You know it’s time to take a 200-hour yoga teacher training course if you love yoga, want to improve your practice, are interested in learning more about the philosophy behind it, or want to become a yoga instructor so you can share your passion with others. Believe it or not, the name of these courses is a little deceiving. They are not just designed to train you to become a teacher. They also teach you everything you might want to know about yoga.
So how do you know what course is right for you? Where do you begin?
You go to Google and start searching for a level one yoga course, foundational yoga program, yoga training for beginners, and so on. All these courses are now called 200-hour yoga teacher training, (YTT) and NO, they are not only for those who want to become yoga teachers as the name may imply. Now you notice the plethora of styles, locations, formats, and lengths. Do you stay local and take classes on the weekend, travel abroad and complete your training in less than a month, or train from home online?
With all the options out there, choosing the right course for you has now become anything but Zen. To make the process a little easier, here are few tips that can help you choose the right course for your needs (learned from our personal experiences and mistakes while choosing over nine teacher training courses)
THE YOGA STYLE PRACTICED DURING THE 200-hr YOGA TEACHER TRAINING
A teacher training program should have one or two styles of yoga that you will practice. With so many yoga styles out there, make sure that in your teacher training, you will spend time studying and practicing a style which you already know and love. When a yoga school’s website mentions that you will practice five styles of yoga, they are just trying to get as many people as possible booked in. Without having a focus, your knowledge base will fall short of stable. If the predominant style of yoga taught is not clearly defined on a school's website, be wary and clarify with them first before booking. It’s hard enough to break down one style of yoga in 200 hours, let alone multiple styles of yoga.
In our 200-hour yoga instructor training, we focus on Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and Vinyasa Flow yoga, while our 300-hour advanced training focuses predominantly on Vinyasa Flow Yoga.
THE STYLE OF YOGA THAT YOU WILL LEARN HOW TO TEACH
A 200-hour yoga program should mention ONE style of yoga that you will learn to teach to others. The asana instructor would teach you, step by step, how to sequence for this style of yoga, how many types of classes there could be based on this specific style, how a level one class would look like, level two, and so on. This theory should then be applied, which means that the students would have to create their own yoga classes and practice on their fellow students. After they are done teaching, there should be continuous feedback from the teachers and students. Apart from the sequencing, this module should include general info such as teaching skills, class management, verbal cueing, demonstrating techniques and physical adjustments. On our 200-hour yoga courses, we establish a strong foundation in Ashtanga Vinyasa and teach you how to teach Vinyasa Yoga classes.
ALIGNMENT CLASSES OF ASANAS LEARNED
Alignment classes of the yoga postures should be included in the training. Let’s say a school teaches Vinyasa Yoga. Which poses are found in most of the Vinyasa yoga classes? The alignment of these poses should be explained and broken down with modifications, prerequisites, preparation steps and ways to get to the main goal of asana, etc.
Do you want to know how many yoga poses Martin learned in his first Hatha Yoga teacher training? 12 poses! And of course, this was one of the reasons why he had to take another 200-hour yoga teacher training.
In our 200-hour yoga training, you will learn alignment for 51 poses! Not 12, but 51 poses. The alignment classes are a game-changer on our trainings and always students' favorite module.
Now that you’ve done some research on the style of yoga you want, it’s time to pick the school. Actually the teachers.
How many instructors will be on the course? Is it a one-man show or is it a group of teachers? Some schools have over 20 C.V.’s on their website and this can be confusing because you have no idea which teachers you will study with. Find out who will be your teachers and then see what their yoga practice is, their teaching experience, and how many teacher training courses they have done. Read reviews about them, check out their C.V., see if it’s possible to take a class with them, or request a phone call with them. Follow them on social media, see if you resonate with them - don’t get fooled by the numbers of followers they have. The number means nothing in terms of their ability to actually teach. It just means that they put a lot of effort into their Instagram account and there is a big distinction between skilled yoga teachers and successful Instagram teachers.
CURRICULUM / SYLLABUS
Does the overall syllabus sound ethereal and a bit too poetic to you? An ethereal teacher training mentions “sacred anatomy”, inspirational classes, storytelling, connection, work through life changes, dream, finding clarity. While these are all lovely activities, they are extracurriculars and not pertinent to a yoga training. Can you really get an idea of what you are going to learn in such training? How will these classes help you in your yoga journey? Especially when your main goal is to become a yoga teacher. 🤔
A more grounded course mentions classes like alignment, teaching skills, workshops, philosophy, anatomy, sequencing, relaxation techniques and breaks all these modules into details.You can even check out a school’s syllabus on Yoga Alliance’s website, even though some schools don’t have it listed (we wonder why) 🤔
OBJECTIVE / FOCUS OF THE YOGA INSTRUCTOR TRAINING
What is the objective of the training? What will you get out of this course? This could be stated as: "By the end of this course, you will deepen your asana practice (the physical practice of yoga), learn about the ancient philosophical roots of yoga and be able to teach Vinyasa yoga to a mixed-level class of students"
Or it can be something like: "By the end of the course, you will learn how to perform cacao ceremony, fire ceremony, transform your life and learn prenatal, acro yoga, kids yoga, hatha yoga, hot yoga and yoga for all."
Your goal could be to take a training that focuses on philosophy, meditation, or anatomy. Do your research and see where you can find exactly that. This may be found on a 200-hour yoga teacher training course, or if not, you could choose to do a shorter course which will give you exactly that. Yoga schools are free to choose what they focus on and this usually depends on the knowledge of the teachers. Yoga Alliance gives schools the minimum hours of each module which will be taught and then it’s up to the school how they fill the rest of the hours. - But we have also seen 200-hour yoga instructor training courses which include 50 hours of Thai massage just because the yoga teacher is also a massage therapist. 🤔
Our school’s focus is on alignment, developing personal practice, and practical teaching skills.