Teaching yoga: the cost of inner peace?

Becoming a yoga teacher can take just weeks but intensive courses may not be the way to go

Yoga is being embraced by millennials as well as gen X, Y and beyond with a passion at the moment. Photograph: iStock

Yoga is being embraced by millennials as well as gen X, Y and beyond with a passion at the moment. Photograph: iStock

 

No less than five millennia since its inception as a spiritual practice of the Hindu religion, yoga is certainly having a moment. While it hasn’t been unpopular in recent times, it is being embraced by millennials as well as gen X, Y and beyond with a passion at the moment.

So, if you are a regular yoga enthusiast, chances are the thought of undergoing teacher training has crossed your mind at some point. Perhaps as a means to developing a deeper understanding of the philosophies behind it and as a way of improving your postures; maybe with or without an intention to actually teach or work in the business. The first time I had such a thought was 11 years ago while on holidays in Mauritius. I put it on the “someday” list and somehow, someday turned out to be autumn 2019.

Have you ever seen “200-hour yoga instructor” or “500-hour yoga instructor” on your yoga teacher’s Instagram bio or your yoga studio website? The hours refer to the teacher training qualification, not the number of hour-long classes they have taught, which is what I thought it meant for years. 200-hour teacher training is the minimum qualification to enable you to teach yoga and indeed get insured as a yoga teacher. You can complete 200-hour training and then, later on, do 500-hour, or you can go straight to completing the 500-hour training.

“ERYT” stands for experienced registered yoga teacher and this is if you are registered with Yoga Alliance having completed the above training and have taught a minimum number of classes and for a minimum number of years.

Plush studio

These qualifications are internationally accredited and your pal that went to their 200-hour course in an ashram in Rishikesh, India, has the same qualification as someone who did theirs in a plush studio in Dublin.

Teacher training is usually offered in two ways: intensive or over a longer period of time. The intensive can be as short as three weeks.

If you have the time and are reasonably or even temporarily commitment-free, an intensive residential course in another country sounds like an amazing way to fully immerse yourself. If you want your qualification quickly, obviously this is a great option as are you ready to teach within weeks. If you have no plans in this regard, it’s a step up from a retreat or fitness holiday and I know plenty of people who have undertaken yoga teacher training as part of their backpacking/gap year experience. For me, I think it might be overload. I like to fully absorb information slowly and I think by the end of an intensive course, I may need a long break from yoga, it might actually put me off! That being said, never say never.

A quick Google search brings up a massive number of schools in Goa and other parts of India, Europe and beyond. The costs range from about €2,000, excluding flights, and go right up into the many thousands, depending on the location and the level of luxury. If you are more of a south of France than a south of the Himalayas type of person, that’s not a problem.

‘Someday’ mindset

I would recommend getting a personal recommendation or even reaching out to your yoga teachers to ask them for advice. Read as many testimonials as possible, and make sure the venue is legit before you hand over your cash.

Nearer home, there are plenty of non-residential longer courses in Ireland. Typically, these are held over a weekend, one weekend a month for about 10 months usually in the pattern of a standard academic year. This should allow you to incorporate your teacher training into your normal life with some ease. Obviously, this means you need to enrol for September now if you want a qualification by next summer. So, if you are still in the “someday” mindset, missing this year’s intake means you are looking at 2021 to be qualified.

This is the option I am going for. I paid €2,200 which is the early bird price for my local studio in north county Dublin (The Yoga Sanctuary). There are other payment options available, but this works out the cheapest. Having done lots of research, this is an average price for studios in Dublin. I am happy to be going with a studio I know and trust, that’s near where I live and where I practise regularly anyway.

And while I might imagine during Savasana (the eyes-closed relaxation part at the end of class) that I am lying on a beach in Goa, in reality I will be in Malahide.

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