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How to Find the Yoga Teacher Training and Certification Program That is Right for You

What to consider when you have decided to become a certified yoga teacher. Information on school procedures, curriculum, and determining the quality of programs available to you.

If you have decided that you want to become certified to teach yoga, you may be wondering where to begin.  There are new yoga studios popping up all over the map these days, some of which offer teacher training--but not all programs are the same.  Here are some suggestions to make your search a little easier. [Please note that I use the words studio and school interchangeably.]

1. Decide what characteristics of teaching are most important to you.  Do you want a program that focuses on the physical practice of yoga (asana) or are you more interested in the spiritual aspects?  Would you like a balance of both?  How important is anatomical versus subtle knowledge to you?  Are you familiar with a particular style of yoga and would like to teach it?

2. Do your research!  What programs are offered in your area? What time commitment do they require? Will traveling to the studio and back be a burden or stressor for you? Tuition varies greatly so look thoroughly into the program to see what is included in it.  Will you need to buy books or other supplies in addition to the fees? The studio offering the training program will often have payment options available as well as an early-bird registration special.  Make a list of all of your concerns and call the program director to get confirmation.  Then make an appointment to go by the studio to get a feel for the facilities.  Most programs will require an application with a nominal fee, then the director will set up an interview to determine your level of interest and abilities. Don't sweat it if you are not selected for a particular program; either wait for the next session to open or seek training elsewhere. There is no shortage of excellent teacher training programs today. 

3. I discovered that speaking directly to graduates of the programs that I was interested in was invaluable in my decision-making process.  Contact three yoga teachers that you admire and ask where they received their training.  Keep talking to teachers until you find three who were trained in your city or area of interest.  Ask the studios that you are interested in for referrals. I found most yoga instructors to be highly informed, approachable, and eager to talk about their experience. An enthusiastic endorsement from a teacher you love goes a long way.

4. Consider how important the Yoga Alliance's approval of the program is to you.  If you will want to be eligible to be registered by this organization or another, make sure that the program you are interested in offers an approved curriculum.  A certified teacher is not the same as a registered teacher. Any instructor who has completed a training program is technically certified by that school, but only instructors who completed a Yoga Alliance approved course can be "registered" and entered into the directory.  If you are not sure of the implications of this, consider where you would like to teach and find out if being a registered teacher is a requirement to work there. 

5. How far do you want to go with this?  You may not presently know.  For now, a 200-hour training program may be enough or you may decide eventually that you want to become 500-hour certified.  Most schools require you to get your 200-hour certification before you are eligible to be 500-hour certified, in which case it's more of a 200 + 300-hour certification.  

Best of luck and Namaste!

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