We have some bad news and we have some good news.
The bad news: not all Yoga Teacher Training courses are created equally.
The good news: not all Yoga Teacher Training courses are created equally.
So you want to do a Yoga Teacher Training and, understandably, you have your own questions or hesitations.
When you go to a restaurant and instead of a one-page menu the waiter gives you a catalog of every dish you can imagine, how do you choose? Where do you even start?
Similarly, when trying to decide which Yoga Teacher Training is right for you, you are paralyzed by the number of options.
When it comes to selecting a Teacher Training there are three possible outcomes:
- You make an informed decision
- You make the wrong decision
- You never make a decision
The following points will talk about the worst outcome. The "actually never making the decision" one and we hope it will stir you to do something.
If nothing else, at least you will become aware. Aware that Yoga Teacher Training may, indeed, could be something for you too.
The voice in your head...do these sound familiar?
1. I need to be young, thin, strong, and flexible to do a yoga course.
Notice that each excuse is related to the physical body.
Saying you are too (insert any self-deprecating excuse) is like saying you are too dirty to take a shower.
Firstly, Yoga is not only about the physical. Technically speaking, the physical practice makes up just 12.5% (according to Patanjali’s Eight Limb Path).
Let’s also remember, these harsh judgments exist only in your head. They are relative terms that you are using to compare yourself against an imaginary group of students who
- may not exist
- if they did, you haven’t even met them yet
- once you meet them they will probably be the same as you.
- once you meet the, they will probably become your friends
Will someone be more flexible than you on the training? Yes, in one way at least. Will there be anyone stronger than you? Maybe. Does that mean you shouldn't attend? Of course not.
52,000 people run in the New York Marathon. How many are in for a chance at winning? Probably less than a thousand. So, why do the others bother? Because the decision to join has everything to do with your own growth and nothing to do with your capabilities compared to others.
Yoga is non-competitive but you have to compete with someone, compete with your previous self. By the end of the training, you will be lightyears beyond where you were when you started.
2. Should I become a yoga teacher? I already have a job. I just want to know more about Yoga.
Despite the name, a Yoga Teacher Training is not exclusive for those who already are teachers or are training to become yoga teachers.
No one is forcing you to teach once you complete the course. Should you have a change of heart (which many of our graduates do) you will be qualified to teach worldwide. Once you see how much Yoga benefits your everyday life you will feel guilty not sharing it.
Just because you have a Yoga teaching qualification, you do not need to teach. If you do teach, you do not need to teach full-time, unless you want to.
Many of our graduates continue their previous profession whilst teaching Yoga. Not only does Teaching Yoga serve as a respite from another job, it can also complement it. By teaching Yoga you will practice speaking publicly, preparing, and delivering complex concepts in a digestible manner.
Learning to teach Yoga does not mean disregarding all you have done before. It doesn’t have to be Yoga or Medicine, it could be advertising and Yoga.
If the pandemic has taught us anything it is to be prepared to pivot and adapt. Adding an in-demand vocation, such as teaching Yoga, could be a very smart move.
The structure of Teacher Training means you will learn more in a couple of weeks than you would go to three or more classes a day at your local studio. A studio class is designed to start and end 60-75 minutes later. Classes are not continuous or progressive. Each class is full of different students of varying levels whereas in teacher training everyone is there for the same reason, to learn.
Want to know how to make money as a yoga teacher?
3. I like Yoga but I am not a Yogi(ni).
Yoga is NOT a one-size-fits-all.
The reason you began practicing Yoga may not be the reason you continue practicing today. How you practice Yoga in the future will look different to how it looks today. Yoga is flexible, excuse the pun.
Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years by people of all ages, cultures and capabilities. There are as many types of Yogi as there are types of food. Many of us share a love of music but do not necessarily agree on the genre. Yoga is the same.
Yoga teacher training will teach you how to do yoga poses, that's true. And it could be just what you think you are looking for. The philosophy, anatomy, alignment, meditation, and other workshops will teach you the WHY behind, though. The stuff that you don't hear in drop-in yoga classes.
Who knows what could stem for you after obtaining a bit deeper knowledge and awareness.
4. I feel intimidated
Join the club. This is a big decision and should not be taken lightly. But remember, everyone is in the same position and, most likely, experiencing the same apprehension.
We as teachers also get nervous before a course. Apparently the point in which excitement and fear intersect is the best place to be. Everyone is there to learn, even the teachers.
We all learn in different ways and at a different pace. This is why the best teachers use a combination of teaching methods to compliment different learning styles.
Perhaps the last time you attended a course was high-school or University. Yoga Teacher Training is much different. It involves both mind and body. It is interactive and reflective. You will have time to learn in groups and time to learn alone. You will learn the theory and have plenty of opportunities to apply it.
If you have a particular learning concern, message your teachers in advance to plan how to make it the most enjoyable and effective learning experience.
You might also like: The ultimate guide to the best yoga teacher training in India (2023 edition)
5. Yoga teacher training experience. I am not good enough. Everyone's gonna be better than me.
Not being ready, physically or mentally, is just a story, a narrative, and stories can change.
Yoga Teacher Training is a humbling experience no matter how ‘advanced’ students think they are on arrival. You will be surprised at what you already know and astounded at how much you don’t yet know.
How Yoga feels is far more important than how it looks. A deeper forward bend isn’t necessarily more beneficial nor is a stronger twist better than a softer one. The degree of difficulty is not correlated to the benefits experienced.
We cannot promise that by the end of the training you will be the World's Best Yogi, but we guarantee you will have transformed the way you practice and think about Yoga.
By the end of the course, you may not be able to do every crazy posture but you will understand how to effectively prepare for them should you choose to. You will learn how to recognize the sensation your body needs and how to find the edge, stay there, and breathe.
Lastly, all great teachers will adapt the practice to suit the level of each student. Every pose can be made more accessible (regression/modification) or more challenging (progression/variation).
6. I don’t have the money
Money is a difficult and personal situation for many of us. We know some students who took interest-free loans, others who borrowed from family or friends, some who sacrificed on a summer holiday with friends or some who just worked hard and spent less.
Certainly when booking cost will be an important factor. However, you usually get what you pay for. If you are dissatisfied with the course later, the money you saved at the beginning (usually a few hundreds euros) will not make up for the disappointment and the time and effort wasted. The course will either be worth it or it won’t.
You cannot put a value on the experience because the lessons you will learn are priceless. However, Yoga Training costs money, so we should at least try to put some perspective on it.
Whilst not everyone attends a training with the goal to teach, others are using it as a new livelihood. Although the salary of a Yoga teacher varies depending on location and experience, you can easily find out an estimate of “class rate” for a teacher of your experience.
Some simple calculations may help you feel better about making the investment. First, take the total cost and divide it by the number of days the training lasts. For example, if the training cost $4,000 and lasted 21 days, that is $190 per day for food, accommodation and expert level education.
For context, some teachers will get paid a flat rate (irrespective of how many students attend) and others will get paid a percentage (usually around 50-60%) of the total revenue. This may help you calculate how many classes you will need to teach to cover the training (it is usually less than you think).
If you are interested, but have a particular financial situation, please contact us.
7. I don’t have the time and, even if I did, it’s never the right time
You are not wrong. There is no perfect time.
We could hit you with Instagram memes such as “the only time is now” and “there is never a perfect time” but, although true, we will spare you the cliches.
Ultimately, time is made, not found. If you look for it, you will never find it and if you never find it, you will never know how transformational a Yoga Training can be.
When I asked a close friend why she resisted in booking a training she said “I couldn’t get the time off”. Turns out she hadn't actually plucked up the courage to ask. Eventually, once she did, her boss said yes. Now she moonlights as a Yoga teacher alongside her career as a Lawyer.
Some students sacrificed their summer holiday with friends and used their holiday pay for the training instead, others took unpaid leave. Some students had colleagues cover their shifts, others quit their jobs.
Although we wouldn’t recommend you do any of it, we have had students who own their own businesses or worked freelance, who used their free time between classes to catch up on work, even during the yoga course.
8. I can’t leave my family, partner, dog or goldfish.
Spending time and money, away from our loved ones, can seem indulgent, even selfish. We each have our commitments and networks. Leaving this behind, even temporarily, can be daunting.
But wouldn’t you want the same for your family if they had the same desire to invest in themselves?
9. I am not knowledgeable enough. I don't know anything about yoga except for yoga poses.
We will keep this short.
You could spend a lifetime learning Yoga and still not know everything. Yoga is less about knowing stuff and more about applying it.
In order to learn something you must first accept that you do not know everything. Not knowing is a prerequisite to knowing. You are already on the right track.
You come here to learn.
10. If you spend on this you can’t spend on that.
Most of us agree that money isn’t everything, yet, the cost of things takes top priority in much of your decision making. Unless we have bottomless bank accounts everything we spend comes with an opportunity cost i.e. if we spend £2,000 on a holiday we cannot spend that same money on a car.
Research suggests that we should spend less on stuff and more on experiences. Why? Because the memories of experience outlast the utility of stuff. Others recommend we invest our time (and money) on learning and creating rather than on entertainment.
A Yoga Teacher Training is both, an experiential education and a platform for creativity (and if you check out our students' Testimonials, you will hear that it's a lot of entertainment, as well).
11. I haven’t found the right yoga teacher.
You may be in an idyllic location with a Yoga shala overlooking the ocean but, if the teaching is poor, then you are basically on an overpriced holiday. A great teacher is priceless and can make up for any shortcomings of the training.
You will spend at least 7 hours per day listening and interacting with the lead teachers. Before you sign up do you actually know the names of the teachers? Can you see their practice? Have you heard their voice? Can you experience their teaching? Can you organize a call with them and ask them any questions face to face? If the answer to any of these questions is no, personally I would not be signing up.
At Alpha Yoga School, all potential students will be granted access to our online classes. This way, before you even begin the training, you have a taste of what’s to come. We also zoom call with most of the students. We want to meet them and bring as much clarity to their decision as possible. Choosing a yoga teacher training is a big decision. Why not make it easy on everyone?
Just like everyone has different food and music preferences, every Yoga practitioner has their own style. There is a style of Yoga for every body and therefore, Yoga is for EVERYBODY.
12. I haven't found the right style.
There are as many styles of Yoga than there are food cuisines. Strawberries and steak are both food, very different, yet both food. Spinach and bananas look, feel, smell and taste very different however, both nourish us. Yoga is the same.
The good thing about a Yoga Teacher Training, especially one approved by The Yoga Alliance, is that the style of Yoga practiced is only about 25% of the course content. You will also learn about philosophy, anatomy and teaching technique. Whilst each school of Yoga will have their own perspective, at the end of the day, anatomy is anatomy. Irrespective of the yoga style you choose, the underlying philosophy sources are mostly the same (Sutras, Eight Limbs, Bhagavad Gita).
Before you sign up for training, make sure you attend a number of classes at different studios, with different teachers. This should help you identify which style resonates with you.
Consider who and where you want to teach once qualified. Choose a style that is versatile and adaptable. A style that can be moulded to fit different types of students. Our suggestion would be ‘start broad, specialise later’.
It is tempting to choose a school who claims to offer EVERYTHING. It seems logical to learn all the styles.
Yoga Teacher Trainings are already intensely packed in an attempt to condense thousands of years of knowledge into less than one month. Personally, my favourite restaurants are the ones who know what they know, they have a deliberately small menu. Restaurants that offer food from every corner of the Earth always leave me disappointed.
Rather than learning a little bit about a lot of styles we suggest learning a lot about just one or two. By establishing a strong foundation in one style you can then apply this when learning new styles in the future.
13. I haven't found the right location
Initially, finding the right location seems like the one and only decision, scrolling social media for the most exotic looking destination and rainbow smoothie bowls. Although important, ultimately the major thing to consider is what you want to learn and who you want to learn it from. Once this is established the rest will fall into place.
Comfort and luxury are not the same thing. You will not spend a tremendous amount of time in your room but having a space to retreat to can be important. It is going to be an intense month.
When it comes to location and accommodation you usually get what you pay for. The same cannot be said for the quality of teaching. A more expensive course doesn’t necessarily have better teachers but it will, almost certainly, have more facilities. You need to decide what is your priority and consider what you are actually paying for.
13. Imposter syndrome is real or, at least, it feels like it.
With so many great Yoga teachers in the world, why should you become another? Will people come to your classes? Will people want to learn what you want to teach? Simple answer, yes. There is a student for every teacher. No one in the world has your life experience. No one else sees the world through your eyes. You are literally one in 7.64 billion.
Will you be the world's best teacher after completing the training? No. Will you be better than if you didn’t? Of course. Will you improve each and every time you teach? Certainly.
Some people say “fake it till you make it”. At Alpha we prefer “make it till you make it better”.
14. Identity crisis
When I asked a colleague about her hesitations in becoming a Yoga Teacher she said “I’m a middle aged Banker and mum of two. I already have a life. Why do I want to be a Yoga teacher? Leaving for three weeks felt reckless, selfish even”.
Three years later she never looked back. She teaches not for money but for fulfillment and when she teaches friends at home her kids practice alongside her.
“What initially felt selfish actually brought our family even closer together”.
I’ve actually never heard anyone say they regret doing teacher training. Even the bad ones.
All I can suggest is that you talk to people, watch students' testimonials, sign up for a training, and get practicing.
And if you are interested, you can find out more details on our page : 200hr yoga teacher training in Greece.
P.S. from Martin, the founder of Alpha Yoga:
I wrote this quote on the cover of my journal so that I keep reminding myself of it. It helps me to make important decisions.
I hope you won't consider it as a sales trick, honestly, it's there:
"Universe likes speed.
Don't second guess.
When the opportunity is there,
when the impulse is there,
when the intuitive nudge is there,
That's your job.
That's all you have to do.
Lean-in and act."
There are hundreds of reasons to fear trying something new. Check out more and if you relate, let us help you transform your life.