11 +1 Answering Your Questions on Yoga Teacher Training
So you’re thinking of doing yoga teacher training but where do you start?
Every option is advertised as being the best.
With so many options available are you asking yourself
“Which yoga teacher training should I do?”
“How do I choose yoga teacher training?”
There are indeed many things to consider.
With the fast growing yoga industry, an increase in consumer education and consumer protection within the industry is definitely needed.An increase in consumer education and consumer protection within the industry is definitely needed. Click To Tweet
This spiritually rich practice is BIG BUSINESS.
Being an educated consumer when stepping into the unregulated yoga industry cannot be emphasized enough.
Results from a recent study conducted by Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal are in.
“Practitioner spending on yoga classes, clothing, equipment and accessories, rose to $16 billion a year up from $10 billion over the past four years.”
These statistics are for the US only. Including the rest of the Western world full of consumers joining the trend, would result in significantly higher numbers.
I am a qualified healthcare worker with over 20 years international work experience in social services of education and healthcare, as well as being a yoga teacher, lead teacher trainer and Pilates instructor. Observing this industry, and being a part of it, concerns me greatly.
Here are a few things to consider in your research, before joining a program.
Asking these questions can
- Save you money
- Help you choose a program with lifetime value (rather than realising you’re in the wrong program after the refund option has expired, or leaving you with large scale disappointment)
- Help you make the best choice suited to your individual needs, values and ethics.
Let’s take a look at the why, what, how, when, and who of yoga teacher training to better prepare you.
1. What is your personal why? This is the most important question.
Why are you considering doing yoga teacher training?
Do you want to teach other people or are you on a personal journey of healing and transformation? If the motivation is personal healing, consider whether a yoga teacher training is suitable for you or whether an immersion and retreat might be better for your needs and personal growth. Teacher trainings are substantial financial outlays and intense.
What are your needs?
A great student asked me a few years ago,
“How do I know when I’m ready to do yoga teacher training?”
My answer was simple. When you are prepared to defend yourself in a law suit.
It’s unlikely that anything untoward will happen, if you stay within your scope of practice BUT, if it does….
Are you willing to take full responsibility?
Liability waivers don’t stand up in court if negligence can be proven.
Have you considered the liability factor?
Should anything happen with a client or student that results in you getting sued will you be sure of yourself enough to know that your training and your actions were sufficient to be offering your services? Paid or unpaid.
There can be no doubt when working with people who come to you for health related needs.There can be no doubt when working with people who come to you for health related needs. Click To Tweet
Keep in mind the law in most countries requires anything between 3-5 years of education before becoming a school teacher. The benefit of this is that there is a certain amount of discernment, critical thinking skills and maturity that has developed before stepping into a classroom. 200 hours is not sufficient to develop this. Stay within your scope of practice ALWAYS and keep coming back to your Why.
Are you (and your teacher) willing and able to teach in countries that have legal requirements regarding scope of practice or are you only offering services in countries where laws are either relaxed or non-existent. Thailand and Indonesia have become a hot bed for yoga teacher training.
2. Have you done your own work? Do you know your personal triggers?
There is no right or wrong answer here. It’s something to consider. In yoga communities it’s common to hear the judgement of,
“That person has negative energy. I don’t want to be around them.”
The truth of the matter is; they trigger you!Have you done your own work? Do you know your personal triggers? Click To Tweet
We all have triggers. Knowing yourself enough to recognise them and take ownership is a level of maturity that is needed when working in any service industry and even more so in a health related industry.
3. Who is paying for your training?
We tend to take courses and education that we are personally paying for a great deal more seriously than if parents or family members are covering tuition expenses. If your parents are funding you, they need to be asking all these questions as well.
Likewise, if you’re a parent funding your child’s career path, make sure you keep reading.
4. Who is the teacher registered to be doing the training, and who will actually conduct all of the classes?
One person very rarely teaches all sessions. If the teacher goes by a spiritual name, which is common in yoga communities, what is their legal registered name?
You need to know who you’re transacting with, especially if you’re traveling to a foreign country to meet them there.
What is the legal name of the school founder and owner?
What are the legal names of all the teachers involved in your program?
Who are you learning from?
5. Where will the training take place?
Is the environment covered and suitable regardless of the weather? Is it protected from wind, rain and sun?
It is common practice for travelling yoga teachers to advertise and start selling the program prior to confirming a venue. Schools will sometimes advertise and start selling a program prior to having a teacher.
Is the teacher an educator or traveler funding their lifestyle choices?
6. How many students are accepted into the program?
Is this number confirmed in writing?High volume/low prices is not a suitable education model. Click To Tweet
Large groups of students are not conducive to beneficial learning. This has been studied and proven in the education industry numerous times. In a study by Cornell University the findings were,
“We find that both class size and student load negatively impact student assessments of courses and instructors. Large classes and heavy student loads appear to prompt faculty to alter their courses in ways deleterious to students”.
If you are truly looking for a learning experience and sufficient support, joining a large group may not be the best choice for you.
High volume/low prices is not a suitable education model.
7. Qualifications, professional registration and credentialing.
Do all teachers in the training, (not only the registered lead teacher) have qualifications and credible verifiable credentials of any kind?
Keep in mind yoga is an unregulated industry.
From the perspective of a consumer, in a willing buyer willing seller agreement, you are essentially paying for the teacher’s knowledge and experience.
Check and verify credentials of all the teachers before you pay.
If you yourself have done extensive education and have professional work experience already, you need to be sure that you are not buying a course in which you are more qualified and more experienced than the teacher.
Solid qualifications and good experience is worth investing in, otherwise it’s merely an expensive holiday.
8. Do all the teachers in the program have work experience prior to becoming a yoga teacher?
The yoga industry, especially in Asia, is overloaded with backpackers who have taken a gap year or a few years to travel.
They have become yoga teachers to fund their travels or may have decided to become a yoga teacher after totally changing industries and have no experience dealing with clients who have real health related needs.
Keep coming back to your “why”?
Can you learn something from these people, AND is the level of education on offer equal to the expense? Are you learning from a second-hand car sales man reinvented yoga teacher?
9. Is there a full 100% refund offered?
If you sign up for a yoga teacher training in a foreign country and arrive only to find inconsistency and in-congruence between what was advertised and what is offered in terms of class size, teacher qualifications, professional registration, and who is teaching you, confirm in writing whether there is a 100% refund.
**This discrepancy is very common**
Be clear on what you may be willing to compromise on and what not.
10. What is the reputation of the school and teachers?
Don’t rely entirely on one website!
A quick Google search including the words “sexual mis-conduct” or “cult” will very quickly shine the light on darkness which does exist in the yoga business.
Unfortunately there is this reality to consider. Where there’s smoke there’s fire.
This topic is becoming more and more prevelent, with many people choosing not to discuss a very real challenge in the industry.
What are your deal breakers? What are you willing to turn a blind eye to and what is not negotiable?
In any education environment both teacher and students are there to learn. It is a symbiotic relationship.
This requires an open mind and the capacity to change our minds and possibly belief systems when we realise they do not serve us.
However, be clear within yourself what your boundaries are. There are certain experiences that will change your life forever, in the most beneficial and the most unbeneficial ways.
Vulnerable people, especially women, arriving in a yoga community are easily manipulated and ripe pickings for predators.
Do Not Be So Open-Minded That Your Brains Fall Out ~ Prof. Walter Kotschnig Click To Tweet
11. Is the school a charity or profit motivated business?
The new wave of karma yoga, volunteerism and voluntourism is now firmly in the yoga community.
Are you functioning as unpaid labour in a profit driven company or is the establishment a registered charity in the country where the business is run?
Going to Asia or Africa and helping profit motivated businesses as a volunteer is considered unfair competition and you can be sued in countries such as Germany for this business model.
The ethics of this industry in Asia and Africa is largely disputed and unsupported by organisations such as Doctors Without Borders.
Volunteering and doing the work that would ordinarily be done by local unskilled people directly contributes to social welfare problems and an increase in local and regional unemployment.
It has become common practise for European travelers to collect financial assistance in their home country, as being unemployed, while volunteering in countries where there is no social support.
Does the school offer working with orphans as part of their marketing?
Using disadvantaged children as products is largely controversial, and unlawful in all Western countries.
This model of business increases social disparity which is directly in conflict with everything the Yogic philosophy represents.
Short term unskilled volunteering is not supported by humanitarian organisations. http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/sociology/undergraduate/what-our-students-do/independent-dissertation-project/not-as-simple-as-it-first-appears-the-problems-of-volunteer-tourism/ What kind of organisation and business model are you supporting? Be clear on your own ethics.
And…that’s 11 questions on yoga teacher training 🙂 The starting point for your consumer research.
As a parting bonus, here’s 1 more question to consider 🙂 because you can never ask too many questions, ever 🙂
+1 Bonus: What to expect from yoga teacher training?
This will largely depend on the type of yoga teacher training you enroll in.
In a 200hr, 300hr and 500hr training, a lot of meditation and body work will bring up various forms of detox and can be significantly unsettling, both emotionally and mentally.
For this reason it is VITAL to make an informed decision that the person teaching you will be able to support you on all levels, with dignity, respect and professional conduct.
Do sufficient research to reach an educated decision on your choice.
Education is a form of investment in yourself. It requires commitment on the part of the student and the educator. A 50/50 partnership.
The industry is sadly full of people with great marketing and sales skills, with the ability to sell dung to a dung beetle; highly skilled in the art of manipulation.
Thankfully on the other side of the same coin, there are Amazing educators who truly facilitate learning and provide education and experiences with Lifetime value which has the capacity to impact not only you, but also those around you, and society at large.
Be clear on your Why, your ethics and values and your expectations.
Working with people in their personal journey of professional development and growth is like no other.
It Truly has the potential to change Everything, in ways unimaginable.
As always I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below 🙂
This article has also been published on my LinkedIn profile