What is the best yoga teacher training for you? Are you thinking about making the transition from being a student of yoga to a yoga instructor? These days, it seems that nearly every yoga studio offers a yoga teacher training program. For yoga studios, training instructors is big business. However, how do you know which programs are the most qualified? Are you absolutely sure about which style you want to teach? The following three questions will help you find the best yoga teacher training programs for you.
What will your job prospects be like after you complete the program?
Before embarking on a teacher training program, you need to know why you want to enter such a program in the first place. If you are counting on earning part, or all of your income, as a yoga instructor in the same area where you’re taking the teacher training, you should know that many yoga studios prefer to hire graduates of their own training programs. From the yoga studio’s point of view, hiring their own graduates makes perfect sense: The studio managers will already be familiar with the future instructor, that instructor’s skills, and that instructor’s teaching philosophy.
What if it’s obvious to you that the place where you’re seeking teacher training already has more than enough instructors? If your favorite hometown yoga studio is a small operation that already has a stable of part-time and/or full-time instructors, you probably shouldn’t plan on getting a job there when your training is finished. That’s really not a problem, because most of the jobs are outside the studios in health clubs, community centers, and any location where people meet. In fact, many companies have corporate yoga classes. Yoga classes are happening everywhere.
Two points to consider when you’re researching an instructor training program are the popularity and flexibility of the style. For example: Yin is a wonderful style, but it’s purely gentle in nature. Power Yoga is another great style, but it’s usually designed around hard core exercises. My point is to reach the largest audience, you need a style in the “Goldilocks Zone.” As my teacher would say: “Don’t take my word for it, do the research.” Two styles that have hard and soft sides are Hatha and Vinyasa. Both of these styles are still very popular to this day. Just something to consider.
Do you want to open your own studio?
If your goal is to open your own yoga studio, then you might consider seeking a well-known instructor or teacher training program that can offer you the kind of training and marketing skills you’ll need to draw new students. In this scenario, your hometown yoga studio might not be the best place to complete your teacher training. However, teachers who produce the most videos, and have the most fame, might not have enough time to train us about capturing fame.
With all that said, you could also take an online course from a famous studio, with information about business and marketing. Some people will tell you marketing isn’t important. If they practice what they preach, they don’t make any money. Think about it – if you teach for nothing, you make nothing, and your students will think yoga is worthless. The final choice is up to you, but those who don’t ask, don’t get paid, and don’t get any respect. Sadly, I have witnessed great teachers, who taught free class, and their students rarely appreciated the teacher’s generosity. These types of teachers barely make ends meet, but are constantly disrespected behind their backs.
Do you think the best yoga teacher training should incorporate a spiritual aspect?
These days, religious fundamentalists have been beating the drum about yoga and religion. Yet, the average yoga teacher training course barely scratches the surface in regard to any religion, Sanskrit, mantras, or classic texts. In ancient India, training in physical yoga was inseparable from training the mind and soul. In this modern-day, most of the world’s yoga teachers, studios, and classes tend to shy away from the spiritual side of yoga. Trainers often admit that most of their students just want to learn the exercises. In fact, spiritual health often takes a back seat to asana alignment, transitions, classroom safety, yoga anatomy, sequencing, following a lesson plan template, or creating a lesson plan.
You need to know how much of the spiritual side of yoga you want to embrace as a student and as a future teacher. Some yoga teacher trainings include the study of spiritual scriptures; while most programs do not include very much spirituality at all. You should find out in advance how much of the teacher training will include a spiritual aspect and decide if its incorporation is important to you or not.
How long will it take to recover your return on investment?
Most onsite teacher training programs cost between $2,000 and $20,000. Since that’s a significant investment for most people, be sure to think carefully about the cost of your program and your return on investment, before making the plunge into your view of the best yoga teacher training program. Some people go broke spending all of their savings on yoga teacher training. How can you recover financially, if you spend all of your savings, and load up your credit card with huge debt? Remember that distance learning and online yoga certification programs are an option that can save you a lot of money.
Question everything! You will hear many myths about how to become a yoga teacher. Some people will tell you that you have to stand on your head first. Some people will tell you that you have to join this or that organization. Do your research and make the best decision for you. No two yoga teaching positions are the same, so apply at a few different places or send resumes. One thing I can tell you is: if you want to become an instructor take a reasonably priced course, get yoga certified, get liability insurance, and pay your taxes, when you start making money.
Most practicing teachers and students are shy about discussing money. If you are independently wealthy, no worries – It’s only money. You could spend more in a casino. However, for most of us, money doesn’t fall from the skies. Most training programs don’t talk about return on investment, marketing, business, websites, social media or anything related to surviving financially. Most interns don’t want to know, but they will if they are pounding the pavement for a teaching position. Every teacher knows somebody who spent a fortune to get the best yoga teacher training, became registered with this or that Yoga Alliance, and traveled to a tropical location, but couldn’t find a teaching position. The reason is simple: Most teachers don’t have access to marketing information. If you teach great classes, no one will ever know until you can market yourself.
No two teacher training programs are the same. If you want a four-week yoga holiday on a tropical island, that’s fine. Each of us is on a different path in this life. Make sure you do your homework before entering any yoga certification course. If possible, talk to teachers about their training. Weigh up differences and chose the path that fits into your lifestyle. We are not all the same. As humans go, we don’t share the same exact desires regarding life. We all know people who go through yoga teacher training, but never teach a class afterward, because that wasn’t their objective. It was just something in their bucket list. My feeling is: Do whatever you like, but try to avoid hurting anyone on the path of life. There is no harm in having different goals from the crowd.
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