How To Choose Yoga Teacher Training?

You may want to learn yoga to teach it full time or just to understand yourself better. There’s no better way to get a complete understanding of this ancient art form than to get certified as a yoga teacher. But not all yoga teacher training courses are built alike. Some can be outright scams.

To choose a yoga teacher training, you should be clear whether you’re learning for yourself or taking it up as a career. You should then figure out your learning style, ask various providers whether they accommodate your preferred style and objectives.

In this article, you’ll learn the different steps involved in figuring out the right yoga teacher training, including how to:

  • Get a clear understanding of what you want out of the training.
  • Figure out your learning style and corresponding training methods
  • Set your budget and eliminate training outside of it
  • Research education providers in depth before finalizing.

Be Clear About Your Objective

Hundreds of thousands of people choose in-person yoga teacher training every year, and many more take some form of teacher training online. To know which type is best for you and the course that will satisfy you, you have to be clear about what you want out of the training.

You may want multiple benefits from the training, and that’s okay. You should still single out one benefit that you value above and use that as the guiding metric in gauging different yoga teacher training propositions. Here are a few things you might want out of your training.

A Yoga Teaching Career

If the chief aim of taking this training is to become a yoga instructor yourself, you should look for training programs that involve post-completion support, have a high barrier-to-entry, and past success stories. Post-completion support can come in various forms.

For instance, you may get a membership to The Yoga Alliance, where you can network and even get referrals for your practice. Yoga teachers who have to move for personal reasons and want to leave their clients in good hands would refer them to other instructors in their region provided they’re previously acquainted. That’s why networking with your peers is essential.

Post-completion support can also come in the form of career services. While not many yoga teacher training programs offer direct placement services, many education businesses are aligned with yoga studios worldwide. You may ask the sales department of your yoga teacher training business if they assist in placements if you wish to teach yoga at an established institute.

If you wish to set-up your practice, you’ll need to determine whether they can refer clients. This is quite unlikely, so you shouldn’t use it as a prerequisite. Instead, asking about their previous success stories would be a better way to gauge whether they are the right fit for you.

Here are some of the questions to ask a training provider before signing up:

  • What percentage of your students take up yoga teaching as a job?
  • What support do you provide with your graduates’ yoga teaching career?
  • Have you hired one of your past students?

Improved Yoga Practice

Not everyone who takes yoga teacher training takes it to become a teacher. A significant portion of students takes it just to get the expertise for themselves. It is only reasonable to think that you’ll not need a yoga instructor if you know how to teach yoga.

If this is your rationale, it doesn’t mean you should get sub-par training. But you shouldn’t overspend for a training that has a bulk of its value in support services post-completion. If you’re paying $3,000, of which $1,200 goes to pay for career-services and networking costs, you’re only getting $1,800 in value.

You’ll generally want to take a course that runs the longest (highest number of hours) with little to no post-completion services. Furthermore, you may want to get a copy of the program to revisit when you’re practicing solo later. That said, you should avoid taking such courses remotely because you’re already eliminating human instruction in the future.

Therefore, you should build your foundation in the presence of instructors with deep experience.

Here are some of the questions to ask the training provider before signing up:

  • Do you provide video material for later use?
  • How many of your students return to retake the course?
  • What percentage of your students take the course for their practice?

A Break From Routine

You may also want to take a break from your regular work and life routine. If that’s your highest priority, then you have to gauge training providers as tourist destinations. In that, you should see how good the place is, its interior design, the surrounding environment, and the climate.

You should opt for a retreat that runs the longest (in days – not hours). For instance, if you’re all about a long break, a 200-hour training done in 20 days isn’t as lucrative as 100-hour training conducted across three months. and is in a place far enough away from where you live.

You can do this domestically, but it is advisable to do so abroad because aside from the flight ticket, almost everything is likely cheaper in an eastern country. If you’re not reading this in the USA, you can simply compare the cost of living on Numbeo between the countries where such training courses are hosted (including your own).

Checking out TripAdvisor and other tourist-advice boards is also a good idea. Not only will you learn more about the possible tourist attractions around the place, but you may also find reviews from the perspective of others who took the training as a retreat.

Here are some of the questions to ask the training provider before signing up

  • What percentage of your students take this as a retreat?
  • Are there any guided activities or community-integrated education?
  • How many hours in the day are dedicated to yoga training?

Meeting New People

Finally, you may want to join a retreat with the sole purpose of networking with other fitness-enthusiasts. People who take yoga classes are high in openness and have positive personalities. Making friends on a yoga teacher training can be rewarding and will invite positive influence into your life.

If you feel like people around you are perpetually pessimistic, rip your dreams, and continuously talk you down, taking a yoga teacher training can be an immediate environment swap. This can help you connect with people focused on improving themselves, changing their careers, and helping others. This is often a high priority for most people taking in-person yoga teacher training. It is, however, not likely that it is anyone’s sole priority.

Here are some of the questions to ask the training provider before signing up:

  • Do you have networking sessions?
  • What is the group size per session?
  • How much of your curriculum is focused on teamwork?

Reflect on Your Learning Style

Once you’ve decided on your priorities and shortlisted the training providers that fit your needs, you must reflect on your learning style. Everyone is not built alike. Some learn better experientially; others are visual learners or kinesthetic learners. In this section, you’ll learn how to identify your learning style and choose a yoga teacher training accordingly.

Visual Learner

Think about a recent problem you had that you overcame by learning something. It could be anything from having a tire changed to making your bed. How did you learn the solution? Did you learn it from a friend or YouTube? If you watched a Youtube tutorial because you had no other option, that doesn’t count. But if you prefer learning via video instead of in-person, you should take your yoga teacher training remotely.

Visual learners usually like to take courses online and avoid going to in-person sessions. What might be leisure for others is just an unnecessary step for them. And if that describes you, we would advise you to get in touch with a training provider that facilitates two-way video.

If you take a course where you only get access to pre-recorded video, you might be using lousy form while following along, and no one would be able to correct you. Since yoga involves asanas that stretch delicate muscles and even your spine, this can be quite dangerous. Remote learning where the educator can see you as you try to follow the steps is relatively safer.

In case you like to learn visually but are extroverted enough to value proximity to other people, it is advisable to join a training that involves large groups. Even if you’re in the presence of instructors and peers, you’re still visually following with the instructor you’re modeling.

Kinesthetic Learner

This is the learning style that best fits yoga enthusiasts as it is highly physical. If something around the house stops working and your response is to try and fix it right away, you’re more of an experiential learner.

For this, you should be careful not to choose a yoga teacher training that has large groups. Generally, yoga teacher training is conducted in small groups, even if the intake is large. It still helps to check with the provider. Simply ask them, “what is the largest group size for your sessions?”

Auditory Learner

Yoga teacher training providers rarely accommodate this style of learning. If this is your primary learning method, you should prioritize training providers who cater to small groups. They’re more likely to give verbal instructions upon hearing your preference. A more practical solution would be to hire an instructor to teach you in solo sessions. This, however, can be quite expensive.

Social Learners

It goes without saying that a social learner is better off learning in a group setting. But how big should the group be? According to research on group learning and its effectiveness, the ideal group size for optimal education ranges from 5 to 7. Calling potential yoga teacher training providers and asking them if they have breakout groups of this size can help you further narrow down your shortlist.

Consider Your Budget

Most people start looking for yoga teacher training by deciding their budget first. This might be the conventional route but is also bound to cause disappointments. Your sole reason for going with a Yoga Teacher Training shouldn’t be that it fits in your budget. That’s why we started with your priorities and narrowed down the options before passing them through a filter of your learning needs.

Once you know what you want, you can consider your budget. And if training courses don’t fall within your budget, you shouldn’t lower your standards but must save up longer to get the quality training that pays off. With that said, we understand that people often set up a budget based on their disposable income or a random guess of what the training must cost.

Let’s use this opportunity to set your expectations around a realistic figure. While remote Yoga Teacher Training is available for less than $900, quality yoga teacher training programs cost $1,000 minimum. Most courses will require $2000+ with high-end ones touching the $3,000 mark.

We have an entire piece dedicated to explaining why yoga teacher training is so expensive. Here, we’d like to discuss different price-points you can consider based on your needs.

  • If you’re going for yoga teacher training as a way to take a break from your routine, go for a retreat-based education opportunity that costs anywhere between $1500 and $2000.
  • If you want to learn for your own practice, $1000 training should suffice.
  • If you wish to learn yoga teaching to pursue it professionally, be prepared to pay $3,000.

Use a mix of money-saving strategies and reach into your holiday savings bucket to get your money together. By now, you’ll be able to come to a single option. If you still have multiple teacher training providers, you can run them through the steps below for further quality assessment.

Research the Training Provider

By now, you have anywhere between one to four names on your list. Very few yoga teacher training courses fit the strict criteria set above. When you reach this stage, you’ll need to research each of the options on your list in depth.

Is the Training Provider the Yoga Alliance Affiliated?

Yoga is a broad subject with enough free material around that dilettantes can flood the market. When you’re trusting someone with your money and time to learn the craft, you must be sure that they’ll provide quality training and not diluted advice and bad practices.

The Yoga Alliance plays a sort of quality assurance role by accepting only a specific standard of instruction. If a yoga teacher training is affiliated with The Yoga Alliance, you can be sure that their syllabus is up to an industry leader’s ideals.

How Is Their Online Reputation?

While some people develop a spontaneous interest in yoga teacher training, most encounter the idea thanks to online advertising. When you come across an ad, you can immediately check the comments under it, provided it is being delivered on a social media platform. But instead of buying into the engagement that can be faked, you should get more intentional with your research.

Look for reviews on platforms they do not control. Client testimonials don’t paint the whole picture when the service provider curates them; the training business is unlikely to share the comments of its disgruntled customers. Fortunately, Google doesn’t allow such editing.

Simply googling your prospective training establishment will bring up reviews left by their customers. Do not get distracted by the first few reviews. It’s possible to influence which reviews show up at the top by paying people to leave a disproportionate amount of positive reviews.

Typically, these positive reviews are published very close to each other. If you notice this, you can simply filter by critical reviews and see the problems people have faced with the business.

How Long Have They Been in Business?

Do not get your training from a business that doesn’t have a demonstrable history of success. It might sound cruel to new training businesses, but it isn’t your duty to be the test subject to their recent proposition. Instead, you should go for a well-established training provider. There are several benefits to this.

Big War Chest Equals an Abundance of Quality

If a yoga teacher training business has been in the market long enough, it doesn’t depend on advances and prepayment to make ends meet. This means that even if a few students drop out or a trainer bails last minute, they have sufficient funds to fix the problem in the short-term.

You don’t just invest your cash when you’re getting your yoga teacher training; you also block out time and move things around in your schedule and your bucket list to accommodate the training opportunity. If you make the mistake of going with a novice business, you’ll still be paying significantly while risking the program falling apart. The only exception to this would be The Yoga Alliance affiliated breakout businesses.

Learned From Disappointments

All businesses disappoint customers at one point or another. Usually, this learning curve gets shortened by business interests making the bulk of disappointment an early phenomenon. In other words, a business that has been in the market long enough has already learned from the mistakes it made disappointing initial customers.

When you become an early adopter for a yoga teacher training business, you’re signing up to be one of those customers. The business may very well learn from its mistakes, but you’ll have completed your training with a negative experience by then.

Who Are the Instructors?

Lack of instructor information is a red flag so big it dwarves every other precaution in this article. As mentioned earlier, yoga teaching is quite lucrative, with information loosely guarded. This attracts opportunists from all over the world.

At best, they’re in it for the money; at worst, sexual harassment and unsolicited seduction are involved. That’s why you should make sure to only sign up for training via portals that give complete information regarding their instructors.

Your instructor is someone you’re going to spend more than 150 hours with. That’s a lot of time, and you should be comfortable with the person and must be willing to trust them. If you have a history with the opposite sex, you can ask for a same-sex educator, but only if the training provider has men and women trainers. It is good to go through the instructors’ page of the institute, academy, or school in which you’ll get your training.

Here, small businesses have more of an edge over larger ones because you get to talk to your instructors via skype or Zoom before making your decision. That said, you shouldn’t settle for half of the training being delivered remotely if you are paying for in-person training.

What Is the School’s Approach to Anatomy?

There is one fundamental way in which yoga teacher training differs from yoga training: knowledge of anatomy. As mentioned in our piece about yoga teacher training’s pricing, a significant portion of the training fee goes towards paying for anatomy experts to educate the group on yoga’s biophysics. If this is absent in a training provider’s syllabus, yet they’re charging over $1,000; they’re overcharging you.

If less than 5% of the education is focused on anatomy, you should pass on the opportunity and look at a different option. Insist on finding a yoga teacher training that has 10 to 25% of their syllabus around anatomy.

Embark on the Journey

Once a yoga teacher training school has passed the above requirements and criteria, you can go for it. Even if two or three schools are left on your shortlist at this stage, you can choose any and get the same minimum level of satisfaction. It is important not to get carried away in your analysis of options. At some point, you have to decide and leap into action. The above steps will filter out the options that would’ve disappointed you.

Comparisons to Consider

The article so far helps students figure out how to decide between options but what if you don’t have any options in mind? In that case, we recommend visiting the following link, which opens up The Yoga Alliance directory. Here, you can enter the region and the level of training you wish to seek.

You’ll get to decide between 200 to 500-hour options, including continuing education opportunities. Furthermore, you can determine what country you’d like to get your yoga teacher training in.

In this section, we compare multiple time options and potential countries you can get your training in. Our goal is to help you figure out your ideal hour requirements and the country that fits your needs (which you gained clarity on in the earlier sections).

Top Regions for Yoga Teacher Training

While yoga teacher training schools are popping up in many countries, making it possible to learn domestically, most people still prefer to travel to reliable hubs for yoga teacher education. Here are some of the regions you can expect to receive your yoga teacher training in.

India

India is the birthplace of yoga and hence has the most yoga teaching establishments. However, not all of them are aligned with reputable names like The Yoga Alliance.

There’s an air of inherent credibility that comes with being an Indian trainer. Please do not lower your guard just because the educator happens to be from the region where the art emerged. Always look for affiliation and coaching history before signing up with an education provider.

That said, India is a beautiful country with a diversity of seasons and a lush environment. Your retreat will likely be in a mountainous region with rural beauty surrounding a spacious learning space.

Some schools offer commutes to and back from separate living quarters or hotels, but since real estate is relatively cheaper, most schools will have a living quarter for students. Make sure to ask whether the yoga teacher training you’re opting for is delivered in a live-in school, or you’ll need to book one.

Recommended in India: If you wish to travel to India for three weeks or more, the 200-hour Vinyasa Flow & Ashtanga Teacher Training might be ideal for you. It required only a few hundred dollars as a deposit and is The Yoga Alliance approved training spanning 200 hours.

Three weeks is long enough to constitute a break from routine without requiring you to abandon your job. Since the training goes on throughout the year, you can pick the three weeks that suit you. Consider the weather and your day job when making this choice.

At a standard yoga teacher training price, this service includes education, accommodation, and even food. Vegan and vegetarian options are facilitated, and you get access to high-speed WiFi. Recording and posting your journey on social media becomes a lot easier!

Ubud, Bali

If you’re familiar with foreign retirement, budget partying, and long-stay tourism, you have heard of Bali. It is the party capital of Asia. What makes it lucrative is a lax happy-go-lucky attitude of the residents and a low cost of living.

Ubud is a beautiful serene town within Bali that has become the meditation capital of foreign tourism. Many yoga teacher training schools have popped up in Ubu, and just using the place as a keyword in The Yoga Alliance directory will prove as much.

Recommended in Ubud, Bali: If you can take 21 Days in Bali to pursue your yoga teaching education, we advise considering the 200-hour Bali Bliss Yoga Teacher Training. It is almost twice as expensive as India, but you’ll get a diverse curriculum covering four cycles with a more holistic approach. All meals, accommodation, and yoga props are included in this training package.

Mexico

Finally, the closest option to the US is Mexico, which shares a border with the country—while relatively cheaper in living costs, getting your yoga teacher training in the country can be almost as expensive as getting it in the USA. In terms of curriculum, most training courses are on the same level as those delivered in Ubud yet come at a higher cost.

Even though it is popular, there is little logic behind preferring a school in Mexico over India and Bali. The money you save in flying expenses gets spent on the training markup anyway.

Therefore, you should go to Mexico only if you specifically want to be in the country and not for budget reasons.

Recommended in Mexico: If you don’t prioritize pricing and prefer to travel closer to home, you should take the 19 Day long (spanning 200 hours) Hatha & Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training. Like all our recommendations, this too is The Yoga Alliance Accredited.

We’ve selected this because, unlike other schools in Mexico, the pricing here is quite reasonable, even compared to the schools in India. However, it does not include food and accommodation, so you should be prepared to book your hotel or Airbnb near the retreat.

Comparing Different Durations

Once you’ve decided on a country, you have to figure out the amount of time you want to take learning. Going by The Yoga Alliance’s time-fixed training accreditations, one can consider 200 hours, 300 hours, and 500 hours options. Here’s a quick comparison.

  • Take 200-hour training if you: want to learn yoga for yourself and educate others part-time. This duration is sufficient to grant you enough expertise in a single yoga style with attention to various aspects, including meditation and anatomy.
  • Take 300-hour training if you: want to pursue yoga teaching as a career. You’ll learn enough about different disciplines that you can open your own yoga studio and provide authoritative instruction.
  • Take 500-hour training if you: wish to teach yoga at some point in your career. You’ll, of course, need significant experience under your belt before you can have your own yoga teacher training, but this time commitment will lay a strong enough foundation for your success.

Final Thoughts

Yoga teacher training is a significant commitment. To get a high-quality education, you must do your research. To recap the article, here are the steps you should take.

  1. Understand what you want out of the training
  2. Know your learning style and education-format that matches
  3. Be clear about your budget and consider training within it.
  4. Find out more about your shortlisted training courses and pick ones with the best reputation.

Sources

Sita

Mother of three and Yogi of 20+ years and 200 Hour Certified Yoga Teacher. I am also a Certified Thai massage therapist and I have taught Gymnastics for more than 10 years. In the last couple of years, I've been a big promotor of intermittent fasting.

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