05 May Why I Think Everyone Should Take Yoga Teacher Training
This might be a controversial statement but I believe everyone should take a 200 hour yoga teacher training (YTT) program!
To some folks it is obscene for people to take a month-long or even a multiple months-long course to become certified and then be able to call themselves a yoga teacher but there is no other way in our Western system for people to immerse themselves in the study of yoga.
If you have been practicing for a while and are interested in learning more deeply about yoga, a 200 hr yoga teacher training is a viable immersive experience that can help to direct you further into your own practice – whether or not you intend to teach others.
And let me just add that I don’t think anyone should take the training if they want to BECOME a yoga teacher…meaning, they see people on Instagram or YouTube who look the part and they just want to be that person, or do that for a living because it looks like an exotic and exciting way to make a living. Becoming a famous yoga teacher should not be a vocational aim. Aside from the entrapments of fame as an aspiration, in all honesty, yoga teaching is generally not an instant money-making position.
“Teacher Training” is a misnomer. The result of a 200 hr yoga teacher training is that you are really an “instructor in training.” You learn how to instruct others in a practice, and, most importantly, this training inspires and supports your own practice. You become a yoga “teacher” when you are able to synthesize the teachings with your own long-time experience to share yoga with others in more depth. This takes dedicated time, personal practice and continuous study. (Thank you Leslie Kaminoff for that distinction!)
Consider a martial arts school where trainees progress along a path of belt colors as their learning evolves. The black belt level is translated as “instructor in training”. Am I saying 200 hrs = a blackbelt? No but it could be the next level of progression for a serious yoga practitioner instead of piece-mealing their learning over the years.
What you will learn in a YTT:
- How to be a better yoga student!
- About your body and mind from both Western models of anatomy & physiology and Eastern models equally as informative and insightful on how we humans work inside and out
- More of the nuances of the asana and the breath and how they work together to help us stay healthy on and off the mat
- The history of yoga that brings context to your practice within the broad spectrum of yoga lineages, styles, brands, etc. so you don’t perpetuate myths and misunderstandings of yoga and can be a good steward of this knowledge
- Respect and understanding for yoga as a philosophy, to underpin the value of it beyond simply being a great form of exercise
- You’re not alone – the community connection within your learning cohort is especially rewarding
If this piques your interest. If you are the curious type. If you want to dive deeper into understanding yourself and yoga, then immerse yourself in a 200 hr teacher training.
Three reasons to consider a YTT:
- You’re new to yoga and you want to immerse yourself in understanding it better
- You’ve been practicing for quite awhile and you want to understand it more
- Your friends and family keep asking you about yoga (You have a ready audience to teach to!)
Yoga practice is lifelong learning.
People get hooked on yoga. I did. It felt good. I slept better, my relationships and my health improved but I didn’t understand completely why until I took my first YTT simply as an Immersion (I had no serious intention of teaching at the time.) I kept my day job and ended up instructing yoga in the evenings and on weekends, which became an additional way to learn and explore my own practice.
I’ve been practicing now for close to 30 years and teaching for about 14 and I find yoga immensely fulfilling, meaningful, and beneficial not only for myself but in sharing the practices with others. My focus these days is on helping people who have osteoporosis be safe in their bodies and calm their minds. This is more of a therapeutic approach, which is another level of education I have embarked on. Additionally, I especially love sharing yoga with instructors in training.
I’m proud to be part of the faculty of teachers at Square One Yoga studios in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s the Bay Area’s foremost body-positive Yoga Teacher Training Program for a well-rounded, non-dogmatic approach to teaching and studying yoga.
After a hiatus due to the pandemic, we have a new training sessions coming up in 2023 scheduled mainly for weekends in the fall mostly in-person with some online sessions.
Check it out and let me know if you have any questions!
Again, I believe everyone should take a 200 hr YTT program at some point in their life.
And I do kinda mean everyone, even the newbies because yoga helps us to feel better and to understand ourselves better and I believe wholeheartedly that the tenets of yoga are universal and help us to be better people in the world. (The more the merrier to spread the good word of yoga!)
But I also sincerely feel that anyone who is serious about yoga should take teacher training to get the immersive education. And then decide whether or not teaching is right for them.
The key element is dedicating time to your personal practice. 200 hrs is just the beginning, yoga is a lifetime practice and a lifetime of learning. Good luck on your journey!
PS. I’ll also give you my perspective on a common question: “why are the YTT programs so expensive?” It’s really quite simple, the yoga studio needs to pay for their rent/fixed expenses/learning materials (sometimes they pay for the books you use during training, etc.), pay the teacher’s fee, and make a profit – they are a business. Just divide it out and you’ll see it’s actually not much per hour. Let’s say you find a program that is $2600, divided by 200 hours, that’s $13/hour. Not very expensive at all. Others might be up in the $5k range, which is $25/hour. Maybe others are even more expensive but the model is the same. Depends on the studio where you take the training, their lineage, their name & reputation, and sometimes the “celebrity” panache of the teachers involved. But don’t mistake $$$ for quality. There are many factors that go into your decision to invest in immersing yourself in a teacher training program – I think a few key factors are do you connect with the teachers who will be training you and the underlying focus of this program vs another, and does this program generally fit your schedule?