With the turn of the calendar to February brings with it the last half of Winter and a transition into early Kapha season. At the beginning of this month on Groundhog's day, our furry little friend gave the prediction that Spring is arriving very soon this year, and while here in middle Tennessee this yo-yo weather doesn't seem to suggest the same (as I write this, there's a light layer of snow on the ground from last night's snow shower), we can all sense that the days are getting longer, the weather is getting wetter, the birds are chirping a little earlier in the morning, and the first spring flowers are starting to blossom albeit unusually early--we can save that conversation for another time.
For now, let's dive into our February topic on dedicated yoga students who are aspiring to enroll in a Yoga Teacher Training, aka "YTT."
Picking up where we left off in January, my personal journey into becoming a yoga teacher truly began with being a very curious student. I had a lot of questions, and one big question that kept showing up for me was how and where can I learn to teach yoga?
The good news is most yoga studios are also yoga schools and offer basic 200-hour YTT programs usually twice yearly. A 200-hr certification program is a common entryway for dedicated students to immerse themselves into a basic understanding of the philosophies, history, lifestyle and practices of yoga, while also establishing a foundation for how to structure and sequence a yoga asana/ hatha yoga class. Upon graduating from a 200-hr YTT, new yoga instructors are prepared to teach a yoga asana/ hatha yoga class and feel empowered to start seeking out a deeper understanding of all the new wisdom they were introduced to during the training curriculum.
But, before jumping right into the next YTT program you find, I highly recommend endeavoring in some self-inquiry to better understand the "why" behind your reason you want to teach, and find a yoga school that resonates with your highest teaching intentions. The type of yoga asana you enjoy practicing may very well be the type of yoga asana you want to teach, or you may discover that you want to study a different style from what you're currently practicing. Just keep in mind that becoming a yoga teacher is a new expression of your overall yoga practice--it will change, ebb, flow, refine & evolve over the years.
If you are already connected to a studio that feels aligned with your highest intentions, start talking to the studio's YTT team about their 200-hr yoga school, and start talking to any alumni of that school to get real, unfiltered, unbiased testimonies--good or bad--on how they felt about the training.
If you're still seeking a studio to call "home" for your teacher training, visit local yoga centers around your area or make travel arrangements to visit potential yoga schools that have a strong & positive reputation. However, if you find that you're more connected to a specific teacher(s) than a specific studio, start talking to that teacher(s) about your intentions on finding a training program, learn where that teacher(s) received his or her training, and look into if that yoga school can be an option for you.
For example, although I live in Nashville, I completed my 200-hr YTT at Asheville Yoga Center in Asheville, NC in 2014. Furthermore, after about a year or two of contemplation and research, in April of 2019 I decided that I wanted to return to my beloved yoga school to complete my 500-hr advanced practitioner certification based on five major factors. We'll further explore how to choose a yoga teacher training program for current yoga teachers next month.
So, while all 200-hr YTTs are required to present a certain curriculum as mandated by Yoga Alliance, each school will have its own certain flavor, so to speak, or will focus on a specific style of teaching, such as Baptist Power yoga, Core Power yoga, Barkan hot yoga or Hot-26 yoga. There are also lineage-based schools that have a 200-hr program such as Sri Dharma Mittra's yoga school in NYC, the Iyengar yoga school in the lineage of Sri Krishnamacharya or the Sivananda yoga school in the lineage of Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati. In addition, there are many yoga lineages that are not affiliated with Yoga Alliance model at all, such as the Ashtanga yoga school also in the lineage of Sri Krishnamacharya. The yoga school that I'm on the teaching faculty at Kali Yuga Yoga is a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga School (RYS) and has an ayurvedic-based training model that utilizes the positive qualities of the doshas to teach students how to lead three different styles of hatha yoga using kapha, vata and pitta as the backbone of the class structure. Click here for more info on Kali Yuga Yoga's YTT.
When it comes to prices, most YTTs are priced around $2,500-$4,000 depending on a myriad of factors. Some, such as the YTT I attended, go beyond the minimum 200 hours to expand the basic curriculum. There are programs that are 30-day intensives, while other programs are 3-6 month immersions (I attended a 6-month immersion). Some programs are destination YTTs held at international locations with lodging & meals included. One program might accommodate larger groups of 20-30 students while another program might have a cap of 10 students, such as the YTT I'm on the teaching faculty at Kali Yuga Yoga.
On the topic of funding, don't let the price of YTT deter you. Many YTT programs have flexible payment options, and some even have partial or full scholarship opportunities for students in need. I'd also recommend looking into arranging a work-trade at the studio you may be interested in attending YTT so the money you'd spend on a membership package can instead go to your YTT savings account!
Overall, make sure to do your research as to what yoga school is the best fit for you, and give yourself plenty of time to let you own personal practice mature. While studios will range in student experience requirements, in my opinion, give yourself a least two years of regular yoga practice before enrolling in a yoga school. In addition, in my opinion, if a school is willing to accept YTT applicants with six month or less experience as a student, it's probably a sign that school is mainly in it for the money and you should turn the other way. furthermore, use caution when considering an online-only YTT program; at least with respects to Yoga Alliance standards, majority of your 200-hr YTT program has to be in-person contact hours, and I think for good & obvious reasons.
For March, we'll finish up our exploration into attending a yoga school with "Yoga Teacher Training For The Person That Is Already A Yoga Teacher." We'll look into how to expand your teaching practice through continuing education opportunities, cross training in a related discipline, enrolling in an advanced studies programs or attending another 200-hr ytt in a specific style or lineage.
ॐ सह नाववतु ।
सह नौ भुनक्तु ।
सह वीर्यं करवावहै ।
तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु मा विद्विषावहै ।
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
Oṁ saha nāvavatu
Saha nau bhunaktu
Saha vīryam karavāvahai
Oṁ Shāntiḥ, Shāntiḥ, Shāntiḥ
Om! May the Lord of Love protect us
May the Lord of Love nourish us
May we work together with great energy
May we gather the wisdom to not resent each other
Om! Peace, peace, eternal peace
~Shanti Mantra, Taittiriya, Katha & Shvetashvatara Upanishads
Ready To Take The Next Step? Yoga School Starts March 2, 2020!
Join me, Leah Lillios King, Liz Workman Mead and Erika Porter for Kali Yoga Yoga's "Yoga YOUniversity" 200-hr semester immersion yoga school program. Ready to dedicate yourself to your yoga practice? We still have a few spots open for the spring 2020 semester immersion at Kali Yuga Yoga meeting March 2-May 20 2020. Yoga Teacher Training is a powerful experience, whether you plan to teach yoga, or you desire to enhance your personal practice. Have any questions? Please don't hesitate to email me or reach out to Kali Yuga Yoga at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yoga & Ayurveda Weekend Wellness Retreat--Spring 2020!
Join me for my first Yoga & Ayurveda Wellness Retreat coming up the first weekend of April 04/03-04/05! Enjoy the natural beauty of middle Tennessee just a short drive from Nashville in Ashland City at the 135-acre nature preserve that is Penuel Ridge.
There are still 3 out of 11 spaces available, so if you are still thinking about joining, there's space for you to be in nature with a supportive community of like-minded seekers. Please don't hesitate to register now to save your space with us this spring!