A Yoga Teacher Training course is an amazing journey. The group you find yourself in will contain people from all walks of life, with widely different opinions and attitudes, all brought together by a love of Yoga and Hot Yoga. When you first decide to train as a teacher then you can get swept up in the excitement. There are lots of courses available, and they all sound great.
Studios generally design their own courses. There is no central body defining the syllabus, which means that the quality and content of courses can vary enormously. But in the heat of the moment, it’s easy to miss the tell-tale signs that separate the best courses courses from the rest.
This blog gives you a few simple questions to ask, that can help you balance your decision when choosing the right Yoga Teacher Training course for you.
How many contact hours will I have?
Contact hours are the time you spend with a course leader or other professional appointed by the course leader. If you do a 200-hour course, you often won’t get 200 hours of actual face-to-face instruction. Technically, studios can count your homework time as part of the 200 hours and that’s not against the rules. Some might feel this is bad practice: you might prefer to be taught for all the hours you’ve paid for – and then homework really is homework. It’s worth checking how much time you’ll get with a professional before you commit to a Yoga Teacher Training.
How many people will be on the course – is there a maximum number?
Class size is critical. People can go through immense physical and emotional change during a teacher training course, and there’s a lot of new information to take in. It’s crucial for the course leader to have a good working relationship with everyone, so that anyone needing help can be identified and supported. If the group is larger than about 14, then some people can get lost in the crowd. Again, check with the Yoga Teacher Training provider before committing to your course.
Who’s teaching what?
It’s increasingly common for course leaders to employ teachers to actually deliver the course. If the sub-contractor teachers are chosen carefully then this can be ok, but it’s worth finding out who will actually be involved and what their background is before you start. It’s also interesting to ask why it’s set up like that?
It does mean that there can be more people on the course. You might find that a large course group is divided into smaller groups, with a subcontractor teacher responsible for each subgroup. Again, that can work, but it can also remove the leader from the students. Depending on your group leader, you might have a very different course experience to some of your colleagues. If you’re being interviewed by the course leader then ask to meet your group leader as well.
Yoga really is a huge subject. Its history is long, its philosophies are deep, and the human body is more than a set of anatomy pictures. The ability to deliver what you learn in an engaging way, to have presence and confidence as a teacher, is not developed overnight.
Do ask to see the syllabus. Your provider will (should) have a clear and detailed list of the topics you’re going to address in your studies. There is always room for spontaneity of course: however, any lack of clarity about the syllabus really is a warning sign.
Breadth and Experience
Having established the syllabus, do ask about the qualifications of the people that will deliver the content. Ideally, your course leader will be actively and directly delivering a range of topics, and inviting in a range experts in specific areas to cover out really specialist topics.
A Yoga teacher is a specialist in Yoga – if Yoga teachers are delivering most of your modules, if there’s no space for other experts – then you need to be doubly sure that your provider really can offer you all the knowledge you need to be successful.
What if I need extra help?
Some people need more support. What provisions are in place for dyslexia? What happens if you have to miss a session due to a wedding, or other significant life event? And what if you just need to go over something again, because you didn’t quite get it the first time?
These are important questions to ask. Choose a Yoga Teacher Training that has some flexibility, so that you won’t miss out eg. if your childcare falls through right at the last minute, or if you need more time to absorb some learning.
Can I see the manual?
Your provider will (should) have a text of some kind that you can learn from in group sessions and on your own at home. Ideally, it will be more comprehensive than needed for the course – if it is, then you have a real resource that will support you in the early years following graduation.
Make sure you get a chance to look at the resources that your Yoga Teacher Training provider has to offer. Ask yourself: does this really look strong enough to carry me through?
How much teaching practice will I do?
There’s a great deal to learn about teaching. Ultimately, we find our voice. On the way, we have to get over nerves from public speaking, fears about whether we know enough, and create a teaching style that is all our own.
There really is only one way to do this, and that’s to practice – a lot. We need to practice as a group, giving each other valuable and constructive feedback. And we need to practice with family and friends, to try out what we’ve learned on a helpful and supportive group of non-teachers.
Do ask your course leader how much time you’ll spend practicing the art of teaching, and how that time divides between teaching the group and teaching members of the public. How will your teaching be assessed at the end of the course, what’s the criteria for deciding whether your teaching is acceptable or not? Again, there should be a clear framework in place. If there isn’t, then at the end of the course how will you know whether you really can teach or not?
A good course will feature ongoing assessment. This is a great way to gauge whether you are on track, and to flag up when anyone needs extra help. What ongoing assessment is in place with your provider? It’s important to consider this – and to understand the impact it will have on your day-to-day lifestyle. Ask your course leader how much time you can expect to spend studying at home.
A good course will also feature a final assessment. At the end of the course, how will the provider know whether you’ve really absorbed enough? Find out what form this will take before you start.
Some providers will argue that the course leader knows everyone, and knows whether they have “made the grade” or not. This can be true; some leaders can be that impartial in assessing students. However, it’s also important to have an objective measure of where everyone is at. It could take many forms – the most obvious is a list of questions that each student answers.
A great Yoga Teacher Training course blends ongoing assessment with a teaching assessment and a final assessment. The effort in each is recognised, and students can clearly see how they are doing every step of the way.
A clear and strong personal practice is the foundation of great teaching. You’ll teach best all the things you’ve really had to work at! Talk to your Yoga Teacher Training course leader about how important personal practice is for the course. Again, a good course is one that will support your development at home and on your own, as much as during course sessions.
So those are 10 important questions to consider when choosing the right Yoga Teacher Training for you! Yogafurie Academy is currently enrolling for 2019 and spaces are limited to 14, you can find all the information you’d need before signing up on a dedicated Teacher Training section on the Yogafurie website.