9 Tips to Choosing the Perfect Yoga Teacher Training
Are you considering doing a yoga teacher training? If so, read on. You’ll learn how to choose the best program for your goals and budget.
Much like shopping for a diamond, purchasing a yoga teacher training can be symbolic of a lifelong commitment. You’ll find the information organized below into the 4C’s for quick reference:
- Credentials – Items 1, 2 & 3
- Cost – Items 4, & 5
- Clarity & Fit – Items 6, 7 & 8
- Competency – Items 9 & 10
#1 — Is the program well established?
In this day and age, yoga studios and teacher trainings are popping up overnight. Beware of certification programs that are priced well below the market and promise a quick certification.
For example, you may see a listing that says the program consists of two five day immersion periods, each costing $749 with early bird registration. First and foremost, a 200 hour training simply cannot be delivered in 10 days. Read more about this in #9.
Start-up programs are like fast food. Satisfying at first. They fill you up, but only with empty calories. Often they are disorganized and may not even be registered with the Yoga Alliance. Read more on this in #2 below.
#2 — Is the school registered with the Yoga Alliance?
Don’t let someone convince you that you can apply for Yoga Alliance registry on your own after you complete their program. While you can do this, it’s no easy undertaking. Any reputable yoga school should be Yoga Alliance registered. Keep in mind, there are two levels of registry: 200 Hour and 300 Hour.
To check the school you’re interested in for registry, checkout the Yoga Alliance web site and search for your school. The name of our school is Living Yoga Teacher Training with Laurel Hodory & Faculty.
Last–but definitely not least— check to see if the school is registered at the 300 Hour level. Schools registered at both the 200 and 300 hour levels tend to have more experienced faculty and have been in existence for a number of years. While older isn’t always better, in this case it probably is. Here’s why. Like anything in life, practice makes perfect. Think about your own yoga practice. How different is it today compared to the first day you started it?
#3 — Is the program taught by qualified Trainers?
Just because a program exists, doesn’t mean it is a quality program. Every yoga teacher training program has a primary teacher of the training—and other non-primary teachers. Investigate the experience of the people leading the teacher training. How many years teaching experience do they have? Individually? Collectively? As a yoga teacher trainer?
Look for Trainers who have at least 7-10 years teaching experience each.
I’m not saying experience alone is sufficient; it’s not. But being green isn’t an advantage in this case. You want a Trainer who knows the ropes and who can save you years of struggle by teaching you right now great teaching skills that will help you develop a following and become a successful teacher.
#4 — What it the total investment? Are their hidden costs?
In the world of yoga teacher training, there are many options as far as schedule and format. Some are residential, some are not. Some are all-in one, some are module based.
Beware when considering module- or residential-based programs that you’ve done your math! Sometimes they are designed to have a low advertised rate that doesn’t accurately reflect the true total cost of the program.
If you are attending a program that has multiple modules, make sure you know exactly which modules you must complete in order to get certified. Add up the costs, or call the school and ask. They should gladly provide this information to you.
For example, you may see a listing that says Level 1 Teacher Training $795. The tuition may be listed as a low figure, but once you add in the costs of all the modules, books, certification, and/or residential accommodations & travel, you’ll often end up with a whopping price tag! Do yourself a favor and do the math before you commit. Find out whether there are additional costs for the following:
- Certification testing
- Required workshops or retreats
- Yoga class passes
A quick word on yoga class passes. While at first it may seem like a bonus that a program includes a pass in their tuition, it’s not always the case. You may find that your favorite teachers either don’t teach at the studio where you’re doing your training, their class schedule doesn’t work for you, or that you’d rather take classes a studio that’s closer to home for ease and convenience.
Most certification do require you purchase books. This can cost anywhere from $50-$250.
#5 — What is fair market price for Yoga Teacher Training?
Tuition for a complete 200-hour yoga teacher training program ranges from approximately $2,800 to $10,000, depending on the program. There are a variety of factors that influence pricing including the experience of the instructors, the quality of the instruction, and the business model of the school.
If the teaching faculty have a lot of experience, it’s usually reflected by a higher tuition rate. Conversely, less expensive programs are frequently taught by less experienced teachers. This is not necessarily a bad thing, depending on what you’re looking for in a training program. On the other hand, be aware that the material and methods being taught by less experienced faculty will most likely have little basis in real teaching experience.
Regardless, it’s always a good idea to ask about the experience of the teaching faculty when you’re interviewing a program. Ask for the years of teaching experience, the types of certifications held, and when they were certified. There are many start-up teacher training programs out there being taught by teachers certified only a year or two ago. So do your homework and ask the tough questions!
Another consideration is the quality of the instruction. Of course, this is partially influenced by the experience of the instructors. But you’ll also want to consider whether the course has any evaluation components. For example, is the training a survey course, where there is little or no testing confirming the skills and information have been assimilated by the trainee? While this may be appealing because it’s easier, it often doesn’t lead to a good training experience. Are the faculty available for questions outside of the training? And what do graduates say about their experience?
Also a number of programs that state they are Yoga Alliance Registered simply don’t meet frequently enough to deliver a 200-hour program. And while they may be more convenient (and quite possibly registered with the Yoga Alliance), they may not be able to deliver the content promised. Other programs far exceed the minimum hours of education required by the Yoga Alliance.
Lastly, you’ll want to find out the number of students & faculty in the teacher training class. Large, volume-based schools can have 30-100 students in a training. Often the business models of less expensive certification programs to sell as many registrations as possible, without regard for the quality of the instruction, or their ability to teach a quality program to such a large group. For some, the experience of a large training class may be perfectly acceptable. Others may want a more personal experience. Regardless, when interviewing schools, you should ask about the typical class size and the faculty-to- student ratio.
Lastly, ask about supplemental support. High level programs usually include online support such as audios, videos and other useful tools, While it’s not a deal breaker, it’s something to consider as a value-added feature.
#6 — Ask about graduation certification requirements – ahead of time.
Many certification programs are merely survey courses. This means all you have to do is show up for the training, and you’re certified.
While this may be appealing on one level, on another level I bet you’re interested in actually learning something— something meaningful that will help & inspire you be a great teacher.
A good program will measure your proficiency at what you’ve learned before certifying you, much like when you were in college or high school. Sometimes this is measured in knowledge via written or oral tests; other times it may be measured in live teaching demonstrations. A good program will measure both.
#7 — Find out the program’s policy about absences —ahead of time.
No matter how well you plan, unforeseen circumstances always seem to crop up at themost inopportune time! Investigate the program’s policy about absences ahead of time.
You don’t want to get halfway through the program, have an emergency that causes you to miss 10 or 20 hours, and then lose your option to certify!
And remember—get it in writing. Yoga Teacher Training programs are often delivered by those passionate about yoga, not organization. A good program will have their attendance policy clearly explained in writing.
#8 — Enroll in a program taught by teachers you know or whose teaching style resonates with you.
It’s pretty simple. Enrolling in a yoga teacher training program is like dating. You don’t want to get into a relationship with someone that you don’t like. And you certainly don’t want to learn how to teach like someone who’s teaching style you don’t like. If you aren’t already a student of the primary faculty, be sure to take at least one class with them. Even better, take as many as you can. You have every right to try them out. If it’s a good school, they will share your interest in finding a good match. Matching serves both of you.
One more thing. I have to state the obvious here. Choose a program that teaches a style that reflects your own interest. If you love power yoga, don’t enroll in a gentle hatha yoga teacher training program and vice versa!
#9 — Are the program hours sufficient to adequately cover the curriculum?
While it may be appealing to earn your yoga teaching certificate in a short time frame, in the end you’ll regret not getting the proper training. Beware of programs that are completed in short time frames.
I’m sorry, but two weeks is simply not enough time to complete 200 hours of training, the bare minimum required by the Yoga Alliance to be a registered school. Do the math. If you attend a residential program with 10 hours of instruction per day, that’s just 70 hours in one week, 140 in two weeks. That’s 60 hours shy of the Yoga Alliance requirements. And that doesn’t even allow for any digestion time!
If you opt for the quickie certification, it’s likely you’ll end up taking another yoga teacher training at a later date and end up paying another chunk of change. About a quarter of the students who enroll in our teacher training graduated previously from another certification programs— but were disappointed in what they had learned. They enrolled in Yoga Teacher Training with Laurel Hodory & Faculty came to us to learn what they didn’t the first time around. Save yourself some money and get it right the first time.
#10 — Where can I teach once I’m certified?
Many yoga teacher training programs are proprietary. This means you will be branded as a teacher by the school’s brand of teacher training. This is especially true of certain brands that have a national identity or have been franchised.
The plus side of this is that you’ll have a good chance at getting hired at one of their studios. The down side? Other off-brand studios may not want to hire you!
If this matters to you, you may want to consider a yoga teacher training programs that is not franchised or limited by its brand identity. Look for programs that empower the Trainee to learn how to create her own sequences and authentic teaching style. It’s fine to have done-for-you templates, but you’ll soon grow tired of this and want to know that you can creatively and confidently develop lesson plans for a wide variety of students that guarantee their safety and success!
In Yoga Teacher Training with Laurel Hodory & Faculty, our Trainees learn Intelligent Sequencing™ Authentic Voice™ and Embodied Alignment™ Methods. These methodologies empower our graduates to be skillful teachers whose craft transcends any brand identity and packs a room. As a result, we have graduates teaching in all the major studios in Columbus plus major cities like Pittsburgh and New York City.
Another consideration is whether the program offers any job placement support to their graduates. About two thirds of our Trainees are actively earning as they are learning, teaching public classes long before they graduate.
One last tip. If you’re serious about making the leap to becoming a yoga teacher, invest some time in learning where your favorite teachers were trained. You’ll instantly gain an invaluable insight to where you should go for your training.
It took me 20 years to find my authentic voice. Now I train teachers how to find it in 5 months. I’d love to have the chance to show you how to become a successful, joy-filled yoga teacher!
Set up your interview today with my faculty to find out if this program is a match for you:
Or contact Laurel at 614-256-3647
Laurel Hodory, MS, ERYT500, has been studying and teaching yoga since 1992 and leads retreats and workshops internationally. Through her teaching and embodied wisdom, she inspires her students to rise to their highest calling and greatness–on the mat, and in their lives. Her story From Shame to Freedom is now available in the anthology, 21 Inspiring Women Share their Life Secrets. Contact her to purchase a copy at email@example.com or visit her web site www.laurelhodory.com for more information on her yoga offerings.