As you explore your Yoga teacher training options, you might wonder what exactly can you expect from the yoga teacher training curriculum. Yoga teacher trainings curriculum will vary from school to school, but all of them should contain a few vital elements that make the yoga training legitimate. As you do your research in trying to find the right yoga teacher training school, make sure you also pay attention to what exactly is being taught during the program. Many students get caught up in just taking a program and don’t do a thorough job of actually looking into the study course. Don’t be embarrassed or shy if you want the school to tell you specifically what will be covered and how this will effect your opportunity to become a yoga teacher. What follows is a basic rundown of what a yoga teacher training curriculum should cover during your yoga certification course:
This portion should include a detailed study of asanas (poses), pranayama (breath work), meditation, chanting, kriyas, sanskrit, and other traditional yoga methods. Depending on the style of yoga studied some of these techniques may be emphasized more than others. While in other yoga teacher training schools that focus more on the physical fitness aspect of yoga may not cover any of the spiritual aspects at all. These yoga schools will spend most of the time on the asanas, breath, and fitness components.
A yoga teacher training school might choose to offer a basic overview of yoga philosophy as a whole (or just it’s style’s philosophy), its history in its yoga teacher training curriculum. Or the yoga teacher training curriculum may choose to focus on the philosophy of its founder as each style was developed with a specific intention behind it. Bare in mind that yoga was originally started out as a path towards enlightenment and has strong spiritual roots. Since coming to the West, this has changed and now schools are adapting their yoga teacher training curriculum to fit more with what people want here in the US. Be sure to check with a school to see if they subscribe more to a spiritual approach, the physical fitness aspect, or a combination there of. This will be important as you don’t want to pay or have to sit in a class that is not relevant to what you seek.
Something that is very important that all schools should cover are yoga teacher ethics, as in what is expected of you as a yoga teacher. Remember, as you take your yoga training you are now part of a club that will represent a genre and entire way of being to the rest of the world. This should not be taken lightly. More importantly, students are going to be handing their health and bodies to you. This means they will need to trust you. Many yoga schools and teachers have had some issues with students feeling that they were either not touched in an appropriate manner or that their needs were not met by the teacher. You may (or may not have) noticed that there is now insurance provided for yoga teachers and studios from helping them should they get sued. This means that the “ethics” portion of your yoga teacher training curriculum is going to be important so you know what is expected of you and what you can and cannot do.
Of course one of the most important factors of becoming a yoga teacher is your delivery and the ability to actually guide students to become better at yoga. This portion of your yoga teacher training curriculum is designed to help trainees develop teaching skills such as:
As a yoga teacher, you are also going to be a health practitioner in the sense that you are going to be helping people to heal certain issues with their emotional and physical state. It is important that as you become a yoga teacher, that you view yourself in this manner so that you can effectively and properly help people heal themselves through yoga. This portion of the yoga teacher training curriculum is specifically geared for yoga teachers, and won’t be as in-depth as say, medical school. It is intended to give the trainee a good foundational knowledge of the human body, how it’s put together, and how it works. While you will not be expected to become an expert or doctor, you should have some basic understandings of how the body functions. Ideally a qualified expert (many yoga schools bring in outside teachers to teach this portion) teaches the anatomy portion of the yoga teacher training.
Learning to be a teacher takes practice, and a good yoga teacher training curriculum will require lots of it, along with the feedback necessary for improvement. You will be required to not only study and take classes with the teacher to ensure that your practice is on point, but you will also need to go through your own dry runs of teaching classes where feedback will be given.
Note: Be careful of yoga teacher training programs that are run out of their home. While this is ok for a personal “workshop” approach where you just want a cozy atmosphere and are just looking to deepen your own personal practice, if you are looking to teach professionally we highly suggest staying away from those types of programs. Why? Because you should be in a studio setting you get the actual feel of what its like to teach. Its like taking acting class in someones living room versus an actual stage.
If you are going to be taking a yoga teacher training program that is coming from a spiritual perspective, then reading will be required as the Yogic philosophy will need to be understood. All yoga teacher training programs will provide a manual, and in addition, most likely require trainees to read a few books. Popular 200-hr yoga teacher training books are TheYoga Sutras of Patanjali, The Bhagavad Gita, and BKS Iyengar’s Light on Yoga. It is quite common for many students to not do all the reading (like in most schools) Do NOT pass up this opportunity. Why just focus on the physical and not spiritual. It is all one and becoming a yoga teacher is about integration of mind, body, and soul. Besides it is your money so you are just shorting yourself.
Not all yoga teacher training curriculum will include a business component, but those who want to aid new teachers in quickly getting started in the yoga community will. Understanding yoga teacher marketing and how to build a successful yoga studio is going to be vital should you decide to make this your career. Many yoga schools have failed to leave this portion out over the years. The main reason being is that they themselves lack this type of knowledge. Most yoga businesses are coming from a place of passion and this is what has allowed them to sustain themselves for so long. But many are also having a hard time making it so you don’t want to find yourself in the same shoes if you go that route. Make sure you ask the school if business and yoga marketing are covered in the yoga teacher training curriculum. If you need more assistance with this use the following links to learn more about yoga teacher marketing and how to build a successful yoga studio. These articles were written by a yoga marketing expert named the Yogi Coach who used to work with Gaiam and now supports teachers and studios with their marketing. In fact if you Google “yoga marketing”, “yoga business consultant”, and “yoga seo”, he comes up on page one.
As you search for the right yoga school for your yoga teacher training, just keep in mind that all schools accredited by the Yoga Alliance will have met specific yoga teacher training curriculum standards that they must meet, and most yoga trainings will make their curriculum readily available to potential trainees. Don’t be shy about asking them if you can learn a little bit more about what their yoga teacher training curriculum covers and what you can expect from the course. It’s your hard earned money and you deserve to know what you are going to get!
Yoga Teacher Training Schools – Are you interested in becoming a yoga teacher and taking a yoga teacher training? Then check out our list of schools from around the world offering yoga certification programs.
Yoga Teacher Training Scholarship – Learn more about our scholarship program where we offer one lucky student the opportunity to win a free yoga teacher training.
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