7 Things to Consider Before Signing Up for Yoga Teacher Training

Last week I guest blogged for Active Life DC about what you should think about before signing up for Yoga Teacher Training.  Check out the posts (and my past posts) here:

You’ve been thinking about, you’ve been researching online, you’ve been visiting studios in the DC area… so how do you decide?*

Well, first things first: make sure this is something you really want to do. You don’t want to go in iffy or unsure. While researching, you might change your mind, or postpone your training plans, but if you sign up for a yoga teacher training program, you are about to commit a lot of time and a lot of money… still want to? Good, because I definitely think it’s worth it.


extendYoga students working on their handstand with their teacher, TanO (far right). photo courtesy of Arlet Koseian.


Now, what to consider when choosing the best yoga teacher training (referred to as YTT) program for you, read on…

1. Cost:

Be prepared to spend between $2,000-$3,500. The majority of 200-hour YTT programs in the DC metro area fall in this range (depending on the location, style of training, if there is a visiting Master teacher involved, etc.). Some studios offer scholarships, work-study and other discounted registration options. If this is something you are interested in, make sure to inquire within the studio (fyi- these opportunities may not posted in the training description, so make sure to ask).

Don’t forget to factor in added costs for books, travel and food: books and materials could run you between $75-$250. If you need to pay for parking, metro, gas, etc. keep that in mind. And pack a lunch/snacks! You might be spending some long days at training— factor in your lunch breaks or bring your own. tip: buy used books, or borrow from your yogi friends. If you’re a big note taker like me, you might opt for new books, so you can have at it with your highlighters.

Post YTT costs: If you do end up teaching (note: you don’t HAVE to teach yoga after completing training- more on this below), consider some of the post training costs: Yoga Teacher insurance ($125-$200 per year) and Yoga Alliance Registration fees ($100 initial fee, $55 annual renewal fee).

2. Time/Training Schedule:

Depending on what you are looking for and your specific schedule needs, there should be a program out there for you. There are a couple options: a more intensive version (more hours a day, less total days), or over the course of a few months, or a longer-term program that could run for up to a year; usually taking place on weekends.

If you have a full time job, the weekend format might work best for you. If you are able to take off for an extended period of time, are in between jobs, or have the availability, you might want to check out a 1, 2, 3 or 4-week intensive program.

tip: what type of learner are you? For me, the intensive route was the way to go. I’d rather immerse myself and have my 100% focus on the task at hand and THEN, spend a few weeks/months letting it all soak in. If you’d rather have more space in between meetings to digest all the practice/information (and there is A LOT to digest), then spreading it out might work better for you.

3. Location:

You’ll be spending lots of time at your YTT studio/facility. Make sure it’s comfortable and convenient for you and you are familiar with the parking/metro situation. In addition to actual training dates, most programs require you to take additional classes at their studio (even more visits you’ll need to plan).

4. To Teach or Not to Teach?

It’s a common misconception that you HAVE to teach once graduating from YTT. It’s really up to you what you do with your education. I will say that many times, yogis go into training saying “I never plan on teaching,” and the come out wanting to do nothing but teach! There are also those who go into it thinking they were born to teach yoga, and along the way, they would rather focus on and deepening their personal practice. As long as you go in completely open minded and open too all the possibilities, the rest will work itself out.

5. Your Yoga Ability/Level

Another misconception of YTT is that you have to a super duper advance practitioner to participate. Unless you are applying for an advanced (300, 500, 800-hour, etc., or specialized) training, there are usually no/minimal requirements to sign up.

That said, I wouldn’t sign up for YTT if you haven’t been practicing some sort of yoga for at least a year or if you have any major/debilitating health issues or injuries. So don’t worry, you don’t have to be able to stand on your head for 10 minutes to sign up!

6. Size:

This goes back to what kind of learner you are. Would you rather be in a small, intimate group setting or with a group of let’s say, 20-30 other yogis– your choice!

7. Former Grads, References & Reputation:

The best way to get to know the ins and outs of a yoga teacher training program is to talk to former graduates of the program. A good way to start is by looking at the lead teachers that are running the training– if you already have a relationship with them, ask them about it!

Know anyone that has completed the training? Ask them what they thought (and then ask them if you can borrow their books). Many studios hold open YTT Q&A sessions as well. That’s a great way to get to know about the teacher’s involved, meet some other potential trainees and get a feel for the program.

Last of all, don’t be afraid to ask for or review a list of references (many places already post feedback on their website). It’s a big decision, so ask as many questions as you need and do your homework before taking the plunge.

Good luck and let us know where you end up receiving your yoga teacher training certificate!

*This post is all about Yoga Teacher Training programs in the DC metro area. There are lots of trainings all over the country and abroad. If you decide to go train in Costa Rica for a month– please do, and then come back and tell us all about it!