Everything You Need to Know Before You Start Yoga Teacher Training

You’re ready to become a yoga teacher, but you don’t know where to start. Well, while the journey itself varies from person to person, the first step to becoming a certified yoga instructor is a 200-hour yoga teacher training program.

But finding the right YTT for you can be an intimidating task, and a variety of other life-factors play a part in deciding where and when to complete your training. Sound familiar?

This article is here to help you maneuver through your thoughts and answer some of your questions regarding the specifics of the 200-hour yoga teacher training, how to decide what style and studio are right for you, and how to pick the best time to begin.

Before You Start, Consider These Questions

What Style of Yoga Do You Want to Get Certified In?

The first thing to consider before signing up for yoga teacher training is the type of yoga that you have been practicing up to this point, and what you’d like to teach. Take classes in all the styles you think you may be interested in to help you determine which style is the best fit for you.
While exploring different styles at home can be beneficial, going to a studio and being surrounded by other practitioners will give you a good sense of the students who attend the specific style you’re interested in.
It also gives you a chance to talk with the teacher, who will most likely make herself available for questions before or after the practice.
If you’re still unsure of which style might be best for you, check out our article on 14 Yoga Disciplines Defined and Explained!

Where Do You Want to Get Certified?

You probably already know that there are plenty of yoga teacher trainings to choose from, and it can be a bit overwhelming. After you narrow down what style you’d like to get certified in, think about how much time you’re willing to put in every week. Some trainings may be quicker and more intensive than others, and the options vary per location.
Typically, the most intensive program is six weeks, and requires going to the studio twice a week for four hours, and each Saturday and Sunday all day long. Other programs are longer, and require less of a weekly time commitment.
Choosing the best program for you depends on the time you are willing and able to commit each week to training. The good thing about most studios, especially the intensive programs, is that they allow makeup hours for when “life” happens.

What Do You Want to Learn, Specifically?

The 200-hour yoga teacher training will be the foundation of your training. While the curriculum varies from program to program, you will finish with knowledge of the practice of yoga, yogic philosophy, anatomical alignment, sequencing, meditation, and even building a business. Be prepared to study, complete assignments, and read.
While in your 200-hour, take note of the things you’d like to learn more about. Do you want to teach in prisons? Do you want to get certified to teach pre/post-natal? Are you interested in yoga for anxiety? Do you want to know more about anatomy? Once your 200-hour yoga teacher training is complete, you can pursue these more specific trainings.

When Should You Get Certified?

Yoga teacher training involves a lot of time and effort, and maybe even a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Choosing the right time to start should not necessarily be dependent on your yoga knowledge and skills.
You can even use yoga teacher training to deepen your understanding of the practice without the intention to actually teach!
What should factor into your decision are these questions:

  • How much time do I have to commit right now?
  • What do I want to accomplish with my certification?
  • Why should I complete the training now (pros)? Why should I wait (cons)?
  • What is holding me back?
  • How will I benefit?
  • What will I gain and/or lose if I begin training tomorrow? (i.e. gain knowledge, lose free time, etc.)



A Few Truths About Yoga Teacher Training

Your Experience Will Be Completely Unique

You’ll likely talk to teachers, students, and friends about their experiences with yoga teacher training. But remember when talking to others that everyone has a different experience in their 200-hour.
While some people may tell you that they had a personal breakthrough or life-changing experience, others may tell you that they had no sort of breakthrough, but did take away a lot of information, education, and overall knowledge from their course.
It’s important to let go of all of your expectations as you begin YTT, and embrace the not-knowing of it all. Just as you can never truly prepare for the unexpected, you can never truly prepare for yoga teacher training. The best thing you can do is let go and embrace everything that lies ahead.

Your Intentions Will Change . . . Just Go With It

Set an intention as you begin training, but be flexible if that intention changes. Remember why you are taking this training and what you want to do after this training, but remember, you don’t have to have plans to teach after you get your certification. Take your training one day at a time.
Be prepared for change in your life as well. During yoga teacher training we confront parts of ourselves that we normally avoid, and this causes new thoughts and ideas to stir. This may change your mind on small and big things regarding your life.
You will meet new friends, and you will begin to be full of gratitude for things you never thought you’d be grateful for. Your eyes will be opened to things that you may have never seen or heard of, maybe even things you never believed to be true.

Remember: You Are a Student First, Then a Teacher

Regardless of what happens before, during, or after your yoga teacher training, remember that you are a yoga student first, then a yoga teacher. As a yoga teacher, your responsibility is to pass on your knowledge, and be a guide for others in their yoga practice.
The 200-hour yoga teacher training opens you up to the endless possibilities that come along with certification. Throughout the training, your body will be challenged, you will feel a whirlwind of emotions, and you will make like-minded, life-long friends
Whether or not you have some sort of breakthrough, this experience is life-changing both mentally and physically. Even when you’re leading of a group of your students, remember you will always be a student first, and you will always continue to learn.

The YTT Takeaway

Regardless of what style of yoga you study, where you complete your certification, and what type of person you are in general, during yoga teacher training you will be forced to confront parts of yourself that you normally choose to avoid.
You will learn, you will teach, and you will change physically and mentally. You may even think about quitting, or running away – don’t.
Yoga teacher training will break and humble you. Your teacher training will also fill your heart with abundance and gratitude, and you will not realize how much you have learned and how much you have changed until it’s over.
You will come alive.

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RikkiLynn Shields

RikkiLynn is an alchemist of intuition and a self-made storyteller creating art and chasing dreams. This coffee-loving yogi and full-time college student from New Jersey found her true love for yoga after fracturing her foot. Yoga taught her to live her life less out of habit, and more out of intent - now she hopes to inspire others to do the same.

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