Today I helped a hostel roommate choosing her Yoga Teacher Training (YTT). Or maybe it wasn’t a help because I came with more and more things to think of and choose from. Here is a overview of my tips.
Define the style and what you want to learn.
So many choices, Traditional hatha, yummy vinyasa flows or rigid ashtanga. And that are only three options. Beware that styles like ashtanga or sivananda are predefined sequences and that creative names have nothing to do with traditional hatha. When in doubt, know that traditional hatha is a good base for whatever you want to do later.
What is important for you? The postures, the pranayama or the philosophy of yoga? Do you want to teach eventually or just deepen your practice? Get that clear before you continue. What is important for you ?
Think about whether you want to do an intensive course or spread it out on a longer time like a weekend each month for twelve months.
When you choose the first option you really dive into it and you’ll learn a lot in little time. The spread out courses make you able to process what you learn. In between the lessons you can study and Google to understand things better. Especially useful for philosophy because there will be a lot of new terms.
Generally speaking, avoid courses in three weeks. Apparently it is allowed to offer a ytt-200 in 21 days (arrival, last day and days off included) by putting a lot of “self study” in the curriculum. (unless there are clear pre-study requirements, where do the participants find the time?) 4 weeks is a lot more reasonable and already intensive (do the math yourself)
Think about your budget and the place
In India the YTT’s are the cheapest because of the low costs of living and the high amount of YTT’s. In Thailand you pay more and in Bali the prices are rocket high. Famous names will make the price higher. Take also costs for plane tickets, visa’s and vaccinations in account. Some people combine the YTT with travel.
Choosing a YTT registered with Yoga Alliance makes it possible to register yourself as yoga teachers. However, it’s not a real quality mark because the only thing the schools have to do is to send them the curriculum (meeting certain requirements) and pay a fee. There are no checks, complaint handling board or mystery visits. So it’s a nice to have, but the real proof is in the pudding!
There are two Yoga Alliances which really count (as far as they count) (USA and UK, the last is the more strict). Also your own country might have a certification. See if you might need it, maybe for insurances). For the rest there are a lot of “Alliances” which have even less value.
Make a long list of YTT’s
Look at the topics covered
Remember, less is more. When they promise 10.000 subjects then you’ll learn nothing in the end. See how much you’ll teach yourself. I’ve met people who taught only two times 10 minutes during their YTT. How much attention is there for adjustments?
Be aware that most of the times anatomy is the so called yoga anatomy, about energy layers, chakras etc. Especially “western” anatomy is not covered often in eastern courses because it’s seen as useless unless you want to do yoga therapy.
Kids yoga, pre- and post natal yoga and other special groups deserve a training on their own, so don’t expect too much of it in a general ytt-200.
Take a look at their websites, Facebook pages (I’m particular interested in the graduation photos – how may participants are there) and other social media as Instagram.
Number of students and pre-requisites
As said,I always look at the number of students at the graduation photos. I think in between 16 and 24 is the optimum. When there are not enough, there won’t be enough interactions and examples and possibilities to adjust. When there are too many students the attention per student will decrease.
If they say that you need at least a practice of one year and be able to do a crow (for example) I’m tended to take that course more seriously than a YTT where even (absolute) beginners can enter. Look also at the (pre-) reading list. If you have to study some books before, it adds to the level of the YTT. Also the authors indicates the direction of the school’s philosophy. Does that match with your expectations?
Good sources are Yoga Alliance (when you want to register you have to leave a review.), Tripadvisor, Google and Facebook. Students may have written a review about their YTT like I did. Also yogattc.info and trueyogareviews.com are a good help. Be aware that some sites have a kickback or benefit otherwise.
See if you can ask questions to either the school and the teachers either the participants. How does the school respond? Participants (find them on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn) are usually happy to answer your questions, especially when the questions are concrete.
Make a shortlist.
With all above in mind you can make a list of the courses with fits you the most. Hopefully you have three names left. Don’t be afraid to listen to your intuition to choose (or not to choose for something). It’s often right !
Make your choice and prepare.
Pay the deposit and count the days! Because a YTT is intensive, I recommend you to practice at least 4 times a week during the months before the YTT.