Yoga

Choosing your Yoga Teacher Training (YTT)

Next month I’m flying to Nepal to complete a yoga teacher training program. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, finally decided to book it last September.

While scrolling the internet to organize my trip I got quite confused: with so many options out there, choosing a school and a program can be overwhelming. Where to go? How many hours to select? How much to spend? 

If you too are confused about all the options available, this post is for you. Using my own experience, I’ll try to help you. 

How many hours should you select?

YTTs available are: 

200H: the basic certificate recognized by the Yoga alliance. It is the most common YTT, which covers all the fundamental elements of both yoga anatomy and philosophy. The 200H taught can be spread over an intensive month or over a longer period of time.

300H: second level of training or “Advanced Yoga Teacher Training”, available for yogis who have already completed the 200H program. This training goes deeper in both practice (more advanced asanas) and theory (advanced anatomy and philosophy). 

500H: highest international standard for advanced yoga teachers. Your overall yoga knowledge will be deep (asanas, philosophy, anatomy). 

A lot of students will choose to spread a 500H course over two intensive trainings (200H + 300H), go abroad for some months to get certified, and spread the whole training over a couple years. Some other students will choose to enroll in evening classes, near their hometown. Some will join an intensive 500H training to get certified quicker. There is no perfect choice or length. The most important thing selecting your program is choosing a training that works best for you. 

Choosing a certified school

I recommend to select a RYS (Registered Yoga School) certified by the Yoga Alliance (https://www.yogaalliance.org/).

The Yoga Alliance is setting the standards in terms of certification, their website is listing all certified schools with an accurate description of the program they do offer. Choosing a certified school is not mandatory.

Legally you do not need a 200H RYD certificate, but many yoga studios will ask you for one. If your yoga school is not certified, you also won’t be eligible for insurance for example. Not getting certified will reduce your chances of teaching, but mostly your chances of teaching safely.  

Where to go?

India being the Mecca of yoga, many students choose to go there to complete their training. It was my first choice as well, for different reasons. First of all India is well-known for its authentic yoga philosophy and practice. Great trainings are offered by great teachers and gurus.

The most famous places for your training in India are Rishikesh and Goa. Then, YTTs offered in India are cheaper than anywhere else (USD 800 – 2000 on average). Finally, India can be a very good option if you’re looking to dive deep in yoga culture and get a very specific specialization. YTTs in India offer many specializations: Tantra, Yin, Ayurveda and so on… options are limitless.

However, if  you choose to enroll in a YTT in India there are a few things you should be aware of. India is a highly contrasted country, culture shock can be quite intense on you. Just be prepared for it. India’s living standards (food, cleanliness) are very different than European ones, so if you’re a bit “difficult” with your comfort standards, I would advise to maybe avoid this country. Having travelled to India in the past, I thought that one month in an ashram over there could be too much of a hassle for me.

Other destinations are very famous for YTTs:

Thailand is a very good option. I would recommend you to select schools on Ko Pha Ngan, a very special island where very good trainings are offered. Living standards are better than in India, and the training prices are still fair.  

Bali is probably THE dream destination to select for your teacher training. The island is magical, so spending some time over there will not only allow you to complete your training, but also to enjoy the many wonders of the destination. The only con is that YTTs in Bali are (very) expensive, overly expensive if you ask me (USD 2500-5000+). Yes you will be enjoying your stay very much, but you can probably find equally good trainings for cheaper somewhere else.

Doing a YTT in Europe is of course possible, many options are available. I chose not to attend one of those trainings because they are often more expensive than in Asia, and I also consider the experience slightly less authentic.

Nepal: I chose this destination because I have always dreamed about the Himalayas. Also, going through schools reviews available online, I found out that yoga schools are overall slightly better rated than the ones I had selected in India. This was primordial for my final decision. 

Comparing options

I used the website below to find trainings, but also to compare the options available:

https://www.bookyogaretreats.com/

The website offers complete descriptions of the courses (workshops, retreats and YTTs), reviews, and filters to narrow down your search. 

What should you pay attention to make your choice?

First you should choose what type of yoga you like the most. Usually by the time you start thinking of doing a YTT, you already know, but not always. Again, there is no rule for that. If you are still unsure; an option could be to attend a general YTT.

I definitely recommend to do some serious research before selecting a school. Programs can vary a lot so do a background check on the school (history), teachers and the syllabus offered. Ask for an accurate description of what’s been taught and how many hours are dedicated to each part (practice of asana, theory and so on). This in order to choose something that resonates with you and your teaching goals.

Before selecting a school, I would also definitely recommend to use word of mouth. I talked to people who had been on YTTs, asking for advice and help. Always a must. 

How much does it / should it cost?

YTTs prices are on average between USD 1000 – 3000. Some schools offer 200H trainings for USD 800, but I would not recommend to select such an option. For such a low price, accommodation can be really basic and the quality of the training reduced as well.

Other schools offer very attractive yet very expensive packages: USD 5000 and more. If you can afford it, there is no problem with selecting such an option. But again, you can find equally good trainings for cheaper.  

Where will I be going?

I’m enrolling with the 21 Days – 200H program of Nepal Yoga Home (Hatha, Vinyasa) in Kathmandu, Nepal:

 https://nepalyogahome.com/

I booked this via the above mentioned link: 

https://www.bookyogaretreats.com/nepal-yoga-home/yoga-alliance-certified-200-hours-yoga-teacher-training-in-himalayan-country-nepal-kathmandu

Before booking this option, I contacted the school to ask for more details on the program. The price is about USD 1400. Having a full-time job, requesting many days off was a bit challenging. However, attending a 21 Days intensive training seemed like a more suitable option for me. Only a few studios in Amsterdam do offer night or weekend classes, usually over a longer period of time. Finally, I chose a general Hatha + Vinyasa course in order to learn the basics and get specialized later on (most likely Tantra/Kundalini/Ganjasana).