5 things to ask yourself before choosing a yoga teacher training
With Namaslay® YTT in full swing and the anniversary of my own qualification at the end of last month I’ve been reflecting on how lucky I was to find and attend such an amazing training which felt tailor-made to what I needed. And I’m sure any yoga teacher you meet will say the same thing about their own training, despite the large differences between each program. For a prospective trainee, it can seem a bit daunting trying to sift through a growing number of offerings to find the one that is right for you, almost like trying to decide which university to go to. I consider myself lucky I wasn’t actually planning to attend a YTT when I came across Candace’s. However, I really respected and admired her as a teacher, an entrepreneur and as a person and after I finished reading what she had on offer, I knew I had to attend.
Unlike me, I know many of my fellow graduates were already in the market and looked at a number of different options, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for to know once you’ve found it. There is a myriad of factors which will affect your choice if you have decided you want to qualify as a yoga teacher, but here are a few questions I think it important to answer whilst looking at your options.
1. What do I know about the teacher? It is unlikely you will be taught solely by the lead teacher, but they will be delivering the majority of the teaching, especially with the new standards for Registered Yoga Schools set out by Yoga Alliance, and in any case they will be the ones who developed the curriculum, so you need to respect their expertise. I had already been practicing with YogaByCandance YouTube videos for over a year and loved her teaching style, as well as what I could gauge of her as a person through her blog and social media. I wasn’t even looking for a YTT when I came across hers, but her values seemed so aligned with my own and by the time I had finished reading her description of her program I had already made the decision that I would apply.
2. Which format is best for me? Do you need a weekend format because of life commitments and to allow yourself to absorb information in chunks? Do you need an intensive so you can completely immerse yourself in the learning? With the amount of introspective work I did during my own YTT, I would have found it very difficult to go back to normal life in between. I also wanted to take the opportunity to go far outside of my comfort zone and throw myself in the deep end, as it were. An intensive was right for me so I could completely switch off from reality and responsibilities for three weeks and focus, but this is a personal choice and you need to understand what will work best for you and your current situation.
3. Is location important? Part of the allure of my own training was that it was in Thailand and I love to travel and experience new countries (no that I got much downtime, but I took some time off beforehand to explore). However, I know there will be some people who would be horribly put off by such a prospect and would only consider a training close to home. Maybe you feel that you need to train in India to truly honour the practice. Whatever it is that does it for you, location is one of those factors you need to consider, because it will have a huge impact on your experience. I spent three weeks in sweltering humidity getting eaten alive by mosquitoes…and loved every second but my point is, it plays a big part, so don’t overlook it. Remember as well, whatever draws you to a location will be the same thing which draw others there, so you will be meeting people with similar interests as you.
4. What do I want the focus to be? Maybe it’s anatomy, maybe it’s yoga philosophy, maybe it’s developing a stronger practice, maybe it’s business, maybe it’s lots of hands-on teaching experience. You need to understand what you want to take away from this training to help you decide which would be best for you. It helps when the YTT description is laid out very clearly – when I read the description for the Namaslay® YTT there was no doubt in my mind about what it would entail and that it was right for me.
5. Why do I want to qualify? Do you have any intention of teaching or are you just looking to deepen your personal practice? Neither of those are wrong by the way and your answer may change, but it gives a good basis for what to look for in a YTT. I went for a training that is heavy on hands-on teaching and business training, because I knew I wanted to teach. I know people who went just to deepen their practice and have ended up teaching, and those who went with the intention to teach but now prefer to be a more clued-in student, so there is always room for changing your mind but make sure the things which are important to you are offered.
Yoga teacher training is an intensely personal and transformative experience and can be a turning point in your life if you choose one that is aligned with your values. It can be the source of endless inspiration, discovery and empowerment if you are open-minded and engaged with the process, which happens much more naturally when you believe in the curriculum and are surrounded by people who both push and support you. If you get the right environment, you will experience something incredibly special that you will treasure for the rest of your life, so it is important you take the time to figure out what it is that you want and also listen to your intuition. When you get it right, you will find a space to grow, learn, face your fears, awaken your potential, inspire your creativity, create incredible opportunities for yourself and make friends for life. So choose wisely.
If you are thinking about completely a yoga teacher training I will never stop recommending Namaslay® YTT, for the curriculum which goes over and above what’s required, for the passionate teachers, for the beautiful locations, for the amazing experience and also because I have had the privilege of joining as a teacher myself. The next 200hr is in Santorini next April and a 300hr will be announced soon so make sure to check them out!