Having just completed my yoga teacher training in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains in India, I have some advice on finding the right school for yoga teacher training. Even I have found myself back in the search already, in order to complete my 300 hour course, and I can’t say I am looking forward to searching for a school again, especially now with high expectations after my 200 hour course. Still, I have a few tips and some advice to share with anyone looking to get their yoga teacher certification, specifically for those looking to get their certificate abroad.
No matter where you choose to go, you want to make sure it’s a place you feel comfortable and trust those who are teaching you. Even if you arrive and don’t feel comfortable, you may still be able to switch your school and program, especially if you’re in a place with multiple yoga schools. Either way, if you do enough planning ahead of time, you should wind up in a place that perfectly suits you and your needs.
Decide Where You Want to Go
There are yoga teacher training programs all around the world, from Spain to Indonesia, India to Hawaii, it just depends on where you want to spend a month for the training. I knew I wanted the most authentic experience and figured India was the place to do it. It was also a dream of mine to practice yoga and meditation in India, and this would allow me to do so, while also getting my certification. All that was left was to find the right school. You can do your training closer to home, as well, though most programs are spread out over a few months. I’d suggest getting it all done in one month if you can because being immersed in yoga was a truly transformative experience. I also found that getting my certification in India cost me significantly less than getting certified at home, $1300 instead of $3,000.
Begin Your Search with Yoga Alliance
Yoga Alliance is non-profit organization that supports education and research in yoga. It also sets national standards for yoga schools and teachers. If you plan on teaching in the United States, it’s important to chose a school that’s registered with Yoga Alliance. But, even if you’re not, it’s still a good place to find a reliable school and program. From their website, it’s easy to find schools around the world or close to home.
Do Your Research
I spent hours on the Yoga Alliance website looking through schools and then the websites of those schools. This is the exhausting part, but if this is a place you’ll be spending a month, you want to make sure you know all that there is to know. Look through the website and see what your school has to offer and what’s at an additional cost. Rishikesh Yog Dham was my first choice because everything was included in the $1300 – books, neti pot, private room and bathroom, three meals a day, a temple trip, and river rafting. These perks made choosing a school easy for me, as not all offer everything included in one price.
Research a Bit Further
When you think you’ve narrowed it down to a few schools, take that research even further. You want to make sure that the school’s philosophy matches your own. You’ll be spending a month there and want to make sure that like-minded people are there with you. For me, it was refreshing to be in a place where everyone’s thoughts were aligned and our views of the world were similar. It was the first time, I really felt a deep connection with people I had just met. You may also want to look at the school’s social media accounts – do they update it often? What do the people who complete their training there look like? Do they seem like people you’d want to spend a month with? This isn’t a sure-fire way to make sure you make the right choice, but it can help you in your decision. If your school isn’t active on social media, try searching pictures that may have been taken at the school or with a hashtag of the school’s name to see people who have attended the program before. Sounds a bit silly, but it’s worth it to gain a better picture of where you’ll do your training.
To Shatkarma or Not
Some schools have Shatkarma, cleansing practices, while others don’t. Honestly, I didn’t know all that Shatkarma entailed, but I’m glad I chose a school where I was able to experience it. We cleaned out our nasal passages three times a week with a neti pot, used a rubber neti for our nasal passages as well (though, I was never successful at it), and cleaned our intestines, as well as our esophagus using salt water. If you want the whole experience, I say go for a school that has it, but if not, find one where it’s not included.
Go with Your Gut
No matter what, your gut seems to know where you should go. Originally, I fell in love with Rishikesh Yog Dham, but kept searching just in case. Then, I almost chose another school, but in the end, Rishikesh Yog Dham had the dates that worked best for me. The fact that the dates worked and that the school had a clean, easy to navigate website were among my main reasons in choosing the school, and I found that many others in my training had picked it for the same reasons.
Now, I wouldn’t say this is the best way to choose a school, but in this instance, it proved to be the correct first step. What really solidified my choice were the wonderful reviews, as well as the quick communication from the school. They eased any worries I may have had by constantly being in touch to answer any of my questions, as well as organizing transportation from the airport and allowing me to arrive and stay two days early. Something just felt right about this school, and that feeling continued as I arrived and started my training.
Each school around the world has positive and negatives depending on who you are and what you are looking for. Still, if you put in the time and dedicate yourself to finding a school that’s your perfect fit, you’re bound to find exactly where you are meant to be. Most places only ask for deposits initially, so you can always change your mind, though it may cost you a few hundred dollars.
If you don’t want to do the research, I can recommend Rishikesh Yog Dham with full confidence, as my experience was enlightening and positive. From the staff to the food to the accommodations, I was pleasantly surprised and it exceeded any and all expectations I had. Plus, the group of people that I was with for my training were some of the best people I’ve ever met while traveling.
Good luck in your search in finding the right school for your yoga teacher training!
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