"I have been considering taking a yoga teacher training course for some time, and now I feel ready both in terms of commitment and growing interest in communicating my love of yoga to others. So where to start searching for the right course?
First I decided on some of the obvious factors such as location, cost, dates and course content. And even after I had narrowed this down, I was left with a mind boggling number of possibilities. I asked myself the question: what would influence me in making a decision about any type of course, not just yoga. And the answer came back loud and clear:
The experience of the course leader. Would I want to take a training with someone who was only just out of nappies, or would I look for the guy who’s been round the block a few times and has learnt on the job?
My next step was to check out just how trainers become trainers and who checks their credentials.
I looked at two accrediting organisations to get a feel for what is out there. And this is what I found.
The first organization was Yoga Alliance.org, based in the USA and with a very large database of registered training schools. To my amazement and shock I discovered that anyone could become a teacher trainer with a basic training (called 200 hour) and 2 years and 1000 hours of teaching experience.
My mind went into overdrive: ‘so once I do my basic training I only need to teach a couple of years and I can set up my own training!!’ I shuddered at that possibility. And I shuddered at the possibility that some of those training courses I had been considering might be taught by the guy in nappies.
Feeling despondent I reluctantly looked at my second accrediting body. Going by almost the same name, but based in the UK, Yoga Alliance Professionals is a much smaller organization which says it promotes very high standards in teaching. And here are its standards for a teacher trainer.
After the basic 200 hour training, the trainer must have 8 years and 4000 hours of teaching experience. What a difference! My mind was made up.
I decided to look into this further and see if there were any more surprises in store.
Another important consideration is how much of the course is actually taught by the principal trainer. It’s a bit like going to a restaurant of a famous chef and finding out he is not actually there, or not very much.
The USA version states that the trainer only needs to actually teach 33% of the course. So who teaches the other 77%? Maybe ‘experts’ in their area, but this is a basic foundation course-do I really want or need it to be broken up? And what qualifications do these other teachers have? It seems none at all.
In contrast, Yoga Alliance Professionals version demands that 70% of the course is taught by what they call their Senior Yoga Teacher with the qualifications I mentioned earlier. Surely this will lead to a far more coherent integrated experience from a highly trained teacher as opposed to a disjointed effort from any number of potentially untrained individuals.
It seems to me that the most important first condition to be met in choosing a training course is the experience of the trainer. And the comparison makes it clear, and perhaps explains why so many students feel that there are a lot of very poor training courses out there. Thankfully, the issue has been addressed and corrected by Yoga Alliance Professionals."