Most of the recognized and accredited yoga teacher training programs are fairly intensive. The yoga industry and community certainly wants to ensure that anyone holding a certificate to teach yoga meets certain minimum requirements. Each school can set its own curriculum, but if it wants to produce qualified teachers it will generally comply with industry standards.
There are programs in every variety of style. In some cases, you must attend a certified school in a certain discipline in order to present yourself as a teacher of that style, for example Bikram. However, just about every credible, quality school shares a certain core curriculum.
The bulk of your hours in the program will be dedicated to learning techniques of practice and training. This area deals with both helping your master your own technique in standard yoga practices of asanas, meditation, pranayamas, mantras, and kriyas. It also instructs you how to teach these proper techniques in all areas to students.
As part of having good asana and pranayama technique, you’ll have to know anatomy and physiology. This is the study of the body, its organs, and systems. It also includes study of the emotional and energy systems within the body, such as chakras and nadis. You’ll also learn about conditions that contraindicate doing certain poses, while other conditions are helped by certain poses.
Another important part of your yoga teacher training is mastering yogic philosophy, ethics, and lifestyle. This ancient discipline has never been just about moving your body. In this sector of the course, you’ll learn about the underpinnings of the discipline. The ethics section covers both the principles of yogic living as well as the ethics of being a teacher.
An accredited program will also include a number of hours on instructing you on teaching methodology. You will learn how to instruct students through observation, demonstration, and correction. You’ll also start learning about some of the common instruction styles you can use in class. You’ll also get exposed to the different patterns of learning and growth that you’re likely to see in students.
Before you can be certified to lead a class on your own, you’ll also be required to go through a certain number of practical hours. A practicum is when you either assist a certified teacher in a class or lead your own under the observation of a certified teacher. This is where you’ll get to put all the other parts of your curriculum into practice with students, but with the guidance and feedback from more experienced professionals.
Almost every program will also have a certain number of hours dedicated to electives. This is where you can select from specific topic classes that interest you. These can be classes for a special student population, such as children or seniors. It might also include some business related classes on how to manage a yoga studio.
Most of the accredited yoga teacher training programs require a minimum of 200 hours. You can find more intensive programs with 500 hours. These longer programs invest more hours in each of the core curricula areas, as well as allow for more elective time.