A big question, one that in all honesty nobody will ever be able to answer for you but its a question I get approached about a lot and so I felt inspired to to share my thoughts here.
Your YTT (Yoga Teacher Training) it incredibly personal and has to be suited to your personal style of practice. So there’s a few things to think about when you’re looking to book it.
What’s your favourite style?
Don’t worry if you’re not sure, maybe think about who your favourite teacher to practice with is, and ask them how they’d explain their style (or what their favourite style is) and it’ll help you get an answer to this.
Do you want to go abroad?
You can do your training ANYWHERE you want to in the world and many people, myself included choose to go abroad. This can be for a variety of reasons. Personally I chose to go to India, because I always knew I wanted to do my YTT in Ashtanga and it felt like it had to be done in Ashtanga’s birthplace of Mysore… so it was a no brainer really.
You can do it on an exotic beach in India, Thailand or Bali, or there’s some beautiful European destinations you can opt for. All the ones that we travel abroad for are an intensive style of practice, commonly fitting your 200hrs of training into 3-4 weeks. For some this is ideal, its all done condensed and in the matter of a couple of weeks of annual leave you’re qualified! However this doesn’t work for everyone, maybe you can’t get that time off work or you can’t be away from your home/responsibilities for that long so for you you’ll want to look closer to home.
Maybe you’d prefer to do your training in the UK?
I looked in to these when arranging my YTT, there’s LOADS. You can choose from ones with a week or two week intensive, often in London or some beautiful rural setting and then the rest is split up over weekends and usually spread about 6-12months. There’s benefits to these which I’ve witnessed from people I know being that due to the sheer time volume that it takes to complete, the study that you do can often me a lot more in depth (although based on your learning style you may not say this is a benefit)
What should you do to help you choose?
Try different studios, classes and as many different teachers as you can..absorb their styles and choose which is your favourite, which classes make your heart sing and which leave you feeling like it wasn’t quite right (because we all know this happens!) as humans we wil have preferred learning styles, therefore preferred teaching styles and that may be that you, like myself, love the structure and discipline of a style such as Ashtanga where we repeat a series of postures until they become so ingrained in your muscle memory that you could do the sequence with your eyes closed. Or maybe you like to turn on some music, roll out your mat and see where your body goes, enjoying the freedom and flow of a more vinyasa based class.
These are just to name a few of the most basic/common styles but of course there’s so many and all teachers are incredibly unique. So this is why I recommend testing out as many as you possibly can (within reason) to really hone in on what you prefer from your practice and then you can ask those teachers where they trained and take your research on from there.
Don’t worry, its only a certificate
At the end of the day your YTT is just a certificate (yes I’m sorry but it is!!). The real learning and growing is done before and after this course..its in the 100s of hours we put into our practice before we even embark on our teaching journey, then the classes we create fresh out of training, with confusing transitions and overcomplicated cue’s.. this is where we really find our own style and run with it. So if you choose a course that doesn’t end up being as magical as you may have dreamed it would be.. don’t fret, you’ve still had a really special experience, you’ve gained a skill nobody can take away from you and you’re only at the very start of your teaching journey!
I studied under Ramesh Shetty at his Shala in Mysore, it was an Ashtanga based training and so we broke down and studied in depth the set Ashtanga sequence, we focussed on it’s cue’s, Sanskrit counting and alignment specialised to this practice. Ramesh is an incredibly knowledgable teacher and I had the most amazing 4 weeks, Mysore is truly a beautiful and really special place to stay and explore plus as I’ve mentioned already I LOVE Ashtanga, its routine and structure really connect for me. However what this course didn’t do was teach us how to create sequences, how to transition from posture to posture and think outside the box. For me I always knew I wouldn’t teach only Ashtanga for several reasons, and so once back from India I have had to really delve deeper into postures, sequences and do a lot of self learning to be able to create fresh and creative content.
For others, one of my really good friends for example who qualified shortly before me in a vinyasa based YTT, this is a huge focus for them and so creating 100s of sequences comes natural to her… so do let this be a factor in your choice, try to contact people who have actually been on the course (maybe see how’s checked in there on social media and reach out to them for example to get an impartial independent review).
And remember, however you choose to study and where you choose to go.. will be exactly perfect for you right at that moment in time.