I’ve been thinking about writing a post about choosing yoga teacher training for a while. I’m not sure if I have any great advice but I’ll give it a shot. I was reminded about this again today because I saw another one of those articles about churning out yoga teachers. There are lots of programs that are graduating lots of 200 hour certified yoga teachers. All programs are not the same and all graduates are not the same. That can be said about many kinds of trainings and programs, however. I think there are a few questions that I would advise anyone thinking about yoga teacher training to consider.
- Why are you doing this? This is one of my coaches favorite questions for me when I talk about training, racing or many other things. Why are you signing up for a yoga teacher training? Do you want to teach? Do you want to improve your own practice? Do you want to learn about a different style of yoga? I think it is important to know why you want to do a training because it really is a major commitment of time and money. It often requires several weekends over the course of a year and it is tiring. The reason may change once you are in the training and that is perfectly fine. In fact, expect your reasons to change. I began with several women who said they would never teach. I think most of them are teaching or want to do so.
- What kind of training are you looking for? There are different kinds of trainings. Trainings vary by length – intensive trainings are daily over a short time while other training programs are once a month for a weekend and may include an intensive at some point. Also, think about the kind of yoga you want to study and teach. There may not be a training in your area for that kind of yoga. I completed a 200 hour training in Core Strength Vinyasa with Melissa Scott. It was not the kind of yoga that I had practiced for years and I started out saying that I would never do it or teach it. That changed over the course of the training but I probably should have taken some CSV classes before I began the training.
- Have you connected with the teacher? I think it is important to meet the person you are going to work with for an extended period of time. Though I did not have an opportunity to take a class from Melissa before I started training, I did go to an introductory session about the training and I traded some emails with her before I applied. I also talked to my teacher about the training and about Melissa since they are friends. When I met Melissa I knew I wanted to work with her.
- Do you have a yoga practice? What is your practice like now? Are you ready to increase that practice and see it change, because it will.
These are just a few questions to think about. You can find a lot of articles about how to evaluate yoga teacher training programs and what to consider if you search the web. You will find online training, in person training, intensive training, and training that meets over a long period of time. Trainings vary in the amount of reading and writing that is required – yes, we read a number of books and wrote papers. Some trainings require written exams at the end. Teaching is part of training as well. Trainings also often include observing other yoga teachers and taking classes at other studios or places you might not normally take classes. Many training are registered through Yoga Alliance so you can register with them when you finish.
There are now five yoga teacher training choices around the Birmingham area: Melissa Scott’s 200 hour Core Strength Vinyasa training begins again in March. Kim Drye and Becca Impello are offering HereNow Yoga teacher training for the first time this March. It is an alignment based training and this year is sold out. Birmingham Yoga offers Ashtanga and Kundalini Yoga teacher training. LifeTime Yoga offers a 200 hour and 300 hour training led by Lauren Lippeatt. Finally, Kiva Yoga offers a hot yoga teacher training. You can see we have a wide range to choose from in the Birmingham area.
The best thing about yoga teacher training is the close bonds that are created with your fellow trainees. I have a wonderful group of friends who I most likely would not have met any other way. That made training worth every minute.