Perhaps you started a yoga practice to reduce stress, reconnect with yourself, work with an injury – or simply as a form of exercise; and maybe somewhere in between your first downward facing dog and mastering anything from a true sense of stillness to an unsupported headstand, a transformation took place.
The benefits of yoga may have opened themselves up to you naturally – or like me, you might have practiced for years before finally coming to understand what it means to have present mind, to notice the calming feeling that carries through your day – and a new (long overdue) love and respect you have for yourself and your body.
Maybe you have became addicted to the practice. A “yoga junkie” – seeking out classes, workshops, even retreats to deepen your practice and discover more about yourself. You are passionate about the flow. And that passion translates to a desire to learn more, know more, understand more, love more; and spread this knowledge, understanding and love to yogis far and wide.
So what to consider?…
- Accreditation | First you must decide whether training with a school recognised by The Yoga Alliance matters to you – and in my case it absolutely does, so I opted for Yoga London. The Yoga Alliance does not cause the practice to lose its identity and creative flair, but ensures high teaching standards that may be essential to future places of work as a teacher. There is no right or wrong in your personal choice and an unaccredited 2-week course in Goa may be the best option for you. Yoga is about non-attachment and your yogic goals are likely to change and evolve as you progress through our journey, but if eventually becoming a teacher (all over the world) is an ambition then its something to consider…
- Experience | Like me, you may worry about whether you will be ‘good enough.’ Don’t worry – of course you are! These feelings are natural (and Yoga is for everyone) so with a willingness to learn, you’ll get to where you need to be. At least a year’s experience with a regular practice is advised to help develop your personal practice – but its attitude over ability is what counts.
- Motivation | Make sure your decision comes from within you. You may wish to simply deepen your own practice and know that there is the opportunity to teach should you wish to (me at first – the idea of teaching terrified me); in which case you may be pleasantly surprised by the results. You may want to physically improve your own practice and be surprised by the spiritual journey! Again there is no right or wrong, but ethics and intention are an integral part of the yogic lifestyle – and the training comes with a price tag – so consider what you want to get from this investment in yourself – and then let it go 😉
- Finance | On the subject of price tag, your budget – and commitment to the cost is another key consideration. Let’s hope it’s a given you’re not getting in to this for the money. Still, it’s important to give some serious attention to how you will finance your life (beginning with the training – which can be life long!) as a yoga teacher. Yoga teacher-training courses usually cost around £3,000. Some course providers allow you to pay in instalments making the cost more manageable. A 200hour Teacher Training Course with Yoga London is £3,499 and can be paid at £225 | month over the course of a year – although you do not get your certificate until you are paid up in full
- Timing | One of the reasons that I chose Yoga London was because if offers the flexibility of 1-month, 3-month, 6-month and 12-month courses so there is something to suit every need and every path. I opted for a 6-month course to allow me to fit around my full time job (which was tough during extremely busy periods at work coupled with yoga homework and exam revision – but so worth it.) A 6 month course suited me because it kept more momentum that a year course. Each month 2 full weekends (Friday night through to Sunday evening) were spent in training. These are some of the weekends that I will always look back on most fondly. Think about what time you have to commit and what option best suits you – you may wish to ease yourself into a new lifestyle over a year – you may want to head off to Thailand and spend 5 intensive weeks getting qualified!
- Expectation | Does becoming a yoga teacher still sound like a dream? Well in many ways it is! You get to practice yoga all day every day, doing what you love and getting paid for it, growing as a yogi, meeting wonderful people along the way! But let’s not lose sight of reality: Getting up for classes at 6am before people go off to work, doing the graveyard shift with those who finish late, and of course a lot of weekend work. It’s not all white beaches and penthouse rooftops. You will need to put the hours in to build your reputation. Yes becoming a yoga teacher is a wonderful life changing experience but that doesn’t change the fact it is often hard work.
Which school is for you?..
In London there are numerous schools that are Yoga Alliance Accredited offering the foundation 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training so its useful to look at the course prospectus to understand the content covered – and the style taught:
- Yoga London Teacher Training
- Vivid Yoga Camden
- The Yoga Academy
- The Yoga People
- Tri Yoga Teacher Training
I opted for Vinyasa Flow at Yoga London because of its balance between philosophy, history, anatomy and physical practice. I also absolutely love Vinyasa Flow and the way it permits and playful, dynamic, challenging way to move your body in an almost dance-like fashion, into stillness. You may want to develop a stricter Astanga practice, or follow the path of BKS Iyenga – these are choices you will have to make.
Yoga London offers a lot of insight into Ashtanga Yoga and The Primary Series, on which our exam sequence was based on, and interestingly enough, while I have opted to take my advanced 500-hour Training with The Yoga People to learn Creative Flow and Sequencing, I am also off to India next month train in Ashtanga Yoga, in the hope of building up a more disciplined, time-honoured practice. – It really is amazing what you will start to learn about yourself, and the ways your goals change, once you begin your Yogic path…
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