10 +1 Answering Your Questions on Yoga Teacher Training

 In General

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 within the industry is definitely needed.


An increase in consumer education within the industry is definitely needed. Click To Tweet


This spiritually rich practise is BIG BUSINESS.


Being an educated consumer when stepping into the unregulated yoga industry cannot be emphasised enough.


Results from a 2016 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 of international work experience in education, healthcare, hospice & mediation, and 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 considerable disappointment)
  • Help you make the best choice suited to your individual needs, values and ethics.


Let’s 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 crucial 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?


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.

What is the person’s legal registered name if the teacher uses a spiritual name, which is common in yoga communities?


You need to know who you’re transacting with, especially if you’re travelling 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. 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.


6. Qualifications, professional registration and credentialing.


Do all the trainers have qualifications and credible, verifiable credentials of any kind?


Keep in mind yoga is an unregulated industry.


From a consumer’s perspective, in a willing buyer willing seller agreement, you are essentially paying for the teacher’s knowledge and experience.

Check and verify the credentials of all the teachers before you pay.

Solid qualifications and sound experience are worth investing in; otherwise, it’s merely an expensive holiday.


7. Do all the teachers in the program have work experience before 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 working with students with real health-related needs.

Keep coming back to your “why”?


8. What is the reputation of the school and teachers?

Do Not Be So Open-Minded That Your Brains Fall Out ~ Prof. Walter Kotschnig Click To Tweet


9. Is the school a charity or profit motivated business?


The new wave of karma yoga, volunteerism and voluntourism are 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? 


Personally, I am very aware of socio-economic impact.


Going to Asia or Africa and helping profit-motivated businesses as a volunteer is considered unfair competition. 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 for people to collect financial assistance in their home country, as being unemployed, while volunteering.


10. Does the school offer working with orphans as part of their marketing?


Using disadvantaged children in marketing material is largely controversial and unlawful in all certain countries.


This business model increases social disparity, which is directly in conflict with everything the Yogic philosophy represents.


Short term unskilled volunteering is not supported by humanitarian organisations.



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 enrol in.

In a 200hr, 300hr and 500hr training, a lot of meditation and bodywork will bring up various forms of detox and can be uncomfortable.


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 your due diligence 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.


Be clear on your Why, your ethics and values and your expectations.


Working with people on their personal journey of professional development and growth is like no other.

It Truly has the potential to change many aspects of Life in ways unimaginable.



Colleen McClure


If you have more questions, feel free to reach out, signup for the Saliya Life Institute newsletter and join our tribe of social contributors. We’d love to have you.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below 🙂


The most important thing to remember is that YOU are responsible for YOURSELF at ALL TIMES regardless of the course you choose.

Yoga & meditation NEVER replaces the advice of a doctor.

If you are unsure, discuss it with your doctor first.

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