How To Pick the Right Teacher Training
Trying to find the best Yoga Teacher Training that suits your needs and interests can be a really complicated task. Here are the 9 most important questions that you should consider before choosing one.
1. Be sure that you will be spending enough one-on-one time with the lead trainers.
It is important, once you decide to do a YTT course that you know in advance that the course director/leader will be personally involved with your training. Make sure you will be able to have personal time with them to resolve your concerns, ask questions and clarify anything that might otherwise remain unresolved. Faculty teachers must be present, available and in direct contact with their students as much as possible. This ensures a better learning process and will help students assimilate all the concepts that are being explained during the course.
2. Do research on the instructors
Research/Meet/Watch the YTT faculty with whom you are thinking of studying with. Look at how long they have been teaching, where they have been teaching and who trained them. It is a good idea to find teachers who have had many years of experience working with a wide array of students.
Try to take some public classes with the teachers who form a part of your YTT faculty, or see if they have classes online. Make sure you enjoy/relate to their teaching styles and connect with them, as this will play a part in how you yourself will initially teach.
3. Look into how they teach anatomy
The philosophy of yoga and the understanding of it is very important, but it is also just as important to have a firm foundation in anatomy and biomechanics. You will, once you qualify be working with many different body types, helping peoples into various poses. This could be potentially harmful, if a good understanding of the physical body is not known. Make sure that your YTT program has a strong anatomy/biomechanics section. Anatomy may not seem like the biggest deal when you are in the middle of trying to memorize all the Sanskrit names for poses or figuring out how to sequence properly. But many of your students will come to you with injuries, discomforts/strains and it is your job to keep them well and safe from harm. You can only do this if you have a strong understanding of how the body works.
4. Research and get background of the Yoga School.
Do some research into the history of the Yoga School with whom you are considering doing your training. E.g. what is the schools heritage and lineage.
Who are the Faculty staff, and what are there respective backgrounds.
Read reviews and if possible talk to people who have been through the program.
5. Evaluate the course syllabus for balance of subjects taught
All YTT schools that meet the enhanced Yoga Alliance accredited standards for their 200hr course must meet the required minimum number of hours dedicated to the various competencies, such as anatomy, sequencing, history, and philosophy. However, all schools will/should have a lineage, which means they will perhaps have a clear style they bring to their program.
For Example, if you are really into the nuts and bolts of yoga asana, then a spiritually-focused YTT course most likely isn’t for you. Likewise, if discussing the Yoga Sutras at length turns you on, then an asana/anatomy/biomechanics focused program may make you feel less than interested.
Ask for a copy of the curriculum/schedule and ask about how many hours are dedicated to each competencies. if it is not advertised.
6. Check out the average number of students that will be attending the course
What do you think would be better for your learning? Some courses have a high student::teacher ratio. That doesn’t mean that the course is necessarily bad, but obviously the contact you’ll have with the lead teachers will be more personalized if the course has a limited number of students. A course with 10 to 20 students will mean a positive group dynamic and, at the same time, a more personalized and attentive practice.
7. Having some free time during the course is important. Does the course offer other extra activities?
It is important to have free time to enjoy the environment that surrounds the course. Having these moments allows for time to relax and assimilate the concepts that are explained throughout the training. Having your own personal time also helps you to share and interact with the rest of the students who are participating in the course. Time away from the shala is sometimes just as important as time in it.
8. Can everybody join the course no matter their yoga background?
Consider joining a YTT program that requires the same level of experience for the group of students attending it and that the course has some minimum requirements as criteria for admission. This will help you decide and choose a course where the other students have a similar experience and background. In this way, the development of the course will be more uniform and you will feel more comfortable in an environment in which your colleagues participate with similar experience to you. That way, you won’t find yourself among very advanced students or with students who might slow the program down due to lack of experience.
9. Be sure that you don’t get your certificate just by showing up
Some programs do not ask for any type of requirements in order to provide the certificate to their students. In those instances, simply attending or just paying your tuition would get you a certificate.
Make sure that certain requirements are mandatory in order to obtain the course certificate and that the criteria are properly evaluated. It would not be fair to evaluate students in the same way who have tried and put in the hard work to assimilate the contents of the course with students who have taken the course as a “yoga vacation”. This also brings down the quality of yoga as a whole.
If what you are really looking for is to learn, it is important that the course director is able to objectively measure and evaluate your effort and knowledge and help you become the best teacher that you can become. Do not trust those programs that only require attending some classes and paying your tuition to certify you as a yoga teacher.