Last summer, I decided to take the leap and sign up for a 200 hour yoga teacher training program. It was undoubtedly a life changing experience, and I am so grateful for it. There are so many things that I wished I could have know before I started my teacher training, so I’ve decided to share them with you below! I love sharing my YTT (yoga teacher training) experience with others, so feel free to let me know if you have any questions!
1. Get familiar with the studio where you’ll be training.
Yoga studios are unique when it comes to style, instruction, and training. If you are not already practicing yoga at the studio where you plan to train, I’d recommend taking a few classes and speaking with the instructors that will be facilitating the program. Remember that this is your training experience – it’s important to find a studio that aligns with your goals and how you enjoy practicing yoga.
2. Save money and then save more money.
Most 200 hour training programs range from $2,500 to $4,000. Even if you are not completing a destination teacher training outside of the US, this is still a significant investment. During training, I found myself needing more yoga attire since it was difficult to find time to do laundry on the weekends when I was at the studio for 12 hours. I also purchased a few things so that I could practice at home such as blocks, straps, and a yoga wheel. I would say the most surprising thing I ended up spending more money on while I was in training was food! I normally spend my Sundays meal prepping, but during YTT, I spent my Sundays at the studio. By the time I got home at 7pm, I often had homework (I was in grad school at the time) and other tasks to handle before the start of the week. I found myself ordering more takeout so that I could manage my time and complete my other necessary tasks.
In addition, if you decided to teach after you complete training, there are a few optional expenses that you may incur on the path to finding a teaching position. These expenses may include registering with the Yoga Alliance, getting CPR/First Aid certified, or getting professional headshots taken, etc.
3. Establish a practice routine and stick to it.
Before YTT, I practiced non-heated vinyasa yoga once a week, typically on Sundays when I took a day off from my other workouts. Once I registered for YTT, I knew that this once a week practice would not suffice. My training weekends involved two 90-minute hot vinyasa classes per day. In addition to those classes, I also took two classes during the week at the studio. Although yoga is much more than the asana practice, developing an understanding of the poses, observing other instructors in the classroom, and getting used to moving in the heat are important. Looking back, I could have prepared more for the start of my training by taking 2-3 classes weekly. I was able to push through it, and I certainly enjoy a good physical challenge. That said, I was incredibly sore for the first month or so of training. After each training weekend, I felt like I had just run a half marathon and needed a rest week!
4. Find a YTT with a schedule that works for you.
YTTs come in all formats. There are some 3-4 week intensives, where you train daily. There are also many weekend programs, which work well if you are interested in completing training while still working on in school. My program consisted of eight weekends with training from morning until night on Saturday and Sunday. What I liked about this schedule was that my Friday evenings were completely open. I spent this time packing my yoga bag, cooking a nice dinner, and getting some sleep before the busy weekend ahead. I saw many beautiful sunrises when I was waking up at 6am to be in the studio by 7:30am. These long days taught me discipline. I did trade some nights out for nights in to catch some sleep, but it was worth it.
While I do think that an intensive, especially one in a travel destination, could be a great experience as well, I knew that it wasn’t for me this time around. I had recently come off of a running injury before entering teacher training, so I worried about potential re-injury with an intensive program.
5. Research the yoga industry and start seeking out teaching opportunities while you’re still in training.
Depending on where you’re located, yoga teachers might be in demand. But they might not. I’ve found that seeking out opportunities to teach yoga is similar to finding a professional job; you’ll need to continue to build and use your network. Job postings alone aren’t likely to get you through the door. Take classes at studios in your area where you may be interested in teaching. Meet with instructors and studio owners. Ask about being placed on the sub list. And remember to get creative – there are many places to teach yoga besides a yoga studio. Your path as a yoga instructor is in your hands.
6. Keep an open mind and have fun!
You will be pushed mentally, spiritually, and physically. You’ll come into training with your “why”, your reason for going through this transformative process. You’ll start questioning your “why”, and eventually it may change. Some things may not resonate with you the minute you learn about them in training. But a few months after training, you’ll reread one of your yogic texts and it’ll all just click. It’s an exciting journey, and this is just the start!