5 Questions Before You Sign Up for Yoga Teacher Training

By: Kelly Swails, ERYT, RPYT, CCCE

There are many reasons people decide to embark on the teacher training journey, but the one underlying force that unites everyone’s decision is a strong love and enthusiasm for yoga. This is proof of yoga’s power. If you’re considering taking a training, I’ll venture to say that yoga has probably impacted your life deeply. It has helped you to feel stronger, or better. It has helped you manage a health issue, provided you a quiet space, or revealed a fresh perspective on life. It absolutely makes sense that you are now ready to plunge into the vast ocean of yogic knowledge.

But, before you plop down your training deposit, it is really important to take the time to ensure that the training you invest in will meet your expectations. Sure, most studios these days are affiliated with Yoga Alliance. As such they all meet the standards to certify qualified, knowledgeable yoga teachers. However, what many don’t realize is that beyond the minimum standards, yoga trainers have latitude to highlight areas according to their school’s chosen emphasis and approach. These qualities make each teacher training unique, and it is something a prospective student should look into.

As a yoga teacher trainer and administrator, I have seen students sign up for training without exposure to the style or approach they have just invested in. Depending on the student’s expectations for teacher training, this can be a pleasant surprise, or a disappointment. So, before you sign up, take a moment to ask yourself these 5 important questions and then attend an Open House (or ask for a quick meeting with the trainer) to ensure it’s the best fit for you.

Do I have to teach yoga?

It’s called Yoga Teacher Training, so obviously you take it because you want to teach, right? Well, not necessarily! Some studios offer teacher training programs designed only for those who want to teach. Other studios also accept students who wish to deepen their own practice along with those aiming to teach. 

One thing that makes our teacher training unique is we offer you the opportunity to decide if you want to be on a teacher track, or a personal development track. No matter what track you choose, you make an invaluable and worthwhile investment in yourself. 

What are my personal goals?

Yoga is an ancient science that contains an incredibly vast field of knowledge and more than a lifetime of topics to explore. It offers something for everyone no matter your age or physical ability. Therefore, to answer this question, a little soul searching is in order. What do you hope to gain from the training? What inspires you about your current yoga practice? In what ways do you foresee your practice growing? What topics are of greatest interest to you?

Once you’ve defined your personal goals, find out more about the trainers. Review the bios. Take a class. Determine if their approach and experience aligns with your goals. Many trainers excel in various areas of the practice, so students can expect such areas to be a highlight of the training. Obviously there is a wide range of possibilities out there, and frequently a team of trainers. It is worth doing your research. 

Our teacher training offers solid training in asana with a particular emphasis on the philosophical, meditative and sadhana aspects of the practice. Our training contains a significant cultural component as well to expose students to the deep roots of yoga which brings context and meaningfully enriches their understanding. This has the potential to open future avenues of study and exploration. 

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What style or approach resonates with you?

Let’s answer this question by digging a bit deeper. What style do you practice now? If you’re unsure, here are some clues. Mind you, this is a bit simplified, but you will get the idea. Vinyasa styles (rooted in hatha) tend to be flowy, creative and generally move at a moderate to fast pace. Classical hatha styles tend to move more slowly and methodically with a focus on inner reflection. Alignment-based styles (also rooted in hatha - Iyengar is one example), are very specific, “in the body” practices that get you focused on inhabiting and connecting to your body in new ways. 

Yoga has been around for thousands of years, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that this is a small sample of what is out there. Yoga is also dynamic with new approaches popping up from time to time. When it comes to your preferred style, it all depends on what floats your boat, as they say. But, the point here is this: make sure that you resonate with the overall style and approach before you invest in your training. 

Our training is hatha-inspired. While graduates gain experience in how to facilitate a vinyasa flow class, we are more weighted toward a classical hatha approach.

Are you looking for a new career? 

Okay, let’s just get it out there. Yoga teachers are not in it for the money. If you’re looking to forge a new career, yoga is definitely a rewarding choice, but not one that brings home the veggie bacon. But, this is not to say you cannot make a modest living, if this is your goal. You will need to be motivated to find gigs and expand your practice. 


Of course, this is not the only path! Many yoga teachers use their certification to supplement their current jobs as teachers, nurses, office workers, social workers, therapists and so forth by adding yoga to their services. Others build upon their certificates and specialize in a certain population. This approach frequently opens many unexpected doors and can lead to exciting career opportunities. 

Find out if the teacher training program you select offers some level of guidance, internship or mentoring to help you find your direction. Our teaching training offers these elements during the training, and up to one year beyond your graduation.

What are the requirements?

Yoga teacher trainings require a certain number of in-class sessions and generally have homework and yoga class requirements that you complete independently. The specific homework assignments and yoga class requirements varies from training to training. Additionally, some trainings may be more physically demanding, while others may be more academically demanding. Make sure that the program you choose aligns with your availability, as well as your interests.

Our teacher training requires that you participate in a moderate number of yoga classes and contains a physical practice component both in and out of teacher training classes. However, our training is well suited to those who enjoy digging deeply into topics through reading, reflective writing, group discussion, and self-inquiry practices.

Want to learn more? We’d love for you to join us at one of our upcoming Open Houses! Please RSVP here. 

  • Saturday, August 3rd from 1:00pm - 2:15pm

  • Tuesday, September 3rd from 7:00pm - 8:15pm

Our training begins October 6, 2019 and runs through March 2020.

Radiate Yoga
19 Second Avenue
Village of Pelham, NY

Kelly Swails