I chose a 200-hour YTT because there is only so much you can learn in a weekly group yoga class, but a yoga teacher training – even if you don’t have the intention to teach yoga afterwards, gives you a wealth of knowledge about all aspects of yoga. Everyone comes to take a training course for a variety of reasons, and that became obvious to me on my 200-hours. Each of my YTT classmates had a different reason why they came to the training. For some it was a big gift of self love, to connect to themselves and learn. For others it was to help them heal through an illness or a difficult period in their life and others knew straight away they wanted a career change and wanted to become a yoga teacher.

There is often a misunderstanding that to do a yoga teacher training course must mean that you want to be a yoga teacher. Wrong! There is only so much you can learn in a 200 hour yoga teacher training course. The greatest teachers live by yoga, yoga is in their daily life through their meditation practice, their asana, their food choices – everything. They have practiced for years and learnt from many teachers. Becoming a yoga teacher never stops you becoming a student. Always be a student, always keep learning.

yoga teacher training in Bali. Natarajasana pose outside Bali temple

What you can expect to be in your yoga teacher training course

Each course differs, depending on the school and the length of the course. But as a rule of thumb what you can expect is:

  • The History of yoga/lineage of various yogi masters, yoga sutras, introduction into Hindu and Buddhist scriptures and beliefs.
  • General anatomy and the correct and safe alignment of postures
  • Meditation and pranayama techniques and exercises (how to practice and teach)
  • A guide to nutrition and overall health and wellness for mind, body and spirit.
  • How to start or improve your own self-study and daily practice of yoga - on and off the mat.
  • Principles of yoga teaching: demonstration, observation, assisting, modifying, sequencing and understanding the benefits and contraindications of poses for students of different levels.
  • General introduction to prenatal yoga (but usually to safely teach prenatal yoga you will need to take a prenatal specific yoga teacher training)
  • The ethics of being a yoga teacher and an introduction into the business of yoga - how to market yourself, finding your niche, pricing, planning workshops, retreats etc

It is so important you take time to choose your YTT really carefully. It is a fairly big financial investment and it is time consuming, so you need to be really sure about what time of yoga you want to do and which teacher or school you want to study and be associated with.

How to choose your yoga teacher training course, the 8 point check list...

1. Location

A yoga teacher training is not just about the yoga, it is a life changing journey and the environment you choose can greatly impact the training. Many people to do their yoga teacher training course in Bali, India or Thailand as they are spiritual and beautiful destinations. A Bali yoga teacher training course is richly enhanced by the Balinese Hindu culture and simple devotional daily offerings and being surrounded by temples and breathtaking nature. However, for some people, you may want to choose somewhere practical, close to you that can fit around your lifestyle and routine. This leads on to my second point…

Bali scenery of mountains and rice fields during yoga teacher training

2. Yoga Teacher Training Schedule

Most Bali yoga teacher training courses are 4 weeks intensive, where you will be at your course 6 long days a week. By doing it this way, you become fully immersed, you can incorporate it with your travelling plans and you are qualified within 1 month. If you decide to do a YTT close to where you live or in a city like London or New York there are many options to do the course spread over several months or a year which is great to fit around a fulltime job.

Learn more about upcoming Bali yoga teacher training courses

3. The Lead Teacher

The lead teacher on the course completely shapes your course. Take a class with them, research them, talk with them you need to feel a connection with them. Investing time and money with this person to guide you through an intimate experience in your life where you will be emotionally vulnerable at times you really need to feel comfortable and trust this teacher. Do your research! There are many yoga teachers and YTT courses out there, go with your gut and you will find the perfect one for you.

yoga in Bali, pincha hollow back inversion on campuhan ridge walk, Ubud

4. Style of Yoga

Similar to when you research the lead teacher on your course, make sure you research and are familiar with this yoga style and this particular school of yoga. Have you done it before? Think about why this school attracts you – would you want to represent this faculty afterwards; do you believe in their ethos? If you want to teach yoga afterwards you should check that the yoga teacher training course you are looking at is affiliated with Yoga Alliance if you want to be qualified by the general governing board of yoga to teach internationally.

5. Philosophy of the Yoga School

Different Yoga Schools have different values - find the one that you identify with, based on your own priorities. An example is Shades of Yoga - a yoga school offering YTTs in Bali and Italy.  

The 6 values of Shades of Yoga
1.    Shades of Yoga is committed to producing teachers who are ready to step straight into a commercial teaching role at the end of their training.
2.    Safety is paramount to Shades of Yoga’s teaching philosophy. Technique and alignment are strongly emphasised throughout the course.
3.    Shades of Yoga specialises in boutique, small-group, training experiences to ensure you get the individual attention you deserve.
4.    Shades of Yoga operates in stunning tropical destinations around the world.
5.    Shades of Yoga offers a holistic training program that explores yoga as a lifestyle and spiritual practice, not just as an exercise.
6.    Shades of Yoga firmly believes that yoga is for people of all shapes, sizes and experience levels. You don’t have to be young. You don’t have to be flexible. You just have to be.

Make sure to learn more about the yoga school which is organizing the YTT and check if you are aligned with their ideas and guiding principles.

5. Guest Teachers

On a yoga teacher training course you don’t just have the lead teacher but many guest teachers for yoga history or philosophy, anatomy, meditation, nutrition and more. It is also worth researching these teachers too.

6. Modules

Look carefully at the syllabus of the course and what you will be learning. Take time to look into details or various yoga teacher trainings to see how they differ. Some YTT’s are more theoretical and others are far more physical. Different number of hours are split on anatomy to history of yoga and to posture workshops and meditation. Check the details of what you will be doing and what books you need to read and prepare – does this interest you? What will you gain from this? Make sure you will enjoy learning this and you are prepared for your course so there are no unexpected surprises!

Bali yoga teacher training day trip to Tirta Empul purification temple Ubud

7. Past Students

If you can speak to past students or look at past reviews. I got to my yoga teacher training course through a recommendation of a friend who had done the course 2 years prior. It will really help give you an honest review of the course and whether it is the right YTT for you.

8. Finances

YTTs can range between $2,000 – $6,000 depending on the teacher, the country and the duration, Make sure you check all the costs associated with your yoga teacher training course. For example, does this include food and accommodation? What about your books, props, equipment etc? Add everything you will also need to purchase and figure out if this is a feasible investment for you to undertake.

Overall, whatever the reason you may be considering for your yoga teacher training course, whether that’s for spiritual searching, to become healthier and become more disciplined with a daily practice, a YTT is a big investment on time and money and shouldn’t be entered into lightly. If you just want to do some yoga and relax somewhere beautiful – do a yoga retreat in Bali! A yoga teacher training program is challenging and I guarantee 99% of you will cry at some point! Breathing exercises, meditations and yoga postures get deep and you become very close with your fellow yogis and teachers. There are times you question everything (how you think, what you consume, who you spend your time with, the power of intentions and manifestations) and tap deep into conscious or unconsciously held traumas and tensions. It ultimately is a life experience worth taking and for me, it really changed everything for the better. If you want to learn more about some amazing yoga teacher training courses in Bali click here