afriske

Affording YTT

10 posts in this topic

Hey everyone! 

I'd love to be able to teach yoga. I'm a college student and want to help other students get involved with yoga so they can have healthier bodies and minds and I want to be able to connect with them because I'm in college too.

Being a college student, however, I can't afford teacher training. It seems I'd only be able to afford online. For one thing, I don't have the money to travel and I'm in an area where there are few ytt. 

Anyone have any advice for affording ytt? What trainings are affordable? Is online acceptable as training? Any advice about how you guys have done it, that would be awesome! 

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I have no personal experience, but I ran into Question #2 while I was searching the ybc blog archives for a different question:

http://yogabycandace.com/blog/2015/1/25/ask-a-yoga-question?rq=online teacher training

I do think your circumstances are different in that you need it now while you're still in college, so you can't really wait to save up for an in-person one.

Why don't you ask the online programs you're considering if you can speak to graduates of the programs for their experience?

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Hi afriske! That's awesome you are inspired and want to teach! I followed yogafire's link to Candace's blog and have to say that I absolutely agree with what she wrote. Everything.

Here's my two cents:

1. Regarding YA registration... I'm a newly minted RYT-200. I debated even registering with YA because in most instances it's not needed (from my experience in the Chicago area). The caveat is that studios and gyms may be hesitant to hire a teacher who isn't experienced, and the RYT designation may allow you to get in an in when you otherwise would not.

2. If you go the online route, I would suggest talking to local yoga teachers about the possibility of mentoring with them in some way while you are completing the training. Maybe there is something you could barter (a skill, babysitting, etc.), or maybe you can volunteer at the studio in exchange for the opportunity to learn hands-on adjustments and practice teaching what you're learning to other teachers in order to get constructive feedback.

3. Watch a lot of yoga videos, take a lot of classes, and practice developing your own yoga teaching voice. Practice instructing yourself out loud.

4. Film yourself practicing yoga and evaluate your form (ideally combine this with #3)

I think that you can learn how to instruct and cue without doing an in-person TT (Rachel Brathen aka "Yoga Girl" did, although she eventually enrolled in a program), but you will have to find a way to overcome the fact that you aren't getting feedback, which is super important. I would suggest that you work yourself through Mark Stephen's "Teaching Yoga" before enrolling in a program because it will give you a good foundation and a sense of what to consider when deciding between programs.

Another consideration has to do with what kind of yoga you want to teach (and practice). Some studios aren't going to be excited about a Core Power or YogaFit program, whereas the box gyms probably won't care in the slightest. Ultimately, though, if you are a motivated student and seek out opportunities to supplement your official training, it probably won't matter where you study. Just know that programs differ wildly in what they offer and how they offer it, and this difference is likely to be most pronounced as it applies to the philosophical elements.

Finally, maybe a module-based training is a potential compromise? Wanderlust and Shiva Rea (and probably others) offer them. The benefit of these two particular options is that they appear to be very solid programs, and the modules can be completed over a longer time period. You can pay for one module at a time, and the fact that you are enrolled in such a well-known (and arguably respected) program would probably give you an easier in at the local studios and gyms even while you are still training.

Anyway, teaching yoga isn't rocket science, but you do need to practice in front of teachers and peers who can provide constructive criticism. If you plan to offer adjustments (you don't have to do this, btw, although expectations regarding them vary greatly) you need practice doing so as well. Hope this helps. Namaste!

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Thank you both for your responses. I would like to be mentored or taught the adjustments and things in person.

Why don't you ask the online programs you're considering if you can speak to graduates of the programs for their experience?

that's an idea that I should delve into more. I've just heard bad things from people about doing it online in general but from what I've heard it's not necessarily bad, but people assume such things. I saw this guy on a different forum raging about how online isn't real yoga training and whoever does it will never be a yoga teacher until they do proper training. He scared me I'll admit. I've heard good things about some programs though.

bottom line is that I don't want anyone to get hurt because I did online training. Not to say this fellow on that forum was correct, but I don't want anyone to get hurt from my lack of knowledge. Although, the online programs I looked at have extensive anatomy training with books and such so I feel if I paid attention to that especially it wouldn't be such a problem. 

Hi afriske! That's awesome you are inspired and want to teach! I followed yogafire's link to Candace's blog and have to say that I absolutely agree with what she wrote. Everything.

Here's my two cents:

1. Regarding YA registration... I'm a newly minted RYT-200. I debated even registering with YA because in most instances it's not needed (from my experience in the Chicago area). The caveat is that studios and gyms may be hesitant to hire a teacher who isn't experienced, and the RYT designation may allow you to get in an in when you otherwise would not.

2. If you go the online route, I would suggest talking to local yoga teachers about the possibility of mentoring with them in some way while you are completing the training. Maybe there is something you could barter (a skill, babysitting, etc.), or maybe you can volunteer at the studio in exchange for the opportunity to learn hands-on adjustments and practice teaching what you're learning to other teachers in order to get constructive feedback.

3. Watch a lot of yoga videos, take a lot of classes, and practice developing your own yoga teaching voice. Practice instructing yourself out loud.

4. Film yourself practicing yoga and evaluate your form (ideally combine this with #3)

I think that you can learn how to instruct and cue without doing an in-person TT (Rachel Brathen aka "Yoga Girl" did, although she eventually enrolled in a program), but you will have to find a way to overcome the fact that you aren't getting feedback, which is super important. I would suggest that you work yourself through Mark Stephen's "Teaching Yoga" before enrolling in a program because it will give you a good foundation and a sense of what to consider when deciding between programs.

Another consideration has to do with what kind of yoga you want to teach (and practice). Some studios aren't going to be excited about a Core Power or YogaFit program, whereas the box gyms probably won't care in the slightest. Ultimately, though, if you are a motivated student and seek out opportunities to supplement your official training, it probably won't matter where you study. Just know that programs differ wildly in what they offer and how they offer it, and this difference is likely to be most pronounced as it applies to the philosophical elements.

Finally, maybe a module-based training is a potential compromise? Wanderlust and Shiva Rea (and probably others) offer them. The benefit of these two particular options is that they appear to be very solid programs, and the modules can be completed over a longer time period. You can pay for one module at a time, and the fact that you are enrolled in such a well-known (and arguably respected) program would probably give you an easier in at the local studios and gyms even while you are still training.

Anyway, teaching yoga isn't rocket science, but you do need to practice in front of teachers and peers who can provide constructive criticism. If you plan to offer adjustments (you don't have to do this, btw, although expectations regarding them vary greatly) you need practice doing so as well. Hope this helps. Namaste!

I actually thought trying to find a mentor would be a good idea. I'm in the process of trying to find one near my university. 

I have started to physically make adjustments to my poses and muttering to myself while practicing and I also watched a couple videos on alignment specifically. I'm trying to find more anatomy/alignment videos. Do you guys know of any good videos for teaching purposes?

I was going to try to film myself as well to see. 

Modules might be possible. There are a few places actually decently close by that may work. They are definitely more feasible in terms of finances but it would still be hard since I'm in college to make sure I saved up enough, mostly because I have to save money for future survival haha.

I would like to have constructive criticism. So ill continue to look for a mentor. Maybe I'd be able to film myself and a teacher or two could look it over too if mentoring isn't an option?

I really appreciate your input guys, thank you. If you have any other opinions or advice, let me know. I just love yoga so much that I can't wait to learn more.

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I think it is great that you wish to learn more and maybe teach as well. And taking it seriously.
My disclaimer: I am not a teacher and I am not ready for that.
Way back in ‘the good old days (haha!)’ like 5 years ago there was no Yoga Alliance or online training. I am not exactly sure how long they have been around but it hasn’t been very long. Before that people would go to class for a few years and at some point their teacher would say to them you are ready to become a teacher. Then they would work on becoming a teacher.
 
You wrote that you want to introduce others to yoga and help them in some way with that.
 
I think the question to ask is: How is a piece of paper from online training going to help you with that? And help others? It is not asked in a negative or positive way. Don’t just ask this question for online training ask it for all training. All ways have both good and bad.
 
This is a link from International Yoga Alliance For Ethics  (not to be confused with Yoga Alliance). The entire website is very worthwhile.
This is just a small part of what is in there. You have to read through more of the website to understand why they are so serious about this. There are others ways to injure a person than just physically.
 
Section 4: The Ethics of Touch
(b) Bringing awareness to an area with a neutral touch, not moving tissue, after getting informed consent, is undertaken after no less than five years of experience working as a yoga teacher/therapist.
Weight-bearing touch with students is outside the scope of practice for yoga teachers unless they have accrued 1000 hours of education and training and five years of experience.
 
So you are right to be concerned about learning properly and safely.
 
Edited by Anahata
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How about this idea.
There is an huge oversupply of yoga teachers. Some have experience, some don’t, and many can not find a place to teach. Some just want to teach and don’t care about getting paid for it.
Often colleges and universities have much facilities available for students to use for free. All you have to find is a free public space at your college.
Organize some free classes. The hard work will be working out all the little details to make it happen.
You wouldn’t be teaching now but maybe someday you will. But you have still accomplished your goal of introducing people to yoga. And would be involved even though you are not teaching right now.
And maybe you would meet some teachers that would help guide you as continue with the training process.
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Afriske, I had a few final (mostly incoherent) thoughts...

1. The experience required of the teacher is going to be vastly different, depending on where you want to teach. "Yoga" means something very different to many folks...and the physical practice in a vacuum isn't hard to learn how to instruct.

2. Teachers should only teach what they know. I don't teach handstand because I haven't yet nailed it. I began studying yoga in 1999, but I wouldn't feel comfortable teaching a lot of the elements in my own practice - including many types of pranayama and many inversions - simply because I haven't mastered them enough to do so. Plus, knowing how to do something and knowing how to teach something differ.

3. In my opinion, the greatest hurdle an inexperienced teacher will face is being confronted with someone who needs extra care due to physical injuries or limitations, etc. In terms of safety, it doesn't matter if the person's back arm isn't parallel to the floor in warrior 2 (I blogged about this recently), but if a person has a bad shoulder or wrist and you move her into down dog you could cause some serious damage. Knowing how to deal with these sorts of things is absolutely crucial if you are going to teach, and a two-hour workshop isn't going to cut it.

4. The yoga landscape has morphed into something very different today than it once was. Students seek different things, and what is important to one student won't matter to another. Some students care very deeply about the less tangible characteristics of a class and a teacher, and you probably aren't going to be able to reach those students for many years. Other students just want a fitness class that allows them to stretch, sweat, and requires a yoga mat - in this instance, the teacher's training is essentially just needs to be on par with any other fitness class instructor's. A lot of students want something in between...which I'd guess is probably the majority of the students who take yoga classes.

5. You do not have to offer adjustments (and shouldn't if you don't know what you are doing), but many students expect them.

6. Teaching private clients may be a great way to go (once you have completed a training) when your experience is limited...they also happen to pay a lot more. I have a client who is elderly and has a litany of physical problems. We actually don't even do much yoga in our sessions! But, I am very well prepared for her because I am not trying to navigate a large class with several different ability levels, and one hour with her pays what three or four studio classes pays (plus no overhead, aside from insurance).

7. My wise teacher told me that a yoga teacher training program isn't going to really prepare you to teach - it's just the beginning. Be hungry to learn, humble so no one gets hurt, and always teach to the student where she's at.

Sorry if this sounds like a random pile of crap. I guess the takeaway is that I'd really recommend soul-searching what it is that you really want to share with others, and what the yoga you want to share looks like. Knowing the answers to these questions will help you figure out your next move. There are a ton of ways you can share yoga with others (teach, blog, work the front desk at a studio, etc.).

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Here is my personal experience with online YTT. 

 I also wanted to pursue teacher training but couldn't afford it thanks to my ridiculous student loan debt. I practice at a very small studio and the owner/instructor approached me to teach on an as needed basis. She mentored me and I took a basic online certification course before I started teaching.  I only teach what I know and I don't offer adjustments. She took all of my early classes to offer constructive criticism and eventually I began to teach on my own. I now teach 1-2 classes a week. 

The program I used was intended to be roughly 6-8 weeks long and self-paced. There was a test at the end that you had to pass in order to receive the certificate by mail at the completion of the course. I don't feel like the online course was awful but it wasn't incredibly useful either. It taught me the Sanskrit names of poses, the background of yoga, 7 limbs of yoga, benefits and basic alignment of the asanas, and a very basic run down of physiology/anatomy. I have a feeling a few good books on yoga could have been just as informative. The online program gave me the piece of paper the studio owner wanted and I suppose gave me some minor level of "legitimacy" as a teacher. I am not a big fan of online education programs in general and I am honestly hesitant to call myself a yoga teacher since I don't have a real teacher training background. I'll admit I'm a bit embarrassed of my online certification! It served the purpose intended but as with anything else, you get what you pay for. Having said that, I do think I am a good teacher and good fit for what the students at this particular studio want to get out of their practice. Good luck with whatever path you decide to take!

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 I am honestly hesitant to call myself a yoga teacher since I don't have a real teacher training background. I'll admit I'm a bit embarrassed of my online certification! It served the purpose intended but as with anything else, you get what you pay for. Having said that, I do think I am a good teacher and good fit for what the students at this particular studio want to get out of their practice.

You sound like a yoga teacher to me. Just sayin' ;)

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