A Yoga Teacher Training Course should not be considered as a Yoga Retreat as it is not.
A Yoga Teacher Training Course is basically a “Teacher Training”, therefore you should know a bit of Yoga before attending any Yoga Course.
If you are a beginner and completely new to Yoga you should not attend a Yoga Teacher Training Course, because why do you want to learn how to teach something that you are not practicing? How do you know you will like it?
However as a beginner you can attend a Yoga Retreat, it is a good and a perfect moment to discover what is Yoga. It will allow you to practice it on a regular basis along the Yoga Retreat Program.
What do we learn
during a Yoga Teacher Training Course?
First of all you will be practicing Asanas. Each morning there will be a Yoga practice.
You will learn and practice Pranayama Techniques. Pranayamas are as important as Asanas. You should learn how to do Inner Retention known as Antara Kumbhaka and Outside Retention known as Bahya Kumbhaka.
You should learn asana names wether in Sanskrit or English or French. If you do not know the name of a posture then it might be complicated to explain it to your students. If you are learning Sanskrit asana names then you should know their meanings as well, most of the time it will give you the indication on how the asana has to be done.
You will learn how to teach Asana and Pranayama. In order to teach Asana and Pranayama you should be able to practice them on your own.
There will be Philosophy Class as well, most of the time Yoga Teacher Training Course covered the Sutras of Patanjali, you can understand them but the most important thing is to be able to transpose them into your daily life.
For instance the concept of non possession (Aparigraha) does not mean that when you come back to your daily life you should get rid off everything such as your car, your apartment, your shoes etc.
As well the concept of continence (Brahmacharya) does not mean that you should stop to have inter course with your partner. Do not take everything literally and start judging yourself. Especially if you are attending a Yoga Teacher Training course in India from Indians teachers, remember that they don’t have the same life experience as yours. Some of them are not really travelling outside of India so the view of our way of living is slightly different from their reality. Therefore you can listen, take all the good from it and let all the things that do not suit you. There is nothing wrong with it!
You will learn the Anatomy of Yoga. If you are attending a Yoga Therapy Teacher Training Course then you will be learning special sequence yoga pose for very specific problems such as hyper scoliosis, hyper kyphosis, hyper lordosis, sciatica, rehabilitation movement after knee surgery, prosthetic hips, cancer etc.
If you are following a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training course you will see Anatomy but not as much details. It will be more focus about the asana anatomy and certain alignments. However please not that there is no “Universal Alignment” as all bodies are not equal.
How to Teach Yoga?
This is an important point. Learning how to teach “Yoga”. Actually students will learn how to teach “Asanas” first. Then Yoga will come. But the very first thing to know and to understand is how to convey an asana to someone?
How to explain that the foot has to be parallel to here instead of placing the foot there?
How can you translate “Trikonasana” for instance. Being able to teach Asana without demonstrating them. You should be able to teach from your voice, you should not be practicing with your students because if you are practicing while you are teaching then you are not watching your students and therefore you can not adjust them….
Looks easy on the paper but on the practical part is different, that is why a Yoga Teacher Training Course has to cover that point. It is mandatory!
200 Hour Yoga Alliance?
Should the school be a Registered Yoga School (RYS)? Honestly speaking it does not change anything wether your certificate is Yoga Alliance “accredited” or not.
Since you can teach Yoga without following any Yoga Teacher Training course, there is no such a “valid” certificate of Yoga. It all depends of your comfortability, if you want to become RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) then you will have to pay an annual fees to Yoga Alliance. Will it be helpful for you? Not really.
Can I become a Yoga Teacher after a 200 Hour Course?
It depends of your background and it will be your personal choice as well. Do you really want to teach Yoga and do you feel ready for it? If yes and if nothing is stopping you to do it then go ahead, after all you have to start somewhere.
However note that you should continue your education, you should continue to practice and to learn from others teachers.
Everything you teach should come from your heart, from your soul, not mechanically.
Do not teach for the fame and fortune, it won’t work… or it might work for a while but in the end it won’t last.