Which Yoga Teacher Training is Right for You?
Which Yoga Teacher Training is Right For You?
There are so many amazing yoga training programs out there! From programs abroad to programs online, it can sometimes feel overwhelming and confusing when you are trying to choose what’s right for you.
Good news! I am here to help!
Over the years I have both trained and led a variety of teacher training formats and have also worked alongside hundreds of teachers who come from various training backgrounds. From all I’ve learned, I’ve created a list of pros and cons that can help you make the best decision when it comes to taking the next step in your yoga journey.
Local In Person Teacher Trainings
These are trainings held by studios in your area. Typically most if not all hours are done in person – usually in the studio hosting the training. These trainings are generally led by experienced teachers at the studio, although sometimes the studio will bring in regionally or nationally recognized visiting instructors to lead a portion or all of the training (trainings where this is the case generally cost more).
What to look for in in-person trainings:
- Scheduled sessions – can you make all of the required in person sessions? Sometimes this might mean needing to take time off work or arrange care for children and/or pets. Some trainings are focused on mainly daytime hours while others are evening and weekends. Some trainings might be done in the course of a week or 2, while others are spread out over a span of months. It’s imperative you be at all sessions, so ensure before enrolling you find a training with a schedule that works best for your life.
- Training leadership – who is leading the training and are these people you want to learn from? Generally a training will lend itself to the trainer’s style of teaching, so it’s helpful to go take a class from that trainer if you have no prior experience with them.
- Additional requirements – many trainings require some level of outside class work. Ensure you know what this commitment is prior to signing up so that you can create the space in your life to accomplish all that is expected to complete the training.
- Cost – training is a big investment in yourself and pricing can range quite a bit. It can be helpful to research the different local trainings to have an understanding of average pricing. Many trainings will offer payment plans to help make covering the cost easier.
Local In Person Pros:
- You have the opportunity to train at your local studio, with teachers and other students you know
- The in person experience is much more powerful and impactful than online trainings
- It can open the door to teaching opportunities at the studio
Local In Person Cons:
- All in person sessions are mandatory, so there is a big time and energy investment
- It can be hard to shift gears from yoga teacher training mode to everyday life mode back to yoga teacher training mode
- In person trainings typically cost significantly more than online options
Destination Teacher Trainings
My personal favorite way to train is by escaping the stresses of everyday life and heading out of the state or country! We’ve held trainings in several beautiful places including Belize, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Sedona. Our destination trainings are typically 7 days in length, although the time requirement can vary and be up to one month long with other companies.
What to look for in destination teacher trainings:
- Expected arrival and departure times – sometimes a program says for example 7 days, but you are expected to arrive prior to day 1 and leave after day 7. You’ll want to know the total time you will be away and ensure this works with personal obligations.
- What’s included with the pricing – generally pricing will include the cost of your stay, your meals and all local taxes. You will want to identify if the following expenses are included and if not, how much they will cost: travel/airfare, airport transfer fees, any meal expenses, extra resort/hotel fees, gratuities.
- Airfare pricing – before signing up, check out what the airfare will cost so you know your total investment. Prices to some destinations can get expensive!
- Accommodations – some trainings offer multiple room options such as doubles and singles. Others may only offer doubles or only offer single rooms. If you have a strong preference either way – to have your own room or to save money and share – you’ll want to know what your options are.
- Who is leading the program – unless the training is held by your local studio, you may be stepping into a situation where you have little to no familiarity with the trainers. Do a little online research and if you can see if the trainers have an online class you can take to get a feel for their style.
- Additional requirements – because of the time limitations of a destination training, there is often pre-work and post-work required for certification. Get an understanding of what this is so you can ensure you create space to complete this before and/or after the trip.
- You get to put the rest of your life on pause and immerse yourself in yoga and a healthy lifestyle. The depths of practice you can achieve through this immersion are unmatched!
- You may get a chance to train with people from all over the place, making it a wonderful and interesting experience!
- Depending on the location, you may be practicing in beautiful scenery such as beachfront or overlooking the ocean, mountains or jungle!
- Of all the training types, these tend to be the most expensive
- You may not know many of the people there and because this is not your go to yoga community, there is sometimes a more challenging transition into developing connections with the others enrolled
- The possibility of travel delays which could extend the amount of time you are away
Online Teacher Trainings
Online teacher trainings have gained much popularity in recent years. With many more people becoming comfortable with learning and working digitally, this option is being offered by more and more teachers and studios.
What to look for in an online training:
- Is it self paced or guided? Self paced trainings are just that – you get to go at your own pace. Guided trainings generally have a set of scheduled online sessions you are required to log into set dates and times.
- Is the training registered with Yoga Alliance? This may not be important to you, but if you do feel you might ever have an interest in leading continuing education for yoga teachers and/or lead yoga teacher trainings, you may want to ensure you go with a program that has an RYS (Registered Yoga School) designation with Yoga Alliance.
- What is the certification level? Online trainings come in many different shapes and lengths. Generally to get a job teaching yoga, you’ll need at least 100 hours of certification. Some studios require 200 hours. If you have a particular place in mind that you’d like to teach, check with them first to see what they require.
- What are the total requirements for training? Is it all online? Are there additional assignments? Are you required to do anything in a studio or take classes in person? You’ll want to understand and be sure you can commit to any additional responsibilities.
- Level of support – what does the trainer and/or studio provide in terms of support? Is someone available for questions? Do you receive any feedback as you go along? Do they offer any sort of accountability to make sure you complete the training? This may not be important to you, but if it is, you’ll want to verify this because the levels of support can vary from none to a lot.
- Online trainings generally cost less than in person trainings and therefore can make a teacher training more financially feasible
- With self paced trainings especially you get to complete the training on your own schedule, allowing you to more easily work training around your current life situation
- You often have access to the online curriculum for a lengthy period of time, meaning you can continuously go back and reference it
- Typically minimal support and feedback – the power of in person trainings is the support, encouragement, connection, coaching and feedback you receive. Online trainings generally are limited in their ability to provide this both from trainers and from the other students.
- Lack of accountability – most of us humans are in need of some level of accountability to help us achieve our goals. We find that the majority of people who sign up for a self paced online training especially do not end up finishing all of the requirements. If you know you need that nudge and encouragement, you are better off selecting a guided (scheduled) online training or better yet, an in person training.
- Quality issues – with so much moving to the digital space, it’s easier than ever to create an online training. Not all trainings are created equal and we’ve found some fall way short of preparing you to effectively teach a yoga class. Ensure you do your due diligence to understand all that is provided and the experience level of the trainers.
Hybrid Teacher Trainings
These bring together the best of both worlds – giving you the unmatched power of the in person experience alongside of the flexibility to complete some coursework at home. This is a great option if you have a smaller amount of time to dedicate to in-studio training but also crave the relationship building that comes with being in-person.
What to look for in a hybrid training:
- Distribution of hours – what is the expectation for in person hours vs. at home hours? Can you make both work? Are there enough in person hours to give you an impactful in person experience (typically you want at least 50% of the hours to be in person in a hybrid format).
- Online expectations – what’s expected of you outside of the studio? Is it all online modules? Do these need to be done at specific times or can you do them on your own schedule? Is there other work involved such as reading, submitting written assignments, etc.? You’ll want to make sure you have the space in your life outside of the in person commitment to complete all requirements.
- Pricing – with some hours not being done in person, hybrid trainings are typically offered at price points somewhere between the cost of an all online training and the cost of an all in person training. Does the pricing seem reasonable given the distribution of hours?
- As mentioned, you get the best of both worlds – the encouragement, community and feedback that comes with the in person sessions and the flexibility that comes with online coursework
- Generally priced lower than a 100% in person training
- You’ll need to be self accountable to finish the online coursework. We’ve seen this be an issue for some who sign up for hybrid courses.
- Less time with the community of people you are doing the training with. Often the most powerful and favorite part of the training is the time spent with trainers and most importantly fellow trainees.
How We Do it @ GoYoga
We do things a little differently than some studios when it comes to teacher trainings. We offer all of the above options and here’s how they best come together on your journey to becoming an amazing yoga teacher!
Step 1: Enroll & Complete a Level 1 Yoga Teacher Training
This will certify you as a 100 hour yoga teacher and equip you with the tools to begin teaching. This is also a great program for those who simply want to learn more about the tools of yoga, but have no desire to teach. We offer this program in a full in person format (with an evening/weekend option and with a 1 week local immersive option, typically held during the summer), a hybrid format (typically held every January), an online self guided format and a destination format (typically held in June).
Step 2: Enroll & Complete a Level 2 Yoga Teacher Training
This is the next step on your journey and will certify you as a 200 hour yoga teacher – the gold standard in the industry. We only offer this program in a full in person format with 3 options to choose from: an evening/weekend option, a one week local immersion (typically held during the summer) and a one week destination (typically held late fall).
Step 3: Mentorship Program
We’ve seen the best success in new teachers when they have the support of continuous encouragement, coaching and support during their first few months of teaching. Our 4 month mentorship program pairs you with an experienced teacher who will guide you through the initial teaching time period to accelerate your growth and success.
Step 4: Take Ancillary Trainings to Deepen Your Knowledge & Learn Specialty Styles
We offer a variety of short in person and online trainings covering different yoga styles, tools and topics. These are great add ons to help you deepen your knowledge and offerings.
Step 5: Enroll & Complete Level 3 Teacher Training
This will certify you as a 500 hour yoga teacher – the platinum standard in the yoga industry – and equip you with the tools to become a mentor, trainer and community leader! Our Level 3 training is only offered once per year in an in person format. We do ask that you have at least 2 years or 200 hours of teaching experience before taking this step.
Molly Morgan, eRYT500, is a yoga teacher, trainer and most importantly ongoing student. You can read about her personal journey into yoga teacher training and how it transformed her life here. She’s directed GoYoga’s teacher training programs for the last several years and has loved playing a part in helping hundreds of yogis along this powerful and transformative journey. Check out a sample segment of a sequence taught be her (one that you will learn to teach in our Level 1 yoga teacher training) here!