Yoga teacher trainings do a lot of good. Mine was amazing. However there are people out there just looking to make a buck or to keep their yoga studio from going under. Your well being & success was the last thing on their mind when they put it together. They cut corners and will provide you with a sub par education and leave you $2500 in debt.
An ugly truth about teacher trainings is that, the The Yoga Alliance is unorganized and does not check the documentation being submited. Anyone, and I mean anyone, can have a yoga teacher training. The only way you can be insured a good program is to ask the right questions. The fact that they are registered with the Yoga Alliance means NOTHING expect they are good at sending in documents & following directions.
Here are some things to consider when choosing your program.
1. They can only teach you to be as good as them. Take a look at their practice, their business, their classes, their studio,class attendance, their life and see if that is what you want for yourself. A student can definitely grow beyond their teacher's knowledge but these are the people who are going to give you your starting place and you need a good one.
You want a teacher trainer who has went through the fire and came out on top. If they are still going through the fire themselves, they cannot train you on how to get through it because they themselves do not know how. You are not looking for perfection, however, they cannot teach you anything about success if they are not successful themselves. It is like me trying to teach you how to succeffully raise a teenager, when my daughter is only eleven. It is all theory at this point. You need the facts on success not the theory.
Questions to ask:
- How many days a week do you practice? They cannot teach you anything about dedication if they themselves are not dedicated.
- How long have you practiced yoga? This is also a dedication question.
- How long have you been a teacher? Teaching yoga is different from practicing yoga. There are people with beautiful practices that cannot teach. There are people who cannot touch their toes but they are awesome teachers. You want to know how long have they had to hone their craft.
- What style do you practice? The teacher training is going to be heavily influenced by this style. If someone gives you two styles, say Ashtanga and Power, & it is a Power Vinyasa training, that training is going to be Vinyasa with a heavy does of Ashtanga.
- Who are your teachers/who are you influenced by? Again, this means that the training is going to be heavily influenced by these teacher's styles.
Things to see with your own eyes:
- Their practice. You are not looking for perfection but it gives you an idea of what they can teach you and what you can teach your students. If they are an older teacher, they will have a legacy of a strong practice which would be easy to discover by talking to the teacher's students.
- Them teach a class or several-They are going to train you to teach like them. If you don't like their teaching style, choose someone else. If you like their style but it is not one you are interested in teaching, then choose another training.
- How they run their business-They are teaching you about success. If their staff is disgruntled, they have a high turnover, the studio is close to closing their doors every 6 months, policies are inconsistent, or the studio just feels icky when you walk in, don't study with them. If they don't have a studio of their own, ask them why. If their answer hints at the fact that they are running from something, was unsuccessful at having a career in studios, their yoga is very obscure and unmarketable than seriously think about how they can help you be successful. They probably can't. Many people chose not to work in studios because they want to be their own boss, they love traveling, or they don't want studio overhead. Those are good answers.
- Class attendance- I understand there are a lot of obscure yoga teachers out there with a hand full of students who will change your life. If you practice with that person, you should train with them because you obviously click with them. If you are choosing a teacher training & you are not currently working with a teacher who gives them, you have to look for obvious outward signs of success. A full class does not mean that the person is an awesome teacher, this only tells you that the person understands how to draw students in and keep them interested. That is a valuable skill to learn.
2. Make sure the style of yoga they teach is what you want to teach. You will be behind the 8 ball if you study Bikram and then work at a Vinyasa studio.
3. Talk to people who have trained in the program. Don't get a recommendation from them They are going to give you their friends name or the teacher's pet. If you don't know of anyone, go to the Yoga Alliance website, do a search for your city or the city the teacher training is in and then contact the teachers and ask them about their teacher training. When you talk to them, you want to ask:
- Did you feel prepared to teach a yoga class the day you were done? You will be amazed at how many teacher trainings don't actually train you how to teach. One of the newest rackets is making people take an additional workshop to teach them about sequencing or having a second stage of the training to actually get permission to use the name of the yoga style. If you don't ask the right questions, you won't know this until the end because they purposely wait until then to tell you. You should be able to teach a full all levels yoga class the next day.
- Did they teach you about the business side of yoga enough to get started the day you were done? People who don't do this, are avoiding something. Either they had bad experiences in the yoga industry or they have no clue how to run a successful yoga business. Either way, you shouldn't take trainings with them because they cannot teach you how to be successful.
- Were the leaders trustworthy?
- Did it do what it said it would? If the training promises to train you on the Gita, Sutras and the Vedas, then it should do that.
- Were they organized? If they teacher training program was thrown together at the last minute, it will often be totally unorganized. The trainer will change gears often. Steer clear of this training.
- If the training included adjusting, did you feel prepared to adjust the day you were done? If adjusting is important to you, you should have the tools to do it.
- Was it worth what they charged?
4. Make sure the teacher training actually has the authority to certify you in that style. Many forms of yoga like Bikram, Baptiste, Iyengar, Ashtanga,& Para to name a few, have a very systematized way of training and they only give a few schools/people permission to certify teachers. Some schools, like Asthanga, do not give anyone permission to certify at all. You have to go straight to the source.
This is important because, for example, if you do a Baptiste training that has not been recognized by the Baptiste organization as a training school, you can not teach in a real Baptiste Power Yoga Studio & you also cannot use the Baptiste name. If Baptiste is where your heart is and you know this is what you want to do, you wasted $2500 because you will have to train again with the Baptiste organization and pay another $2500. The best way to check this is to go to the official website or give the organization a call.
5. Is it Marketable- You don't want to spend $2500 for yoga that you cannot use. For example, the most popular style of yoga in my town of Charlotte is Vinyasa. If I take a training in Integral Yoga, for example, I will not be very marketable here. If I wanted to blaze a path for Integral yoga and was willing to start small with very few students and potentially open up my own yoga studio, that training would be fine. If I wanted to walk into a Charlotte studio and have a job by next week, that would not be the training to take.
6. You cannot learn how to teach yoga on the internet-If you have questions about this, send me an e-mail. Just trust me. You can't. Run from anyone who says that you can. Run really really fast.
Video of the day: