Yoga Teacher Training
August 2, 2013 8:50 AM   Subscribe

I've been thinking about taking my yoga practice to the next level. Have you gone through the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training, or know someone who has?

I've been toying with the idea of embarking on the 200-hour Teacher Training through a registered yoga studio. I've practiced yoga on-and-off for about 15 years. Obviously, I like yoga, but the reason I'm interested in the 200 TT is because I really enjoy learning about the history, anatomy & physiology, and ethics of practicing yoga. I recently took an intro level class (only one that fit into my schedule - I should stress that this wasn't my first trip around the yoga block!) and the instructor included some discussion of these topics in with the practice. It turns out that these are personal interests of hers, not necessarily something that every teacher teaches in an introductory class.

I spoke with her after the last class, to see what the next step would be if I wanted to continue to learn about history/physiology etc as well as practice. She said that there wasn't really a "next step class" towards learning more along these lines, other than taking clinics, seminars, and courses that were geared more towards teacher training. She said I should consider the 200 TT, and I found myself really liking that idea.

At this point, I'd say that my interest in taking the 200 TT is about 75% for myself (personal education and practice) and about 25% for possibly teaching others in the future. I have a completely unrelated career already and, if anything, I'd be interested in teaching on a very part-time basis. I can handle the cost of training, although it would not be cheap. I could also fit it into my schedule, with a bit of juggling.

So...have you ever gone through the 200 TT? Known someone who has? What would you suggest I consider before plopping down a deposit and going for it? Any warnings?
posted by Elly Vortex to Education (9 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I know several people who have done TT, one of whom is currently teaching and intends to expand her teaching (she did a 200 hour program and then a 500 hour program) and another who did it mostly for herself, although she is teaching a few classes here and there to further her skills. Both of them really enjoyed it and felt it deepened their own practice. The one who teaches several classes a week now says that ultimately her own practice has struggled to keep pace, which is common and something that both of my friends were warned about in their TT.

My less-teaching-oriented friend finished her TT pretty recently, and said that the things you are specifically interested in - history, A&P, and ethics/wider application of yoga - were heavily emphasized and are what she enjoyed most about the program. She also connected very deeply with other yogis in her area, and that was a huge unexpected benefit.

From the outside, I would say that I saw a change come over both of my friends after completing TT - they both seem more grounded, happier, more emotionally generous, basically more yogic than they were before (and they were both lovely people already, but they did seem to find some more enlightened element of themselves). I was a little suspect of TT, since some studios seem to push it as a "next level" thing once you've been practicing for any length of time, but at least the programs that my friends took seem to have been a great thing for them.

I've considered it for myself, but it's something that is way off in the future for me, if ever. Good luck!
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 9:16 AM on August 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine did it and loved it. Warning: it was an intensely emotional experience for her. She is the type who tends to keep things very bottled up, and a lot came pouring out. But still, a great experience for her.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 10:23 AM on August 2, 2013

IAAYT. Yes, I think a 200-hour teacher training could be an extremely rewarding, life- and practice-enriching experience for you.

You should know that there is great variety in 200-hour teacher training programs. Find a few that seem like they might be good fits (you like the core faculty of the program, you feel comfortable with the vibe of the studio and other students). Then, talk with the teacher(s) who directs the program. Ask for the list of required/recommended reading. Find out what the program will cover in terms of the areas you're most interested in. Ask how much the program is geared toward preparing professional teachers vs. deepening your practice. Some programs even have a two-tier system, with a basic level that can be used just to deepen your practice, or you can finish that and then add on more training to become certified as a teacher. I will say that teaching has helped to deepen my practice and accelerate my learning a lot - so even if you're not looking for a new career, you might want to plan on teaching some just to help you continue your own development. There's something about being that much more accountable for the material, you know?

Finally, in terms of fitting YTT into your schedule around your career, heed the above comments that this could be a very deep and demanding experience, in terms of emotion and energy as well as the 200 hours (plus homework). I think that's the best part about it - if you're going to give this 200 hours of your time and $2,000 or so of your money, give it space to be an immersive experience. I had the luxury of a sabbatical from work when I did my training, but the people in my cohort who had full-time jobs were stretched pretty thin (one didn't finish YTT). I did the training over three months of weekends, and I really loved having some time in between intense sessions to practice, ruminate, and let the material sink in.

You're welcome to message me if you'd like to talk more or have specific questions. I love talking about yoga!
posted by TrixieRamble at 10:38 AM on August 2, 2013

peanut, moonorb and trixieramble have laid it out pretty well.

full disclosure....i've been practicing yoga since 88' and teaching since 93.' i have never been formally certified or ever went through TT. I did have the benefit of working with a respected teacher for many years and was hired for my first job based on her reputation and that I was able to last with her for so long : )

i strongly second what TrixieRamble writes about giving yourself the space to take TT and letting it be an immersive experience. while I did not go through TT, at the period of my life when i was working with Ana, i had no obligations to anything else outside of yoga. i could devote all of my time and energy to my practice and experience whatever it brought to me.

go for it. and above all, have fun !
posted by goalyeehah at 10:59 AM on August 2, 2013

I did the 200 hr TT recently and found it to be a really valuable experience. I'd like to teach, but even if I never teach anyone, it would be worthwhile to me because I now have the tools to practice at home, which practically speaking, saves me a lot of money that I would be spending on taking classes at a studio or gym. That's just a practical advantage- I also agree with everyone else said in this thread (changing my mindset, etc). In fact, I hope to do the advanced TT someday! If you're drawn to it, I think it's a good idea as long as you research reputable programs and get recommendations, etc.

I did mine in India and if you are wanting to go there you can PM me for more info about it. (or you can PM me for other info as well.)
posted by bearette at 11:53 AM on August 2, 2013

I've been thinking about the same thing, so will watch this post with interest! Hope it's OK to add another question - those who have done the training, is there a national organization that certifies or supervises training programs in a consistent way (as massage therapy schools e.g. tend to do)?
posted by sarahparah at 12:37 PM on August 2, 2013

I've done it for myself, with no intention of teaching (still don't), and found it incredibly rewarding for both my own practice and in other places in my life. I did an Anusara training, because I find the style technically interesting as a descendant of the alignment/technically-focused Iyengar school.

You can start with an immersion, if your school/style and locations offer that. Generally for those programs that split the 200 hour training into an immersion (first 100) and TT (second 100), the first is much more relaxed and lets you decide if you'd like to continue to the full, technical, challenging part of the training.

It also lets you spread those commitments up a bit, since 200 hours in a given week, month, or even year can be challenging around a career and family. You're also able to (as above) vet your teachers for ones that you'd want to *really* learn from should you do the full TT, since I believe the student/teacher fit is the most important piece of this training.
posted by kcm at 2:56 PM on August 2, 2013

The current national organization is Yoga Alliance, but it's not very consistent in its standards or program oversight. There is a movement in the yoga community to create an alternative certifying body. From what I know of massage therapy schools, their industry is much more...regulated, for lack of a better word. I've seen a vast quality gamut in Yoga Alliance-registered YTT programs.
posted by TrixieRamble at 3:31 PM on August 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have a couple of friends who did this and it seemed to be a very positive thing for both of them. Even though it kept them from some activities they would have loved to attend, I heard absolutely nothing but fantastic positive things about it.
posted by sarae at 5:10 PM on August 2, 2013

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