How To Choose A Yoga Teacher Training (That You Won’t Regret)

The research phase of choosing the right yoga teacher training can be both fun and a little overwhelming! Whether you're looking to deepen your personal practice or eventually teach others, choosing the right Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) course is the first crucial step.

It's essential to find a program that aligns with your needs, preferences, and lifestyle. In this guide to choosing the ideal yoga teacher training, I explain the key factors to consider before signing up for your YTT, ensuring that you make an informed and confident decision.

When I was researching which yoga teacher training I should choose, I spent hours thinking about what I valued and what I hoped to get out of my training. Ultimately, I decided to take Briohny Smyth's online yoga teacher training because I had been practicing with her online on Alo Moves for years, and I love her strong Vinyasa ladder flows. I also think she's a great teacher. And I loved it!

Choosing your YTT is a personal decision, and I encourage you to take a little time before jumping in. I often read about people who have taken two 200-hr trainings because the first one they chose wasn't quite comprehensive enough. Don't let that be you!

So, without further ado, let's discuss some tips on how to choose a yoga teacher training that you won't regret.


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The first step to becoming a certified yoga instructor is choosing a course that suits your needs, preferences, schedule, budget, etc. 

Here are six things you should consider before signing up for your YTT. 

If you've practiced yoga for a while, you likely already have a preferred style. For me, that's Vinyasa.

Whether it's dynamic Vinyasa or gentle Yin Yoga, choosing a YTT aligned with your preferred style is crucial. While many trainings study the Hatha lineage, they may specialize in a style that falls under the Hatha umbrella, of which there are many.

  • Hatha: Focuses on the fundamentals of yoga, including asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), and meditation.
  • Vinyasa: Emphasizes a dynamic flow of poses synchronized with breath.
  • Ashtanga: Based on a set sequence of postures, promoting strength, flexibility, and stamina through a disciplined approach.
  • Iyengar: Focuses on precise alignment and the use of props to assist in achieving the correct postures.
  • Bikram: Involves a series of 26 postures practiced in a heated room, aiming to enhance flexibility and detoxification.
  • Kundalini: Combines physical postures, breathwork, chanting, and meditation to awaken and harness energy (kundalini) within the body.

If you're not ready to specialize in just one style, opt for a multi-style YTT that covers a range of practices, such as Restorative and Vinyasa. This allows you to broaden your knowledge and practice and, thus, teach various classes. 

Understanding the focus of the YTT you're considering is essential, as they are not all the same. Some courses emphasize asana, while others delve into philosophy, meditation, or anatomy. For example, a Kundalini yoga teacher training will be very different than an Ashtanga training.

While all courses will have an in-depth asana section, they could emphasize different aspects of yoga beyond the postures. So, think about what it is that interests you the most.

If you're curious about yoga's philosophical roots, opt for a YTT emphasizing Sanskrit, mantras, mudras, and chakras. 

Conversely, if you're intrigued by yoga's scientific aspects, look for a course focusing on anatomy and biomechanics.

Yoga teacher training programs can be intensive full-time courses or long-term part-time courses. Which one you choose will depend entirely on your personal circumstances.

  • Intensive: A four-week intensive training experience that will require your full availability. Training will be six days a week from 7 AM-7 PM.
  • Part-time: Typically held on the weekends over a six to nine-month period.
  • Online: Virtual training is offered in two formats: self-paced and cohort. Self-paced options allow you to go at your own pace. Cohorts are typically offered quarterly and run for three months.

Of course, you should seek highly experienced yoga teacher trainers. But you should also ensure your course teacher is someone you're compatible with. Each yoga trainer has their own teaching style, so look for the one that best matches your unique personality. You really want to connect with your trainer since you'll be spending a lot of time studying their methods, after all!

Here are some ways you can determine if a trainer is the right fit for you:

  1. Check Certifications: I recommend that you only train with a RYT-500 trainer. Also, ensure the trainer is certified by a reputable organization like Yoga Alliance, IAYT, or another recognized body.
  2. Experience: Look for trainers with significant teaching experience. Those who have been teaching for several years are likely to have a deeper understanding of yoga. An E-RYT 500, for example, has significant teaching experience.
  3. Specializations: Look for trainers who hold multiple specialty certifications. To me, this shows a dedication to continuing education.

The notoriety of the lead trainers will influence the cost of the course. It costs more to study under well-known yoga teacher trainers.

Choosing an accredited course is important if you’re doing yoga teacher training with the intention to teach in the future. What’s more, selecting a course approved by Yoga Alliance shows that it meets their minimum yoga training standards.

Aside from Yoga Alliance, other accreditations to look for are from:

  • British Wheel of Yoga (BWY): The national governing body for yoga in the UK, offering teacher training and certification.
  • International Yoga Federation (IYF): A global organization that provides certification for yoga teachers and schools.

Where you do your YTT will determine the course cost. For example, yoga teacher training programs in India, Thailand, and Bali, are typically cheaper than those in Western countries. 

Location:Price in USD:
India$1,500
Thailand$2,000
Bali$2,500
United States$3,500
United Kingdom$4,000

You can also opt to do your training online, which will undoubtedly the cheapest training option.

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The quality of yoga schools vary. Below are four components you should review about a course to weed out the bad YTTs and make the right choice.

YTT programs accredited by Yoga Alliance must include lessons on all their curriculum topics. For example, Yoga Alliance-certified courses must consist of 75 hours of techniques, training, and practice. 

However, this topic category includes asanas, pranayamas, kriyas, chanting, mantras, and meditation. The yoga school can choose which yogic techniques to focus on. So, some courses will emphasize asana, while others will include a balance of all techniques.

To gain a broad understanding of yoga and a comprehensive teaching skill set, opt for a YTT that offers the most comprehensive curriculum that includes the following hours of study in their respective areas:

Subject:Required hours:
Techniques, Training & Practice75
Anatomy & physiology30
Yoga humanities30
Professional essentials50
Elective hours15

Yogi tip – you should be able to find the curriculum of any school on their website. If it's not there, you should be able to request it by email. I would not opt for that training if they're unwilling to share the syllabus with you.

Another critical thing to consider is a balance between theory and practical teaching. Teaching yoga requires hands-on practice, so look for a course with many teaching practice sessions. 

You really want to practice saying the yoga cues out loud. In your head is not enough! And you'll soon learn that once you actually start verbalizing the cues out loud.

I thought I would have no problem cueing poses—I had been practicing yoga for many years before my YTT, after all. Wrong! Saying the cues out loud to others is an entirely different experience.

Look for a YTT that will offer you plenty of feedback so that you can refine your teaching style. If you’re taking an online YTT, this could involve uploading photos or videos of yourself performing certain yoga poses or videos of you practicing teaching for the educators to review.

In my yoga course, we could get feedback on our poses and videos we uploaded in the private Facebook group. 

Another valuable aspect of a yoga teacher training program is ongoing mentorship. This might be the opportunity to email your teachers and ask for advice or several check-in sessions after the course ends.

Community support during and after a YTT is a game-changer. Yoga teacher trainings are no walk in the park, but one thing that helps you get through it is the support of your classmates. 

If you opt for in-person training, look for ones that include teamwork activities, group events on your days off, or matching you with classmates.

If you opt for online training, you'll want to choose one with a private Facebook group, live Zoom classes, and other ways to stay connected during and after your training.

Having a certification will increase your credibility as a yoga teacher. In particular, Yoga Alliance RYT credentials are now internationally known. As a result, many yoga studios see it as an unofficial prerequisite.

Many yoga studios, gyms, and leisure centers will require that you have a valid yoga certification to teach there. So, you might struggle to find teaching jobs if you do not have a yoga certification.

  • Increased respect from yoga studios and students
  • More job opportunities, including opportunities to teach for big-name studios and brands
  • Possibility to earn more money (as you have more authority)
  • No potential legal problems should a student sue you (as certification allows you to get liability insurance)

Ready to take that next step of becoming a yoga teacher or avoid bad yoga teacher trainings? Then don't miss our articles on the topic!

Choosing the right Yoga Teacher Training is about more than just finding a course; it's about selecting a path that resonates with your personal goals, interests, and circumstances and avoiding choosing the wrong training.

By weighing the pros and cons and considering the style of yoga, course focus, format, lead trainers, accreditation, location, and cost, you can find a YTT that not only meets your needs but lays the foundation for becoming a great yoga teacher.

A comprehensive curriculum, hands-on teaching practice, constructive feedback, mentorship, and a supportive community are the hallmarks of a great training program.

Discover tips to prepare for your upcoming training and why I chose to do my training online.

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.

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