Choosing a Yoga Teacher Training Program
(Stephanie with her teacher, Sandra Carden E-RYT 500, at teacher training graduation.)
The question has come up several times recently.
How do I choose a yoga teacher training program?
While most go to teacher training to become yoga teachers, this is not always the case. Some go simply to learn about yoga and further their practice and understanding. But as a yoga teacher, it is vital that you get a comprehensive education with a master teacher.
When I was looking for a program, I spent many hours researching and finding just what fit for me. I was fortunate to find such an amazing program and teacher just an hour away from where I live. Many people have to travel great distances for the right program. Some things to consider and questions to ask when “shopping” for a teacher training program…
Who is the teacher?
Do you know him/her personally, or can someone you know and trust recommend him/her. How long has this person been practicing yoga? How long has he/she been teaching yoga and teaching teachers? This might be the most important aspect. Time and experience are the greatest teachers. You can read about yoga, you can go to as many teacher trainings as possible, but until you have put in the time, you are not a master. There is a certain wisdom and humility that comes with time and experience. These qualities cannot be substituted. The teacher is the one who has gone before you on the path. If this person has not been there yet, he/she cannot guide you there. You will be trailblazing together, not an ideal situation. Look for a teacher who has been practicing, living and teaching yoga for several YEARS.
What is the program curriculum?
Hopefully, if you are considering yoga teacher training, you recognize that yoga is more than just exercise. There is a rich history and philosophy to yoga that dates back thousands of years. A comprehensive curriculum includes:
History and Philosophy of Yoga
Anatomy and Physiology
Asana, Pranayama, Meditation, Chant
Types of Yoga
Esoteric Anatomy and Physiology
Business principles and ethics
The Sutra of Patanjali
Assists, adjustments, and modifications of asana
Class structure, teaching methodology and experience teaching
Is the Program Licensed by the State of Michigan?
Although the State of Michigan does not currently require yoga teachers to be certified, it does require teacher training schools to be licensed. When the time comes that yoga teachers are required to be certified, they will most likely need to be certified from a licensed school. Currently, the State of Michigan follows the standards set forth by Yoga Alliance, which brings me to my next point…Is the program registered with Yoga Alliance? This is the standard regulating agency in our trade. They are global and comprehensive. At Blooming Lotus, all teachers are required to certified in what they do.
Does the Program Fit into Your Life?
There are many options out there, from month long immersions to weekends only for several months; local options and traveling to great distances; very expensive options to quite cheap. Find a program that is suitable, but keep in mind a couple of things. First of all, most people waver back and forth before entering teacher training. If you finally decide to make room in your life and dive in, the waters will part and create space for it to happen. You won’t be sorry. The other thing I urge you to consider is price. Remember, in general, that if cheap is what you seek, cheap is what you will find. There are always discount options, but a program or studio’s price will directly reflect their confidence in their ability to deliver quality. Teacher training is an investment, any way you slice it. Quality is important.
Lastly, Do Your Philosophies Align?
What is most important to you? What do you want to learn, achieve, experience, create? Does the program offer it? Does the teacher live and teach in a way that affirms your aspirations? Yoga teacher training will change you, most likely forever. It is not just about learning to teach yoga. It is about learning to live yoga. You will be transformed if you are in the right program with the right instructor.
I hope this has been helpful. Please offer your comments and questions! Thank you, and namaste
Stephanie Shepard RYT 200
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