What is a Yoga Teacher Training?

By Libby Barrett 

What is a Yoga Teacher Training?

Whether you’ve only practiced yoga a few times or consider yourself an enlightened yogi, it’s likely you’ve heard of yoga teacher training. So what exactly is a “YTT,” and why should you enroll?

There are 200-hour and 500-hour certifications. Think of these as an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree. A 200-hour program should provide the foundation and basic understanding of the philosophy, plus provide the practical skills and knowledge to be able to teach a yoga class. A 500-hour program will explore the ideology further by expanding upon meditation, pranayama and asana techniques and fine-tune your teaching skills.

There are many different lineages and styles of yoga today. Chances are, you are interested in the style you have been practicing; therefore, you should choose a program that aligns with your preferred style, but make sure it is comprehensive. Even though a traditional hot sequence doesn’t include the pose downward facing dog, almost all other styles do, so regardless of the school, it should still introduce the classic poses, plus common and popular styles of yoga being taught today.

A well-rounded program should include the basic elements of the philosophy, the anatomical alignment and function of the asanas, plus the practical tools for building a class sequence and how to teach it. The yoga training course curriculum should be organized in a functional way. The first day should not include challenging inversions, nor should you be spending an entire day meditating on one mantra in the dark with candles. A typical day in the training should be varied, perhaps including meditation, lecture, asana, chanting, practice teaching, team exercises and more.

Remember the game of telephone, or good old-fashioned gossip? The further away from “the source” you are, the more the message gets lost. You don’t have to travel to India to get a great training, but the program should include a study of the ancient texts and classic asanas, who the fore founders of our modern practice are and how they emerged. Yoga Alliance (YA) is a non-profit registry that is working to standardize yoga teacher training programs internationally. This is a great place to start your research. Even if you don’t choose a YA certified program, it does provide a good outline of what to look for in a 200- or 500-hour program.

Make sure the training timeline works for you. A month in the motherland of India may sound fabulous, but if you have a demanding on-site job or a family, that may not be an option. Club Greensood’s yoga teacher training program can be an exciting and educational journey, not only about yoga, but about yourself! As you study and practice this ancient philosophy, you’ll learn much more about the physical, mental and spiritual bodies and just how closely they are related. This will naturally affect your mindfulness and cultivate greater awareness, both of oneself and your environment. To get the best experience, fully commit to the program.

Upon successful graduation, you can teach if you wish, or simply use the knowledge to apply to your personal practice. There are many different places to teach, not just in a studio! You can offer classes at a gym, retirement or senior centers, schools, your local rec center, your place of worship, in the park or at your office. You can also teach while traveling, at retreat centers, resorts or hotels.

 The foundational text of yoga, the Yoga Sutras, opens with, “Now, it is time for yoga.” Some gurus believe this means that when you stumble upon that statement, that is literally when it is the time for you to begin your studies. If taking a training has been on your mind, it’s time to start on your path. Club Greenwood is a 200-hour Yoga Alliance registered school since 2017.

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