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Choosing the Perfect Yoga Teacher Training: A Guide to Finding Your Ideal Program

Updated: Jan 24

"Ready to Elevate Your Yoga Practice? Consider These Questions Before Selecting a Yoga Teacher Training School."

How to find the right yoga teacher training
Purna Yoga Teacher Training Helsinki

👉 If you want to take a yoga teacher training, find a style that has a lineage and resonates with you. Just doing training for the certificate and then teaching your own thing has brought a lot of damage to the yoga world.

Yoga has become very popular, and many think after a 200-hour or even 500-hour yoga teacher training, they are qualified to teach teachers. A lot of teachers who have gone through mediocre training come up with their own thing. That means they don’t teach from origin but from their own idea of what yoga is to them. This is okay if it’s not called yoga. Yoga, in its tradition, has been passed on from guru to disciple, and it takes years of training and studying to become a senior teacher.

👉 Ask how the teacher trainer has become a trainer and what their hours of training are. What is the quality control behind their training? Does your teacher practice every day? Even more importantly, does your teacher live their yoga?

There is a prevalent misconception in today's yoga world. The issue arises from the fact that anyone with a basic understanding of yoga can start teaching teacher trainings. The problem lies in the belief that one can grasp the essence of yoga in a mere month, or even a year; genuine understanding requires years of dedicated practice and experience. Some mistakenly equate yoga with learning gymnastics or becoming a personal trainer, but it is a much more profound discipline.

A qualified trainer should be an ongoing student themselves, continuously learning from their own master teacher and staying updated on the latest scientific developments. Moreover, your teacher should maintain a personal practice, teaching from their accumulated experience. It's crucial to ensure that your teacher not only imparts knowledge but also lives the principles they teach.

👉 If safety is not the most important aspect of the training, skip it. It is your responsibility to keep your students safe, and you need to learn how.

Inquire with your school about their emphasis on safety and their practical approach to anatomy. The goal is not to delve into anatomy like a medical doctor, but rather to understand the relevant anatomy essential for yoga teaching. While we may not need an in-depth understanding of heart functions, it is crucial to grasp the muscles pertinent to yoga instruction.

During a yoga fair, I encountered a student who disclosed having a back issue while currently enrolled in a yoga teacher training. She described practicing a pose that goes against Purna Yoga principles—a combination of a twist and backbend. To my surprise, she revealed that her teacher trainer also struggled with a similar back problem. This situation highlighted a lack of awareness in the teacher, making it challenging for the student to discern the source of her back pain.

👉 Make sure there is enough time spent on teaching skills. It’s not only about learning poses and conveying them; learn how to speak clearly and effectively, how to scan the room and see individual bodies’ needs.

In a high-quality training, you are taught language, grammar, and poetry, to use your words to convey a message, after all you are the conductor of the symphony, which is your class. You learn how to see and understand bodies, you will be able to correct your students to keep them safe. A training where the focus is alignment and the individual itself, is the only safe way to practice asana.

👉 Ask if the yoga philosophy has practical application for you and your students. Knowing philosophy doesn't help you to change yourself or anyone else; the philosophy and meditation have to be applied to everyday life.

In my very first yoga teacher training, I learned a lot; it was fascinating, but at the same time overwhelming. I gave up teaching yoga for a while because I didn’t know how to apply the message. In a good training, you will be taught how to use the ancient philosophy and administer it to your life in a practical way. For example, you take the principle of Saucha (cleanliness), which is from an ancient text (Patanjali) and see where in your life to find a mess. Is it your home, your car, your body or mind? This takes you to look at yourself, practicing svadhyaya (self-observation). And that’s where your regular meditation practice comes in. A true teacher of yoga practices meditation every single day.

👉 For you, the training should be personal development. In the end, being a yoga teacher is about changing people's lives for the better. Therefore, always be encouraged to be a student with a beginner's mind.

A quality training will instill lessons in humility and illuminate the potential impact of ego. If you envision yourself as a yoga teacher, take a moment to reflect: are you intending to teach with humility, or is there an unnoticed ego at play? Acknowledging the presence of ego is an ongoing journey for everyone. It is beneficial to attune yourself to your inner feelings and grasp the purpose behind your yoga teaching. Additionally, consider whether your teacher trainer embodies these qualities.

Having said this, even if you choose to embark on a yoga teacher training for personal growth, these principles become even more relevant. A beneficial training centers around your personal development; only when you have a solid understanding of yourself can you effectively impart knowledge to others, should you choose to do so.


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