Do you want to be a Yoga Teacher? If you have decided now is the time then you are going to need to know how to prepare for Yoga Teacher training. Going abroad and doing an intensive course is very different from doing a course over a longer period of time closer to home. In this post, I have gone into detail about all of the things you are going to need to think about to show you how to prepare for yoga teacher training.
Why I decided to do a Yoga Teacher Training Course
Yoga Teacher Training is something I had wanted to do for a very long time. When I finally decided to start looking for a Yoga Certification course I found it all pretty overwhelming. It was also far more expensive than I thought! So if like me you are wondering if Yoga Teacher Training is right for you, take a read of my guide to help you choose a Yoga Teacher Training abroad.
Why do Yoga Teacher Training 200 hours?
People decide to do Yoga Teacher Training for a number of reasons, not just because they want to teach yoga. Teacher training isn’t, and shouldn’t be for everyone, there are lot’s of options out there for people to learn more about yoga without doing a teacher training.
Many people do Yoga Teacher Training to simply deepen their practice. Some have been practicing Yoga for many years and feel that they want to dedicate time and space to further their practice. Others haven’t done much yoga before and want to learn a new skill. And what seems like the minority actually want to be yoga teachers.
Because of this, there is a variety of difference in skills and experience on most teacher training with some students being far more advanced than others. If the answer is yes, then here are a few things to consider before you book your Yoga training course.
Should I do Yoga Teacher Training?
The first thing you should ask yourself before doing a yoga teacher training course is: do I want to teach yoga? If the answer to this is no, then you should instead consider a yoga retreat. There are numerous Yoga Retreats all around the world that cater for all levels, needs and budgets.
How much Yoga experience do you have?
How many years have you been practicing for? Do you already have a solid knowledge of Asanas?
If you are thinking of becoming a Yoga Teacher then the answer is probably a lot of experience, which is great. But what about the rest of yoga? Asana is a very small part of yoga, to be a teacher you also need to develop your understanding of yoga Philosophy and an understanding of the spiritual aspects of Yoga.
Then there is the teaching part of yoga…
Have you ever taught a class? Do you have any knowledge of Anatomy and Physiology? Or teaching methodologies?
Teacher training is short and intense. Programs are packed full of information and you can never cover it all in 3/4 weeks. Therefore it’s important to choose your course wisely and prepare as much as you can before your training.
How to prepare for Yoga Teacher Training Abroad
Start thinking like a Yoga teacher
Speak to your teacher at your local studio and ask them if you can shadow or assist them with their classes. Just watching an experienced teacher teaching a class will help you to start seeing yoga from a different angle.
Start reading books on yoga and yoga philosophy
Set aside time each morning or evening to read spiritual texts. If you aren’t sure what to read I’ve put together my top 5 books here to get you started. If you want to teach yoga you need to know about the lineage and 8 limbs as a minimum. It’s important to start practicing the Yammas and Niyammas and understand the bigger picture beyond ASANA.
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Know your Sister Science
Not all yoga courses cover Ayurveda. But they should! If you are practicing Yoga then you really should be practicing Ayurvedic principles as well, or at very least thinking about them. Yoga Veda offers a FREE online course called Sister Science, it’s an introduction to Ayurveda for yogis.
Start Yoga Self Practice, every day
If you don’t already have a self-practice it’s time to start now. Once you start teaching yoga it may be difficult for you to get to class often. This makes self-practice at home even more important, you need to practice what you preach.
So start now.
Dedicate time and space each day to get on your mat and practice, even if it’s just 30 minutes a day. To be able to practice at home make sure you invest in a good yoga mat and establish a clean space for your daily practice.
Learn about Anatomy and Physiology
Most yoga teacher training courses either don’t cover much anatomy or they make you pass an exam before taking their course. Some may make you do an exam as part of your course.
Regardless, it’s important for you as a teacher to have an understanding of the body. I strongly advise any prospective teachers to first take an online Anatomy and Physiology course. It’s one thing you will never regret!
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Take a Pre-Teacher Training Course Online
I did my Teacher Training with Yoga Veda Institute and they offer a pre-teacher training course online. It’s a fantastic course with everything you need to know to prepare you for your teacher training. I highly recommend doing a pre-yoga teacher training course if you can.
How to choose the right Yoga Teacher Training Course for you?
What style of yoga do you want to teach?
The first question you should ask yourself is what style of yoga do you love practicing yourself. If you haven’t done many different types of yoga then maybe you should first go and try lots of different classes to get a good sense of what’s out there. Most people train in Hatha or Ashtanga Vinyasa but there are so many other types of yoga out there.
I personally trained in Shivinanda Hatha but my personal practice is Mysore style Ashtanga. They couldn’t be more different but that’s what I wanted. Once I completed my YTT I took on an internship at an Ashtanga Vinyasa Studio where I was able to fill in all of the gaps and get some valuable teaching experience.
Do you want to study yoga abroad or would you prefer to study yoga closer to home?
For most people this is the best option, it’s often cheaper and it offers you a completely immersive experience. This way you are away for all the normal distractions and able to be fully present. You can find some great flight deals on Skyscanner making studying abroad a great option. Take a look through some of the courses on Book Yoga Retreats to get an idea of where you could study.
How much time do you have to dedicate to a yoga teacher training program
Generally, Yoga Teacher Training is 200 hours over 4 weeks. My course was 200 hours in 3 weeks which was intense but if taking 4 weeks off work isn’t an option for you this is a good way to go. You can also find courses that offer part online and then just 2 weeks of on-site training. This is a great option for those with limited time. The online portion covers all of the theory so when you arrive on your teacher training you have 2 solid weeks of practical classes with just a few hours of theory.
What is your budget
This was a BIG issue for me. I was already teaching yoga and in Latin America where I’m currently based there isn’t a huge demand for a certification. I didn’t need teacher training, I wanted to do it. But my bank balance said otherwise! Teacher Training will set you back anything from $2000-$5000 normally, depending on where you go and if you have accommodation and catering included.
Luckily for me, I read a post on facebook about a place in Mexico who offer 200-hour yoga teacher training by donation for a minimum of $500! I thought there must be some catch. There was of course, but it was a good one. Yoga Veda ask in return that you do 100 hours of Karma service in return for the training. They don’t offer this all of the time but I would recommend signing up for their emails just in case!
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Things to consider after you complete your yoga teacher training
If you think after 3/4 weeks of teacher training you will be ready to teach yoga you are probably going to be in for a bit of a shock. I have 15 years experience teaching dance, a solid understanding of Anatomy and Physiology and I did not feel 100% prepared to teach.
What YTT gives you is a solid foundation on which you can develop your teaching practice. It’s important to think about how you can continue your development after your course. I choose to do a 3-week internship where I volunteered at a yoga school for 3 weeks teaching free community classes and covering classes when needed. I was supported by the studio teachers who helped me to plan my classes, took my classes and offered me feedback.
This time was invaluable. Learning to teach yoga is like learning to drive, you only really learn when you are out there doing it.
What to Pack for Your Yoga Teacher Training Course Abroad
- 6 yoga tops
- 4 comfortable tops
- 4 pairs of yoga pants – I personally LOVE Teeki pants (I’m wearing them in most of the pictures on this post). They are super comfortable, fun and so light. This makes them perfect for traveling and hot climates. Plus, they are made from recycled water bottles.
- 2 pairs of yoga shorts – Again Teeki are my go-to brand, they do super short booty shorts or slightly more covering longer shorts.
- 2 pairs of comfortable harem style pants
- 2 nice(er) outfits for evenings – whatever you are comfortable in
- White clothes – if you need them for your graduation
- Pashmina for meditation – Sitting still you can get chilly, I also like to wrap myself up so the mosquitos don’t get me!
- Warm layers for early morning practice – this will be depending on the climate
- Yoga matt – of course
- Yoga towel – to place over your matt when it gets sweaty!
- 3 flannels/ sweat cloths – if you are studying somewhere with a tropical climate you are going to sweat! So be prepared and take some clothes to wipe yourself down.
- Yoga books – I recommend these as key texts for any yoga teacher training.
- Malabeads – for meditation practice.
- Insense – to use at home and during your classes.
- Essential oils – Great for you and also for Shavasana. I like to rub lavender onto my hands and hover my hands over student’s faces so they can smell me there…that way they don’t jump when I touch them haha.
- Singing bowel/ tingsha bells – only if you know how to use them.
Any other props you might need for your classes. Remember you will be teaching the classes so it’s important to prepare for that. If you love it when teachers give small readings at the beginning and end of classes, find some before you go and take them with you. If you have a singing bowl and know how to use it, take it with you. Yes, you may be able to find these things where you are but you are going to be busy so it’s a good idea to think ahead while you have time.
I really hope this post has helped you to really think about your options before booking a yoga teacher training. It really was transformative for me and I would love to help others thinking of following this path. So feel free to contact me directly or leave me a comment below.
PS. Be sure to check out my review of The Best Travel Yoga Mats so you can pick out the best one to travel with!
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This post was proofread by Grammarly