Want to become a yoga teacher? Here’s what you should know

Find Your Teacher: What to Look for + Avoid in Choosing a YTT
YJ experts Natasha Rizopoulos and Amy Ippoliti offer tips for finding a YTT teacher who is a perfect fit for you.
Natasha Rizopoulos

Google “yoga teacher training” and pages upon pages of results will leave you not only scrolling for hours but likely overwhelmed and confused. It seems every studio and experienced teacher out there is offering a YTT now. I

We asked yoga teachers Amy Ippoliti and Natasha Rizopoulos, who leads 200- and 300-hour teacher trainings, about the daunting task of choosing one of the hundreds of YTT programs out there. Both of them offered the same piece of advice as the first step: Find a teacher who resonates with you.

“Before enrolling in a program, take class with whoever is leading the training,” Rizopoulos says. The only way to determine if their teaching style resonates with you and to observe how they interact with students and manage the room is to experience it for yourself, she says. “Teacher Training is demanding and can be like a crucible in which a lot of energy and intensity gets stirred up, so you’ll want to be confident that the person who is in charge is capable of handling a variety of situations with grace, compassion, and clear boundaries,” she says.

Amy Ippoliti YJ LIVE Warrior II

8 Ways to Evaluate Whether a Teacher Is Right For You

Ippoliti suggests using the following questions to guide you in the decision-making process of determining whether a teacher trainer is the best fit for you.

  1. Do you resonate with the main teacher trainer’s style of teaching?
  2. Do you resonate with his or her personality or have similar values?
  3. Would this teacher have a healthy mentor-student relationship with their students?
  4. Would you like to lead a yoga class with a similar vibe to this teacher?
  5. Does the method of yoga this teacher offers resonate with you and your body/spirit?
  6. Could you see yourself authentically sharing this teacher’s method or something similar in your own way eventually (even if it feels impossible now)?
  7. Does the training program sound intimate enough for you?
  8. How are the teacher’s credentials? Is he or she well-trained and highly knowledgeable?

“What I’m saying here is that I think the teacher matters,” Ippoliti says. “You’ve got to feel good about who is leading the training. Go for depth over fame. Remember integrity first and foremost and you can’t go wrong!”

Red Flags to Avoid

Ippoliti suggests actively avoiding any training program or teacher who makes claims such as:

  1. “This is the only method of yoga worth practicing.”
  2. “Other styles of yoga are dangerous or not OK.”
  3. “You’ll be able to teach yoga in a matter of weeks after graduating.”

Once you’ve found a teacher you connect with, you have to determine if their program is a good fit.

Natasha Rizopoulos is a Senior Teacher at Down Under Yoga in Boston, where she offers classes and leads 200- and 300-Hr Teacher Training programs. For more on her teaching and travel schedule, visit natasharizopoulos.com.