Participating in a teacher training program can be a life changing experience. It opens up new doorways and possibilities, and entices one to view themselves and the world through a different lens where they can begin to recognize blind spots, broaden perspectives, and consciously evolve on a personal level. Whether your intention is to teach or not, choosing to be self-invested in your own growth is well worth the sacrifices made to embark on this enriching and life enhancing journey. Yes, there are sacrifices made when choosing to sign-up for a yoga training. Amongst all of the gifts that a yoga training can grant you with, becoming more self-aware, being inspired to live a healthier more conscious lifestyle, and often freeing yourself of un-serving patterns and habits, we also sacrifice time with our loved ones, the finances required to register for the course, and much of our free time. With all of this to consider, it’s important that you take the time to research the programs you are interested in, know what to look for, and ask the right questions to ensure you are choosing the course that best aligns with your lifestyle and interests.
What is teacher training exactly, and who is it for?
It is easy to think that yoga teacher training is solely for those who want to become a yoga teacher, and although a yoga training is the first step to take if you do want to teach yoga, these programs can foster an immense amount of self-inquiry and personal growth.
At some point most practitioners of yoga realize the depth of the practice and become curious, craving a deeper understanding not just of the postures, but of the roots that lie underneath the surface of the practice. A yoga training will offer you in-depth information about the history, philosophy and science behind the practice, while also giving you a better understanding of the human body and how it works anatomically and physiologically. There is thorough examination of the yoga postures, their purpose, physical alignment, plus benefits and contraindications, while also focusing on how to build a class through sequencing and how to cue students effectively. On a much deeper level, a yoga training helps students to recognize their own inner intelligence and encourages them to step into their highest and most honest state of being so that they can teach and serve their students with authenticity.
But even if you don’t ever plan on teaching and you simply want to learn more about the practice, these programs can foster a huge amount of personal growth, which is always a worthy investment. You will expand your understanding of the practice as a whole while refining postural alignment and discovering different approaches to the poses. There will be lots of practice time, some schools teach 2 classes per day, plus the addition of meditation, pranayama and mantra practices as well.
Yoga training is an enriching experience that can enhance both your practice and your life.
Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.–Lao Tzu ~ Tao Te Ching
How do I choose the right teacher training?
Registering for a teacher training can often be confusing. There are so many different programs out there now, so which one is the right one for you? When choosing a teacher training there are 4 very important factors to consider that can help you narrow down you choices pretty quickly.
Format – There are typically 2 different formats for yoga trainings. First is the intensive format where you will gather for 4-5 consecutive weeks with usually only one day off per week. This format is a great way to immerse yourself into the teachings, but can also be overwhelming with all the information thrown at you. Second is the extended format, usually spread out over 4 to 6 months, meeting 1 or 2 weekends per month. Sometimes you will see a combination of the two, with a few weekends spread out over a couple months, and ending with a one or two week intensive. The two latter formats allow for more integration time, which is often needed when you are taking in so much information, so think about what kind of learner you are, and in what type of environment do you best retain information. This can give you a better idea as to what format may support your learning more. It’s important also to consider your current lifestyle and think about what your life would look like with the addition of a teacher training program in your schedule, and choose the one that best fits. Ensure also that the dates work for you, as one missed day in yoga training is usually quite a bit of content. Most schools are flexible with time missed, but do your self a favor and be present for the entirety of the course if possible.
Location – With the plethora of trainings out there you will often find a good number that are running right in your own town. When doing an in town training, which are typically the extended format, make sure that it is easy for you to get to, parking is something to consider as well. Know that when choosing an in town training you will need to skillfully weave the training in with your everyday life, work, school, kids, family, and whatever else you have going on, which can be a learning experience in itself! Then you have the destination trainings. As enticing as it may seem to go practice yoga for a month straight on a beautiful beach somewhere, it just isn’t doable for everyone. If you can make a destination training work in your life, you get the added immersion without all the regular distractions of life which can be really wonderful and enhance your experience and learning.
Teachers – It is important that you resonate with the teacher who is leading the training, as your level of learning will be heightened when training under a guide who you align with personally, and whose style fits with what you are hoping to learn. If you don’t know the teacher in a training you are interested in, go check out one of their classes, or at least look them up online, follow them on social media, or talk to other students who have already trained with them. If the teacher does not live in your area, see if you can get in touch with them via email or phone or skype and ask the questions you need answers to, and you should be able to get a feel right away as to if you connect with them or not.
Syllabus – Know what interests you, whether that be history, anatomy, the subtle body, etc. then review the training curriculum to ensure that what you hope to learn is going to be taught on or even emphasized in the training you want to take. Each training varies slightly with their main focus, so ensure that it aligns with what you hope to know more about before signing up. Now its not imperative, but good to know if the training is Yoga Alliance certified or not. Yoga Alliance is the governing body that ensures that their schools are offering a curriculum that covers all the important aspects of yoga needed to be a teacher. With that being said, there are some great programs out there that are not Yoga Alliance, but it would be good to read some reviews and get some background on the school and their teachers before paying your deposit.
What is the difference between a 200 & 300 hour training?
There are two designations of yoga teachers as determined by Yoga Alliance, RYT-200 and RYT-500.
A 200-hour training is the first step to becoming a RYT-200 teacher. The content offered in the course would be basic yoga philosophy & asana, anatomy, class planning, the business of yoga and how to break out as a new yoga teacher. This level of training will guide all participants to a deeper understanding of the practice and themselves, while also creating a strong foundation for those who want to teach.
A 300-hour advanced training provides the additional 300 hours needed to become a RYT-500. The content of this course would expand on the content offered in a 200-hour, while allowing participants to continue to deepen their knowledge and their practice. For those already teaching, a 300-hour can help to re-inspire and refine the teacher’s skills, while also developing specialized knowledge on certain aspects of the practice.
Your life is a sacred journey. It is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what’s possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path… exactly where you are meant to be right now… And from here you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing, of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love. ~Caroline Adams
The next teacher training program scheduled to start at Bliss is in March of 2017. It is a 300-hour advanced training designed to give a deeper understanding and contribute to the growth of the skill set of those who already have a 200-hour training and are currently teaching yoga. If you do hope to teach one day, it is always a good idea to begins with your foundational 200-hour course, however, anyone is welcome to register. If the course material of our 300-hour is of interest to you, and you want to attend solely for personal growth and have no intention to teach we would love to have you, and will help facilitate your own learning and growth.
Our next 200-hour program is in the works to begin later in the spring of 2017. If you would like to join our mailing list for all up coming programs and dates, please email Lindsey at firstname.lastname@example.org