13 Nov Choosing the right yoga teacher training course for you
You’re investing time and money into a training course, so you need to know it’s right for you. I’ve shared my top 4 priorities for choosing the right course.
When I chose to specialise in children’s yoga 14 years ago, there were only three courses to choose from. One was in the UK and the others abroad, so the decision was made fairly easy for me. Today in the UK alone there are probably 20 children’s yoga teacher training courses being offered, about ten of which have surfaced in the past two years.
There are so many options for trainings – how do you even begin to decide which programme is right for you?
It can be a minefield out there and deciding to embark on a teacher training is a big decision. Many factors contribute to finding the perfect match. Every decision is personal, with different priorities and considerations for each of us, however there are some fundamental questions that could steer you in the right direction.
Here are a few key factors to consider when setting out on this exciting new venture
1. Understanding your intention will determine what kind of training is right for you.
Ask yourself these questions before looking for the training that best suits your needs.
- Are you looking for a career change or would you just like to add a class to your usual work week, for a bit of change in your everyday schedule?
- Are you hoping to bring some yoga into your work space i.e. yoga and mindful techniques in your classroom or to offer to work colleagues a class at the end of their day?
- Have you been on maternity leave or are a full-time mum wanting to get back into work but not in the same capacity as before?
- Are you looking to teach adults or specialise in children, teenagers, family yoga, babies or prenatal etc?
- Are you merely looking for ways to deepen your own practice?
2. Research training courses thoroughly.
Yoga trainings can vary hugely in terms of curriculum content, theory versus practical, philosophies, attention to anatomy, practical business advice and so forth – making it important to research as best as you can. Evaluate the course syllabus/training outline for the balance of subjects taught. Most trainings are required to cover a minimum number of hours dedicated to things like poses, anatomy, breath work, history of yoga and Vedanta so choose a programme that speaks your language and excites you. What speaks to you most about the yoga teacher training you are researching?
Here is a handy checklist:
- Ensure your training is accredited, as this will certainly reflect the quality of the training you are getting. There are various governing bodies for yoga, which have set the standard for what a properly constructed teacher training should contain.
- Talk to people who have been through the programme and the teachers themselves if you can. Was the response to your email a generic one or was it answered directly by the teacher? Is there a personal touch or are you only able to chat once you meet? If this is important to you – seek it out.
- What is your trainer’s philosophy and mission for their school – what are they trying to share, what kind of skills would they want their teachers to develop and leave the course with.
- Does your training give you an opportunity to put practice to the theory you are learning? Do you get to observe and teach an actual class – to actual adults, children, teens etc?
- Will your course qualify you for insurance, as we need this to practice in public venues?
- What size is the training – is it intimate or vast (15 teachers who get personal attention or 35 teachers whose names never get learnt.)
- Does your training provider require that you have been practicing yoga for a while? Whilst there is no need to be an expert when you arrive on a teacher training, if you are looking to teach yoga it is imperative that you have a solid regular practice when you arrive – “practice what we teach.”
- Do you want to be a part of a franchise or would you like to start your own career? What are you signing yourself up for?
And finally, online trainings can be a good addition to what you have already learnt but being in the presence of a qualified teacher is very important as you start your journey of teaching yoga. It is so important to observe teachings and be observed whilst you are teaching. Be supported by an actual human being rather than a screen if at all possible.
3. Connect with the teacher
A connection with the teacher is fundamental in determining how much you will gain from the course. Training to teach yoga can be physically, emotionally and mentally challenging so it is good to be sure that your teacher is able to support you through this process with sensitivity.
- Have you researched who your trainer has been studying with and are you familiar with them? Would you like to know more about their teachings?
- Do you share a similar philosophy of teaching?
- Do their website, personal journey, teaching intentions, articles and programmes inspire you?
- How long have they been teaching and running these trainings?
- And most importantly – will your teacher continue to support you after your training is complete? Does your training school have a sangha/group of teachers who connect in with each other? Are there WhatsApp groups, Private Facebook groups, newsletters or website forums? It can feel quite isolating being a yoga teacher, especially when you start out, so community is paramount – whether it’s face-to-face or online, make sure this is something that is offered.
4. The practicalities: dates, location and investment.
Never overlook the practical bits that will play a huge role in your decision.
- Choose a price that suits your budget – many teacher trainings have payment options and early bird discounts, so it’s worth asking about this.
- Find a date that works for you. If you are a school teacher, is your training offered during school holidays? If you are in a full-time job you might need to find a training that is offered on weekends.
- Would you prefer to do a full, intensive training and integrate all the information post-training or would you prefer to have it running over a longer period of time taking time to integrate and practice all you are learning along the way?
- When choosing a location think realistically about what you can commit to, given your current responsibilities – family, work etc. It’s important not to overstretch yourself so think about how you could manage less travel time at the end of each training day.
As you can see there is quite a bit to consider. Don’t be afraid to get online or on the phone with the person you want to train with. Feel supported as you move through your application process. This is a big step to take, an investment in many areas of your life … find the right course for you and enjoy each step of this journey!