What to Expect From a Reputable Yoga Teacher Training

By Jade Lizzie
Published: March 24, 2017 | Last updated: August 26, 2020
Key Takeaways

Yoga teacher training can vary from one lineage to another. However, they all should cover the basics of yoga philosophy, yoga asana, correct alignment, class sequencing and professional conduct.

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All yoga teacher trainings differ in the scope of their content, how it's delivered, and the style and structure in which the material is presented. There are, however, several key takeaways you can expect from a reputable teacher training curicullum. (Learn more in What are The Different Kinds of Yoga Teacher Training Formats?)


Yoga Philosophy

Learning about the philosophy behind yoga may include studying traditional yogic texts, such as the YogaSutras and the Bhagavad Gita. You may also learn about yoga's philosophy of the body's energy systems, about prana, nadis and the chakras, or the ayurvedic system of doshas. Yogic philosophy is a deep and fascinating subject matter. When we apply it to ourselves and our modern lives, it raises a host of questions. Take the opportunity to discuss them at length with your teachers and fellow students. (Read more in What Can the Chakras Tell Us?)

Yoga Asanas and Anatomy

Expect to take your knowledge of how to take asanas to the next level. You'll learn how to guide students into poses, how to give them cues to move deeper when appropriate and how to give adjustments and assists. The anatomy of yoga section of your teacher training will likely include learning about the different muscles, bones and types of joints that are relevant to yoga asana practice and alignment. You may also learn about the respiratory system and other physiological systems such as the endocrine system. (Why is Alignment Important to My Yoga Practice?)


Class Planning and Sequencing

To ensure students have a positive, consistent, and cohesive experience, most yoga styles have their own prescribed method of sequencing a class. You will likely learn how to structure classes in a safe and enjoyable way so that each asana builds on the one before. You may also learn how to weave in philosophic themes and teachings into your class, and how to plan a series of classes in the event you will be giving a workshop. (Learn more in A Vinyasa Sequence for Beginners.)

Facilitation and Delivery

The skills of teaching yoga can sometimes be overlooked, but a good yoga teacher training will cover how to set up appropriate teacher-student relationships, use positive and professional language, hold a safe space for students and make sure your delivery is both professional and authentic. They should also be able to demonstrate to you what good classes and good teaching looks like. (Read about the 5 Qualities of a Good Yoga Teacher.)

Personal Growth

Yoga tends to encourage introspection and yoga teacher training is no exception. Like any period of intense learning, you’re likely to experience an accelerated level of personal growth. Dedicating your time and energy to learning about a subject you are passionate about is a gift. You’ll enjoy the rewards of learning a great deal very quickly, while realizing how much more there is to learn. (Read on in How 500 Hours of Yoga Teacher Training Changed Me.)


Most teacher trainings will encourage you to go deeper into your own yoga and meditation practice. You may find this challenging, and for some people, this is unexpected when they anticipate leaping straight into learning how to teach. However, many trainings work on the premise that you should first learn to practice what you teach. Try to get comfortable with being a student first and a teacher second – the more you can do this, the greater empathy you will have with your own students. (Learn more in What is Beginner's Mind?)

During your training, you may feel a close connection to your teachers and fellow students. The friendships cultivated through yoga teacher trainings are often deep and long-lasting, due to the powerful experience you share. Remember, this is valuable part of any learning experience as well as an opportunity to learn more about yourself. (Try a Guided Meditation for Finding Your Life's Purpose.)

Manage Your Expectations

While it’s reassuring to have some draft of what to expect from a yoga teacher training, they do vary. Many are genuinely transformative experiences that you can’t fully prepare for. In signing up for a yoga teacher training, you are taking a courageous first step. You will get the most from it if you can open yourself up to whatever learning your teachers and fellow students have to offer. So, try to manage your expectations. Know that no yoga teacher training course is going to cover absolutely everything you could possibly want to learn about yoga. There may also be elements of the course that don't resonate with you, and that's okay! Be receptive and embrace new experiences (even if they are out of your comfort zone). This is just one more step in your personal yoga journey. Good luck! (Keep learning in 3 Things You Must do Before Teaching Your First Yoga Class.)

During These Times of Stress and Uncertainty Your Doshas May Be Unbalanced.

To help you bring attention to your doshas and to identify what your predominant dosha is, we created the following quiz.

Try not to stress over every question, but simply answer based off your intuition. After all, you know yourself better than anyone else.

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Written by Jade Lizzie | Yoga teacher, writer and health and wellness geek.

Jade Lizzie

Jade is a yoga teacher, blogger and health and wellness geek. Her mission is to share the happiness that yoga has brought into her life.

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