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!