Yoga Teacher Training: weighing the pros and cons

Like most yoga enthusiasts, I’ve often contemplated getting my 200-hour yoga teacher training. It’s become almost a status symbol, or a mark of honor. As if all “true” yogis have gone through this rigorous, structured training.

I think I would enjoy it. I can picture myself forging deep bonds with the other students in my class. Opening up about my personal experiences with yoga. Allowing my heart to open more and journey deeper into my spiritual practice.

And, of course, there are obvious physical benefits. Although I practice frequently, doing the training would force me to practice even more. I’m convinced that I would come out of the yoga teacher training being able to do handstand and maybe even getting close to scorpion pose.

But every time I look into it more, there’s a piece of me that thinks it’s a little ridiculous. $3,000 and a few months of my life, all for a hobby? Would I even want to teach at the end?

Plus I’ve heard the drill: getting hired isn’t easy, especially with how many people are getting trained these days. Even if you do get hired, newbie instructors often end up with the classes no one wants – like the 5:30 AM or Saturday classes.

And with a comfy corporate job that pays well, plus freelance writing as a side hustle, do I really need to add another job to my week? Especially when the pay isn’t even that good. Instructors often get paid based on the number of students that attend the class. So if you’re at an unpopular time or a smaller studio, you may only be making $25 for a class that’s an hour long, with over 30 minutes of “transition time”. I certainly can get paid better doing something else.

And of course there’s a chance that I won’t even like teaching (or be good at it). But unfortunately there’s not really a way to know until you’ve tried it. These trainings don’t exactly come with a money-back guarantee.

Then there’s a deeper part of me that feels ripped off by the yoga studios. Even though I love my studios, I know that these teacher trainings are how a lot of them actually make their money. The trainees will often become regulars at the studio, which is a big deal when so many students hop from studio to studio. It’s not that I don’t want to support these studios and teachers, but something about the model just doesn’t sit right with me.

So when I look at the time commitment, the financials, the risks, the lost opportunity cost, it doesn’t seem to make sense for me to get my yoga teacher training certification. But yet…

Part of me desperately wants to. I’m still really trying to figure out why. Is it the possibility of doing it on the side once I’m a mom instead of working full time? Is it to increase my skill and knowledge? Or is it just a desire to legitimize my yoga knowledge, both online and in-person? Do I think I would uncover some new self-knowledge, that it would be a journey of self-discovery? Is it the desire to become part of another community? Is it for bragging rights?

All I know is that I’m still figuring it out, and that I don’t think I can commit to the money or time until I do. Unless I magically get a lot more of both in the near future!

But I’d love to hear from you: have any of you done yoga teacher training? Why did you decide to do it? Was it worth it?

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