Considering becoming a certified yoga instructor? Ask yourself these six questions before signing up:
1. Are you a good fit?
In my opinion, yoga teacher training only benefits people who want to teach. It’s a good idea to have at least three or four years of experience as a student before you consider teaching yoga.
If you simply want to learn about yoga and deepen your practice – but don’t know if you want to teach – there are better options for you. Some studios offer immersion programs, for instance, which can be great for learning methodology. In them, you focus solely on learning yoga by studying the poses, the practice and the philosophy behind it. Once you complete an immersion program, you’ll probably have a much clearer sense of whether or not you want to teach. If you decide to enroll in the teacher training program, you’ll have a strong foundation of knowledge to build on.
2. Can you afford it?
Prices vary from studio to studio but it is not cheap. many yoga studios do however offer payment plans. If you are wondering if and when you will see a return on your investment, do some research about the starting rate for yoga teachers in your area.
But beginners often don’t make anything. You may be asked to teach classes for free in order to get your foot in the door. If you are really good, it’s likely you’ll be asked to teach at the yoga studio where you completed your training. Still, you’ll likely get paid an entry-level rate and given time slots that no one else wants. Since such classes don’t often fill up, you could lose money teaching them.
3. Do you have the time?
Most teacher trainings are 200 hours total. They are usually offered in two different formats. One is an extended program where you meet for one weekend a month for about seven months. The other is an intensive, month-long training where you attend class every weekday for six hours each day. Either way, the training schedule is demanding and requires sacrifices for both you and your family. Be sure to look ahead at the training schedule. Don’t commit unless you’re ready to adjust your plans accordingly.
4. Is the studio reputable?
Look for a training that holds you accountable with assignments, has a clear curriculum and sets expectations. A training that requires you to have a base knowledge of yoga before enrolling, demands you practice regularly and is well-planned is a program you’ll likely get a lot out of.
5. Do you connect with the teacher?
Because yoga is such a personal experience, and training is very intimate, it’s important to find the right teacher for you. To get a sense of how you connect with a potential teacher, be sure to take his or her class at least 10 times and pay attention to the teaching philosophy. If you feel comfortable with and trust with the person teaching the course, and he or she is a knowledgeable, organized teacher, you’ll be more likely to enjoy your teacher training experience. If you train with a teacher you don’t already know, on the other hand, you run a high risk of not getting a lot out of it.
6. Will the certification get you where you want to be?
To be a good teacher and set yourself apart, you’ll probably need to deepen your studies beyond the basic 200-hour training. At the end of the day, if you are serious about teaching yoga, you need to complete a yoga certification program. It is a very rewarding career in which you get to help people and truly make a difference. It is not, however, as glamorous as it is often depicted by studios. But if you are savvy about how you approach your yoga education and you are willing to take the extra steps to become a good teacher – beyond your training program – you can make it work. Just be honest with yourself and what you really want before deciding to get certified.
Written by Jake Panasevich and published in October 2015 on health.usnews.com