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Are you interested in becoming a yoga teacher but are not quite sure where to start? Or perhaps you are interested in the intensive aspects of yoga teacher training (YTT) and are looking for a comprehensive experience rather than the actual certification? Either way, you have come to the right place. Allow us at Anahana to teach you the basics of YTT and what you should know before getting started.
Before registering for any teacher training program, you should ask yourself, “what type of yoga is right for me?”. Selecting the style you want to teach is vital to finding an appropriate yoga instructor course. Trying out different types, either in a studio or online, will help you better understand the options to choose what you enjoy the most.
Some common styles that you should try out include:
Vinyasa yoga: The movements in Vinyasa yoga are coordinated with your breath and flow from one posture to the next. This is an athletic style of yoga.
Hatha yoga: These classes are suitable for beginners. It is slower-paced than other styles of yoga and provides a classic approach to breathing and exercise.
Iyengar Yoga: This style focuses on alignment and precision during the movements. Yoga postures will be held for long periods and will utilize props to help you get deeper into each pose.
Kundalini yoga: Kundalini yoga is equally physical as it is spiritual. You will work your core and breath control during fast-moving poses and exercises. Classes involve spiritual aspects, including chanting, mantra, and meditation.
Restorative yoga: This style will have you spend long periods in fewer physical postures. It calms the mind and body and allows you to relax deeply and let go of any stress.
Other styles of yoga you may wish to include as you explore new styles:
To get your yoga teacher certification, you will first need to complete a minimum of a 200-hour yoga training program. The program's curriculum must meet the guidelines set by Yoga Alliance International. Once completed, you may apply for your Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) credential. This is an optional step. However, many studio employers require or prefer you to have this certification. This is because it ensures you are knowledgeable about the yoga style and can instruct a whole class safely. The RYT credential will educate you on what your job will look like, which can help you decide where you would like to take your career as a certified yoga instructor.
Once you obtain your yoga instructor certification, you still have the responsibility of continuing your education throughout your career. Many yoga instructors choose to do so by attending workshops and seminars. In contrast, others prefer to go on yoga teacher training retreats or take additional yoga certification courses. Continuing your education will help keep your knowledge up to date. Teachers registered with Yoga Alliance must complete at least 17 hours of continuing education every three years, including 45 hours of teaching and 30 hours of additional classes. Registered Yoga Teachers who meet the education and experience requirements of Yoga Alliance can further their career by taking even more advanced training.
You may be wondering which yoga instructor training is the right choice for you. There are many courses you can choose from, and you must select one that aligns with your interests and will help you reach your goals.
When researching different yoga teacher training programs, the results can be overwhelming. However, there are several things you should consider that will help you narrow down your preferences and make the right choice.
First, you should decide where you would like to take your training. Whether at a local studio, online, on a retreat, or in a foreign country, you must reach out and speak with the program operators. In addition, you should complete additional research on the program online. This will help you find the program that aligns with your goals the closest.
Suppose you are taking YTT with the intent to teach yoga classes professionally. In that case, it is essential to keep in mind that many of the big studio names require or prefer that you take the course at their studio. Some of these include Yoga, Core Power, and Yoga Works.
Here is a list of questions you can ask the program operators to see if the training course is a good fit:
Most yoga studios require teachers to hold an RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) credential. This can only be obtained after participating in a program that meets the requirements set by Yoga Alliance. In addition, programs registered with Yoga Alliance have student reviews of teachers online, so you can reach out to these people if you have any questions about their experience.
The course training should be inspired by a specific yoga style [LINK to yoga style section in the article]. This may be Iyengar, Kripalu, Ashtanga, the integral yoga tradition, or one of the many other styles of yoga. In addition, India should be mentioned in their training. We are one generation removed from yoga in North America, making it essential that the heart of the practice is included in the YTT.
There should be clear learning objectives outlined in the course syllabus. Finding these out will help you see if the program aligns with your learning experience goals.
The program should have a mission statement that demonstrates the kind of yoga teachers they create. This should be clear whether it is meditative, breath-centered, powerful, or transformative asana. This information can help you decide if the program is a good fit.
Once you have chosen your course preferences, you will have narrowed down what you are looking for in your training program. Here is a list of some of the best yoga teacher training courses in 2021:
1. Best Intensive Course: Himalayan Institute
This yoga teacher training course is an in-person program that connects you to nature, yourself, and your classmates. The Himalayan Institute has decades of experience and offers 200-hour and 300-hour YTT and a meditation training program. It requires three weeks of on-campus YTT. The tuition is $2699, not including accommodation.
2. Best for Low Commitment: East + West Yoga Foundation Training
This yoga program requires ten hours per week and consists entirely of live online classes. However, they are not registered with Yoga Alliance. You may choose to complete additional training with them later to get your RYT credential. The tuition is reasonably priced, at $1,350.
3. Best for Experienced Practitioners: American Viniyoga Institute 500-hour Teacher Training
This highly qualified yoga teacher training program has solid services for experienced yogis to advance their careers. It provides quality training with comprehensive and challenging teachings, allowing students to extend their teachings into clinical yoga therapy if desired. The tuition is $3,250.
4. Best Online-Only Course: YogaRenew 200-hour Teacher Training
This program is highly affordable and accessible, with on-demand learning. This might be the most suitable option if you squeeze training into your schedule. The tuition is $437.
5. Best for Beginners: Kripalu Centre for Yoga & Health 200-hour Teacher Training
This is one of the most well-known and respected yoga schools and allows you to advance to 300- and 500-hour training if desired. It teaches only Kripalu yoga methods, a version of hatha yoga. The tuition price is $2,500.
6. Best for Vinyasa Yoga: My Vinyasa Practice
This program offers personable one-on-one mentorship and is excellent for those yogis focusing on Vinyasa teachings. It provides a flexible learning environment; however, there is limited enrollment space due to Covid-19. The tuition cost is $1,800.
7. Best Overall: YogaWorks 200-hour Teacher Training
YogaWorks offers both in-person and online courses to people around the globe. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, they have 5-stars with Yoga Alliance and provide a comprehensive curriculum suitable for beginner and advanced students. The tuition is between $2000 and $4000.
Although all yoga teacher training programs are unique, a standard 200-hour Registered Yoga School (RYT) course with Yoga Alliance has several educational categories. It will consist of 180 contact hours, which must take place in the physical presence of a faculty member. The remaining 20 hours can be non-contact hours, meaning you do not have to be in the company of faculty members. All non-contact hours must be relevant to the five educational categories. These will be assigned as part of the curriculum.
The curriculum of a 200-hour RYT course is as follows:
There must be a minimum of 75 contact hours on techniques, practices, and training. This will include asanas, pranayamas, kriyas, chanting, mantra, meditation, and other traditional yoga techniques, teaching you the foundation of the practice.
There must be a minimum of 15 contact hours on teaching methodology. This section covers an overview and analysis of teaching methods, including teaching styles, demonstration, observation, communication skills, business aspects, etc. It will help enhance your teaching skills.
Outlining the anatomy and physiology of the human body is essential as it helps yoga teachers understand how yoga practice applies to human wellness. This may include human anatomy (such as bodily systems), energy anatomy and physiology (such as chakras), the study of anatomy and physiology, and the application of asana practice (such as benefits, contraindications, and more).
A minimum of 20 hours on yoga philosophy, yogic lifestyle, and ethics must be contact hours. During the study of yoga philosophies, you will learn traditional texts such as the Yoga Sutras, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, or Bhagavad Gita. On the other hand, the Yoga lifestyle will teach you areas such as the precept of non-violence (ahimsa) and the concepts of dharma and karma. Lastly, the ethics of yoga teachers will be discussed, teaching best practices for student relationships and community. This will ingrain an understanding of the value of teaching yoga practice as a service to others (Seva). A minimum of two of these hours must be spent on ethics for yoga teachers.
Five of these are required to be contact hours. During the practicum experience, you practice teaching asanas and receive and provide feedback from your yoga class. In addition, you may also observe other teachings and assist students while another person is teaching. This will help prepare you to conduct your practice for your future students.
Your teacher will allocate the work you will complete for the remaining 20 hours. These hours are flexible and can be contact hours or non-contact hours.
There are several things you can expect to experience and gain from yoga teacher training. Although all programs are different, there are certain similarities in the benefits you will endure through your YTT experience.
1. You will find your inner voice
You will be challenged and asked to speak aloud in front of your classmates frequently, forcing you to find a new sense of confidence. In addition, you will lead your classmates through a yoga practice. This will push you out of your comfort zone and contribute to your personal development.
2. The 200-hour training is only the beginning
The 200-hour YTT might seem like a big commitment now. But just know, it is only the beginning. It will be a stepping stone into the world of yoga studies, and as a yoga teacher, it is up to you to continue learning. During the 200-hour YTT, you will discover only the surface of the practice and need to continue to commit yourself to your education.
3. You will push your body
YTT involves vigorous and frequent exercise. Sometimes this will consist of up to 10 hours straight of physical activity. Your body will be sore, but it is rewarding to see your endurance and growth as you push your body to keep going.
4. You will break through barriers of fear
During YTT, you will not have the option to shy away from and avoid new experiences. You will be forced to try new things and learn to conquer the barrier of fear, embracing new experiences.
5. You will feel overwhelmed
During your experience, you will feel mentally and physically overwhelmed at times. This is normal. Rather than focusing on the end, try to enjoy the process and commit yourself to the experience. This will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and even defeated.
6. Your priorities will change
YTT teaches you how to be a teacher and embrace yoga as a lifestyle. Taking part in YTT will be a practice of general wellness and influence how you decide to do daily activities, including eating, drinking, exercising, and shopping. This change will contribute to your personal growth. In addition, subjects you speak about with others, such as gossiping, will become less attractive to you.
7. You will find new friends
As your priorities change, you may realize you have outgrown some of your friends. As you begin to distance yourself from certain people in your life, you will likely start to find new friends with interests that more closely match yours.
8. There will be some strange exercises
As you break barriers of fear, you will be asked to do some strange things. These may include screaming at the top of your lungs or sitting across from one another, staring into each other’s eyes, and repeating a statement. Just remember to go into the exercises with an open mind so you can reap the benefits that will follow.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shifted some yoga studios from in-studio learning to online education. Because of this, YTT is more accessible than it has ever been before. Numerous well-regarded yoga schools, teachers, and programs have shifted to an online platform that offers 200-hour YTT online. This has made yoga training more accessible to everyone around the world. Yoga Alliance approved the online learning platform in 2020, and you can now complete your entire YTT online. In addition, it is often more affordable and allows you to study under world-renowned yoga instructors.
The cost of yoga teacher training will vary depending on the course. It is dependent on the level of certification, length of the program, location, and many other factors. However, you can spend anywhere from $200 to $7000 on YTT. A 200-hour program is generally between $1000 to $3000 and runs for three to four weeks. Yoga Alliance registered schools are often cheaper and can cost half the Bikram teacher training programs.
If you are interested in going abroad for your studies, it could increase the price. Some places are notoriously expensive, including Costa Rica and Bali, but it is possible to find affordable programs. Certain countries have more luxurious and westernized programs than other places, including India. India is the most affordable location abroad to take your YTT and can cost under $1000. In addition, it is the birthplace of yoga, putting you in the heart of the practice. Other affordable countries include Nepal and Thailand. Generally, $3000 or more courses are in exotic locations with world-renowned instructors, gourmet meals, luxurious accommodations, and students worldwide. You can find these in Thailand, Bali, Europe, and minimally in the US and Canada.
Certificates in certain styles of yoga are more expensive than others, including Jivamukti yoga and core power yoga. Other styles are less expensive, including Yoga Nidra and acro yoga. If you are interested in hatha yoga and vinyasa yoga, two of the most popular yoga styles, then you will be able to find an affordable program. These styles serve as a foundation for yoga. Due to their popularity, there are many options in different locations and price ranges.
Many people who take a YTT course are transformed into a new, more profound version of themselves. Working with people worldwide and meeting both the mental and physical demands of training is a life-altering experience. Your life, perspective, and attitude will change. As you complete exercises that get you in touch with yourself, you will better understand who you are. YTT teaches you what it means to embrace yoga as a lifestyle and carry mindfulness with you every day.
Once you are a yoga alliance certified instructor, purchasing yoga teacher insurance is the next step. Many yoga studios require their teachers to obtain this themselves. Although some studios have general liability insurance, this often does not extend to their teachers. Teaching yoga does have its risks, just like in any physical training. It can make you liable for injuries that occur during your instruction. Whether you teach part-time at a rec center or own your yoga studio, obtaining yoga teacher insurance is essential if you wish to teach yoga.
It would help if you determined which insurance is better suited for you. General liability insurance will protect you against third-party claims for injury or property damage, such as a mirror falling and a piece of glass injuring a student. On the other hand, professional liability insurance will protect you against any claims that your instruction, such as posture correction, resulted in an injury. As a yoga instructor, professional liability insurance is likely the appropriate option. A combined package with general liability insurance and professional liability insurance is roughly $330 per year.
The answer to this question depends on whether you aspire to take your journey with yoga and wellness to the next level. Whether you want to be a yoga teacher or not should be only one factor in your decision-making process. Going through the process of YTT with others is an extraordinarily gratifying and life-changing experience. It will teach you not only about physical practice but also about the yoga lifestyle. This will help you learn how to be a better person, handle good and bad situations, make the most out of life, and embrace all given to you. This can increase your quality of life and live a more fulfilling lifestyle.
During the training process, you will make new friends, be challenged, and address and connect past parts of your life, helping you let go of the past and embrace the present. If you are interested in learning, growing, and becoming a better person, it is 100% worth it. In addition, if you aspire to become a yoga teacher, it is also worth it. You will boost your practice physically, spiritually, and even emotionally.
You do not need years of experience on the mat. However, a certain amount of experience practicing yoga will help you benefit from the experience. A minimum of three months of frequent personal practice will prepare your mind and body for the transformational journey. Learning asana in advance will help you reap the benefits of taking your yoga certification. In addition, if you have a history of experience in related fitness or another type of training, this may work to your advantage.
If you are hoping to register for Ashtanga or a Vinyasa flow course, it would be helpful to take these classes before partaking in the study. However, even beginners can do yoga teacher training, and you will not require extensive training for an introductory course.
Whether you do a retreat or online training depends entirely on your lifestyle and what you are looking to get out of the course. If you have a busy life and don’t have time to go away, online YTT may be best suited. With this flexibility, you can hop onto calls at any location and in any attire. You can even listen to calls during a commute to work or while taking care of your toddler. You will still get many of the fantastic benefits of YTT. However, it will fit into your daily life rather than going away.
During yoga teacher interviews at studios, one of the first things you may be asked is, have you completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training program? This is because this is the most basic YTT course to become a certified instructor. It shows that you have learned the basics of yoga anatomy & physiology, meditation techniques, asana practice, pranayama, yoga philosophy, and teaching methodology.
If you are taking YTT for teaching yoga in a studio, it is recommended that you have this certification for credibility. However, suppose you want to take the course purely for the experience. In that case, there may be another program better suited for you.
A 200-hour YTT means that you have completed the standards for being a registered yoga teacher (RYT). RYT 500 means that you have gone above and beyond the minimum requirements. You will complete 300 additional hours of advanced yoga training beyond the minimum standards with this certification.
RYT (registered yoga teacher) means you are yoga alliance certified and registered. ERYT (experienced registered yoga teacher) implies that the teacher has logged several teaching hours after obtaining their certification. At the 200-hour level, E-RYT means the teacher has logged over 1000 hours of teaching and two years of experience.