Not all teacher training programs are equal and you are about to become a student again (maybe for the first time in years), so this is absolutely the time to ask questions.
Deciding to enter into a Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) is a life-altering decision; when you finish, you’ll be forever different (even if you decide not to teach).
You may not even know why you are compelled to go through this type of training; is it to change your career, add to your career, do service, volunteer, meet new people, integrate into a community, or just know more about the practice? Or all of it?
And beyond that, how do you pick a program?!
There are a growing number of YTTs available; all are different, defined by the studio personality, leaders, teachers, and community. YTT isn’t cheap, so it’s incredibly important to know what you want AND what you’re getting.
When I did my first 200-hour RYT there were very few training programs to choose from – and certainly not one on every corner, in every gym, online, yoga studio and college. There was clarity, and I was fully aware of the content that what I was receiving. I also understood the commitment I was making. Yes, I understood there was a business transaction but I felt completely supported in my journey.
Here is a list of the most frequent questions we receive as a studio with prospective students, insight into Inlet Yoga‘s (my studio) process for potential candidates, as well as added questions that may help aid you in your journey.
We believe these are pretty common and want to throw them out there to help you think about the journey you’re thinking about embarking on:
Are Your Teachers And Mentors In The Training In-House And On Your Regular Weekly Schedule?
Yoga Studios are businesses.
Just like any other business, based on what they can or cannot afford will dictate the level of instructors they can integrate into their teacher training programs. Many young or inexperienced studios launching Yoga Teacher Training Programs cannot afford nor have the educated teachers in-house to commit to a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training with teachers on their staff – it is a lot of work, time, mindshare, mentorship and more that goes into a Yoga Teacher Training. But here’s the thing, as a student you want to feel completely supported on your journey, your decision to move forward, and the starting point should be with teachers that teach on the studio’s schedule, are part of the studio’s yoga community, and are regularly accessible for the student.
Are You Yoga Alliance Registered?
This may be the number one question we get. As a broad definition, any school that is RYS registered indicates that they have the willingness and education to meet Yoga Alliance’s requirements. This is an internationally acknowledged registry that is the barest of minimums that many studios, gyms, and wellness centers require for you to teach. Honestly, if you are considering spending your hard-earned money, and 200 hours of your time and they are not… Think hard and walk away. No matter your attachment. Every Yoga Studio with an RYS approved Yoga Teacher Training program must commit to a minimum number of hours of ethics, philosophy, anatomy, practicum, and teaching actual techniques to their students to fulfill the registry requirements to certify you as an RYT 200 Yoga Instructor.
If Money Is An Issue, then…
This one really isn’t a question, but unless you have the savings for a potential $3,000+ Yoga Teacher Training Certification program, you should ask a couple of these questions:
- Do you have payment plans? How do they work?
- Can you extend the EARLY BIRD deadline?
- Is there a work exchange discount?
What Is The Process For The Registry?
This is a telltale sign of everything to come. If there is no process in place, then perhaps consider why with something so costly. Is it just about getting you to sign up for the program?. The process need not be laborious either, but something you should love. For instance, educating you before you purchase… As an example, our studio has a downloadable section of the Teacher Training manual clearly explaining our expectations, students must take at least 5 classes with teachers in our training and at our studio, etc. I routinely have a conversation at length at first interest and after receiving a student’s application (this application is further used when assigning mentors) Another good question, do they have assigned mentors to help you along? We built a successful mentorship program to aid out Yoga Teacher Training students along their journey), we have an open Q&A with the lead teachers and more. All of this gives us a chance to know you.
What Do I Get?
- How many hours directly with an E-RYT (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance) Yoga Teacher? This is one of the higher credentialling at Yoga Alliance reserved for teachers.
- Do you have a mentorship program in place?
- Are their unlimited classes at the studio for the duration of the program?
- Could I look at the manual?
Can I Miss A Session?
An RYS Yoga Teacher Training program should have a clearly spelled out point of action if a student misses hours and how they can make them up.
How Many Teachers Are Contributing?
This may be a personal preference but I have found through my years the most successful trainings have unity of cohesive voices. No one or even two teachers know everything and every teacher has a slightly different voice to share and experience in creating and educating you.
Bottom line? Consumer awareness never hurt anyone, and really this is an investment in yourself, your future and your journey. Shouldn’t it be the best investment you can make for yourself?
Jennifer Vafakos began practicing yoga regularly in 2008 in NYC. Though Jennifer started years earlier it wasn’t until she met a a group of yoga instructors that changed her life and where she become a serious yoga practitioner and student. Registered with Yoga Alliance at the ERYT500 level and YACEP, Jennifer currently runs a yoga studio, leads weekly classes, yoga teacher trainings, workshops and international retreats. In 2016 Jennifer left a 20 year career in Fashion Design and purchased Inlet Yoga from Emma Clagett in Manasquan, NJ. In 2019 Jennifer founded a podcast with New Jersey Yoga Collective’s Bridget Riepl called “Here for Savasana.”
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