What is the Best Yoga Teacher Training?
The best yoga teacher training is a subjective thing. There are so many options out there. So many locations. And so many price points. How do you know where to even start?
Read on to discover how to find the best yoga teacher training. Simply follow our 18 step process.
1. What’s your intention?
Visualize what you want to accomplish. Imagine what you can do after completing your yoga teacher training. Do you want to teach yoga at a gym or studio? Or do you want to teach private lessons? Perhaps you want to deepen your practice but not necessarily teach?
See into your future. Now, backtrack. What will your training need to teach you to get you where you want to go?
2. How much training do you want?
First, are you looking to dip your toe into the world of yoga? Next, think about when you want to start teaching. Do you want to teach as quickly as possible? Or do you want to fully immerse yourself with as much training as you can handle?
There are many options. If you want to dip your toe in you can sign up for a 100-hour yoga teacher training. These trainings provide a certificate. However, most gyms or corporate yoga studios in the US require at least 200 hours. Some yoga jobs in Europe and elsewhere are starting to require certification, as well.
A 200-hour yoga teacher training is the most popular option. With this training you should get a good introduction to most aspects of yoga. Further, you’ll be able to register with the Yoga Alliance and teach at a corporate gym or yoga studio. More on that later.
If you want a more robust curriculum you can sign up for a 300 or even a 500-hour training. In addition, these programs teach more subjects so you’ll leave the training with a larger tool belt, so to speak. In conclusion, if you want to dive really deep into yoga a 300 or 500-hour training might be the best yoga teacher training for you.
Finally, know you can accumulate hours across multiple trainings. For example, if you take two 100-hour trainings you’re a 200-hour level teacher. In addition, if you take a 200-hour then a 300-hour, you’re at the 500-hour level. However, Yoga Alliance changes these rules all the time so be sure to double-check on their website.
3. How much time do you have?
Most trainings are immersive experiences requiring your time from sunrise to sunset for weeks or months. Therefore, it’s important to know how much time can you commit to your training?
First, can you spend a few weeks or months away from your current set of daily obligations? Perhaps you need a flexible training program that offers classes online? Are you only able to learn on nights and weekends? Next, think about whether you will need to bring your children to the training location. Therefore, ask if that is allowed.
There are options for all sorts of scenarios. In conclusion, be sure the programs you are considering fit your needs.
4. Where is the best yoga teacher training located?
Perhaps the perfect yoga training is located close to your home. Lucky you!
If you’re hoping to travel somewhere you’ve never been – that’s an option, too. In other words, there are many trainings abroad.
First, think about where you want to go. Then, write down what you’re looking for in a location. Do you want mountains and hikes? Or beaches and sunshine? What about jungles and mist? Or gothic European castles? The sky’s the limit.
5. How to FIND the best yoga teacher training?
Ask friends, family, coworkers, or local yoga teachers about trainings. Perhaps there are teacher trainings taking place near you.
If you have the luxury of being close to where trainings take place – visit them. Most importantly, you should do the bench test. What’s the bench test?
First, find a bench in or near the yoga school you are considering. Then, sit down for an hour or two. Next, pass the time by reading a book. Certainly you’ll get a feel for the vibe where the training takes place. If someone approaches you and asks if you need anything say you’re considering a yoga teacher training. Finally, simply wait and see what happens. In conclusion, the bench test is amazing because it gives you a feel for the environment that you can’t get from a website or pamphlet.
If you can’t go to the school physically search online. First, search with Google. There are many great websites that list yoga teacher trainings. The largest and best is www.bookyogateachertraining.com. This site offers great search functionality, the ability to sort by price and other factors, and has reviews. In conclusion, it is highly recommended.
6. Price of the best yoga teacher training?
Probably the most important factor for choosing the best yoga teacher training is price. Yes, better trainings cost more. In other words, you get what you pay for. However, that doesn’t mean you have to overpay.
Location and amenities have the largest impact on cost. It may be cheaper flying internationally and giving up some luxury compared to attending a course close to home. Above all, don’t rule anything out. The cheapest courses tend to be in India, Mexico, Central America, and Southeast Asia.
I can’t tell you which course will have the best price for you. It’s up to your goals. And it’s your money.
Also, you often get what you pay for. It might not be the best idea to book the cheapest training.
Weigh all factors. Then, keep a short list of a few different trainings. Finally, ensure each course is the right fit for you, then factor in the price.
Do you have an expectation for the type of food that will be served? Most yoga trainings provide a specific diet: the Yoga Diet, aka Sattvic diet.
Sattvic diets are clean, fresh, and pure. They nourish and enhance the mind, body, and soul. In yoga, Sattvic diets are vegetarian (though not usually vegan).
What can you eat? For example: fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, and oils are Sattvic. In addition, certain sweeteners, spices, and herbs may be considered Sattvic though purists might disagree.
Above all, foods that damage or do nothing for the body are not considered Sattvic. Damaging foods are Tamasic. For example: Meat, fish, onion, and garlic are considered Tamasic. Foods that stimulate, but do nothing positive, are Rajasic. For instance: Coffee, tea, chocolate, and spicy foods are examples of Rajasic food.
Above all, if you have specific dietary requirements or restrictions you must ensure your program can accommodate your needs. Most immersive programs require you to perform asana (physical postures, the exercise part of yoga) for 3 hours per day. Therefore it is crucial to ensure your nutrition needs will be met.
Everybody is different. There is no one perfect diet. And it is crucial you know your body. Therefore, pick a program that has food that will work for you. That said, if you are open to trying a yogic diet – aka Sattvic – I recommend it. It’s part of the yoga process. And it might work really well for your body. And if it doesn’t, at least you’ll know.
8. Accommodations – luxurious or not?
Some trainings offer the most luxurious accommodations. Huge rooms. Sprawling, king-sized beds. Fluffy mattresses. Private decks. Ocean views.
Other trainings? Not so much. Perhaps you’ll need to share a dirt-floor hut with a roommate. Bathrooms may be shared – and down the hall or in a separate building. Forget an ensuite Western commode. Say hello to the squat toilet. You may even need to take your shower from a bucket. Hot water? Keep dreaming.
In other words, where you lay your head down may be the single largest factor impacting price. Therefore, if you can stomach less luxurious accommodations you’ll save a lot of money. However, if you know you’ll need comfortable accommodations to make the intensive training worth it, then splurge. It’s up to you.
Who is running the yoga teacher training? Who specifically will be teaching each class? Not just the physical yoga classes. Who will teach anatomy, philosophy, and pranayama? Are the teachers experts in that subject?
Certainly any reputable program will outline specifically who they partner with, what they teach, and his or her past experience. However, it’s up to you to dive deeper. First, look up your teachers on social media and see the content they post. Next, use your best judgment to see if he or she seems qualified. Then, think about if they appear humble, knowledgable, approachable, and helpful.
Remember, there is no right answer. However, you’ll know who feels right and who feels wrong.
10. Class size?
Some schools operate like yoga teacher factories – churning out batches of new yoga teachers by the hundreds every month. Likewise, these programs tend to cost the least. Being amongst such a large number of students isn’t necessarily a problem, but it is something to keep in mind.
First, think about if you will be OK in this environment. Then, ask your school for an average number of students. Ask if they have a minimum and maximum number of students. Finally, determine the class size you think is right for you based on your goals and needs.
11. Yoga style?
Do you have a specific yoga style in mind? There are so many to choose from. For example: hatha, ashtanga vinyasa, yin, vinyasa flow, restorative, Bikram – the list goes on. If there’s a specific style you are looking for make sure the program offers it. If you’re not sure, take different classes in your area or online. Youtube has some great classes for free. Here are a few different styles: Vinyasa flow, Yin. Or, sign up for a multi-style yoga teacher training to get introduced to the most popular styles.
First, see which subjects are taught specifically. Then, determine what you want or need to learn and see if there’s a match – or a disconnect.
Most schools offer anatomy, philosophy, pranayama, and “art of teaching” – where they break down each pose.
However, not every school is great at teaching their teachers how to actually teach. If that’s important to you, ask the school how they prepare their students to teach after the program is complete. Do they require you to teach a class before graduating, to show you can do it? Do they have workshops on the business aspect of teaching yoga? Again, make sure your program will teach you what you need based on what you want to achieve.
13. Should the best yoga teacher training provide a Yoga Alliance certificate?
Certainly this is controversial topic. “Is your program Yoga Alliance certified?” It’s a common question.
But does the course even need to be?
If you want to teach in a corporate US gym your program must be certified by the Yoga Alliance. Similarly, lots of corporate spaces in Europe are starting to require a Yoga Alliance certificate, as well.
If you want to teach in a specific studio perhaps you’ll need to complete that studio’s specific training program. So, if you have a specific job at a specific yoga studio in mind be sure to ask them if they require training through an in-house program.
If you simply want to deepen your practice, teach online, work with clients one-on-one, or you don’t necessarily want to teach at a US gym, your program may not need to offer Yoga Alliance certification.
What are people who have completed your program saying? Read reviews, if any, for your program. Are there any common positive comments or complaints?
For any positive comments you come across – double-check they will still apply. For example, if people gush over a certain teacher will he or she be teaching you?
Same goes for complaints. If past students said the food was gross did the organizer make changes to address it? A good or bad review doesn’t matter. It’s how the program responds to feedback that counts.
Ask the organizer if they can connect you with someone who has completed the course. Ask him or her to give you a few sentences about their experience. Obviously if you are connected with someone and they had a positive experience it’s a good sign. If your organizer isn’t able to provide you with a reference, keep that in mind when finalizing your list of potential courses.
Similar to the bench test from earlier, and only an option if your program is local, you can simply show up to the training location and ask to sit in on a few sessions. Offer to pay a small fee for the opportunity if they don’t say “yes” right away. In the long run this tiny cost is worth it if you decide it’s not the right program for you.
If you have lots of time and you’re traveling far for your program, and there are many programs in one area (i.e. India, Thailand, Bali, etc.), shop around. Visit a few places that meet your criteria and get a feel in-person. You won’t regret it.
After comparing all your options narrow your choice to a few schools. Then, go with your instinct.
What does your gut tell you? Listen. Then decide.
18. Now, surrender.
Now that you’ve made a choice – book it. Surrender. Pay the deposit or pay in full. Get confirmation that you’ve been accepted. Ensure they have enough students registered (i.e. it won’t be canceled due to low turnout), then book your flights. Once you’ve booked and paid for your flights you’ve made it real. You’ve turned this idea into reality. Congratulations! You are on your way to attending your best yoga teacher training course possible.
Are you closer to finding the best yoga teacher training for you?
Are you looking for yoga teacher training at a gorgeous beach in India? Shanti Yoga School offers Yoga Alliance International certified 100 and 200 hour yoga teacher trainings. Need something custom-tailored to your unique yoga journey? Check out our bespoke 300 and 500 hour yoga teacher trainings. If you have any questions please reach out to us – we love to hear from our readers.