As more people begin to reap the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of yoga practice, the importance of effective teacher training programs increases exponentially.
I applaud anyone who, for any reason, wants to embark on a Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) Program. However, because the stakes are high and YTTs cost money, prospective students have to be sure they research to find the program that fits best with them.
Here, to help prospective students, are 7 elements of a great YTT:
1) A program that cares about you
Students enter Yoga Teacher Training programs for many reasons. Whatever your goal(s), the program should endeavor to help you get there. Whether that means empowering you to focus on the benefits of yoga for specific populations, expand your spiritual horizons, or begin a career as a teacher, the best schools have mechanisms in place to help students after graduation.
A good program accounts for life outside the studio. It should include flexible hours, and classes should be available both part-time and on the weekends. Similar to a professional program in a university, you should be able to complete your YTT at your own pace.
3) The ability to further your learning
A 200-hour program is normally the first stepping-stone to becoming a Yoga instructor. As your training progresses, there needs to be opportunities for advancement, ideally under the same roof. Ask if a school allows you to further your study via 300-hour or 500-hour programs. Once you acquire the base learnings you may want to take things to another level.
4) Financial value and support
Every student should be comfortable with his/her tuition fees. Flexible payments should be available. At my studio, Naada Yoga, we offer a work exchange program, which reduces tuition costs for the 500hr teacher-training program students by approximately $1000. Whenever possible, try to look for studios that offer similar initiatives and/or grants to help students along the way.
5) Internationally recognized certification
What good is a certification if it’s not from an accredited training school? Make sure the program you enroll in is up to par with any new regulations or alliances that will help you put your best foot forward as a graduate.
6) A real sense of community
Getting through any type of schooling is easier when you are entrenched in a community of learning with like minded peers. It empowers study and fosters personal growth. When choosing a Yoga Teacher Training Program, look for ways the institution welcomes and integrates students, as well as what it does to foster a sense of community. We’ve tried hard to do this at Naada – even taking pains to consider this factor when we designed the studio layout – and it pays off for students.
7) Well-rounded and qualified teachers
You must make sure the teachers involved in your program are of the highest quality. There is no substitute to learning from the best. Variety also matters, because yoga is a rich and diverse discipline. The best teacher training programs have high quality faculties with divergent expertise and multiple perspectives. This allows students to experience and learn different approaches.
Elizabeth Emberly is the proud owner of Montreal’s Naada Yoga. Naada Yoga offers an extensive Yoga Teacher Training Program that mirrors the approach of a university. The school brings together leading thinkers such as Rodney Yee, Michael Stone, Richard Rosen and others, and features 200, 300, 500 and 1000 hour certifications. For more info visit www.naada.ca/teacher-training