Becoming a yoga teacher puzzles a lot of people. Tons of folks don’t even realize you need training to be a certified instructor or how long and costly it can be! Not to mention, there’s this idealized image of what a real yoga teacher looks like and not fitting the fictional mold turns away many would-be teachers or practitioners.
Prior to going forward with my yoga teacher training, I saw myself as far from what I considered the ideal yoga instructor. I’m not a Lululemon loyalist. I’ve never drank a green juice nor do I shop at Whole Foods. Rhett & Link taught me what I know about healing crystals and instead of sun salutes and meditation, my mornings consist of me picking up my dog’s poop outside while half asleep. I was, however, mentally and physically drained from nearly two years of exhausting prep for fitness competitions. My hair was falling out, I was abusing Adderall to blunt my hunger pangs, and I felt completely lost without having another goal to devote myself to. Not exactly the zen, put together image most people expect when walking into a yoga class.
There are plenty of retreats you can go on to complete your standard 200 hour certification in as little as four weeks. You can go to India, Hawaii, South America, Asia, all sorts of beautiful locales. Some even cost roughly the same as your standard domestic yoga teacher training program. However, for most people, getting a month or two completely off isn’t very practical or even possible. Plus, there’s so much to learn about yoga that extends far past just asanas and chanting om. Personally, I don’t think one can properly absorb the knowledge and fully appreciate the journey by going through the process so quickly.
Most 200 hour yoga programs will take about three to six months to complete, depending how often and how long your training sessions are. My program runs 20 weeks, about 5 months, and we meet every Saturday from 10am to 7pm. We’re allowed to miss up to two classes and still receive our certification. The total cost of my program is $3000, broken up into six payments of $500 a month. Plus, I needed about eleven books that totaled around $180. Yeah, I definitely felt like I was paying for a semester of college again when I heard those costs! While your education isn’t something you want to cheap out on, finances need to be considered. I don’t know about you, but I definitely didn’t have $3000 just hanging out in my couch cushions! I did a lot of research and found that this wasn’t far from the costs of other programs in my area, with most in the $2500 – $3200 range. It took cutting a lot of expenses and opting for a cheaper apartment when current my lease is up to make it possible.
While every program varies, you’ll definitely be in store for a few things. For the curriculum I’m on, the first session delved into the history of yoga and WOW, there is A LOT that you could probably spend years studying and never fully explore. Like, did you know that while in the US, we focus mainly on the asanas (poses) and physical aspects of yoga but they actually make up only a small part of the overall yogic philosophy? We also get into the human anatomy and how certain poses can benefit or harm someone. As an instructor, you’ll often be doing manual adjustments on your students. If you don’t know what’s connected to what or how little pressure you really need, you could cause some real damage! The last thing you want to do is go to adjust someone’s shoulder in chair pose and end up dislocating it. Not that my instructor admitted to accidentally doing that as a newbie teacher or anything….
There’s so much to learn as my training goes on and I’m so excited to share the journey with you all! My studio’s owner, Natalie, will be adding in a kundalini portion that I cannot WAIT for. I’m also grateful she’s placing an emphasis on the realities of marketing yourself and making a living as a yoga instructor. Positive energy and shining your heart to the world are awesome, but I know MY landlord sure won’t accept good vibes or helping him shine his heart chakra as rent payment. There will also be segments on how to do pose adjustments on students, making modifications for people with injuries, pregnancy, limited mobility, senior citizens, the works!
Yes, it’s a big commitment, but don’t come up with all the things that COULD maybe happen prevent you from completing your program. What if a big expense comes up and I need the extra money? What if it I’m not actually cut out for this? EVERY SATURDAY?! Holy crap, I won’t have weekends anymore! What if I do this and I end up the worst yoga teacher EVER?! These are things I replayed over and over in my head before calling up my studio’s owner to say I was in. There’s a million reasons you can come up with to NOT do something, but the time will pass anyway. If yoga teacher training is something you genuinely want to do, prioritize it in your life. The money won’t magically appear, your time won’t suddenly free up, nor will the stars mystically align. Set a plan, put it in action, and know that your dreams happen because YOU say so.