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Look out for the following when you choose a yoga teacher training

Are you looking for the right yoga teacher training for you? Offers are a dime a dozen and you find it difficult to keep track of them all? With this article we want to help you to make your search for a suitable yoga teacher training more efficient.

There is no lack of offers for yoga teacher trainings, especially in Switzerland, let alone in the yoga hotspot Zurich! The offers range from multi-year trainings to short trainings that can be completed within 4 weeks. There are yoga teacher trainings online, as a hybrid format or in pure face-to-face classes and the price range varies from a few hundred francs or euros to a few thousand. Now... which one would you like?

1. make the right decision for a yoga teacher training course

In order to make a good decision for yourself, there are a few things you should pay attention to. A math teacher once told me the following about financial models: "Garbage in = Garbage out". This means that if you fill your calculation model with wrong numbers aka garbage, then garbage will come out in the end. That's how I see it with yoga teacher trainings, no matter if they are in Switzerland, Zurich or abroad.

Personally, I have always been very selective about who I train with. I am willing to pay for quality and performance and don't want to waste my valuable time being covered with superficial knowledge. I want to be taught by people who are experienced, have in-depth knowledge and are authentic.

2. which yoga style suits me and what do I want to teach later?

This is a fundamental question! If you don't have much experience in yoga, you may not even know that there are different styles: 

- Hatha Yoga
- Vinyasa Yoga
- Power Yoga
- Iyengar Yoga
- Alignment Yoga

What the different styles are, I'll explain in a separate blog post, but let's distinguish between flow yoga and yoga styles that are static.

In flow yoga, you do the yoga postures quickly and in a flowing change. Many flow yoga teachers originally come from ballet and therefore the style seems very dance-like and graceful. There is not much time for clear, detailed instructions or corrections during the classes, on the part of the teacher. The yoga teachers usually stand in front of the group and demonstrate the exercises.

In yoga styles that are static, there is more time to be mindful of the yoga exercises (asana) and correct alignment.

3. What is better, an online yoga teacher training or face-to-face classes?

Again, it depends on your own preferences and what exactly you want to be able to do after the training. Personally, I like online formats for theoretical knowledge or coaching and I also like to train online for specific topics.

However, if I want to learn a "craft", such as how to properly guide or correct participants in yoga classes, then a pure online format is not enough in my view. 

A yoga teacher training naturally also lives through the group dynamics and the exchange between the participants. This works quite well online to a certain extent, but the joint break conversations or the partner exercises cannot be picked up online. Also the training of the yoga teacher's eye, as we often do in our alignment yoga teacher trainings, cannot be conveyed online as accurately as in physical face-to-face classes.

4. Which is better; a long or a short yoga teacher training?

Consolidating knowledge and putting it into practice takes time and practice. Also the transformation of the personality and the development of one's own spirituality, which are part of a yoga teacher training, should be allowed to develop at one's own pace.

If you value substance and depth in your training, short trainings of less than 2 years do not make sense from my point of view, or only if the yoga teacher training provider has different modules that you can build on later.

For example, with us you can start with the 200h yoga teacher training, there we build the foundation for correct alignment and anatomy, then you can develop and consolidate through other modules in the same style.

5. how much does a yoga teacher training cost or how much do I want to spend for it?

There is no free lunch out there! That's what we used to say in the trade (I used to be a banker ;-) ). That means, if you value quality and experience, you have to be willing to pay something for it. If you only want to get a certificate as fast as possible for little money, you will find many offers on the net.

I have seen online offers for 200h yoga teacher trainings that cost around 300 to 3'000.00 CHF or Euro. Offers in physical presence teaching cost on average between 3'500 - 4'500 CHF. It is important that you check the quality of the training and the experience of the teachers.

6. who is allowed to train yoga teachers and yoga instructors?

There are no regulations on who can train others to be yoga teachers or yoga teacher:in, as the title yoga teacher:in is not protected. Yoga Alliance, the best known registry for yoga teachers, does require a minimum number of teaching hours before you can register as an Experienced Yoga Teacher and then offer your own yoga teacher training programs under their logo, but I don't think that's enough to assess the quality of the program.

Those who train others to be yoga teachers should have a lot of experience in teaching and do this regularly for several years, not just as a hobby. In addition, the personality should be solid, integrity and professionalism must be a high priority for trainers and they should be able to respond to the participants of a yoga teacher training with genuine attention and compassion.

I am not saying that we as yoga teacher trainers have to be perfect, but we should have already dealt with our own shadows and know our own triggers. Because in a yoga teacher training the participants also go through a transformation process, especially if it is a well-founded and also longer training. We have to be able to hold the space and energy for the participants so that they can develop in a protected framework.

7. what can you teach after a yoga teacher training?

This is a question you should explore a bit more, and it would be best to attend a yoga class of the main teachers of the training, if possible. If, for example, alignment and personal corrections are important to you, but the teacher "only" demonstrates and does not observe, correct or verbally guide the participants precisely, you cannot expect to learn this from this person in the context of a training. Because demonstrating and teaching are two different skills.

Of course, the duration of the training also plays a key role in what you can expect after the training.

For example, we offer a modular structure of yoga teacher trainings. Each module is a self-contained training. The first module is the 200h Alignment Yoga Teacher Training and forms the basics. After this training you can teach simple yoga classes. If you want, you can deepen your knowledge in the 300h Alignment Yoga Teacher Training and get more expertise in the 250h Alignment Yoga Teacher Training.

We are very honest with our participants and tell them that they can teach simple yoga classes after the 200h Alignment Yoga Teacher Training, but that they should not expect to teach with the same level of expertise as our graduates who have completed all 3 modules (750 hours in total).

This honesty is very important to us, because often yoga teacher training providers promise something that is not reality afterwards. A 200h yoga teacher training does not make you an expert in yoga. However, if those first 200 yoga teacher training hours provide you with a really solid and firm foundation, your path to the top will be easier, if that is what you desire at all. Many people just want to do something for themselves in the beginning and may not even have the desire to teach. "But if, then properly!" is my motto!

8. how important is a yoga teacher certificate?

For many it is important that the training is registered with Yoga Alliance. Yoga Alliance is the best known and largest yoga teacher registry and is based in the USA. In the meantime, however, it is also recognized internationally; in Switzerland, too, there is an increasing demand for it. If a yoga teacher training is registered there, it doesn't mean that the content of the training is of the same quality as what you are looking for, but at least there are certain rules and a framework.

Clarify for yourself which certificates you will receive from your yoga teacher training institute after graduation. Also, a training certificate, with a detailed list of subjects and hours, should be handed in for a sound and longer training.

Our yoga teacher training courses are registered with Yoga Alliance and all successful graduates receive a detailed training confirmation from us in addition to the certificate.

9) How much emphasis is placed on correct alignment?

Many yoga teacher trainings offer flow yoga. However, what is often neglected in these yoga teacher trainings is the correct alignment in the yoga postures, the anatomy and how to verbally instruct and teach correctly. The focus in these yoga trainings is on demonstration. There are usually no yoga aids used either.

What I would like to emphasize, however, is that especially in flow yoga styles it is enormously important that you know about correct alignment and anatomy, because otherwise in the long run it will cause wear and tear on your joints or you can injure yourself. A good alignment foundation is therefore, in my view, indispensable if you want to practice or teach yoga.

For this reason we have established yoga teachers who attend our 200h alignment yoga teacher training as a further education and then integrate the acquired knowledge into their yoga classes, which brings them positive feedback from their participants.

In my opinion, these are the most basic considerations and points that should be taken into account when choosing a yoga teacher training.

If you want to get more specific about this topic, download our free questionnaire about yoga teacher trainings (in GERMAN only). There you will find 21 questions and answers that you should ask yourself before you decide on a training.

Text: Tanja Lenger Mascarenhas, Expert in Alignment based Hatha Yoga