Yoga Teacher Training: Finding the Best Option for You

by Maggie Knoedler Rueda, E-RYT500

So you are considering deepening your practice or becoming a yoga teacher, but you aren’t sure where to begin. Ten years ago, there were very few options available if a yoga student decided to attend a yoga teacher training. There were only a handful of studios in the Farmington Valley and Hartford area, none of which offered a program to deepen your practice.

Today, there are local yoga studios with options, but too many choices can lead to confusion. There are three basic approaches: immersion training, year-long training with monthly weekend sessions and ongoing programs.

An immersion program generally completes a 200-hour yoga teacher training in two to three weeks. They are sometimes offered in exotic locations such as Costa Rica or India, and are also offered at ashrams (yoga retreat centers). The student usually lives onsite for the duration of the training. Each day begins before breakfast and ends late in the evening. Often the studying continues after the immersion ends as it is next to impossible to get 200 hours of study in such a condensed period of time.

The upside to an immersion program is that the student can “live and breathe” what they are studying each day, often in an environment that provides healthy food options and daily asana practice. There are several downsides to an immersion program: there is little time to absorb or reflect on what is being learned. Because students are coming from scattered locations and are together only for a few weeks, they seldom stay in touch after training ends. Finally, an immersion is not an option for students who can’t leave their family or work for that length of time.

A yearlong training which meets monthly for an entire weekend provides students with the opportunity to absorb and reflect on what they are learning in between each session. They also develop a bond with other students. This group becomes their community. The downside is that students have to commit to one weekend each month, and there is a lot of learning and practice in the weekend so there is little time for anything outside of the training.

The last option for a training is an ongoing program which cycles through regular, sometimes weekly, sessions or longer workshops offered several times in a year. This is good for students whose schedules don’t allow them to meet monthly or to go away for a long time. If they miss a session, it will be offered again. The disadvantage is that there is no cohesiveness, either between students or with the various teachers who lead the courses. Many students report that it feels like a self-study program.

The investment in a yoga teaching training program is significant both from a financial and time perspective, so choose wisely.

Maggie Knoedler Rueda, E-RYT500 and Reiki Master, is the owner of Journey of Yoga, 730 Hopmeadow St, Simsbury, and conducts yoga teacher training programs. For more information, call 860-680-1482 or visit



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