Continuing Education and Advanced Training in Yoga
Does yoga education end with a 200-hour or 300-hour yoga teacher training course (YTTC), or once you start taking classes? In many yoga philosophy texts it is said you are always a student, always learning and growing. This couldn’t be more true when it comes to growing in your own understanding, knowledge and practice of yoga. The more you study and learn, the more knowledge and experience you have to teach your students.
Continuing education in yoga
Yoga is a vast and in-depth subject of theory and physical practices. While the foundation and philosophy remains the same, the types of continuing education and advanced yoga teacher training courses have grown immensely. As more and more people turn towards yoga practices, it is becoming necessary for yoga teachers to constantly upgrade themselves. From advanced courses like the 300-hour yoga teacher training to physiology and anatomy, Yoga Nidra, Pranayama and more, the options for continuing education are plenty.
So if you have completed your 200-hour yoga teacher training, not only is it important to stay committed to your own practice but continuing your education is critical to creating a name for yourself as a teacher as well as progressing in your journey.
Continuing education in yoga refers to formal learning courses that contribute towards expanding your knowledge and skills of a specific subject. These courses could deepen your existing knowledge and skills, as you would with a 300-hour advanced yoga teacher training, or teach you a new skill or technique (such as a hands-on adjustments and alignment course). Some courses might also add to your credit with Yoga Alliance, while some might not (it is best to check this when signing up for a course).
Why is continuing education important for yoga teachers?
- Deepening your knowledge and practice: While a 200-hour yoga teacher training will set the foundation for you to start teaching, an advanced program or certification course will allow you to go deeper into yogic knowledge and practices. You will experience more about yoga and this will give you greater insight into how to teach, understanding your students and more. Your own skills will improve, giving you an edge when it comes to teaching students. You’ll also discover so much more about yourself and the areas that interest you.
- Growing your yoga network: Expand your network of fellow-yogis, yoga teachers and mentors by continuously doing courses. You’ll meet new people on a similar journey as yourself, you’ll get to share experiences and stories, and grow together on this wonderful path.
- More points with Yoga Alliance: If you are a Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher, continuing education is mandatory to get more points. If you are 200-hours registered, doing 300-hours will allow you to become a 500-hour registered yoga teacher (RYT). This helps you have a stronger yoga resume/ portfolio in place and improves your job prospects in the field.
- Specializing in new areas: In 200-hour yoga teacher training courses you will touch upon and learn modules such as anatomy and physiology, Yoga Nidra, Pranayama, etc. However, they will be the basics and foundation of the subjects. Continuing education allows you to explore more and specialize in an area. For example, you can do courses on applied anatomy and physiology to learn more about the human body in specific yoga poses, or a course on yoga and mental health where you will specifically learn philosophy and practices related to this. You can even explore specialized courses in Yoga Therapy, Yoga Nidra, Pranayama or meditation. All of this will help you understand your own interest areas as well as set yourself apart as a teacher. Needless to say, you will meet many students and teachers during these specializations too.
- A holistic approach to learning and teaching: Continuing education and advanced yoga teacher training programs will help you approach your classes from a holistic viewpoint. You will know what to include and what to exclude, how to approach specific or unique cases, values and ethics to follow, and more. In the initial days of teaching, you might be more critical or business-like in your approach. With more skills, knowledge and experience, your passion will shine through and you’ll approach your classes in a more natural and humbling way too.
Now that you know why continuing education and advanced yoga teacher training programs are important, there are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing a program, whether it is online or offline.
- Research the school and teachers to ensure the school has what you are looking for. Speak to past students, check out the reviews, read up on articles, etc. The more you know, the better.
- Check for certifications and recognitions. If a Yoga Alliance recognition is important to you, make sure the course and school is recognized.
- Check if the school has a supportive network of teachers and students, not only during the course but after completion too.
- Go through the course syllabus in detail. Check to make sure the course has what you are interested in and looking for. Does it align with your learning objectives? Is it intensive? Is it more theory or practical based? Consider all the possibilities and if this matches up to your own goals.
- If it’s an online course, how many contact and non-contact hours are there? Ensure you have sufficient face-time with teachers and students.
Some courses are longer (like the 300-hour yoga teacher training), while others are short and can be completed within a few weeks or days. Based on the time available to you, you can start your continuing education with a suitable program. The idea is to regularly learn and grow, even if it means only one or two courses a year. Remember, learning never stops, no matter how qualified or experienced you are!