Taking the steps toward becoming a yoga instructor can be intimidating. Yoga has become increasingly popular over the years, and the number of schools offering yoga teacher training has exploded. You want to be sure that you sign up for training with trainers you can trust, make you feel comfortable, and who teach a philosophy that aligns with your own. Most importantly, you want to know that when you graduate, you will be ready to begin teaching immediately. These 5 vital things to look for in a 200-Hour yoga teacher training will help guide you to making this exciting, life-changing decision!

1. Is the Training Registered with the Yoga Alliance?

While this question may seem to have an obvious answer, tough competition can lead to fraudulent assertions. Some schools may claim to be registered, but when you search for them in the directory, no one has ever heard of them. You want to make sure that your yoga training is coming from teachers who have themselves been taught by qualified individuals. The Yoga Alliance has increasingly strict standards by which they judge yoga schools, and while the YA does not offer the training itself, it does provide high level standards for teachers and schools to follow judged by the number of learning hours achieved by the trainers. You should search for your school on the directory to make sure that it is listed. This will also give you an opportunity to see how past students have reviewed their training. The system is designed for both validation and as an incentive for improvement.

2. From What Lineage Do They Teach?

Yoga class

Yoga is still relatively new to the west, which means that every yoga training practice should be able to trace their lineage to one of the major traditions. Do they draw from Ashtanga, Kripalu, Iyengar or the Integral yoga traditions? Knowing which tradition guides the practice will help you understand how their philosophies align with your own. Should you find yourself faced with trainers who are unaware of their lineage, you can be certain that they are missing an integral piece of the puzzle.

3. Is There a Structured Curriculum?

This question should not be difficult to answer if the training has been certified with the Yoga Alliance. Do they focus more on anatomy and physiology or philosophy and lifestyle? Ideally, all aspects of yoga will be represented in the training. Teaching a regular yoga class is very different than training teachers; organization and structure are required for an educational course, and clear learning objectives should be apparent and easily stated. There should be focus on a mix of learning activities and time to practice teaching.

4. What Is Their Mission?

This should become apparent while you are asking about lineage and curriculum, but it is important to ask for a concise mission statement from your yoga trainer. Schools often focus on specific skills that are most important to their founders. For example, you may find that your training center wishes to develop transformative asana practices, while others may focus more on calming meditation. Hearing the mission stated aloud will help you decide if their training is right for you.

5. How Many Teachers Per Student?

Will you be sharing a teacher with twenty or even thirty other people, or will the class size be small enough for you to receive a more personal connection with your trainers and classmates? Smaller class sizes may be a bit more expensive, but the individualized instruction can help be a more fully immersive practice. You will have more opportunity to express yourself and to ask questions, making the teaching more meaningful and enriching. You will be more confident in what you have learned, and this will make you a better teacher when you join or begin your own practice.

Does Your School Stack Up?

Asking these questions is essential to understanding who is teaching your 200-hour yoga teacher training courses. Do not let anyone intimidate you into signing up for training that does not meet these criteria. Do your research and be confident that the training you receive is in line with your philosophy, structured to train teachers (not just another yoga class), and will give you the confidence to train others effectively and safely. Good luck!