Letter to a Young Yoga Teacher : How to choose a Yoga Teacher Training Course
One of my dear friends recently asked me how I chose a yoga teacher training program. I didn’t really put so much thought into it, so I’ve decided to write up my thoughts below about what I wish I had known before.
So you want to teach yoga?
Here’s everything I wish I had considered before deciding on a yoga teacher training program.
Before you sign up for a yoga teacher training or YTT for short, decide why you want to teach yoga.
Do you want to make money / a career out of teaching yoga?
Then I’d recommend a YTT that is part of a larger tradition with a well-known “brand” behind it. It doesn’t have to be a trademarked brand like Jivamukti; Ashtanga and Iyengar are also styles of yoga that are very well-known, is part of a larger community and tradition, and so they function like brands. It’s like going to the Ivy League equivalent of YTT :
- Students and studio owners know what you trained in as well as the YTT’s quality.
- There is most likely a yoga studio of that style in cities you might want to live in in the future so you can move without worrying about building your teaching reputation and student base from scratch.
- If you do go with a YTT that’s part of a chain like Jivamukti, hopefully the chain is growing and needs more yoga teachers trained in its style so you can move into a teaching position at a new studio as soon as you finish your training.
- If you decide to teach independently, you don’t have to do as much marketing on your own — the brand does the marketing for you.
One caveat is that being a good yoga practitioner does not make a good yoga teacher necessarily. Teaching is hard. Explaining to people something new in a way that they get it is hard, especially if it’s a room of 30 students of different backgrounds and experiences. Make sure the YTT gives you actual experience teaching.
By the way, there’s not that much money in teaching yoga. Even if you get a high hourly wage (30 students x $20 = $600 !!), you can’t teach classes for a full eight hours. The studio takes part of that money. And some parts of the teaching are not paid: no one pays you to design the class, practice the class before teaching it, and to commute to and from the studio. Don’t forget all the paperwork that comes with being self-employed! That’s something else you have to do on your own time.
Do you want to deepen your yoga practice?
If you want to teach yoga to deepen your practice, that’s awesome. Teaching yoga forced me to break down all the postures, especially the ones that were easy for me. I had to get to know them all over again from a beginner’s perspective. I thought about yoga a lot more, and I dove deeply into the history and texts. I even started learning Sanskrit at the local university.
In this case go with your heart and body to choose a yoga teacher training. You’re not here for the money anyways, so go where you can learn the most. Go where the challenges are hardest. That’s where you’ll be transformed.
Hope that helps! Let me know how you decide…