Top Red Flags to Watch Out for When Choosing A 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training

When I decided to do 200 hour yoga teacher training I had been practicing yoga online with Briohny Smyth for years, so I already knew and loved her teaching style. But still, I felt it was important that I research her online yoga teacher training school, Aligned Yoga, before taking the plunge and enrolling because yoga teacher training was like an investment in my future.

Yoga teacher certification courses are a dime a dozen these days, that’s why it’s good to know some of the red flags to watch out for when choosing your YTT so you don’t become a student in a sub-par course.

It's important to explore what each program offers beyond its shiny promises. I looked at the Aligned Yoga School’s curriculum to ensure that it met the Yoga Alliance standards and covered not only physical poses but also philosophy, anatomy, teaching methods, kirtan, studying the yogic texts, bhakti, and more. And it checked all of the boxes!

Each 200 hour YTT has its own style and approach. Some may focus more on alignment practices, while others delve into spiritual teachings or specific traditions like Ashtanga yoga or Iyengar. You want to find a certification course that best aligns with your practice and teaching goals, and, importantly, your heart.

In this article, I share a few ways you can qualify potential yoga schools you're looking at choosing for your 200 hour yoga teacher training education by avoiding red flags!

Six red flags to watch out for in a 200 hour yoga teacher training 1. Lack of accreditation 2. Inexperienced instructors 3. Unrealistic promises 4. High student to teacher ratio 5. Limited focus on anatomy and alignment 6. Lack of hands-on teaching opportunities

(Click any link below to jump directly to section)


Red FlagDescriptionExampleSolution
1. Lack of accreditationThe program is not accredited by a recognized yoga organization.Training claims to be accredited but no details are provided.Check Yoga Alliance & British Wheel of Yoga for association
2. Inexperienced instructorsTeachers lack experience or qualifications, possibly leading to poor quality training.Lead educators have limited teaching experience or questionable credentials.Research instructors' backgrounds and reviews before enrolling.

3. Unrealistic timelines
Unbelievable claims about quick certification, or unrealistic outcomes.
Course guarantees immediate job placement or promises rapid mastery of advanced poses.

Count on at least 22 to 24 days to complete a 200 hour in-person or online yoga teacher training.
4. High student-to teacher ratioLarge class sizes make it difficult for students to receive personalized attention and feedback.Training advertises large group sizes with only one or two instructors.
Make sure the course meets the 200 Hour Registered Yoga School (RYS) requirements – of 75 contact hours and 50 contact hours with lead trainers.

5. Limited emphasis on anatomy & alignment

Insufficient emphasis on anatomy, alignment principles, and injury prevention in the curriculum.

Anatomy and alignment are briefly mentioned but not explored in-depth.
Choose a program that prioritizes proper alignment and anatomy knowledge for safe and effective teaching.
6. Limited time for practicing teaching
Inadequate opportunities to practice teaching skills with real students during the training.
Training consists mostly of lectures and theoretical discussions without practical teaching sessions.
Look for programs that include hands-on teaching practice and feedback sessions to develop teaching abilities.

When you start researching yoga teacher training courses, accreditation and certification are two things you want to look at closely from any school you are considering. 

It's crucial to be careful when choosing your first 200 hour teacher training and weigh the pros and cons; not all teaching certificates are the same. You want to look for a training that's worth it! Look for courses recognized by well-known organizations like Yoga Alliance so that your certification holds value within the global yoga community.

Choosing schools that are registered with Yoga Alliance ensures that you'll receive a well-rounded yoga education that meets Yoga Alliance standards and criteria.

Nowadays, the choices for yoga schools are almost overwhelming so it’s more important than ever to be selective and discerning.

Accreditation isn’t just about getting a certificate at the end of your course—it's a way to show that you received top-notch education and training aligned with industry standards. 

A good certification program will provide not only technical knowledge but also practical teaching skills, ethics, proper alignment techniques, and an understanding of anatomy —the whole package! 

When evaluating yoga instructors in a 200 hour teacher training program, it's essential to look beyond their basic qualifications. You want teacher trainers who have extensive experience and practical knowledge in addition to their theoretical skills. 

A good educator should not only be really good at different yoga styles and techniques but also genuinely love sharing this ancient practice with others. 

YouTube video

Look for educators who live out the values of yoga both on and off the mat. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when researching yoga instructor training options:

  1. Look for schools that have a diverse group of teachers. When instructors come from various backgrounds, specialize in different things, and teach in unique ways, your training becomes more interesting and dynamic as you get exposed to new ideas and methods. 
    By having multiple educators in the training you’ll not only get to learn from different subject matter experts, but you’ll also figure out which subjects resonate most with your own practice and future teaching style.
  2. Determine if the instructors are easy to talk to outside of class times, too. A great teacher isn’t just someone who shares knowledge during scheduled sessions but is also open for questions, chats, and guidance throughout your yoga journey into learning more about yoga. Great trainings will offer multiple live Zoom sessions or plenty of time to mingle with the lead trainers in person.
    Connecting with experienced mentors can give you priceless insights that your school's manual might not cover.

Realistically, you should expect to spend 14 – 30 days completing an in-person 200 hour yoga course. If a school is suggesting anything under 14 days you're right to question how it would even be possible to complete 200 hours of training in such a short period. Additionally, the training days would be very long!

Online yoga TTC offers more flexibility in the duration as most online yoga teacher certifications offer at least 1 year access and many offer lifetime access.

Yoga Alliance requires that Registered Yoga Schools include a minimum of 65 contact hours with lead trainers. This includes hours that make up the following sections of a training:

  1. Techniques, training, and practice (50 hours contact time with lead trainers)
  2. Teaching methodology (10 hours contact time with lead trainers)
  3. Practicum (5 contact hours with lead trainers)

It's important that yoga teachers know anatomy well. That's why Yoga Alliance requires that 10 hours of yoga teacher training be dedicated to learning anatomy.

But a good program goes beyond just meeting the Yoga Alliance anatomy requirement – a good 200 hour yoga program will have an anatomy expert leading that portion of the training because it's that important!

Without a good understanding of the human body, yoga teachers are at risk of improperly adjusting their students or pushing people beyond their physical limits.

Practice teaching in a yoga teacher certification program is where you get to put everything you’ve learned into practice.

The hands-on teaching portion is critical if you actually want to lead students in classes. It helps you find your voice and gets you comfortable saying the cues out loud rather than just doing the poses based on the cues you’ve been hearing from your teacher as a student yourself!

During this portion of the training, you’ll improve your teaching skills and gain confidence by leading your peers through the series.

Putting what you've learned into action is super important; sure, you can read about different poses all day long, but until you're helping a student adjust their position or guiding a whole class through asanas you haven’t really prepared yourself for being on stage as the teacher!

And experience really is key when it comes to getting good at anything, including teaching yoga. The more practice teaching, the better! The more you can experience in the way of hands-on adjustments and practice getting the words out, the more comfortable you’ll feel leading a room of 30 students!

As you explore different yoga teacher training certification programs, I highly recommend checking out feedback and reviews from past students from different schools.

These insights give you a peek into what it's really like behind the scenes, showing you what schools’ brochures or websites might not cover.

While positive reviews are great to see, make sure to look for any common themes or warning signs between the lines. Yoga Alliance reviews are a great resource for this because all of the student reviews are verified. Unfortunately Facebook and Google reviews can’t be relied upon so much anymore.

Be sure not to ignore negative feedback. Constructive criticism in reviews can point out potential issues that could sway your decision significantly.

Each review is just one piece of the puzzle; hearing from many perspectives helps paint a clearer picture before diving into a specific program. 

Most importantly, trust your instincts! 

When you decide to enroll in a yoga teacher training program, you want to get what you pay for. While you don't want to overspend, not investing in a quality program can leave you lacking valuable knowledge and skills.

So, carefully compare each program's offerings with its cost; sometimes, higher prices are worth it for extra benefits like special workshops or experienced instructors.

Remember that good education usually requires significant investment from the providers. If something seems too cheap to be true, it might lack key elements such as a complete curriculum or qualified teachers.

On the other hand, just because something is expensive doesn't mean it's automatically great quality; make sure there’s substance behind the cost rather than just fancy marketing.

Ultimately, finding the right balance between investment and benefits comes down to knowing what matters most personally and professionally after completing training.

Think about where you see yourself going after finishing – whether teaching at a studio or teaching online – having a vision will guide you toward programs that match not only your budget but also long-term aspirations within the world of yoga instruction.

When you start your journey to becoming a yoga teacher, it's crucial to make smart decisions about choosing your foundational 200-hour yoga teacher training certification course. Research different training programs, including what they teach, who teaches it, and how they teach it. 

Choose authenticity over trends and find a program that aligns with your values and goals for teaching yoga ethically. Take the time to do thorough research, ask questions freely, and reach out to former students for their firsthand thoughts—because this experience will shape how you guide others on their own yoga journeys.

Some online yoga studios, online yoga teacher training programs, and brands that we write about may offer us a small percentage should you decide to purchase after reading our content. Thank you for enabling us to exist!

Heather
Heather

Heather is a Certified Yoga Teacher the visionary behind The Yogatique, her passion project. She created The Yogatique to help yogis & other growth-oriented individuals discover premium high quality trainings and classes in the yoga & wellness space. Heather is a RYT-200 and a practicing yogi of more than 15 years. She is also a global citizen who has been living abroad for 10 years. Her passions include health & fitness, studying healthspan & longevity, exploring the road less traveled, & SEO. Heather can be reached at heatherj@theyogatique.com, or you can connect with Heather on LinkedIn.

The Yogatique
Logo
Shopping cart