The desire to become a yoga teacher usually stems from gaining a deep connection to your own practice. I know for me I reached a point where I just wanted to learn more. What I have learnt over the years is not only is it expensive to become a well-trained Yoga teacher it’s also extremely daunting. You must make the right choice when it comes to a school, you have to ensure you align with their core principles and ethics and more importantly are you going to leave with the right recognised qualification that will allow you to teach and get insured.
1. 200hrs – The Base Layer
The starting point for yoga training is a registered 200hr course. It was decided some years ago in 200hrs students would gain sufficient knowledge to start their yoga teaching career. Think of it as the base layer of the cake. This is where you get your foundation knowledge of the history, philosophy, anatomy, physiology, asana, ethics and yoga as a business. Essentially your nuts and bolts.
Once achieved the idea is you continue studying through attending CPD events whilst gaining teaching experience.
When you feel ready you can move to a 500hr course (advanced training) (200hr + 300hr) all the way to 1000hr if you’re super serious about making yoga teaching your primary career. Essentially though learning never stops as industry and the human body is constantly evolving.
200hr = Base Layer
500Hr = Advanced teaching training – Core Layer
1000hr = Refined topics and specialist area – The icing on the cake
2. Why do I need a 200hr/500hr/1000hr
Yoga is an unregulated industry so without these standards it’s extremely difficult to know if a teacher has been trained to the right level to teach. Now, this isn’t to say just because a teacher has these certificates doesn’t automatically make them a great teacher (that comes down to the individual) however, if they have been trained well in the first place it will be evident in their classes. This gives students and studios the comfort that people in those classes are in safe hands.
3. Yoga Alliance or British Wheel?
If you’ve already started looking into courses you may have noticed they will be registered as either a Yoga Alliance Accredited Course (YA) or a British Wheel of Yoga (BWY) Course. Both are equally as good and both will have high standards when it comes to accrediting trainers. Both organisations were set up to set standards for both students and teachers.
4. Check your trainer’s credentials
To lead a teacher training in the UK/Jersey your trainer needs to be registered as a Senior Yoga Teacher /Trainer Pro. This means they have over 4000hrs of teaching under their belts and have reached their 500hr training plus some. In 2020 Yoga Alliance set up the Yoga Alliance Trainer Pro which is now the Gold standard of training – keep an eye out for the badge when shopping around.
If your course is YA USA registered your trainer will have E-RYT500 next to their name.
5. Try your trainer’s classes
If you’re not training where you live, go online and find your trainers classes. This is where you find out if you align with the school’s ethics and essentially enjoy their teaching style. It will also let you know if you like the teacher.
6. Check the Syllabus
Before YA set up the Trainer Pro standard, Yoga schools were only required to fulfil set hours on certain subjects, leaving the door open to less than standard training. Now with YA Professionals, schools have to write their own syllabus which is reviewed and checked. This allows schools to spend time on topics they feel are super important. All trainings should cover the foundation level. Make sure you are taking a course which offers the subjects you want to learn about, this is why a 200hr training is so important as it will reveal to you areas you may want to explore deeper as you move through your further trainings.
7. Cost – Why are Yoga trainings so expensive?
Yoga Teacher Trainings are expensive which is why it’s so important to do your homework. In general, a 200hr course will cost in the region of £3,000 to £4,500 some can be more depending on where they are hosted. Remember you are paying for the trainer’s knowledge and experience which is why prices vary. Bear in mind travel costs and other expenses. Over the years, I’ve seen many students invest lots of money into trainings in exotic locations only to be left disappointed as they were sold on the location rather than the training itself.
Just like there is no shortcut to becoming a yoga teacher there’s also no cheap way either, as a wise man once told me, buy cheap you buy twice.
8. I’ve attended a course and I wasn’t happy
If you attend a training which isn’t up to standard you must report it to the association the course is registered with. Another reason YA Trainer Pro was set up was to remove these types of schools.
9. Online vs In-Person
During the pandemic, there was a huge increase in online yoga teacher training in particular 200hr trainings. If this is an option you’re interested in, you must ensure the training is live and offers assessments throughout. Pre-recorded 200hr trainings will not be accredited by YA or BWY and will also limit your teaching opportunities.
10. Stay connected and informed
The yoga industry changes constantly, it’s super important to stay informed of what’s happening, not only will this help you decide on a teacher training it will also guide you as to what you need to be aware of when it comes to you teaching. Right now it’s about honouring yoga’s roots and less about fancy poses on Instagram.
Stay true to you, keep asking the question, why do I want to teach yoga? do your homework and the right course will come to you.
Lisa is the founder of OmShanti Yoga Living and is a Yoga Medicine Therapeutic Specialist and a registered Yoga Alliance Trainer pro. Lisa launched Jersey’s first YA Accredited 200hr Course in 2021 which is due to start in October 2021. She runs her own private studio where she sees clients on a 1-1 basis.