So this is it. You have made the decision, you are going to be a yoga teacher. Now what? First step, how do you pick a Teacher Training? I have recently been asked for recommendations multiple times, and it is pretty much impossible for me to answer that question beyond practicalities if you don’t know what it is you are looking for!
What does that mean?
Well, the first question I always ask is…. what type of yoga do you want to teach / train in? And mostly the answer is er…. yoga yoga? Don’t take me wrong, I had NO idea of the vast amount of yoga styles that were available to me when I did my first teacher training, but I see so many new YTT (that is Yoga Teacher Training for the uninitiated) students whom are vastly more educated than I was when I hopped onto a plane to Morocco, and I have found it serves them well. Go to different studios, try as many different styles as you can (even the ones you think you won’t like) and figure it out!
The second question is…. how long have you been practising for? Most YTTs will have a minimum requirement (usually a minimum of at least two years of consistent practice) before they accept you onto the course. Often they might make exceptions for dancers, gymnasts, athletes, and you might be fooled into thinking this is because ‘they’ve got the moves’, but it is really more to do with the fact they are used to communicating about movement, sensation and of course anatomy, so they can find verbalising the actual class a little more familiar. Two years… let’s face it, it is really the tip of the iceberg. Whilst you might be in a rush to get onto a training course, the more you know before you go, the more you will get out of it once you are there.
Why two years? Well, it is arbitrary, some will ask for five years of practice. I have had students ask me about TT after a week of practice!! It would be like saying you want to be a PT whilst only ever going for jogs. Once you become a teacher you need to be able to speak to and understand the complete beginner, but also the more experienced student (and by that, I don’t mean the contortion pro). It is impossible to do this if you have not grown in the practice yourself.
Now, let’s say you have narrowed it down to Vinyasa…. and you type into Google (other search engines do exist): “Yoga Teacher Training Vinyasa” and you find “About 7,960,000 results (0.61 seconds) “! Oh dear. An easy way to narrow it down would be to decide whether you would rather - or are able to - go away to a usually dreamy location and study intensively, or whether you would rather - or have to - study more locally, either intensively or over a longer period of time. Both Teacher Trainings that I am involved in offer intensive and week end formats in London, and for many people, this is a much more manageable (and often affordable!) way of doing things.
This might help you to narrow it down somewhat. What about ‘recognition’? I was convinced my TT had to be approved by Yoga Alliance. Now, let me tell you that for a training to be Yoga Alliance certified, all they need to do is tick some boxes to say they are teaching X amount of hours on X subject. I could have set up Yoga Alliance in my living room, i.e. it is not a regulated governing body. Yoga Alliance definitely has its place, don’t get me wrong, but knowing what I know now…. This would not be make or break. In my days as a yoga studio manager, I never bothered to check whether a prospective candidate’s TT was ‘validated’ by Yoga Alliance. These days, I would never bother to check if a training I wanted to do was accredited.
If you are doing a training with the idea of actually teaching, then you will need a minimum of 200HR training. Whilst you may be able to find work with 200HR (many people do), do be aware that this really is a foundation.
So you have narrowed it down to 200hr vinyasa trainings, in a location that suits you, in a format that suits you, now what? Who is teaching it? Would you rather your training be delivered by only a few teachers? Or would you rather have a training delivered by a large amount of teachers? Would you rather go with a teacher you know well? Or a big ‘yoga name’? It really is up to you! I would however say that superstar teachers often have large groups of trainees, and that this would be a pertinent question to ask when enquiring about your course. Will you be happier in a group of ten, twenty, or sixty? How will you learn best?
Do you know any teachers that took the training you are thinking about? Ask them about it! Go to their class, see if you like what they’re doing! Or the TT school might be happy to put you in touch with some of their old students. Many studios run their own Teacher Training, with varying degrees of quality, however you might find they are more inclined to employ graduates from their own programme. This can be a bonus, but remember, there never is a job for everyone!
And then, there is the biggie: why is it that you want to teach? Really? Don’t lie to yourself! Because the answer to that should really guide your choice. Do you want to share something deeply spiritual that you have encountered? Do you want to teach ‘yoga workouts’? Do you want to see your name in lights? And if it is the latter, there is nothing wrong with that, but there are many yoga teachers out there, and it is therefore important to be realistic about what you will do, how you will feel if that superstar is not you? Will you still love your job?
And now say you have done all of that! You finally go on your TT, and you have your certificate! Hurrah! Get teaching! Teach your dog, your mum, your imaginary friend, whomever it may be, but get some practice. Will you get work?
Let’s be honest…. everyone is a yoga teacher, right? Well, yes and no! It is a competitive place, especially in London, but you could set up your own class, teach privately, teach corporates, run retreats, specialise in corporate wellness, bring breathing practices to care homes, the list is endless! Every year, new teachers make space for themselves in studios and build their classes so the world is your oyster with some persistence and hard graft. We all need to start somewhere, and we all know Rome was not built in a day. Be patient!
How much will you earn? This question is surrounded by so much darkness it is quite phenomenal! One of the articles I came across detailed £15 000 to £60 000 per annum. That is a pretty wide range! Yoga teachers should be doing it for the love, not the money (because they don’t need to pay the rent, right?!), and it is therefore a bit of a taboo subject! Here are the facts… in London, most classes will be paid between £23 and £80 for an hour to 90 minute class depending on the format, location, number of students, studio, etc. Most studios will be on the lower end of that scale. Bear in mind that you will be a freelance (no paid holiday or sick leave) and will be responsible for your own taxes. Of course, there are other ways to earn money in the industry without teaching group classes, however it is important to have an idea of how you might live.
More importantly, once you settle on a training, wholeheartedly explore it. Be open to what is on offer and absorb as much as you can. You don’t need to change your life before qualifying, or even once you have qualified. Things often happen organically and you will find something that fits you just right.
Any questions? Hit me up!