Although it might seem that people would take yoga teacher training because they want to teach yoga (which can be true!), many people take yoga teacher training to deepen their yoga practice and or to enhance their personal health and well being. VitalityLink has many Yoga practitioners and articles related to a huge number of different styles of yoga, but if you want to know more about yoga teacher training and how to select a program and what types of programs there are, you are in the right place!
Why Yoga Teacher Training?
People take yoga teacher training courses for many reasons
Whichever reason or reasons are a fit for you there are many options for yoga teacher training:
Yoga teacher training is not something to be undertaken lightly. Whether you opt for a short term intensive program or a longer term part time program, signing up for a yoga teacher training course is a significant commitment; in terms of cost, time, energy and dedication.
Types of Yoga Teacher Training
There are different types of Yoga Teacher Training, suitable for different people and different needs, and requiring various levels of commitment.
First of all, you may want to take yoga teacher training within a particular yoga 'brand' or style. For example, if you want to teach at a Bikram studio, you will need to take the Bikram yoga teacher training. If you want to teach at a Moksha Yoga Studio, you will take your training through the Moksha Yoga teacher training program.
For a number of yoga styles, you can take your yoga teacher training anywhere you like as long as your yoga teacher training program is registered in some approved fashion. If this is the case for you, you have a much broader range of teacher training options (but more decisions to make!).
Second, you will have a choice between different formats for your yoga teacher training, including:
Intensive (usually full-time for a shorter period of time where you are at the program all day every day for a certain number of days) - intensive programs can lend themselves to doing a program outside your geographic area, assuming you can/want to travel to the program.
Retreat style (like the intensive, these will usually be full time for a shorter period of time) - some people like to include travel with their yoga teacher training and may go to some exotic location to take their yoga teacher training, either because of the appeal of the location as an added bonus, or because you are going with a particular leader that you want to study with, or because you want to take a program that is only offered in that one locations
Part-time - these will often be a set number of weekends over a period of time (sometimes with breaks between, sometimes every weekend for a number of weeks, then a break, then another series of weekends)
Modular - some schools will offer a format where you can take the training in sections or modules where you complete each module independently at your own pace and on your own schedule, and then when you have completed all the modules (in whatever timeframe), you are ready for certification as a yoga teacher.
Online/Distance - there are schools that offer online or distance yoga teacher training. This can be somewhat controversial as some people say that you cannot truly learn yoga online. Others say that in fact a good distance education program combined with some local mentoring by an experienced yogi can be as effective as an in person training program. However, if you explore this option, make sure that it will still meet your needs for certification/registration if you want to eventually teach yoga - many certification programs require a certain number of 'contact hours' (i.e. teaching in a supervised manner) that may not be satisfied by online or distance yoga teacher training programs.
Considerations when choosing a Yoga Teacher Training Program
Many teacher training programs will have minimum requirements for candidates, which may include a certain number of years or practice, or a certain regularity of practice over a period of time (often the previous year), or a certain number of classes taken.
There are a number of questions you may want to consider before signing up for a yoga teacher training program, including:
In the United States (and internationally), teacher training programs that meet certain standards are registered with the Yoga Alliance, a recognized organization. There are two levels of Yoga Alliance certificates- 200 Hour and 500 Hour, referring to the length of the program. Trainees first complete a 200-Hour program, which most yoga studios require as the minimum training for their teachers. Some teachers then choose to continue their studies by undertaking a 500-Hour training program.
Other teacher training programs will be certified with the International Yoga Federation, body that celebrates yoga across all traditions in all their diversity, harmony and integrity of yoga practices around the world. Students can join the International Yoga Registry of IYF (International Yoga Federation) if they have a recognized 200 hour certification. IVF also certifies yoga teacher training programs and schools and offers their own yoga teacher training courses at the 200 hour and 500 hour levels.
There are many different yoga teacher training certification bodies in different countries that are members of the International Yoga Federation. In Canada, the local body is the Canadian Yoga Alliance.
Certified Yoga Teachers must generally complete some specified amount and quantity of continuing education on a regular basis to maintain their registration and continue to grow their yoga knowledge and teaching skills.
Yoga Teacher Training Terminology