How to Choose a Yoga Teacher Training (YTT)

I did my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) in August 2018. It is now February 2019 soooo, yeah, I’m a bit late on writing a post talking about my experience. So it goes. I could probably spend a whole blog post talking about the nitty gritty of what YTT was like and all my epiphanies and struggles (and maybe I will someday), but instead I’ve decided to focus on some takeaways that would be helpful for someone considering doing a teacher training. I’ve organized this post by some of the main decisions one would make when choosing a YTT program:

  • Timing
  • Location
  • Type/Style
  • Other Considerations

My YTT was at Wild Thing Yoga studio in Bend, Oregon but was run by the company Floating Yoga School. I LOVED the lead teacher and I met some wonderful people in the program. There was 16 of us (I think?) that were in the training together, one lead teacher, and several teachers that would come in and teach for a few hours or half a day. It was not focused on any one style of yoga, but pulled mostly from Vinyasa philsophy. We touched on other styles, such as Hatha and Kundalini throughout.

I am no expert, but this is information that I know would have been helpful for me back when I was deciding where/when/how to do Yoga Teacher Training. Enjoy! And PLEASE ask me any questions. I could talk yoga allllll day.

Reverse warrior on top of Tumalo Mountain just outside of Bend, Oregon

Timing

There are many options when you consider when to do YTT. I did a 3-week intensive course over the summer. I’m an educator and have summers off so it was perfect for me. Many studios offer similar formats, but those are often not accessible to people with full-time jobs.

You will also see two main other kinds of YTT. Many studios have weekend intensive YTT programs, where you meet all day Saturday and Sunday for X number of weekends over the course of several months. You may also see a variation on that where some of the content is delivered on weeknights and some on weekends. Depending on where you live you can find YTT on all different kinds of schedules. Find what works for your life.

Location

Are you trying to make a vacation out of YTT or is it something you want to do at your home studio? I think a lot of this depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. If you go to a studio near your home that you LOVE and you want to teach there, it’s probably worth waiting for a YTT to happen there. You’re more likely to get hired by a studio if you did your training with them. If you’re flexible about teaching opportunities, then you have more freedom about where you go.

One thing I know about myself is that I’m not successful when I have too many things on my plate. I knew that I would not be able to make it work if I did a weekend YTT program, and with my schedule as an educator, I knew I was able to do an intensive training over the summer. Once I knew that, I had to find a place. None of the studios in my town offered what I wanted, so I expanded my search. A lot of the trainings that I was finding were in Bali or Costa Rica or the like. I’ll talk about cost later, but YTT is expensive. I wasn’t willing to dish out money for a long flight in addition to the cost of training. If money was not a factor, I absolutely would have gone out of the country for a training. I can’t think of any better way to see the world than to do yoga in it.

However, money was a factor, and I was about ready to give up on finding a YTT that fit my financial and timing preferences until I stumbled across one in Bend, Oregon–about a 3 hour drive away from where I live. Bend is one of my favorite places to visit so I knew I could stay there for 3 weeks and be perfectly content. In my case, there was an option for housing at a nearby college campus. It was at a lower cost than what an AirBnb would cost for that amount of time so I was sold.

Type/Style

Some YTTs are very focused on a certain type of yoga. For example, if you attend a YTT with the Baptiste Institute, you’ll be prepared pretty much to just teach Baptiste yoga. Other trainings, like the one I did, are more of an overview of all types of yoga. I’ll explain another way: If you’re set on teaching in a Bikram studio, for example, going to any ol’ YTT won’t cut it. You would need to attend a registered Bikram YTT in order to be able to teach at a Bikram studio.

This is not to say a focused type is better or a broad type is better. It is entirely dependent on your needs and wants. Just know what you’re getting into! After my training, I felt pretty much prepared to teach Vinyasa style yoga. I knew the basics of a lot of other types and knew I could always attend workshops to expand my knowledge if I wanted to learn more about yin, prenatal, etc.

Some fun with inverting across the street from Wild Thing Yoga Studio

Other Considerations

Yoga Alliance Certification

Yeah yeah this is controversial. But, it’s something to consider. If by chance someday you’ll want to work at a studio and they only want teachers who have trained at a YTT that is Yoga Alliance certified but your YTT wasn’t Yoga Alliance certified then you’re S-O-L. I was intentional in choosing a program that was YA certified so that I could register as a YA teacher later, if I wanted. I haven’t yet, but I have that option since I attended a certified program.

Plans after YTT

Where do you want to teach after you attend YTT? There are many options: in a studio, making videos online, at a community center, in schools, at a senior center, as a corporate consultant, etc, etc.. Begin with the end in mind, but know that your desires may change as you experience YTT.

Staff

If at all possible (and it should be) talk to someone who works in the program or who has attended the program. Any website can look appealing, but connecting, in person or via phone with someone who has experience in the program, either as a teacher or participant, gives you much more valuable info.

Triangle pose at Green Lakes Trail outside of Bend, Oregon

I hope this has given you some direction on where to look for a teacher training program. Even if you don’t want to be a yoga teacher, YTT can be a wonderful experience that helps you grow in your yoga practice, and as a person in general.

Thanks for reading! Check back soon.

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