If you’re toying with the idea of teaching yoga, you’re in the right place. Here are 7 questions to ask yourself before you start your yoga teacher training.
You love yoga. In fact, you adore it. It has changed your life in so many ways and you want to share that joy with others. However… You’re a little bit scared. You aren’t sure whether you’re ready to make that hefty yoga teacher training commitment.
I hear you! It’s a massive decision. And there’s so much to consider before taking the plunge. Not only do you need to choose the right yoga teacher training course for you, but you also need to figure out whether or not you are actually ready for this next phase of your yoga journey.
While I am (of course) the biggest advocate for yoga teacher training, I strongly believe that students should approach their decision with an inquisitive mind and plenty of questions – both for themselves and the training school.
So, to help you on your way, I’ve pulled together 7 of the key questions you should ask yourself before you start your yoga teacher training.
1. Why do you want to do yoga teacher training?
Start at the beginning – why do you want to do yoga teacher training?
This may feel like an obvious one, but I cannot underestimate its importance. Your reason needs to be true to you. I have seen people come through teacher training because they were told that they were ‘good’ at yoga and should therefore become a teacher. Or because they liked yoga and therefore thought a teacher training would be like an extended retreat.
Look – I am not saying these reasons are wrong (except YTT is definitely NOT an extended retreat!). I’m saying they won’t get you through the intensity and challenges that come with a yoga teacher training.
Your ‘why’ will keep you going through the good times and the bad. It’s the ‘thing’ you will refer back to in those moments where you rue the day you signed up to a teacher training (no exaggeration!). Before you commit, be sure that you are fully aware of your why – and that it’s powerful enough to push you on.
2. Is your physical body ready for yoga teacher training?
While a big portion of your teacher training will be spent off the mat, it is still an incredibly physically demanding experience. Your body needs to be ready for it.
As yogis, we all know how much of an empowering practice yoga can be. It is one that promotes strength and stability and can work wonders for our physical health. Yet, if you are nursing long-term injuries or have avoided physical maintenance for a sustained period of time, now may not be the time for you to do your training.
Saying that, completing yoga teacher training with a physical ailment can offer an amazing opportunity to practice humility and compassion for your physical body, as well as your future students. As I write this blog, I currently have two yogis on my 200 hour teacher training course with injuries. While I am sure they would prefer not to be injured, they have both learnt a huge deal about adjusting their practice and showing themselves true loving kindness throughout their healing.
3. Are you emotionally and mentally ready for yoga teacher training?
Yoga teacher training peels back the layers – every single one of them. It is an emotionally demanding and yet utterly illuminating journey. Mentally, there is a lot that you need to be ready for.
You will be forced to look inwards. And I mean really, really inwards. You will learn and relearn things about yourself and the world around you that you thought you had already figured out. You will be critiqued and put on a stage for others to witness and comment on. You will be challenged and you will cry – a lot!
Before you run 100 miles in the other direction, these responses do not have to be seen as negative. Far from it. Emotionally and mentally, yoga teacher training can be transformative. A past student once said to me ‘it was either yoga teacher training or therapy’. If you are prepared – and ready – then it will be an experience like no other.
4. What is your financial situation?
The elephant in the room – finances. The simple truth is that yoga teacher training does not come cheap. Yes, it’s an investment in your future. But it’s still an investment that you need to be financially secure enough to make.
Many yoga teacher training schools will offer payment plans. This can be a great way to make the training more accessible to you, so check in whether or not this is an option. If you sign up earlier, you can often get an early bird discount.
However, if the only way that you can pay for your yoga teacher training is through loans, credit cards or taking on additional work which you are not energetically available for, please think long and hard about whether this is the appropriate time to make such a large financial commitment.
5. How long have you been practising yoga?
Most yoga teacher training schools will ask you this question on your application. It isn’t just something they ask you for the sake of it. It’s crucial that you have a long and consistent history with yoga – both on and off the mat.
Why? Because yoga teacher training is HARD. And although you are absolutely not expected to know everything when you enrol (you will never know everything!), you need to have a personal and deep connection with yoga so that you can absorb your new learnings.
6. Are you happy with the course curriculum?
Take a look at the course curriculum – does it cover everything that you need for your teaching foundations?
This is both a personal perspective and a yoga standard one. A high quality yoga teacher training should include elements of:
- Asana and lesson planning
- Variety of yoga styles
- Teaching methodology
- Culture and yoga roots
- Yoga philosophy
- Business methodology and marketing
- Pranayama and energy practices
Then ask yourself what kind of yoga teacher you want to be. This is a MASSIVE question. It covers everything from the yoga discipline that you want to teach (for example there is little use going to an Ashtanga based teacher training if you want to teach Vinyasa Flow), your own values (such as cultural sensitivity), who you want to eventually teach (and whether the course teaches and promotes accessibility) and how much all of the different topics are weighted.
The teaching school should provide a syllabus for you to look at before making a decision, as well as any reading lists (a great way to get a flavour for the overall programme).
7. What do you hope will happen once you finish your yoga teacher training?
If you are doing your yoga teacher training to be a teacher (and not everyone does it for that reason!) then it’s worth looking at how much practical teaching experience the training school provides.
I cannot count the number of teachers who have told me stories of when they finished their teacher training and felt absolutely terrified to teach a real-life class. Many even went on to re-do their 200 hour training because they simply did not feel equipped. This is why it is so vital that you choose a school that will prepare you for wherever you want to take your yoga practice.
At the Laura Green Yoga Teacher Training School, we run community classes every Sunday of training weekends. By the end of our 9 month programme, students will have taught the public a minimum of 8 times, as well as their final teaching exams.
Alternatively, if teaching isn’t a priority for you and you are searching for a more philosophical journey, then seek out a school that caters for your needs. The beauty of yoga training is that the options out there are endless. Don’t rush into a decision. The answer will come.
Apply for the Laura Green Teacher Training School 200 hour Teacher Training in 2023.
Join me and my 2023 cohort of passionate yogis at my next 200 hour teacher training programme. I promise you love, laughter and LOTS of soulful inquiry.
Still not sure? Watch my yoga teacher training introduction video and please do feel free to reach out and ask me ANY questions.