This is one of the most common questions I get asked, so instead of recounting my answer 100 times on social media, I figured I’d devote a whole blog post to the topic!
Choosing a yoga teacher training feels like an extremely important decision, and to some extent, it is. But when weighed against almost anything else in the world, it simply isn’t! Don’t overthink this decision too much because in the end, you want to learn more about yoga and be qualified to teach on some level, and almost any training will accomplish these things. So take the pressure off! 😉
There’s a few key things you should think about before diving in, so, in my opinion, here’s how to pick the training of your dreams.
1.) Train with a teacher you love. I think this is of utmost importance because not only will you be spending a lot of time with whoever you train with, but you’ll likely emerge from training with a lot of their same teaching qualities. It’s only natural to mirror our teachers, especially in the beginning of our teaching journey, so don’t be surprised if you end up using similar phrasing or hand gestures. So, do YOU personally like the way they teach? Does it inspire you? Is it clear and helpful? Is it authentic or overly manufactured? You should be happy to inherit some of their qualities and even happier to spend time with them throughout your training, so make sure you really enjoy the teacher leading it.
2.) Can you afford it? You can spend anywhere between $1,000 and $15,000 on a training, and while I personally can’t imagine how much more value you could possibly get for that much money, many people stretch their finances to make it happen. Don’t fall in to this trap. If you can’t do it now, don’t stress. Just skip your expensive coffee runs and eat dinner at home for date night so you can save those extra dollars for the next time a training comes around for you… and it WILL! I promise, okay? 😉 There’s no nobility in being broke and in debt, even if it is in the name of doing something as humble as teaching yoga. Base your decision on when you CAN do it not just when you WANT to do it. Harsh, but true! To see more ways to save, you can check out this post from a couple weeks back. (Another tip on this: many trainings allow you to pay in installments, which tend to be much more manageable.)
3.) Ultimately, the amount you learn is entirely in your hands. Yoga Teacher Training will get the basics under your belt, but take it from me: 90% of what I teach and what I know about human anatomy, yoga history, sequencing, and communication was all acquired through my own pursuits OUTSIDE of any training. This is not to say that YTT’s aren’t valuable, because they are. You’ll learn SO much and bond immensely with your teacher and with the group you study with, so I definitely think it’s worth it. But, remember: ultimately, you are your own best resource, so don’t think that you can’t learn anything without spending a fortune because it’s simply not true.
4.) Should it be Yoga Alliance certified? I’m torn on this. I personally don’t think there’s inherent value in a YA stamp of approval, but many studios will disagree with me. If you desperately want to teach in studios, they’ll probably require you to have those coveted letters “RYT” at the end of your name. Just because a training is YA verified does NOT mean that it will give you a better learning experience than another one. Kind of like a standardized test and how it’s not necessarily an accurate measure of intelligence, YA is not the only measure of a teacher’s or studio’s qualifications.
BONUS! 5.) Know WHY you’re doing it. There’s no single “right” answer for why you want to attend a YTT, but in any case, you should know your own reason. Is it because you want to expand your own personal practice or eventually teach? Go in with clear, specific goals so you can focus on the elements you want and need the most.
As for me? I didn’t train with anyone famous, I didn’t travel half way across the world for a “deeper experience,” and I wasn’t anywhere near as qualified at the beginning as I feel I am now. I was way too young (but eager!), I trained with a local teacher in my city, and I had no clue what I was getting in to! Remember that it’s a journey… a long one, but a fulfilling, exciting, and awesome one. So if you do decide to take the leap in to a yoga teacher training, know that it’s for the long haul; there’s no rush to do it all and be it all right away.