These days there are so many options for yoga teacher training. It can be a confusing decision, and we cannot tell you how many students come to us for training because they are disappointed in the program they chose. Not all programs are created equal, even though you will get the same 200 hour certificate at the end of each. Teacher training is a big investment of your time, money and energy, so it’s important to spend some time researching programs to see which is the right fit for you.
1. How much time do you spend in the classroom with your teacher(s)? Under Yoga Alliance standards, a 200 hour program must have a minimum of 180 classroom hours. Look at the programs you are interested in and do the math on how long you actually meet as a group. We have seen programs that only meet for 100 hours which means you are getting 80 less hours of teaching and coaching. Some programs claim to give you those unlisted hours in practicum form. This is code for non-contact hours which means you aren’t spending this time with your teacher(s). While it might be tempting to go for a program with less hours, trust us when we tell you that you will need and want all 180 + hours in order to feel confident that you can teach when you leave the program. And remember, lunch and dinner breaks don’t count! At YSYS, Angela and her team meet with you for 186 classroom hours.
2. What format is the training? In general, there are three types of formats.
a. Modular – A modular style training allows you to sign up for different modules which eventually add up to a 200 hour cert. Benefits – Financially, it can be easier because you can spread out the payments according to your schedule. You can also do the program over a longer period of time. Challenges – It may take a long time to get certified, the modules you want may not be offered often, and you will not go through the program with a dedicated group of trainees.
b. Intensive – An intensive is usually no longer than four months and can be as short as two weeks. Benefits – You get to know your classmates and create a tight-knit community of support. Also, you will complete your cert fairly quickly. Challenges – You will spend a lot of time reading, studying, and practice teaching throughout the intensive.
c. Extended – This type of training usually meets about once a month. Benefits – Just like the intensive, you get to know your classmates and form a camaraderie. You will have more time to study and complete assignments. Challenges – It will take longer to get your cert, and students can sometimes lose momentum when they don’t meet on a regular basis.
None of these formats are better or worse than another, but it’s important to understand your learning style and what works best for you. YSYS is offered in an intensive format because, in our experience, it helps students stay focused and supported. In our 200 hr program, we have a drop rate of 0%.
3. What type of materials will you receive and use? Does the program offer a comprehensive manual that will guide your training and provide you with a life-long reference? Ask to see the manual (if there is one) and the required reading list before signing up. At YSYS, your training includes Angela’s trademarked manual with photos of each asana and assist, along with guidelines for timing your class and sequencing postures. Come to an informational session to get a sneak peak at our required texts.
4. How much practice teaching will we do? Many trainings talk about how to teach, but don’t actually have their trainees teach very much at all. While it might seem scary to spend a lot of time practice teaching, it is essential to your success as a future teacher. Ask how often you will be practice teaching while receiving feedback from an experienced instructor. At YSYS, you will spend every weekend practice teaching (a lot!), and you will receive personal coaching from Angela and her team as well as voice coaching from a professional voice coach.
5. How much anatomy will I learn? It’s important that your program meet the minimum requirement for anatomy, which is 20 hours (a minimum of 10 in the classroom) with an anatomy expert. We have heard of trainings where there is little to no time spent on learning the anatomy of the body. Find out what anatomy books are used, who teaches this section, and how it is integrated into training to help students understand their bodies. In Angela’s opinion as an experienced teacher, 10 hours is not nearly enough. You need to understand how the human body works in order to teach people how to properly move in yoga. Your students will assume you have vast knowledge in this area. At YSYS, you will receive 18 hours of expert anatomy training from a specialist and will practice teaching proper alignment and injury prevention. In addition, anatomy principles and alignment are taught during the asana and assisting portions of the program.
6. What style of yoga will I learn? This is one of the most important questions to ask. Go to the director’s classes and see if the style is something you want to learn. Be wary of trainings that don’t clearly define what they are teaching and try to be a training of all styles. You will need to be focused on one style in order to be a strong teacher in that style. Once you complete your 200 hour cert, you can take additional trainings to learn other forms of yoga. At YSYS, you will be trained in Power Flow Yoga by a Baptiste Certified Instructor.
7. Who are the teachers and how long have they been teaching/training? Do some research on the teachers of the program and how much experience they have in teaching and training. Also, be sure that you like the energy and style of the lead teachers because you will be spending a lot of time with them. At YSYS, our director has been teaching since 2002 and training since 2006. We also have a vetted team of experts including anatomy experts, an OBGYN and voice coach. Get to know our TT staff here.
8. What else will I learn besides physical asana? Often trainings have additional components such as hands-on assisting, the history of yoga, kids yoga, energy work, voice coaching and personal development. Find out what else the training has to offer and if it’s something you are excited about. YSYS is known for its emphasis on personal development and physical assists.
9. What is the average class size? Trainings can range from 2-100+ people per class, so it’s important to know what to expect from the training school. Smaller classes allow for more personal attention and coaching, which is invaluable when you are learning a new craft. At YSYS, a typical training has 10-16 participants which means you will interact closely with your teacher and your peers and receive lots of personalized coaching. Because of this, we fill our trainings quickly.
10. What is the price? While important, we suggest that this is the last question you should be asking. 200 hour trainings are generally between $2500-$4200. Don’t just pick the cheapest training because you very often get what you pay for. A quality program with quality teachers will cost more, but the difference in instruction that you will receive is invaluable. If you skimp on your yoga education, you’ll regret it! Weigh the answers to all of the other questions suggested here in addition to cost. At YSYS, we are generally right in the middle of the current pricing trends. Check the TT page for current tuition prices and payment plan options.