by Martha McQuaid, RYT
Those that love everything about yoga—the feeling, the inner connection and the joy it brings to life—might decide to start a yoga teacher-training program (YTT). Taking a YTT can be one of the best self-investments one makes, but how does one choose a program? Listed below are some things to consider while making this important decision. Remember, what one gets out of YTT is directly affected by the amount of effort, commitment and studentship one puts into it.
Do homework: Research the teacher(s) and read their biographies—the number of years they have been teaching, their level of training, professional certifications and years in business. Personality is a consideration, but it should not be the sole basis of a decision.
Be clear on what is desired from the training. Each training program offers its own unique focus, and teaching yoga is different than leading a group exercise class—both are valid and require different levels of education.
Accreditation: Is the school registered with Yoga Alliance (YA) and licensed by the Oklahoma Board of Private Vocational Schools? A YA-accredited school meets the minimum standards for a 200-hour level certificate. Yoga schools certify students; YA is a registry that allows one to use the registered yoga teacher (RYT) title. State licensing ensures that the school is a legitimate business entity governed by the laws of the state of Oklahoma.
Visit YogaAlliance.org and check the public profile of the teacher, school reviews and number of graduates. This is a good place to get an overview of a school’s history and student feedback.
Go to several classes and get to know the studio. Is the teaching clear, authentic and relatable? Are all the students being seen, served and given modifications so that everyone has a good experience?
Compare schools: How is the training structured? Is it more asana-based and focused on teaching a rote set of sequences, or is actual teaching methodology offered to prepare students to teach to different populations and levels of students?
Does the school offer apprenticeship opportunities? Apprenticing in a low-pressure situation makes all the difference in learning to assimilate the material being offered in the training.
Shorter trainings are becoming more common in the industry; this means less time to assimilate the material being offered. A faster route to certification may seem attractive, but students may find they are less prepared to meet the demands that public classes bring.
Talk to students that are currently enrolled or that have graduated. Getting a feel for the training from someone that has experienced the process is a great resource.
Make sure to read through all material related to the training—the program catalog, course syllabus and enrollment agreement—to thoroughly understand what the responsibilities are for both parties. This includes financial details and academic requirements. The enrollment agreement is a legal document that both parties sign and is enforced by state laws.
Martha McQuaid is a registered yoga teacher with Spirit House Yoga, located at 5107 N. Shartel Ave., in Oklahoma City. For more information, call 405-528-4288 or visit SpiritHouseYoga.com.