So you want to be a yoga teacher?

Where do you start?

Firstly, it is important to have the right intentions when deciding to become a yoga teacher. It genuinely is a life path, comes from a desire to better the lives of others and passion to share this through yoga. One thing it is not, is a career! You will be teaching when everyone is relaxing after work, on the weekends, or before everyone is up for work. The pay is minimal, unless you manage to navigate success in a saturated market, or the world of social media. As many of you might know, it takes a special yoga practitioner, teacher and business person to be sustainable, yet alone succeed in the yoga industry.

People say they want to do yoga teacher trainings to deepen their yoga practice…. well you don’t have to teach to do this. Firstly, start with a daily yoga practice, a minimum of five days per week, preferably in the morning, sustained over a minimum of one year. Yoga should be the thing that you live for, that has taken you through many of life’s ups and downs, has healed you through injury and illness, it is your constant. While yoga teachers are no longer referred to as “Gurus”, this is the nature of a yoga teacher. “Gu” is darkness, and “Ru” the light. The Guru leads us from darkness to light. Unless you have walked the path and you know the light, you won’t be able to lead others. The “river of yoga” needs to “run deep” in you, before you consider taking up this path. It will be an obvious choice and clear path.

So you still think this is the path for you and want to know where to start. There are as many yoga teacher training programs as there are McDonalds these days. Ok, that might be an exaggeration… but there are a LOT out there. When choosing a program, avoid the express training, the 200hour yoga teacher training held in an exotic location, over two or four weeks. The hardest part of learning, is actually getting in front of a class, with stiff people with injuries that have never done yoga before, and you won’t find this in a yoga teacher training. The training program should have practical hours required, where you are supervised teaching, and you have access to a mentor or senior teacher that is able to provide feedback and guide you further in your journey. The right mentor will help you when you get stuck, and give direction on how to help those students struggling in class, and will also allow you to observe in their class, to give you ideas of best methods for teaching. While often local training programs seem more expensive, they usually offer the best value.

As with anything, do your research. Check into the credentials of the teacher running the program. They should be someone that has practiced and taught yoga for over ten years…. you want to choose someone that is an expert, as mentioned above, is sustainable and successful as a yoga teacher. Ask many questions. Here are some you might want to cover;

  • What support do they offer after the program
  • What is the grievance process (while you might love your teacher now, something inevitably comes up)
  • What certification do you receive at the end of study
  • Will they be the only teacher taking classes
  • What is the structure for completing practical sessions
  • Will all the hours be logged and documented (particularly in the event you don’t make it all the way through your course)
  • And if possible, do they have anyone that has completed the course that may provide a testimonial or reference for the program. They might even have a student that now has their own yoga studio after completing their training program!
  • or even better, do they have a Facebook group page where students can share information and ask questions.

For me, I didn’t really know that I wanted to be a yoga teacher. Friends would always ask if I could show them something, or if I was a teacher, because they knew how much I loved yoga, and how dedicated I was to practicing yoga. It was my teacher at the time that tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I wanted to complete a program with him. I started with a six month 100 hour course in general yoga, that then transpired into a more committed three year program. During this time, the commitment was huge, maintaining my daily yoga practice six days a week, observing my teacher in his classes that evolved into him observing and guiding my teaching, plus our weekly teacher training class, and assisting two mornings a week in the Mysore class. It all became too much and I dropped out for three months. Eventually I returned, and completed my training and the rest is history!

Speak with your yoga teacher about your desires, they will know best for you and may even be able to work with you to help you to get started, even if they don’t currently offer a program, it might be the impetus for them to start. Good luck, and look forward to seeing you add value to our colourful and rich yoga industry!

Feel free to shoot me your questions,