28 Yoga Teacher Training Questions You Should Answer Today to Make Your Decision Easier

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By opening this article, I assume you are on the fence. Should you join the hundreds of thousands of yoga teachers in a new yoga career?

Yoga Teacher Training: The Complete Guide

This article is part of a larger series aimed at helping you along your journey to pick the right teacher training for you.

#1 31 Yoga Teacher Training Questions & Answers (You are here)

#2 Yoga Teacher Training 101

#3 Yoga Teacher Life - Facts & Figures

#4 Yoga Teacher Insurance

#5 Yoga Teacher Training Retreats

#6 Yoga Teacher Business 101

Should you stop logging hours at the office and consider crafting the perfect Instagram-worthy arm balance?

Of course, it is individual for everyone.

We hope these questions will help you to reflect on your own motivation and become aware of the small details that you might not be considering in the heat of “back to school” excitement.

At the very least, finding your answers will help to get you off that uncomfortable fence and onto a comfortable mat, whether you become a teacher or not.

Pre-Training​: Focus on Motivation, Ability & Mindset

happy yoga student

1. Why do you want to start your yoga teacher training?

Do you plan to teach or do you just want to learn more about yoga? Neither is incorrect, but knowing which camp you fall into will help to lead you towards the appropriate training program.

Free Download: Want to keep these questions for later? Just get your free PDF.

If you plan on doing it just for yourself, chances are that you won’t want to wile away many of those hours teaching others.

However, also consider that you might be wrong. You may have no intention of teaching but fall in love with it once you have a couple of classes under your belt.​

Some reasons to start your yoga teaching practice might be to:​

  • Deepen your physical practice​
  • Learn some skills
  • Find your yoga family
  • Challenge yourself mentally and physically
  • Explore your spirituality
  • Become a teacher (duh)


2. Are you committed to daily self-practice?​

This is not crucial for all training programs, but it is a good place to start. It provides a good base for contemplation and also helps you to explore your own limitations and fears.

It also begins the process of becoming an awesome teacher who can create invigorating flows without external motivation (which is the base trick to getting lots of dedicated students).​

Practicing letting your body be the guide prior to the training will help you to see if teaching is something you are genuinely interested in.

Popular yoga teacher Jason Crandell says that you don’t need to have the same degree or intensity as a regular class when you practice at home.

“It’s a lot like cooking,” says Crandell. “Sure, you could make restaurant-caliber food for every meal, but a piece of peanut butter toast now and then will also sustain you quite nicely.”​


Additionally, a well-grounded home practice can save on studio fees if you are saving up for a teacher training program.

We probably don’t have to tell you, but teacher trainings can be expensive.

3. Are you as interested in yoga theory as you are in practicing it?

There is nothing wrong with liking arm balances more than you like yoga philosophy.

However, most teacher training programs will ask you to delve deep, looking into history and relating it to your own modern experience.​

  • Does reading thousand-year-old texts in the quest for enlightenment get you excited?​
  • Do you like the idea of learning more about your anatomy beyond where your hamstrings are?

These are good questions to ask yourself to avoid potential disappointment.

4. Do you feel like you are in a supportive, stable place in your life?​

Before you start the journey of becoming a yoga teacher it helps to take a closer look at various aspects of your life:

  • How is your emotional landscape?
    We have edges in our bodies, which we become aware of as we practice, but emotional edges are also worth honoring. Bernie Clark of yin yoga fame, likes to call this “issues in the tissues.”

    You will certainly explore this in a teacher training, but it is good to explore as a person and continually as a teacher. Good yoga can make us feel raw.
  • ​Can you take the time?
    A yoga teacher training is not just a course that you can breeze in and out of. You need to be able to take time off of work or move around your schedule to make room for theory weekends and practice teaching.

    When you become a teacher, do you have room in your life to add a regular class or two? Without doing this, it is hard to keep your skills up.
  • How are your finances?
    Some yoga teachers have gone into a great deal of debt (2) for their teacher training programs, failing to realize that many first-time teachers are paid just $24 a class on average (3).

    Teacher Lisa Wells declares, “You’ll need to creatively mix teaching in different venues and locations to stitch a living together.”

    Yoga teacher trainings alone start at $2,000 and rapidly climb from there.
Yoga Teacher Salary Graph

Yoga Teacher Salary per Hour - Source: payscale.com

5. Have there been external clues?

If you have put your heart and soul into your yoga time, likely people have noticed.

If someone outside of your ever-supportive partner has suggested that you would be a good teacher, or if your teacher thinks you could take the next step, this might be advice worth heeding.

If people have already asked you to teach them, this might be the universe’s way to suggest that you are ready, grasshopper.​

If there have been no external cues, ask your teacher if you can assist a class.

You can even start or join a Meetup in your city to see if you can get a feel for what it might be like to be a teacher rather than a student.

How to pick the right yoga teacher training for your needs

If it’s just a matter of when as opposed to if, there are still more things to look into. Don’t worry, we have your back.

woman doing warrior pose

6. When should you start your yoga teacher training?​

Even though you might be screaming at the screen, “As soon as possible!” take a step back.

Yoga teacher trainings aren’t going anywhere. You know you are ready to commit to a training when:​

  • You have at least one year of regular yoga experience under your belt​
  • You can put approximately 5% of your time towards teaching, practicing and studying
  • You are clear about the costs and are able to pay for them without incurring debt
  • You are ready to make yoga not only about you - you want to share the practice rather than do more of your own

7. How proficient do you need to be?

Do you speak yoga? When the teacher busts into Sanskrit are you all, “Gotcha,” or do you cheat by following the experienced practitioners?

Some training programs, even at the 200 level, will expect you to walk the yoga walk by coming into the door with a base knowledge.​

  • Could you do a sun salutation all by your lonesome?​
  • Have you read a book on yoga just for the fun of it?
  • If you don’t understand something in a group class, do you ask the teacher or research the topic yourself?

Every program is different: look into the qualifications.

If the program really meshes with you, bulk up your yoga resume to meet it.

8. What experience does the program require?​

Some programs just want passion and someone who will consistently show up.

Others would rather you take classes with the main instructor, or even several years of a consistent practice.​

If absolutely no experience is required and the yoga school would rather know your bank details than your yoga background, consider walking away.

It is a warning sign that someone in a spiritual field cares more about the dollar than the person.​

You want a program with clout and with expectations. During the application process, check that they ask you some questions (or meet you on Skype) rather than admitting you readily.

Depending on the program, these can range from your intentions to your experience.

Are they questions that you would want your own yoga teacher to be aware of?

Put yourself in the shoes of your future students.​

9. Which Certification should you go for?​

There are lots of designations and they all look fancy (everyone likes to put extra letters after their name, even if other people have no idea what those letters mean).

Here are some things to keep in mind:​

10. How important is RYS/RYT and what does it mean?​

registered yoga teacher certificate ryt

RYS stands for Registered Yoga School. This means that they have the ability to make you an RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) under the Yoga Alliance, which is one of the main regulating bodies of yoga teachers.

You can also be a YES (Yoga Exercise Specialist), which will not require as many hours but will limit the amount of work you are able to obtain.

Many studios have RYT as the base hiring expectation, but independent classes couldn’t care less.

If you plan on teaching at a specific studio, you can ask what they expect of their teachers but we recommend to always learn from an authorized teacher.

11. Should you go for 200h, 300h or 500h teacher training?​

200 hours is usually where programs start and is often the minimum requirement for acquiring a job.

300 hours are for the teacher who has already received their 200 hour designation (and is often called “Advanced Yoga Teacher Training”).

500 hours is for the person who wants to do the two together, although many programs recommend teaching before returning for further training.

It will keep your practice fresh, teach you about advanced poses and adjustments and deepen your awareness of Sanskrit and anatomy.​

Think about 200 hours as a Bachelor’s degree and 300 hours as a Bachelor of Honors degree. To become a master you will need to spend 500 hours or more on your training.

Some people like to do them back-to-back while others need a “gap year” to make sure it is the best decision.​

12. How do Online Yoga Teacher Trainings compare to their offline siblings?

Let's take a look at online trainings first:


  • Perfect for people with limited time or resources
  • Often more cost effective
  • Great for students interested in deepening their yoga knowledge with no intention of teaching


  • Difficult to get the perspective of alignment
  • Yoga assists won’t be possible to learn without a real body in front of you
  • You won’t get the opportunity to teach a live class before you become a teacher
  • Many studios won't accept you without a RYT certificate
  • It might be hard to find a yoga teacher insurance without a RYT certificate

And now let's look at offline trainings:


  • Ideal for someone who plans on teaching
  • Often more serious in tone
  • Provides the opportunity to see different bodies up close, recognizing how poses can look dramatically different and still be “right”


  • Requires more diligence, commitment and time
  • Often more expensive than online trainings
  • Teaching practicums may not be preferable for those who are in the training to learn more, rather than teach

If you want to teach, there really is no way around training at a studio of your choice to learn from an authorized teacher.

If you just want to brush up your yoga knowledge, an online course might be the cheaper option though.

13. Are there pros and cons to picking a certain yoga style like Bikram or Strala Yoga?

There are many different styles of yoga out there and you might be tempted to focus on one of them.

Here are some pros and cons you might want to consider before making a decision:


  • The opportunity to become an expert in one style (ie. Hatha or vinyasa)
  • Delve into the nuances of one yoga field
  • You can specialize later by taking smaller trainings
  • The depth gained during the training will be attractive to serious and advanced students


  • Not ideal if you find yourself attracted to many styles of yoga
  • To make a living, it is ideal to know how to teach different types of classes
  • It can be expensive to train in different styles separately
  • Yoga can be trendy and you may not have trained in the “current” style, making you less marketable

If you have become good friends with a branded style, likely you will be interested in becoming one of their teachers. If it is the style that speaks to you more than any other, go for it.

Do note that if you are a branded teacher, such as a Strala teacher or a Bikram teacher, your teaching possibilities will be narrower than if you are generally vinyasa or Hatha trained.

(Strala yoga is taught in various certified yoga studios across the world and there are thousands of Bikram studios throughout the world.) (4) (5)

You can only teach in studios that contain that brand or are certified, which can be an inconvenience.​

14. How experienced is your primary teacher?​

Teacher training programs are a big money maker for studios (and sometimes the only money maker). This can mean that some studios are jumping on the bandwagon without the experience.

Questions to ask to find out more about your possible primary teacher:​

  • How many years have you been teaching?​
  • How many trainings have you lead?
  • What would you consider your yoga specialty?
  • What makes you different as a teacher?
  • What is your favorite thing about teaching? (Can show you if they are as passionate as you are!)
  • What are you currently learning more about? (Experienced teachers are keen students themselves. The journey never ends!)

15. How many trainees do they accept?

Some training programs don’t have a cap, which means that there is a possibility that the primary instructor won’t even know your name.

Large classes can have hundreds of people, but this could be for a reason. The teacher may be a yoga celebrity or incredibly gifted, which can help your own career for having studied under them.

Make sure you are the type of person who doesn’t need your hand held when you are in an academic setting.

Some teacher trainings can be as small as five people, meaning that you will be known and your questions will be answered.

However, you won’t get the feel of teaching a packed room nor will you get the experience of seeing a significant amount of human variation.​

16. Is the pricing transparent?​

Check that everything is laid out in the pricing. Does it include:

  • Group classes that are often a requirement?​
  • The books required to purchase?
  • Any taxes or supplementary fees?
  • Additional workshops that you are required to complete to obtain your certificate?

Also consider indirect costs such as:

  • Travelling to and from the studio
  • Taking time off of work
  • Accommodation or flights to get to the retreat center
  • Yearly fees to retain the Yoga Alliance membership

Make sure to do the math so that you aren’t stuck paying supplementary fees that you can’t afford.

17. Do you already know how you will pay? Can you afford it?​

Be honest. Yoga teaching is a pretty amazing job, but it isn’t usually lucrative (full time salaries can be as low as $24,000) (6).

You need the funds going in because it can take a long time to pay off the teacher training fees.

You don’t want to become broke trying to teach yoga (7).​

Where and How to Pick a Yoga Studio or Retreat

yoga retreats

Google gives us so many choices and it can be easy to get swept up in them.

Do you want to bask in a hammock in between classes or do you want to be a hop, skip and a subway ride away from where you live? These questions may help you to narrow the list down.

Here are some other questions to consider:

18. Is the school registered with Yoga Alliance?

A yoga school that is registered with the Yoga Alliance reaches a minimum standard by hitting certain knowledge based requirements.

What this means for studios hiring you is that they know that you have a certain number of hours (8) of:​

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Philosophy, lifestyle and ethics
  • Techniques, training and practice
  • Teaching methodology​

Do note that if you decide to attend a school that is not registered by the Yoga Alliance, this does not mean that it is an inadequate school.

It just means that you will have to review their curriculum more thoroughly to make sure that it attends to each of the categories above.

19. What do previous students say?​

This is a big one. If previous students have very basic comments (“Great training program!”) this can be a red flag.

Look for detailed responses: what have they gotten out of the program? Does it sound like a true rave or just a vanilla tribute?​

You can also find out a lot when you veer off of the yoga school’s website, which is probably filled only with glowing reviews. Check out their Facebook pages and scan through a quick Google search.

If you can’t find enough, ask to speak to a former student. Most schools will be more than happy to hook you up.​

20. What will your time investment look like?​

1 Month Intensive Training

  • Can you get the time off work?​
  • Can you afford the extra travel required?
  • Is your life able to take a backseat to your yoga?

1 Year + of Regular Meetings

  • Are you able to commit to one weekend a month, even though you can’t foresee what is happening in the future?
  • Are you willing to miss things like birthdays and work functions for a date set in stone?
  • If you miss a weekend due to unforeseen circumstances, will you have some money set aside to pay the instructor to catch up?

21. How long is each session?

It may be straight through, 6am-10pm or it may be shorter sessions of 8am-5pm. Think about your learning style.

  • Do you do better with time in between learning something new so that your brain can absorb it?​
  • Does a complete immersion keep you consistent and accountable?

Different strokes for different folks. Look into how many sessions will be per week (or weekend) and even how many breaks you may get.

No matter how much you may love yoga, it is nice to have a breather where you can speak to people who aren’t in the Sanskrit bubble.

22. How much time should you factor in for homework?

The time with your head instructor won’t be the only time you will be dedicating to the course.

In fact, many yoga schools have a minimum number of contact hours in the physical presence of a faculty member (9).​

This means that a 200 hour designation includes the time you spend reading the books, planning your classes and mapping out your yoga destiny.

We may have made that last one up.

23. What is the curriculum and classroom format?

Even with the Yoga Alliance standards, there is a lot of leeway for the varied interests and backgrounds of individual teachers.

Some are heavy on the anatomy, light on the philosophy, but this can also be flipped.

A good program will be extremely well structured and be able to let you know from the get-go what they plan on covering.


  • If the classes are exclusively for students and not the general public
  • If you will be able to get your certificate right at the end of the course or if a certain amount of time needs to pass
  • If the topics covered are areas that intrigue you and that you are attracted to in your favorite teachers

24. Is there access to online material or is there a course book?

In today’s increasingly paperless world, adding another 10 books to your bookshelf might not be something you are excited about.

Ask the teacher if there are other ways to access the reading list.

To save money, you can even consider taking the books out of the library to determine if they are worth the potential square footage in your home.

Some yoga schools come equipped with their own yoga manuals, which can make great references once you are a teacher.​

25. Will you be able to teach beginners or people with injuries?​

Some schools are all about a sequence. The sequence may be a beautiful thing, but it may have been designed for young bodies with a set amount of flexibility.

Check to see if you will learn how to modify the sequence.

Intermediate teachers can be very easy to teach.

Learning how to work with different bodies, different ages and people with injuries will make you into a much more skilled teacher.​

Every pose has a modification and an extension. Ask if you will be covering these, even if just the basics, to make your future classes accessible to all levels.​

26. Do they also focus on business aspects of being a yoga teacher?​

The yoga world is not as simple as becoming an excellent yoga teacher and having students flock to you.

There is marketing, there is finance: the business world doesn’t fall away just because you own more yoga pants.

Some yoga schools have hours dedicated to helping you understand the yoga of business, which may cover:​

  • Your brand​
  • Social media and other online marketing
  • Taxes for yoga teachers
  • Yoga insurance
  • Maximizing profits

If this is important to you, enquire if it is on the curriculum.

27. Does the program offer ongoing support & access to senior teachers?

When the course ends, the real journey begins. You will have questions you can’t even fathom during a 200-hour or 500-hour training.

You will read new books that will challenge your old perceptions. You will meet people who will blow your early theories out of the water. And you might want to check in with your roots.

Find out how connected their community is, because chances are you will want to be a part of it too.

Community may include:​

  • Meetup groups​
  • Practice teaching sessions
  • Active social media channels
  • Mailing lists which will inform you about deals for teachers (such as discounted merchandise or classes)

28. Is there a refund policy?

Life happens. Even though you may have the best of intentions, something out of your control may derail your plan. Part of yoga can be in letting go of the uncontrollable.

However, this will be hard to do if your money is locked down. Find out about the refund policy. There is often a retainer to protect the school, but if you lose this amount, is it an amount you can afford?​

Yoga teacher training is a decision that could be a minor blip in your life, or it may take you on a whole new path.

Do some research, make some calls and follow your gut. Your third chakra will lead the way.​

Yoga Teacher Training: The Complete Guide

This article is part of a larger series aimed at helping you along your journey to pick the right teacher training for you.

#1 31 Yoga Teacher Training Questions & Answers (You are here)

#2 Yoga Teacher Training 101

#3 Yoga Teacher Life - Facts & Figures

#4 Yoga Teacher Insurance

#5 Yoga Teacher Training Retreats

#6 Yoga Teacher Business 101

Download this full article as a FREE PDF:

Want to keep these questions for later? Just get your free PDF.

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