Four Tips for Finding the Right Yoga Teacher Training Program for you

You’ve decided to take the plunge and complete your 200-hour yoga teacher training—congrats!

But perhaps you haven’t committed to a specific program. There are so many to pick from with different styles, focuses, teachers, reading materials, philosophies; how do you know which one to choose?


Always come back to your “why.”

Why do you want to complete yoga teacher training? Do you want to be a yoga teacher? (It might sound like an obvious answer, but many students complete training to deepen their practice or explore a certain yoga philosophy, and not necessarily to teach. So consider whether you’re one of those students, or if you do plan to teach.) And if you do plan to teach, what kind of teacher do you want to be? Do you want to explore a specific style or philosophy of yoga? Do you want to teach a certain population (seniors, children, pregnant women, etc.)? Are you more interested in the physical asana, the history and philosophy of yoga, self inquiry, assisting, meditation, or all of the above? Some trainings are more general and broad, and others are more focused and narrow. Getting clear about what you want out of your training will help you determine which program is right for you.

Compare and contrast different programs.

You might not know what you want (or don’t want) until you see it. So start researching different programs in your area, reading through the information on their websites, and maybe even making a list of things you like (or don’t) from each program. It’ll be easier to compare once you distill the programs into their essentials: the style of yoga it teaches, tuition, head instructors, the goals of training, etc. A program’s offerings might start speaking to you once you read it; maybe they focus on yoga anatomy, and that’s always fascinated you. Oh, and make sure the program you’re considering is certified with the Yoga Alliance.

Ask a teacher you admire.

Chances are, you’ve had a yoga teacher who has inspired you at some point in your life. Many students begin their yoga teacher training journey after being inspired or encouraged by an influential teacher. If that’s the case for you, see if you can catch them after class one day and ask them where they completed their training. You might not be able to do their program, but that can point you down a certain path of a specific style or focus. If your favorite teacher is trained in hatha yoga, then that style might be what you’re drawn to and what you’d like to train in. The teacher can also give you more specific information about local programs and what they think might be a good fit for you.

Consider your schedule and wallet.

Once you start to narrow down your choices, consider firstly what program structure will work best for you. Does your schedule allow you to attend training after work? Weekends only? Think about whether you’d prefer to complete your training over the course of several months, or whether you’d rather hash it all out in a couple weeks. Some people prefer the immersive program where they have multiple months to let the teaching and readings sink in, while others prefer the fast pace of an intensive program. Secondly, investigate whether the program offers financing options.

Ultimately, you can’t go wrong if you’ve chosen a certified program that resonates with you, whether that’s because the lead instructors inspire you, or the style is right up your alley, or the caliber of teachers the program produces is what you aspire to become.

Good luck on your journey!

It’s Not the Years, It’s the Mileage

As the phrase goes, “it’s not the years, it’s the mileage.” That’s what 21 years in the Army did to me after retiring. Those 21 years did a serious number on my back. This is what started my journey into yoga. I was a later bloomer into yoga, starting in my 40s. I really wish I had started at a much younger age, especially seeing the massive benefits it offers.


 My journey into teaching yoga began with working six years at a thankless government job. I came home one day to tell my wife how unhappy I was. She was totally unaware of my unhappiness. She asked me what did make me happy? I told her, “I like yoga,” which she then asked me if I had ever thought about teaching? I was both an Army recruiter and instructor while I was serving so standing in front of people and talking wasn’t a far stretch for me. This is what set me on my path to finding the emPower School of Yoga after doing an internet search of local schools. I also had a local yoga teacher who had talked about Baptiste power flow, so she suggested taking a class at Shakti. This was my first introduction to Liz Veyhl and Chris Byford. I knew I had found the right teachers after taking both of their classes. They both spoke of empowerment and community, which really resonated with me. I really loved the physicality of the power flow too. I also learned a hard lesson about not eating a tuna fish sandwich an hour before class. I definitely had to take child’s pose half way through a 75-minute flow before anything came up. It was also a lesson in letting go of the ego. I consider myself a strong person, but I had never sweated so much even running a half marathon. I knew I was hooked.

One of the biggest and most life-changing surprises during the eight weekends of teacher training was the self-inquiry work. I had no idea that we would be peeling back so many past layers of our emotions/experiences, which transitioned into self-realizations. Oftentimes these self-realizations involved tears. I felt myself opening up to my fellow students as they poured their hearts out. My favorite part of emPower is the lifelong friends I now have. We started off as 31 individuals, but after 200 hours of hard work and pouring our hearts out to each other, we ended up as a family. I also really enjoyed learning how to safely assist a student’s practice.

These are a few nuggets of knowledge I would tell myself before the training:

  1. The teachers know what they are doing so trust in the process.

  2. I don’t need to know everything beforehand.

  3. It is all right to let go.

  4. HAVE FUN!!!

  5. You will be physically exhausted so take care of yourself (eat healthy and get lots of rest).

  6. Bring a change of clothes and personal hygiene items because you will get sweaty every day of training.

  7. Have lunch with someone different each day of training.

Upon graduating, I started teaching at a local studio in Clarksville. This has now transitioned into teaching at four different studios and three non-profit organizations. I love to teach yoga because I love to empower my students.

emPower School of Yoga has been life changing in such a positive way. It has been the catalyst for a new way of living (a new way of being). I used to have to always be right and prove others that they were wrong. This caused me such angst and only fed my insecurities that I wasn’t man enough. I am a more loving and open person thanks to emPower and their fantastic trainers/facilitators. If you are looking for a yoga teacher training that teaches a fantastic power flow, gives you tools for a more loving life, and helps you build lifelong friends all while having a great time, then look no further than emPower.

Follow me on Instagram @danthemanyoga!