This easy to read guide allows you to break down the steps into becoming a yoga teacher.
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I did my first Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) course in Doi Saket, Thailand over 4 years ago after 9 years of practicing yoga. Then after teaching for 2 years, I did my second YTT in India.
I’ve also attended a few retreats myself and numerous workshops around the world. There is something very beautiful about setting the time aside to be in a training and something even more beautiful to be in a foreign land with new people about to embark on the same journey with you.
Here are my top 5 reasons on why you should do your yoga teacher training in Asia.
#1 The Cost
The total cost of the training is comparable to doing it back home in Canada where the trainings are about $3000 over 2 or 3 months depending on how the programs are structured. Except, it doesn’t include your accommodation and food.
My expenses in Canada at the time were $1500 a month ($900 for rent and the rest for food, transport etc). It was more like $1800 on the months where I went out more. So if I were to do a training in Canada over 4 months it would be cost of living plus the training which is (1500 x 3 months) + 3000 for the training = $7,500.
It sounds crazy but, if I flew to Asia and did the training it would be cheaper.
1,200 for a flight (you could get cheaper with some flight deals) + 3,000 for the training = $4,200.
Now, you would need to take the time off work and have someone taking over your lease while you are gone but even if you fronted up your own lease for a month, you’d still save money from cost of living (food and expenses). So it would cost you 4,200 + one months’ rent = 5,100 in my case. Still a savings of $2,400 plus a holiday!!
Now, of course this option isn’t for everyone if your rent is high and you are not willing to quit your job.
#2 Combining Your YTT with a Holiday
You have that time off work and you need a holiday anyway! So why not combine the two? These destination trainings are often retreat-like in nature and you will have spare time to explore and relax when you are not committing sutras to memory.
Why not get your training done in the warm tropical sun, detach from work and allow yourself to completely focus on your studies.
If you can’t take the entire 25 days off to do a training, lots of schools (like this one) allow you to do the trainings in segments (in 50-hr or 100-hr segments), eventually accumulating to the hours you need.
#3 Experience a Spiritual Culture
There’s something quite different about eastern cultures. The spirituality there is unparalleled to that in the west. Watch as monks walk barefoot in the morning begging for alms. Let the temples teach you how mankind continues to built structures to house the deities.
Yoga after all comes from India. I would recommend everyone visit India at lease once in their life. But if you are sensitive to extreme poverty and suffering, then Thailand and Bali are your next best bets, both of which has excellent infrastructure and facilities. It’s a good transitional travel destination before India and Nepal.
#4 Immersion into Yogic Community
There is something beautiful about immersion into a routine and schedule, especially when it comes to yoga teacher trainings. I loved the fact that I saw the same people everyday for a month.
It gave me a sense that I was completely immersed into the yogic community and lifestyle. From meditation every morning with them, eating all my vegetarian meals with them, and exploring together. It felt like a family.
#5 Long Lasting Friendships and Memories that Will Last you a Lifetime.
And that family brought amazing memories that I cherish until today. The first and second trainings are events that I will never forget and will do it again in a heartbeat.
I’ve made life long friends, some whom I’ve seen again (some more than once) and some who I am planning to see.
These friends are so special to me and we connected at such a pivotal moment in all our lives, this connection is unparalleled to any other. A group of 20 or so individuals all wanting to be “yoga teachers.” Oh boy! Some of us never actually wanted to be teachers but wanted to experience the immersion, which also worked out well.
So if you’re on the fence whether you should do a training in North America, Australia, NZ or Europe, I hope this article helped and I hope you do your training in the East. You will not regret it.
Whenever I tell someone I’m a yoga teacher, the first question they ask me is what kind of yoga do you teach?
Now this is a tricky question for me because (A) I know what they mean and (B) because yoga is 5,000 discipline that has tremendously evolved semantically in this day an age.
To answer in currents terms (post 1980s after yoga was introduced to the west) where yoga is known as a physical exercise, the “types” of yoga can be divided into the following:
Hatha Yoga is the division of the yogic discipline that describes postures (asanas) in details as part of the solution to keeping the physical body healthy, as well as meditative postures. In this sense, every physical type of yoga is hatha yoga.
However, when a class is advertised as Hatha Class, it generally means that you will get a gentle introduction to the most basic yoga postures.
A yoga style that follows the teaching style of B.K.S. Iyengar, a huge contributor to modern yoga as he brought a systemization to yoga postures. He can be credited with highlighting the importance of alignment and introduced props such as blocks, straps and blankets to assist individual alignment and he understood the differences between many body types.
Ashtanga / Ashtanga-Vinyasa / Mysore-Style Ashtanga
Made popular by late K. Pattabhi Jois (known as “Mysore-style”), the class starts with a series of sun salutations, followed by a series of pre-determined series of postures which students are expected to know.
This is most physically demanding yoga classes out there with advanced twists, binds and inversions.
Vinyasa / Flow
From the more cardiovascular sun salutations of the Ashtanga yoga, birthed the Vinyasa classes. Vinyasa classes incorporate many postures into the class but always cycling through a section of the sun salutation “vinyasa” (downward dog, plank, chaturanga, upward dog, downward dog).
This is probably the most popular type of yoga because its constant movement makes it dance-like.
The type of yoga you find in gyms.
With elements of Ashtanga Vinyasa, these classes are made of power postures to build strength. They tend to useyogic postures that incorporate lunges (warriors), squats (chair pose) and balancing poses.
Bikram Yoga / Hot Yoga
First made popular by Bikram Choudry, they consisted of 26 postures performed in sequence in a 40-degree Celcius enclosed room to mimic the heat in India. It became really popular in the west (especially in colder countries) because performing yoga in warm room reduced muscle strain from the lack of a warmup.
From his innovation, other styles of yoga outside Bikram’s prescribed 26-posture sequence, were then performed in hot rooms and marketed simply as hot yoga.
Yin Yoga / Restorative
Drawing its name from the Chinese concept of Yin (slow moving energy) and Yang (fast moving energy), a yin yoga class focuses on long hold postures intended to stretch the hamstrings, back, shoulders and open of hips, shoulders and chest.
Using props, class attendees can expect to feel more relaxed and restored after class.
Kundalini classes focus on the spiritual side of yoga. Cleansing exercises (kriyas) are performed in addtion to mantra chanting, meta meditation, laughing, shouting, embracing sadness and much more.
Now, all that being said, as I mentioned in the beginning of the post, yoga is an ancient discipline that encompasses more that just physical postures but also meditation, way of thinking, approach to life, nutrition, breathing techniques, cleansing techniques and much more than than.
After all, the ancient yogi had 5,000 years to describe what it is, so it’s impossible to answer in a short article, let alone an entire lifetime. Yet, yoga has true benefits no matter what style you’re into, yoga does share a common goal and that is achieving peace and balance.
And we’re all down for that.