What are the differences between Yoga Teacher Trainings?

What are the differences between Yoga Teacher Trainings?

Over the course of my yoga teaching career I have taken three different Yoga Teacher Trainings as well as several workshops and classes. Here is my experience from taking different Yoga Teacher Trainings, and my thoughts on each one.

Everyone sets out to take a yoga teacher training (YTT) for different reasons.  Just like there are many different types of Asana (yoga pose) practices, there are many different types of trainings.

There are 200hr YTT programs to meet a variety of schedules and finances.  There are full time intensive trainings programs, as well ones that last 9 weeks, 14 weeks, and full time programs that are spread out over six months to one year; just to name a few.

There are also 300 and 500hr YTT programs; and specialty trainings for Children’s and Prenatal Yoga Teachers.

While all Teacher Trainings are different, all Registered Yoga Schools (RYS) must meet certain educational standards to be registered with the Yoga Alliance. Yoga Alliance is an organization that certifies Yoga Teachers who have completed a YTT with a (RYS).

The very first YTT took was a duration of 9 weeks. We met one weekday evening and every weekend all day.  The main focus was on teaching a certain type of yoga. We were taught 2 types of Pranayama and 26 yoga postures. We also learned the Sanskrit names for each. We learned about alignment, adjusting and cueing. The sequence was practiced over and over and we spent a tremendous amount of time learning to teach.  We learned about the yogic ethical precepts called Yamas and Niyama.  We were required to write only one paper.

The second Yoga Teacher Training that I took was just about the same. It covered a different style of yoga with more alignment and sequencing information.  The lectures were vague and didn’t make much sense at the time.  There was not a tremendous amount of time studying the inner workings of yoga.  They brought in the President of Sanskrit studies from New York City for an entire day, and brought in a few more guest teachers that skimmed over a few things.  I didn’t have to write a paper… huh?  By the end I felt as though something was missing, but I wasn’t sure, so I moved on to take my third 200 hour YTT.

This yoga teacher training was definitely a life changing experience.  We bonded and established friendships.  We met once a week and one weekend a month from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon at a retreat type setting in the mountains.  There was a variety of teachers from different linages and they all had something different to offer.  One of our required the readings was The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  This text should be a required reading in every YTT and if it’s not, you should find another training.  We covered more about the inner workings of yoga, meditation, chanting and pranayama techniques. We studied an enormous amount of history, philosophy, anatomy, kinesiology and the energy body. I wrote several papers which I feel is an important part of retaining information and being able to share it with others.  We were taught different teaching styles and I was able to develop my own yoga legs and gained the ability to teach to different populations.

I am grateful this training was spread out over several months because the amount of information was overwhelming and it would have been too much to cover in a shorter period of time.  As the months rolled by I realized I had missed out on the true meaning of Yoga in my previous trainings, and how it affects one’s everyday life.  I am still a student and each day I learn more about myself and all that is around me.

Taking a yoga teacher training is an emotional journey, and as I said before, a life changing experience. When choosing… try to remember it is not just about the pose.

Kosha Yoga in Littleton CO offers a yoga teacher training that covers the depth and breadth of yoga, including yoga poses, yoga sutras, Pranayama, Meditation and Ayurveda.



Terri Mairley

Yoga Coordinator at Kosha Yoga, Littleton Colorado

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