Print Posted 22/03/2017 in Teaching

Don't Gamble with Your Future

Don't Gamble with Your Future

There have been several aspersions that have come to light with yoga teacher training courses over the past few years.  These have highlighted some of the dangers that students can face when on a course.

The fact is, yoga is completely unregulated anywhere in the world, which means there is no regulatory protection when registering onto a course, that you might find in other professions where   the legal regulation is territory based. 

As such there is a big responsibility on YOU, the student to ensure you have made sound decisions before embarking on a training course.

Equally, teacher training courses can often find themselves in vulnerable situations and there are things that they should watch out for too. 

Yoga Alliance Professionals have set up a voluntary set of agreed standards for teachers and trainers.  

Things students to be mindful of:

  1. Do your research on what YOU want.

Create a list of things that are essential for what you want and what fits in with your lifestyle.

To qualify as a yoga teacher, you are looking for a Foundation course (minimum of 200 hours).

DURATION of the course (intensive/ longer course over several months - both 200 hours minimum)

Intensive (or residential) courses are usually  around 7/ 8 hours a day of learning - this will include theory and practice and this can be very challenging on the body and mind.  These intensive courses tend to be overseas, which means you are away from your family support system; however, it does allow you to be entirely submerged into the training course with no distractions. 

Be aware of how many hours are dedicated to actually teaching practice.  Students from intensive courses tend to have less experience of standing in front of a class and teaching.  You can find this information on their syllabus on their profile page on YAP website.

Longer courses can be anywhere from 3 months to 3 years and their structure often varies. These courses can allow you to put the theory you learn into practice in the breaks between learning modules.   If you register with a YAP course, you get a FREE trainee membership.  If you are UK or Eire based, you can get trainee insurance so you can start teaching classes - this is a fantastic way to build your teaching confidence.

PRICE - an average yoga training course is around GBP 2,500-3,000  

We would advise not going for courses based on price alone.  Courses based in Asia tend to be cheaper than Western countries however be sure to weigh up what you are getting on your course.  You CAN price search on the YAP website.


Why is the location important to you?  If this is because it is near your home and logistically it makes sense because you need to travel there and back every other weekend, then that is a good reason to have the location factor at the top of your list.

…however, if you are choosing a location overseas based on where you want to go on holiday - think again.   Unless you have time on either side of the course, the chances are you will see very little of the scenery.   This also can limit you from finding the right course for you.


Who is the teacher and how long have they been teaching for?  YAP has a requirement that only a teacher who has a minimum of 8 years solid teaching experience can run an accredited training course.   Why?  …because you want to be taught by a teacher who knows their stuff!

The style of yoga you are currently practicing makes the most sense to continue into your training.   You want to be READY for your training course in order to get the most out of it.   If you are spending the time on the course trying to learn a new style of yoga, you are wasting that valuable time.

2)  Search for the right course.

The best way to find the right course is to visit the YAP website.   KNOW what you are looking for!

YAP has excellent standards. 


We ensure that the lead teacher of all Foundation courses is a Senior Yoga Teacher (SYT) - this means they have a minimum of 8 years of teaching under their belt.  The SYT MUST be teaching 70% of the course.

This compares to other standards in the industry:

Yoga Alliance USA - lead teacher needs 2 years of experience and needs only to teach 33% of the course

British Wheel of Yoga - lead teacher needs 5 years of teaching experience


All YAP registered courses have their syllabus on their profile page on our website.

As a student, this means YOU can see exactly what subjects are being taught and how much of the course is dedicated to them.   This allows you to make a much better buying decision because you can see what subjects resonate with you best.


All YAP registered courses have their policy documents on their profile page on our website.

This means you can see their terms & conditions, refund policy, code of conduct and complaints procedure BEFORE committing to the course.   You can also compare this with other courses and KNOWING your rights, means you are in a stronger position should anything go wrong.

3)  Contacting the training course

We would suggest making a shortlist of 3 or 4 training courses that you feel would work best for you, once you have completed the above research.

You can look at PHOTOSVIDEOS & ARTICLES on the training courses’s profile page on the YAP website - this can give you a deeper insight into what to expect and what is being advertised by them.

Look at the REVIEWS of the course on the YAP website & CONTACT THE GRADUATES who have left the reviews from the YAP website (you can send them an email directly from our site!)   This will give you a chance to speak to someone who was actually ON the course.

You can CONTACT the courses DIRECTLY from the YAP website on their profile pages.  You can send them an email and ask any specific questions that you would like answered.  These can be based on the course or even the logistics of getting to and from the course.

By completing all of the above - you would have built up a good understanding of what you are wanting and who can deliver it.  This empowers you to make the best possible decision for you and minimises the risk of you starting a course that is not right for you.

4) Your conduct whilst on the course & if something goes wrong

If your chosen course is YAP accredited, they will provide you with a Code of Conduct that you must abide by. Generally speaking, you should be respectful of your teacher and fellow students, as well as yourself.   Foundation courses are very short to learn a lot of information so to make the best of the time, focus on what is important - learning.

Be mindful of your conduct whilst on a course - both verbal and non-verbal.  Be respectful of the rules in place and teachings, be respectful of being on time and importantly, be culturally aware if travelling overseas (i.e. do not wear inappropriate clothing - even if others on the course are). 

Should any wrong doing occur, there is a complaints procedure which you can follow (if your course is YAP accredited, this is freely available to everyone on their profile page).   

If the wrong doing does not directly effect you, by mindful to not get too involved in others’ business.  Unless you have full and accurate information of any situation, it can be detrimental to make a judgement on it.  Be mindful of how your own actions can affect others.

If any unlawful situations come up, follow the complaints procedure and if relevant, report the incident to the local police.   Contact your accreditation body to make them aware of your claim but be aware that they have no legal jurisdiction on such matters.  All courses must still comply to the laws of the country in which they are held.

Enjoy the course and focus on why you are there.  Do not be a distraction to yourself or others - this is a short time to learn a lot of information.  Make the most of this time.

Further Information for prospective students on Yoga Alliance Professionals Accredited Training Courses

Yoga Alliance Professionals has an extensive Code of Conduct to which a Training Provider must adhere in order to retain accreditation.

All Training Providers must have a Complaints Procedure in place and must make students aware of this. The Complaints Procedure forms part of the Policy Documents submitted to Yoga Alliance Professionals, and is available to download on the Training Provider’s profile page on our website.

If a student on a training course has reason to believe that a transgression of the Code of Conduct has taken place, they must first raise it with the training provider through their Complaints Procedure.

If the outcome of such a complaint is not resolved to the satisfaction of all parties, the complaint can be passed to Yoga Alliance Professionals.

Yoga Alliance Professionals will initiate an investigation into any alleged complaint. In the event that the complaint is upheld, the Training Provider will be removed irrevocably from the Register of Training Providers.

In cases of criminal wrongdoing, the complainant must lodge the complaint with the relevant authorities for investigation. Yoga Alliance Professionals has no legal jurisdiction and can only take action once a decision has been reached by a court or relevant authority.

Note that for Training Providers in countries which do not have reciprocal legal agreements, any criminal action must be brought in the country in which it took place.

Yoga Alliance Professionals has a review process in place for graduates of our accredited Training Providers. Graduates are encouraged to use this facility fairly and responsibly in order to inform prospective students of their experiences. This allows prospective students to make informed choices, and also gives Training Providers the opportunity to address any concerns. It should not be used for breaches of our Code of Conduct as outlined above.

Be aware Yoga Alliance Professionals can only investigate complaints where the training courses breach any terms they have agreed to with us as part of their membership.

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