Choose Your Yoga Teacher Training Wisely!
Recent years have seen an exponential upsurge of interest in Yoga. Just in USA, more than 36 million people do Yoga every day! According to some estimates, almost 2 billion people in the world do yoga every day! The demand for well-trained Yoga teachers has also increased. Traditionally in India, the training of Yoga has been handed down from generation to generation through the Guru-Shishya parampara, where the Shishya used to stay with the Guru for at least 12 years to learn the basics. But a large percentage of new teachers now coming into this field have not had the benefit of that kind of training. Yoga is a life-long passion which demands dedicated and disciplined training. Though training in advanced Yoga can still be had only through Guru-Shishya tradition, some standardized training formats acceptable in the west are available in schools being run everywhere.
With so many schools popping up overnight and so many teachers of yoga with summary trainings to choose from, zeroing in on a program which gives you a sound base to accumulate accurate knowledge has become very difficult. Do you choose from what sells? Or do you want to know and learn yoga? Do you choose a program which teaches cross-training, or do you select one which introduces you to a yoga that is too complete to need any other gimmicks? Learning something which is not accurate and having to rectify that later on can only be termed a wasteful exercise! You’ll be investing a lot of time and hard-earned money in your training, so make an informed and wise choice right at the outset!
For those Yoga Teacher Trainees with time constraints, the opportunity to study online is also available, though for registration with some leading registries, a stipulated number of contact hours is mandatory. By implementing the guidelines that follow, anyone in search of the ideal yoga certification program should be able to find one.
International Yoga Federation is the largest Yoga Teacher Registry in the world. Yoga Alliance, USA is one of the largest Yoga Teacher registry in the world. There are many other registries. These registries have introduced some minimum standards where none existed before. For example, Yoga Alliance gives registration to those completing their education only in a Registered Yoga School. Look for RYS 200 and RYS 300 designations. Don’t be convinced that you can apply for Yoga Alliance registry on your own after you complete their program. All major registries would accept training only from Yoga Schools registered with them.
To check whether the school you are interested in is registered with Yoga Alliance or not, click here. Be sure to search by typing in the city and state. Don’t just type in the name of the studio or you might get bogus search results.
RYS 200 schools can train teachers up to RYT 200 level. RYS 300 schools can provide further training to enable you to register as RYT 500. Advantage of an RYS 300 school over an RYS 500 school would be that you can complete 500 hours training in two stages: 200 hours and 300 hours. With an RYS 500 school, you can’t break up your training into two stages.
Generally speaking, RYS 300 or RYS 500 schools should have more experienced teachers. In essence, Yoga is experiential knowledge; understanding of subtleties comes only with experience. If you look back and think about your own yoga practice you can discern how different is it today compared to the first day you started it!
SAVY International Inc. is an RYS 200 and RYS 300 Yoga School, with registered branches in Canada and India.
Transmission of knowledge is not just a detached deliverance of sermons. Not every program is a quality program. Every yoga teacher training program has a primary teacher of the training, and other assisting teachers. Check out the experience of the primary and other teachers. Sound theoretical knowledge is also essential. You want a teacher who is in the know and can make you ‘teaching-ready’.
At SAVY, Director of Teaching, Dr Jitender K Sahdev E-RYT 500, RPYT, RCYT, D.Sc., Ph.D.,MD, M.B.,B.S., Fellow in Surgery, Fellow in Surgical Oncology, is a Yoga Teacher with over 41,000 hours of Traditional Yoga teaching experience. A Surgeon by profession from India with almost three decades of experience in Modern Medicine, he utilizes Yoga as a complementary therapy for optimizing the health and wellness of his students, and for easing symptoms of pain and tightness associated with disease in his clients. He trained under doyens of Yoga in India for over four decades. He is also a Yoga Therapist in Canada.
In addition, SAVY has four more teachers – two E-RYT 500 Yoga teachers, and two E-RYT 200/ RYT 500 Yoga teacher, all duly registered with Yoga Alliance, USA. You can check the credentials of our teachers here.
You – Pre-Course Experience
Yoga comes from India and its original texts are in Sanskrit/ Vedic language. All the new terms and concepts might be overwhelming for a totally green trainee. It’s good idea to start preparing for the course in advance by attending yoga classes and reading good books in Yoga to provide you with a working terminology and base. A good program should ask you to document previous experience and/ or offer some kind of preparatory pre-course/ additional training.
Yoga is too vast. It offers immense possibilities. It’s important to have a good overview of all aspects of Yoga. Choose a program which introduces you to all aspects of Yoga so that you can make an informed choice later on when you become an RYT and might choose to specialize in one aspect of teaching, like Yoga for Seniors, Teens, Athletes, Children, Pranayama, Meditation, Marma Therapy, Ayurveda or Nada etc. Your basic certification training is the time when you should be introduced to the basic concepts of Yoga.
Yoga is not another exercise form! If a yoga program teaches you that, it’s misinforming you. Yoga is science of neuro-physio-endocrinology. Studies have shown that Yoga boosts neuro-transmitter levels in brain and even modulates nerve impulses in peripheral nerves. In a basic Yoga certification program, the main focus should be on understanding basics of Yoga. Yoga is very vast in content and application. As new research is establishing with each passing day, Yoga has diverse applications. Almost all traditional methods find their roots in Yoga and Ayurveda. Does the program teach Yoga, or is the program buttressed by lots of ‘throw-ins’ like cross-fit, sauna, aroma, weight training and other stuff to cover up the lack of actual knowledge and real value of the program?
At SAVY, we introduce you to the basics of Yoga instead of burdening you with redundant, unrelated knowledge. Being a man of some qualifications and quality experience, Dr Jitender K Sahdev is very well-versed with the basics of Yoga and its neuro-endocrinological base.
The distribution of hours in the course should be such that it covers basics of Yoga. Curriculum of a registered program should comply with a certain standardized format. Schools registered with YA, USA have to comply with YA guidelines. Make it sure before joining the course.
RYT 200 and RYT 300 courses at SAVY are registered with YA, USA and comply with the prescribed curriculum. Other advanced courses are there to help you delve deeper.
Avenues for Growth
Does the school you are joining offer anything beyond the basic certification? There is every chance you might get interested in pursuing your career further in Yoga. So, choose a school which provides advanced courses and training in Yoga.
SAVY trains Yoga teachers at RYT 200 and RYT 500 levels and beyond. In addition, we also offer advanced courses in Pranayama, Marma Therapy, Meditation, Ayurveda, Kriyas, Yoga Nutrition, and more. Our basic program prepares you for more advanced learning in Yoga. So, even sky is not the limit at SAVY!
In the world of yoga teacher training, there are many options for schedule and format. Some are residential, some not. Some are all-in-one, some are module based.
Do your math correctly when considering module-based and residential programs . Sometimes they are designed to have a low advertised rate that doesn’t accurately reflect the actual cost of the program. Do your math before you commit.
A quick web search and you’ll find a wide variety of data on this one. The cost of a yoga teacher training depends greatly on what is on offer. Some Yoga Alliance certified programs might not actually fulfill the need of minimum 200 hours. Other programs might exceed the minimum hours required.
Generally, tuition for a 200-hour yoga teacher training program ranges from $2,800 to $5,000, or even more, for a non-residential program, but because of competition, you may get some very good programs at lower prices. If you plan to attend a residential program, plan to add extra for food and lodging. Compare oranges to oranges. All RYT 200 programs have to maintain at least the required minimum standards!
In case of multiple modules, make sure you know exactly how many modules you must complete in order to get certified, and the minimum and maximum period for that. Add up the costs, or call the school and ask. Get all the information before you take the final plunge.
Many programs have separate fees for the following:
- Certification testing
- Required workshops or retreats
- Yoga class passes
- Study material
- Practice material
- Supplemental support (online videos, workshops, lectures)
- Continuing education
SAVY offers RYT 200, RYT 500 and other courses at very competitive costs. For those who can’t afford the normal cost, we also offer Sponsored courses, Scholarships, bursaries etc.
CLARITY & FIT
Many certification programs might require you just to show up for the training, and you’re certified. While this may be appealing to some, it’s better to actually learn something meaningful that will help and inspire you be a great teacher.
A good program will measure your proficiency at what you’ve learned before certifying you, much like when you were in college or high school. A good program will test your knowledge as well as your teaching skills before certifying you.
At SAVY, we help you build your knowledge base and test it before issuing a certificate.
Unforeseen circumstances may crop up and interrupt your training. Check out the policy of the school about absences ahead of time. A good program will have attendance policy clearly explained in writing.
We have a clear policy regarding this at SAVY.
Know Your Teacher
Find a teacher who can inspire you. Take at least one class with the teacher you want to train with. Be sure before you commit. A good teacher with a good base will make you ready to adapt to any teaching style. There is only one Yoga though styles may be different. All that differs in different styles is the order of yoga postures. Basics always remain the same. So, finding a good, knowledgeable teacher, and not a style, should be your priority; sticking to one style right from the beginning might be too restrictive.
Sufficient program hours to adequately cover the curriculum
Opting for a quick certification might be intense. Less than four weeks duration might make it too challenging in view of long hours you’ll be required to put in. Go for it only if you think you can work that hard. Also, some pre-course preparation will be required. If you do not give enough time for the concepts to sink in, you might be ill-prepared to teach. Choose the format and schedule carefully.
We offer different formats at SAVY.
Recognition of credentials of the program
Some yoga teacher training programs are proprietary which means that you will be branded as a teacher by the school’s brand of teacher training. The plus side of this practice is that you’ll have a good chance at getting hired at one of their studios. The down side will be that other studios may not want to hire you.
You may want to consider a yoga teacher training programs that is not franchised or limited by its brand identity. For example, in usual teacher training programs, trainees gain proficiency in the sequencing method and use of voice. These methods equip the teacher to create well designed classes that are original, effective and that transcend brand identities. As a result, the graduates are confident to teach anywhere, in any style.
While the market is growing and more and more places are offering yoga, finding a teaching job in Yoga is no different than any other job search – it’s quite competitive. So, choose a program which doesn’t clip your wings and keeps your options wide open.
Oftentimes, people learn about how convenient and cost-effective online learning programs are and then rule other options out. This is not a good idea. Why? Because in some situations, a traditional form of learning may be more advantageous. This can be the case in a situation where the aspiring yoga instructor is looking for hands-on experiences that cannot be offered by the online yoga program. Those who plan to become yoga instructors should also consider the value of hybrid classes in which there is a combination of online and in-person instruction. SAVY offers in-studio as well as hybrid programs.
THE ESSENCE OF THE SEARCH IS YOU!
In the last analysis, it all about YOU!
In Yoga they say you’ll find your Guru in front of you when you are ready to learn, and if you don’t have that burning desire to learn, even the most capable Guru won’t be able to do much for you! Only malleable clay can be molded into a good shape. Your dedication, devotion, desire to learn and passion will determine how much knowledge you can imbibe from your teacher. How much water you can put in a vessel will depend on the suitability and size of the vessel. You have to be thirsty for knowledge. To a person who doesn’t have appetite, even the most delicious dishes won’t have much appeal. Be interested. To succeed in anything, you have to give your 100% to it. A good Yoga Teacher Training program has to be a lot of hard work. Can you force someone to be an Olympic champion? That desire has to come from within. Are you ready to learn? Are you ready to work hard for it? Do you have that kind of devotion and dedication? Be clear about what you want from your YTT program and pay full attention to absorb all the available information.
If you are preparing to begin an exciting career in the field of Yoga instruction, you should know that doing so can help lead to a personally and professionally rewarding life. Obtaining Yoga certification from a good school is a great way to get the knowledge and experience necessary to excel in this vocational and now competitive sector. By following the guidelines outlined above, aspiring yoga instructors can make a good choice and take an important step toward attaining the education necessary to accomplish their vocational dreams.
Best of luck for your endeavour!
Dr Jitender K Sahdev