YTT: Sampoorna yoga
When I discovered yoga two years and a half ago now, I would have never thought that today I'd be so excited to do a yoga teacher training. I have to admit that yoga has taken more and more space in my life and has become an essential part of my quest for balance. The instagram quote that we've all seen a thousand times "I've got 99 problems but I'm going to yoga to ignore them all for an hour" is oh so true when it comes to my life!
Last year, after I've been asked a couple of times where I was teaching (which is both surprising and very flattering to be fair!) I started to look up online what this yoga certification was about. Yoga has become such a trendy thing in the last few years that a lot of people do a yoga teacher training. However, not everyone decides to teach afterward. Some wish to do the training in order to deepen their practice and learn more about yoga philosophy - basically everything that we don't have time to learn in yoga classes. And this is my main motivation too. However, if I think that I can help people in any way and bring something to them through teaching yoga (and if I'm a good teacher! I have no clue) I may give a couple of classes a week after working hours or in the weekend.
How to chose your yoga teacher training (YTT) ?
Which type of yoga
The first question to ask yourself is "which type of yoga would I like to teach?". All types of yoga don't focus on the same things. Some are dynamic practices, some are way more static, and although they all come from Hatha yoga, various lineages have appeared with their own specificities and rules (more of less strict). I personally made my mind fairly quickly: I want to teach Rocket yoga. Rocket yoga comes from ashtanga (one of the main dynamic yoga lineage) and has been created by Larry Schultz in San Francisco in the 90's. If you already know Power yoga - another ashtanga based practice - Power yoga comes from Rocket yoga.
However, it's simpler to find 200h Ashtanga yoga teacher training than Rocket ones. You can still complete your training with another 50h Rocket yoga training later on. Which is what I plan on doing.
Yoga Alliance certified
A lot of yoga studios have created their own YTT. It's actually usually easier to teach in a studio if you've followed their YTT (some studios simply refuse to hire a teacher who wouldn't have done their own YTT - unless it's a very famous teacher). Like in every professional environment, your network is very important, especially if you wish to teach in prestigious studios.
Another "detail" - the recognition of the certificate. Yoga Alliance US (and Yoga Alliance UK) are organisms which have been created to "validate" the level of trainings. There's nothing official, but if you pick a studio which is Yoga Alliance certified, it will somehow ensure the quality of the teaching and the topics addressed in the program. It's then easier to get hired by studios as they know that you've attended a training up to standard. Or at least that's what I've been told...
Duration of the training
The training lasts 200h during which the teachers will touch on the physical practice, the anatomy, the yoga theory, philosophy, the teaching techniques and some business aspects too. However, as everyone can't afford taking a full month off, some schools offer to spread the teaching on 4 or 6 months, up to a year. The certificate is the same and the format is really up to you. One of my friends chose a training offering 2 times 1 week of training and then a few weekends. This way she managed to handle it by taking only 2 weeks off. She also had enough time to digest the teaching and even teach classes to friends before the end of her training (it's actually something which is encouraged as soon as possible. My family, friends and my boyfriend can tell you all about this...). On the downside, she told me that Monday mornings after an intensive weekend of teaching were particularly hard.
Each format has pros and cons. I personally know that I prefer a drastic change of context for a specific amount of time, and doing everything in one go. That's why I picked the 1 month intensive training format. I've also chosen to do my YTT in India, for authenticity and to put an emphasis onto this context change (I didn't really picture myself staying in London and having to go through a 1h commute journey twice a day, I think that the teaching wouldn't have the same impact on me). I have to admit that I'm very lucky to work in a company that cares for work/life balance and that allows me to take a month off. Not everybody can do this.
Location of the training
As I explained, I chose to do my training abroad. To be in the home country of the practice, practicing at the "right" temperature (no need to heat up the studio to try and re-create the ideal temperature the warm up the body), the diet (vegan) and above all I think that the schedule will be easier to handle if I'm far away from the big smoke.
To give you an idea of a typical day:
6h30 - 8h30 – Ashtanga or Vinyasa flow
8h45 - 10h – Chanting, breathing exercises and meditation
10h - 11h – Breakfast
11h - 13h – Philosophy or Anatomy (depending on days)
13h – Lunch
15h - 17h – Alignment exercises, teaching technics, methodology
17h - 18h – Vinyasa flow
18h15 - 19h15 – Workshop and postures clinic
19h15 – Dinner
19h30 - 20h30 – Philosophy
And this schedule is repeated every single day apart from Sundays. I can tell you that although I'll be in a paradise location, this will not feel like holidays and tourism isn't part of the plan.
It's obviously one of the most important aspects. A YTT cost around £2800 in average. Trainings in India are usually cheaper because accommodation and food are less expensive than in Europe. But you have to add up the plane ticket which is usually never accounted for in packages prices.
A professional opinion (especially from someone who inspires you)
This is what made all the difference for me. There are so many choices, so many subtleties that I'm far from being able to understand today (different ways of interpreting yoga philosophy, that varies depending on lineages for example), that I decided to trust my favourite teachers. I narrowed down my selection to 3 studios: The Yoga People, Yoga London and Sampoorna Yoga.
Unfortunately Yoga London doesn't do training abroad. And their 1 month intensive training is located on the opposite side from where I live. Given the size of London, it means more than an hour of commute. I've attended their taster session, during which we went through a short vinyasa flow and where we've been able to ask a few (many) questions. If the school you're planning to train with offers this type of session I really invite you to attend it.
I've finally chosen Sampoorna Yoga because their training has been recommended to me by one of my favourite yoga teacher, and I found the location stunning. I could definitely picture myself over there, and I think it's essential to be able to visualise yourself feeling peaceful given you'll live a life changing and challenging experience for a full month. I don't forget about The Yoga People though, as they offer a 50h Rocket yoga teacher training... but this is gonna be for next year!
Today I'm happy to to announce that I've just confirmed my application booking for the September/October session in Goa, India. And I'm really, really looking forward to it!