(This is Part 2 of a two post series. Read part 1 here: Want To Become A Yoga Teacher? Read This First.)
What are you seeking?
One of the most common enquiries I get in my inbox (if not the number 1), is to seek my advice on becoming a Yoga Teacher and what teacher training programs I would recommend.
Here, I’ve put together my top picks for training programs and schools. I must emphasise that choosing the right program for you should be both via research and also intuition. Always look into the teaching faculty and their own background. The most ‘famous’ schools are not always the best. Look into the course content – you should want something well rounded. And, most importantly, you need to have a bit of an idea as to what kind of teacher you wish to be – what inspires you? What do you want to teach? Do you love mantra, Ayurveda, philosophy, alignment, vinyasa, or restorative? You need to find a school that meets these needs.
Important to know, a school that is accredited with Yoga Alliance does not guarantee a high standard of training at all (more on that another time). So, do not let that be of priority to you.
The cost of teacher training is always a consideration for us all. It is worth not only considering the course costs, but also the inclusions, such as accommodation and meals. Once you buy flights, travel insurance, and take time off work, what will the overall cost look like? But – let me say this – almost always I’ve found that a higher cost means a greater training. And, you might be thinking about doing a budget/quick-and-easy training to just get your 200 hour (entry level) certificate, and then worry about doing more in-depth training later? Well, in all honesty, that may be a more expensive way to do things in the end – an unfulfilling training will leave you planning your next training almost immediately! If you can get accepted into an exceptional training program (even if it seems like it’s sucking your bank account dry), you will be much richer for it in the end – mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. PLUS, you’ll be an even greater teacher, which means more opportunity for you and therefore potentially more income from Day 1. There are so many people becoming teachers out there.
Investing in a high quality training is an investment in yourself and your future.
I have not participated in the training programs of all of the schools and teachers listed. However, I’ve either studied under them in the context of workshops, masterclasses, or I know them personally and know they have immense integrity and experience. If I were to turn back the clock and do my training again (although, it really never ends – I’m always doing some form of study), then it’d happily be with any of the below.
(And if you’ve done an epic training, I’d be grateful for you to add it to the comments below – and tell us WHY it was so awesome. Someone else may benefit from your contribution!).
In no particular order… (please click the title of each to be taken to the appropriate website)
An Australian owned and run school, established by senior teacher Louisa Sear. They offer 200 and 500 hour training programs mostly in Ubud, Bali, but also in Sri Lanka and India. The Yoga Arts faculty of teachers is above and beyond. The training programs offer a focus on: slow vinyasa, yoga therapy, prop use, anatomy and physiology, mantra, meditation, pranayama, agni hotra, philosophy, Ayurveda, and also offer vipassana style experiences. Yoga Arts has been around since 1994, and used to offer a 9 month program of Yoga Teacher Training (which ran every year, for 10 years!). Yoga Alliance accredited. Highly recommended.
Headed up by UK born Julie Martin, the training programs at Brahmani Yoga are 200, 350, and 500 hours. They offer an exceptional faculty of experienced and senior teachers. Brahmani Yoga programs are run annually out of GOA, India. They also offer more niche programs, like Prenatal Yoga, etc. The 200 hour program covers: Vinyasa, pranayama, meditation, mantra, philosophy, anatomy, marketing, and more. Yoga Alliance accredited.
The Blissology teacher trainings are led by the founder, Eoin Finn, along with his wife, Insiya Rasiwala-Finn. Born in Canada, Eoin is said to be a Yogi, surfer, blissologist, and ocean worshipper. The training programs are both 200 and 500 hours, mostly in Bali, also in Canada, and in California, US. Eoin has a background not only in Yoga, but also Athletics, Martial Arts, and of course surfing. Insiya supports the entire program offerings, and has a forte in teaching Ayurveda. The Blissology programs offer: Vinyasa Yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, marketing and business, finding your voice, anatomy and biomechanic principles, sequencing, and more. Eoin is renowned for his uplifting and positive spirit, plus super fun classes!
Octavio Salvado is a Melbourne, Australia born Yogi – with a heart-felt dedication to maintaining the depths of the Yoga system through his offerings. He has been based for sometime out of Bali, and has opened a studio in Canggu called The Practice. This training program is 200 hours. However, it is structured for both new teachers and also experienced 500 hour+ teachers who are looking to deep their knowledge and training. The course includes a focus on: self-practice, meditation, pranayama, vinyasa, basic Ayurveda, kriya, yin yoga, yoga nidra, kirtan, and the science of the Yoga system – mantra, yantra, mudra, prana, chakras, sanskrit, and mythology.
Rachel Zinman and John Weddepohl offer Teacher Trainings in the ISHTAM method (which was established in NYC by senior teacher, Alan Finger). Their programs are held mostly in Byron Bay, Australia. Ishta Yoga is classical Yoga, inspired by living Tantra, Gyan Yoga and the traditional Hatha yoga practices of asana, pranayama, kriya, meditation, mantra, mudra and yantra – and is also informed by Ayurveda and the practices of Bhakti Yoga. The training programs are registered with Yoga Australia at the 350 hr level, and also Yoga Alliance 200 and 500 hr levels. Rachel runs programs with highly experienced senior teachers.
Donna Fahri has been practicing Yoga for over 39 years and teaching since 1982. She is one of the most sought after guest teachers in the world, leading intensives and teacher training programs internationally. She runs a 200+ hour teacher training program, based out of New Zealand. Her program covers: self-practice, anatomy, assisting, teaching beginners, personal development, pranayama, voice projection and expression (‘your voice’), and more. The program runs very much by a step-by-step structure.
Srivatsa Ramaswami is the longest standing student of the legendary Shri T. Krishnamacharya (the Grandfather of modern Yoga), outside of the teacher’s immediate family. His teacher training is composed of traditional vinyasa yoga, in-depth pranayama, meditation, sanskrit chants and mantra, philosophy (he is renowned for his incredible teachings and chanting of the Yoga Sutras), and much more. For many years, Ramaswami has been offering a 200 hour program annually in California, USA, along with training programs throughout India. 2015 marked the last 200 hour, month long, intensive in California, and now Ramaswami travels globally offering 100 hour programs to advanced students, advanced teachers, and those looking to become a teacher. His training is Yoga Alliance accredited. If you have an interest in the very traditional and timeless wisdom of Yoga, then studying under one of the great masters like Ramaswami is a true blessing.
For many years, Les was one of San Francisco’s most popular and sought-after teachers. Nowadays, he lives in Ubud, Bali, and teaches around the world. He offers a 200 hour program out of Ubud annually, which is always a sell out. The training includes a focus on: vinyasa, anatomy, alignment, pranayama, philosophy, assisting, and sequencing. Les has a faculty of teachers assist in presenting his trainings. You can check out his website for more information. The 200 hour training is accredited by Yoga Alliance.
Jayaprada Radhika is an international yoga teacher trainer with experience in many different healing modalities. Spending many years in New Zealand and Australia, she is renowned for her challenging and spiritually rewarding programs in India – occurring multiple times per year. Radhika Yoga offers a 200 hour training, which is Yoga Alliance accredited. As of 2016, the Radhika Yoga teacher training programs will be offered in the beautiful surrounds of Thailand. The course program offers: Ashtanga vinyasa, inversions, Yogic philosophy and energetics, studies of the Bhagavad Gita, koshas, mantra, meditation, kirtan, Yoga Sutras, pranayama, power vinyasa sequencing, yin yoga, and more.
Based in Sydney, Australia, BodyMindLife offers yoga teacher training programs at the 200, 350 and 500 hour levels. Their programs are fully accredited by both Yoga Australia and Yoga Alliance. The course content includes: Power Vinyasa, sequencing, assisting, yoga therapy, sutras, meditation, and more. Trainings can be completed in an intensive format and also by modules over an extended period of time.
Originally from the US, Cat has been practicing yoga and meditation since she was 18 years old. Her training programs are offered in the beauty of Ubud, Bali, and include a 200 hour and also an advanced teacher training. During a course you can expect to cover: assisting and adjustments, body reading, business skills, meditation, pranayama, philosophy, yoga history, slow flow vinyasa, hatha, basic anatomy, intro to pre-natal, energetics, working with injuries, working with private students, yin yoga, and practice teaching.
A note on the lineages of IYENGAR YOGA and ASHTANGA YOGA:
Studying either Iyengar Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga is really a life long commitment, particularly so if you want to become a teacher. Training under these lineages requires essentially an internship style commitment, and definitely a long term one. It takes a very dedicated practice, consistency and commitment. Hence, why so many Iyengar and Ashtanga teachers are of a high standard (although I know that statement could be challenged in some instances). These two systems are very different from each other in their approach, style, and methodology. However, they have processes in place to create the very important mentorship relationship, studying closely with a senior teacher, to maintain the sincerity of the system. I cannot speak directly to the training experience of either, although I’ve practiced both styles and am friends with teachers from both lineages. Would I recommend a path of Iyengar or Ashtanga studies? Absolutely. If you feel very drawn to either of these ‘styles’ of yoga, then I suggest looking to the path of training now to give you a vision. To be considered for any kind of teacher training or internship, you will need a regular practice under a local senior teacher as an absolute starting point.
This short-list will continue to be updated over time, so go ahead and bookmark it for your reference in future. I really hope that it’s given you a little bit of guidance for your path ahead! Don’t forget to let me know in the comments below if you’ve already done an epic yoga teacher training, and tell us WHY it was so life changing (The teaching faculty? Or course content?). Someone else might benefit from your insight.
Wishing you all the guidance and life-changing experiences you’re longing for,
P.S: If you’re a new teacher, or an experienced yoga teacher looking for more inspiration and accountability, you might be interested in my Mentorship Program.