Monday, September 10, 2012

Yoga; Choosing a YTT Program

I talked about this a little while ago - my decision to JUST DO IT. Sign up for teacher training, become a certified yoga instructor and share one of the things that keeps me sane with the world.

Tree Pose
I started my research about a month ago and found a few great options for teacher training. Here are some of the factors that went into my decision making (not in order of importance):

1) Schedule - a lot of programs have intense schedules. Some are 4 weeks straight, all day, 5 days a week. Some are 6 months long, Friday night, all day Saturday, all day Sunday. Some are one midweek night, Sat & Sun. Some are 10 months long, one weekend a month. You get the idea. This was pretty discouraging for me. Weeknights are time to "get sh*t done" - laundry, dishes, organizing, etc - so weekends are the only real relaxing time I get to spend with family. One weekend a month programs appealed to me, but would also take a lot longer to complete than I hoped.

Another key factor here is that I knew I wanted to get started as soon as possible. A lot of smaller studios offer only one or two trainings each year - many of which start in January. Something I needed to consider here was, if I waited until January - depending on the length of the program - when would I complete my certification? March? June? November 2013? I was able to find a few programs that started in October (as in next month) and really honed in on those studios. Would their program work with my needs...

2) Studio Vibe - This is both easier and more difficult to describe. I knew right off the bat, I needed to find a studio I meshed with - a place I didn't feel judged or like I was judging, with open-minded, and open-hearted faculty and students who made me feel warm and welcome and comfortable. I talked to some amazingly talented and educated yoga personalities in my research. I also found that some studios I was so excited about because they fit some of my other needs/criteria so well, were not necessarily the right vibe for me.

3) Corporate V. Small Studio - This is kind of a continuation of point #2. Corporate studios are going to have very different vibes than small privately owned studios. A big thing to consider for me when choosing between the two was "which will allow me the opportunity to teach as soon as possible?" Time is of the essence for me - if we haven't established this already. The bigger corporate studios, like YogaWorks and Core Power offer great programs with phenomenal instructors, but one thing I learned was that in order to teach at these studios post-200 hr certification, you need additional certification. Core Power requires you to take an additional CPY teacher certification and apply for an internship, where you will be paid as an intern to teach classes at their studio. In order to teach at YogaWorks, you do not need to complete a YogaWorks certification, but you do need to have completed an additional 300 hr advanced teacher certification.

On the other hand, some small studios don't offer you the opportunity to teach either. Some studios will have you "tag team teaching" - you and a few other soon-to-be teachers take turns teaching a single class. So, its important to find a studio that fits your future teaching needs.
Yogi Bear Yoga

4) Cost - Ok, lets just open this up with some honesty. Becoming a Yoga Alliance Certified yoga instructor is expensive. You want to think, "I've been taking yoga for a thousand years. Can't I just take a test and start teaching? Why does that cost so much money?" Lets instead think about it like this, you're becoming a teacher. Getting a degree of any kind aint cheap. People spend tens of thousands of dollars becoming "certified" in their chosen field.

Now that I've justified myself to you totally unnecessarily, lets talk some numbers. The lowest price I found for YTT in my area was $2,200 and the highest was $3,800, but as I did more research I found that these studios prices are actually a lot closer to each other than some of the lower priced folks would like you to think. These less expensive programs usually also made you buy your own source material, and require you to pay for classes at their studio. The more expensive programs usually included books and unlimited classes.

The most common price I was running into at these studios was $2,750 (if you sign up X amount of days prior to program start), then they increased in increments of approx. $250. If you pay in full by the start date, $3,000, if you pay in full by the end of the program, $3,250.

We're all money conscious - though some more than others - so these are things we have to think about. Doing a payment plan and allotting $X/month to YTT works best for some people. Others, like me, would rather save the money beforehand, hand it all over at once, and save some dough in the long run.

5) Location - I don't know why I left this one to the end. Maybe because it's kind of a no-brainer? It was important for me to pick a program that I didn't have to drive very far to get to. I found some AMAZING programs I probably would have loved in Santa Monica and Burbank, but that meant spending extra hours in the car however many days every week.  So, on top of my limited home/relax/family time, I would also be spending more time in the car. If you have more free time than I do, distance may not matter as much, and you may have the freedom to pick a program simply because you liked it the best, but for me location mattered a lot. Luckily, I didn't have to sacrifice an amazing program to stay close to home.

Luckily for me, I found a program that fit all of my needs. It meets one weeknight a week and one full weekend day, plus two full weekends, runs 14 weeks, has amazing instructors who are warm and relateable,   affords you the opportunity to teach beginning as a substitute based on preparedness, is reasonably priced & allows me to take classes with the senior instructors for free and all other instructors at a hugely discounted rate, books/source materials are provided by the studio, and its 5 minutes from my house.

I lucked out. I signed up last Wednesday. We start October 3rd.

Have I mentioned I'm excited?

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