Before I address the practical steps you will need to take to become a yoga teacher, let’s discuss personal factors that would be helpful to consider before embarking on your teacher training journey...
Commit the Time to Yoga Teacher Training
The basic level yoga teacher training is a 200-hour program. Whether you go with in-person yoga teacher training, opt to do your training online, or choose a hybrid model, 200 hours is the amount of time you will spend in the presence of the lead yoga teacher trainer(s).
These 200 hours do not include other requirements such as:
Research and Studying
Attending and Observing Yoga Classes (outside of yoga teacher training)
Most yoga teacher training programs require some – if not all – of these.
Commit Emotionally to Yoga Teacher Training
A yoga teacher training program is not for the faint of heart. Yoga teacher training holds the potential for tremendous personal growth and is about so much more than physical practice. You will be asked to engage in self-inquiry and self-study for the program duration. By taking a close look at personal characteristics, such as your preferences, habits, beliefs, and thought patterns, you come to know yourself better. This deepens the mind-body connection, helps you understand yourself better, and facilitates the life-long process of accepting yourself for all you are.
Establish a Home Yoga Practice
Regular personal practice is typically required for a quality yoga teacher training program. However, it’s beneficial to have a personal practice in place before you begin your training. This is because practicing on your own is very different from practicing with an instructor. Practicing yoga without the external guidance of an instructor allows you to build a sense of self-agency and self-trust as you connect to your own “inner teacher” while you practice. As the yoga poses (or asanas) become more deeply integrated in your own body through your practice, you’ll have an easier time offering yoga to others.
Consider Yoga Teacher Training Learning Format
The pandemic has impacted the format of yoga teacher training. Before 2020, most training was held in person. They may have had some online content, but students were required to spend the majority of training hours in the physical presence of the lead teacher(s). Now, there are hybrid programs as well as training that are entirely online.
What online teacher training programs provide in convenience, they lack in community and the opportunity to bond with and learn directly from your peers. All bodies are different, and those whose anatomy and experience differ from your own enhance the learning experience. The advantage of being in the physical presence of your lead teachers and learning in person in real-time cannot be overlooked.
Consider the Financial Commitment
Most 200-hour yoga teacher training programs cost approximately $3000-4000. Programs with more experienced teachers and those held in popular metropolitan areas tend to cost more. In addition, all yoga teacher training programs require the purchase of reference books and other texts.
Other factors that may influence your out-of-pocket cost include travel, food, and lodging if the training you select is not local to you.
After acknowledging the personal considerations above, you’re ready to seek a program that fits. It’s time to consider the practical aspects of finding the right Yoga Teacher Training for you.
Determine what style of yoga you would like to teach
If you’ve been taking yoga classes and have a personal practice, you probably have an idea of what type of practice you prefer. Yoga Alliance (the credentialing body for yoga teachers and schools) has core curriculum requirements and approves all curriculums for yoga teacher training programs. However, the way these requirements are approached and taught is up to the discretion of the school and lead teacher(s). In addition, each teacher training program is granted 15 hours to cover elective topics.
According to Yoga Alliance, there are seven types of yoga – Flow Yoga, Alignment-Oriented Yoga, Fitness Yoga, Spiritually-Oriented Yoga, Hot/Heated Yoga, Gentle Yoga, and Specialty Yoga (this would include modalities such as chair yoga, yoga for children, etc.) A yoga teacher training program may focus on one or more of these types within their training.
Search for Schools Offering the Format and Style of Yoga You’re Interested In
For a school to be credentialed, the curriculum must be approved by and registered with Yoga Alliance. In addition, all lead teachers must be registered with Yoga Alliance and in good standing. To find teacher training programs near you, go to the Yoga Alliance school finder and search for credentialed schools offering the style of yoga teacher training you desire and in the format you prefer – in-person, online, or hybrid. If you want to do your training in person, you can search for schools offering training near where you live (or are willing to travel to).
Visit the School’s Website and Gather Information
Look closely at the background, training, and experience of the lead teacher(s) as well as any other faculty. The longer a trainer has been teaching, the greater the wealth of knowledge and wisdom they have to share. Look for those registered with Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT-500, meaning a minimum of 10,000 hours of teaching experience after completing 500 hours of yoga teacher training. Some other actions to take are:
Check the lead teachers’ social media feeds, but remember that more seasoned teachers may not have a big social media presence!
View or request a syllabus so you can look at the topics covered in training.
Look at cost, training format, and dates, and check for any prerequisites the yoga teacher training program has.
Take Classes with the Lead Yoga Teacher(s)
The best way to become familiar with your potential yoga teacher trainer is to take a class or two with them. Get a general feel for how they teach a class and consider the way they cue postures, utilize props, and offer options to make the practice accessible.
Attend a Yoga Teacher Training Information Session
Teacher training programs typically offer free information sessions so you can sample a class, learn about the program and instructors, and ask questions. (Click here to contact Karin about 2023 Soma Yoga Teacher Training.)
Talk with the Lead Yoga Teacher(s)
Call and have a conversation with the lead teacher(s). This is another opportunity to see how well you resonate with the trainer(s) and to get answers to any additional questions you may have. You want to make sure the yoga teacher training program is a good fit for you, so try to gather as much information as you can to make an informed decision. If needed, inquire about payment plans and available scholarships.
Register for Yoga Teacher Training
Once you have taken time to contemplate which yoga teacher training is right for you, it’s time to register. Each school will have its registration process. You may have to fill out an application and await approval before registering formally with a down payment. Many schools offer a discount for registering early and paying in full.
You may have to contact the school to inquire about applying for a scholarship or to arrange a payment plan if one is available.
Get Ready and Enjoy the Ride!
Even if you never actually intend to teach yoga to others, becoming a yoga teacher is an incredible, life-changing journey. You will connect with new people, acquire new knowledge and skills, and learn much about yourself.
Click here to learn more about the upcoming 2023 200-Hour Soma Yoga Teacher Training with Karin Weinstein and Bobbie Ellis.