If you are a yoga teacher reading this, I’m sure you have far more training than I. You probably went somewhere far away for weeks at a time, or else spent every weekend for a few months devoting yourself to your YTT. You probably spent a few thousand dollars and experienced something truly life-changing. You know the intimate details about the doshas, the chakras, the yamas and niyamas, the Bhagavad Gita, all of the many, many poses (in English and Sanskrit), all of the different types of salutations and pranayama, etc, etc, etc and the list goes on.
I do not know all of the details about all of those things. I know the basics. I have chosen a different type of program: YogaFit.
The YogaFit RYT 200 track includes the following classes: Levels 1-5, Level 1 retrain, Level 2 or 3 retrain, Anatomy and Alignment, YogaFit Seniors, and either YogaFit pre/post-natal or YogaFit Kids. So far, I have attended Levels 1 and 2, and I will be attending Anatomy and Alignment in July.
Why did I choose this non-traditional, more mainstream version of Yoga Teacher Training? There are a few answers:
- Cost. Other YTT programs I have found cost upwards of $2,000-$3,000. Each YogaFit training costs around $400 plus travel and required materials (with the exception of Level 4, which costs twice as much). As half of a newly-married couple, $400 is hard enough to come up with at one time – something in the four digit spectrum falls into the category of “cost-prohibitive”. Spreading the cost out makes training accessible to me.
- Time. The YogaFit program allows you to complete your 200 RYT in one year, five years, or however long it takes you. All of the trainings are two-day weekend trainings, and I can usually find one within three hours of my home (again, Level 4 is the exception – it is only held at certain conferences, is four days long, and will require a lot more travel). This means less time off work and no deadline to get everything done.
- Approach. The YogaFit program fits in with my idea of accessibility. They do not require you to show documentation of all the impressive people you have practiced with. A lot of people take Level 1 just to further their own practice, with no intent of continuing. It doesn’t matter if you can’t do a handstand. There is no feeling of being not good enough to teach yoga.
- Commitment. The three things I have already described combine to make Level 1 a pretty un-intimidating event. It’s a few hundred dollars and one weekend. If you go and you hate it, or if you go and find out teaching isn’t for you, you aren’t out a month of your life and several thousand dollars. You also don’t have to wait until you feel like a yoga superstar to begin your training. You can grow in your training as you grow in your practice.
Once I went to Level 1 last October, I decided I was interested in continuing on with the program. I went to Level 2 in January, and I have a rough goal of attending a training every six months or so.
However, YogaFit is like anything else in life – it has its advantages and disadvantages. You go to the trainings, you take away the parts you like, and you leave behind the parts that don’t sit well with you.
The only problem I have with the choice of training I made is this: sometimes I feel like a fake. I don’t know as much about the intricacies of yoga, because I am still learning. I didn’t go to India and study in an ashram. I haven’t read the Gita. I haven’t been practicing that long, in the scheme of things. There are questions I don’t know how to answer. Sometimes I wonder if I should be waiting until I take all of my training to start teaching.
But then I remember that the teacher who helped me fall in love with yoga had no formal training. And I think it would be silly to hold myself back from doing something I’m passionate about for some silly reason that stems, deep down, from my own insecurity.
So I don’t have thousands of dollars right now to travel to far and distant lands to learn this stuff – that doesn’t make me less of a yogini.
So I can’t quite master bakasana – that doesn’t mean I can’t teach it.
So it takes me five years to earn my RYT – five years is the blink of an eye anymore.
So I don’t know the answer to a detailed anatomy question a student asks me – I can look up the answer when I get home. That’s what e-mail is for.
Because I am a lifelong student of yoga, and I am a yoga teacher in training.
I am still learning.