered Yoga Teachers (RYTs). To register a teacher training, the school submits an overview of their curriculum, along with annual fees, to demonstrate that it meets Yoga Alliance’s standards for curriculum content and study hours. PranaShanti is a registered Yoga School with Yoga Alliance for 200 and 300 hour training programs.
At the end of the training, you can choose to submit the certificate you receive from your teacher training, pay a registration fee, and become a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT).
You don’t need to be registered with Yoga Alliance to teach yoga, and participation in the regulatory system is voluntary for both studios and instructors.
Is this training only relevant to people who want to teach?
Not even a bit. Yoga teacher training is the only course you might ever take that asks you about you. What are your hopes, dreams, goals, ethics, and plans? How do you want to live your life? Yoga offers a framework to help you ask some big questions about the world you live in. It offers tools and skills to help you show up in a more confident, peaceful way in your life.
When you take a drop-in yoga class, your teacher is offering just the tip of the iceberg of information and philosophy available to them! The rest of the iceberg is revealed when you take this next step in your yoga journey, no matter what you choose to do with it.
Kathryn Anne Flynn is a yoga teacher living in Ottawa, Canada, and teaching wherever people want to experience happier, healthier lives through yoga. She is very grateful to teach at PranaShanti Yoga Centre and share what she knows as lead trainer of the Summer Yoga Teacher Training 200 Hour program. You can find her at intelligent edge yoga.