Top 10 tips - How to choose a yoga teacher training course

by Mary-Louise Parkinson, 19-Nov-2016

10 things to consider before selecting yoga teacher training

Mary-Louise Parkinson, President of the International Yoga Teachers Association (IYTA, est. 1967) encourages those who are seeking yoga teacher training to resist the grasping mind and desire for quick-fix solutions. Instead yoga students are encouraged to research and look beyond the glossy websites and slick marketing, to find the true essence of the organisation providing training and its commitment to the support of yoga as an honoured career and lifelong journey.

Here’s her 10-point check-list before undertaking any yoga teacher training:

  1. Is it a quick-fix, condensed course or a well-balanced course run over time? Does it comply with the minimum 200 or 350 hours, preferably spread over a 12-month period, not several weeks?
  2. Is the course based on sound educational structure with a combination of journaling, regular assessments, homebased research, online material and written and practical examinations?
  3. Does the curriculum cover Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga as a solid, basic foundation level of yoga teaching?
  4. Does the school have a faculty of experienced, qualified lecturers knowledgeable in their specific subject? Or is it one or two people delivering the whole course? (Which would be a little like attending university and one lecturer delivers all of the lectures.)
  5. How long has the school been around and does it have the ability to continue to provide education and support into the future (ie, will it fold when the founder or lead teacher leaves)?
  6. Does the school follow the ethics and values of yoga? Is it non-profit? Does it give to charity/ provide scholarships? Is it ego/money driven?
  7. Is the teacher training locking you into someone’s “brand” or style of yoga?
  8. How is the course assessed and how are you assessed in order to ensure you can actually teach a class in a safe, professional manner?
  9. What is the career path offered by the school, ie, do they offer post-graduate training and level 2 training, continuing professional development, mentorship, peer programs and a career perhaps as a lecturer?
  10. What are the pre-qualifications of the student? Are you required to have a minimum of three years experience as a dedicated student? Do you need to have a sponsoring teacher to recommend you as a suitable candidate to teach yoga? Or can anyone do the training?

Once you’ve gone through the checklist, Mary-Louise suggests listening to your heart. Take your time, practise tapas (discipline) and patience. Do your utmost to respect the science and teachings of yoga. Because the path has already begun.

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