First you decide to take the life-changing plunge to become a yoga teacher. Next, you must find the yoga teacher training program that’s right for you. This is no small task. One big consideration is where the training will take place. The location you choose has the power to shape your experience.
Check in with yourself and ask some key questions:
During my training, do I want to wake up in my own bed every morning? Or am I hankering for a physical journey as well as a spiritual one?
Is your favorite studio with your favorite teacher offering a training that’s only a mile or two from home? Or do you long to experience life in an ashram with a view of the majestic Himalayas? Or beautiful South India?
For some, circumstances dictate that you must stick close to home and perhaps stretch out your training over a period of months so you can fit the learning and practice into your life. For others, the option to do an intensive retreat-style yoga teacher training for three weeks to a month is tempting. Add to that an exotic locale and it’s too much to resist.
While there’s no wrong decision, we share some considerations for each approach, so you can decide what’s best for you.
Local Yoga Teacher Training
A program that’s held close to home is a practical choice for many people with family and work commitments or a limited budget. You can choose an intensive program that takes only a few weeks to complete, or you can seek out an option with a shorter weekly commitment in terms of hours, that takes up to six months to complete.
If you go this route, be ready to make some structural changes to your life to allow time for study time, home practice and to simply reflect and digest all you’re learning and feeling. A local teacher training program is a great way to get a taste for what life will be like post-teacher training, when your day-to-day life will be intertwined with yoga.
Some programs offer a hybrid approach, where most of the training takes place at the local studio and then there’s a special week-long or weekend retreat as you near the end of the program.
A local program can work well for those who are self disciplined and already good at managing their time. You do want to make sure there’s a good, straightforward way to get to the studio. Maybe it’s within walking or biking distance of your home, or you can take public transportation. If you have to spend a big chunk of time stuck in traffic to participate, it may have a negative impact on your overall experience.
Another consideration, if you’re the type of person who is easily distracted — by screens, housework, loved ones and friends — you may want to consider a retreat-style training program that will better support your efforts to focus on yoga.
Yoga Teacher Training Abroad
If you know you want to plunge into your training and really live and breath yoga without any diversions, then a retreat style training in a faraway place is ideal for you. This type of yoga teacher training program reinforces the sense of “journey” associated with becoming a yoga teacher and committing to a yogic way of life. You are sheltered from the distractions of day to day existence, giving you time for self reflection, study and bonding with your teacher and fellow students.
Most teacher training programs offered abroad are hosted in beautiful natural locales, sometimes with a deep spiritual history. Many also offer a gurukula experience, named after traditional Indian schools where students live with the teacher.
A program abroad is wonderful for people who want to be shaken out of their modern existence, strengthen their commitment to yoga and use the personal growth experience of travel to deepen their yoga training.
The Himalayan Yoga Institute uses this approach, hosting our 200 hour yoga teacher training sessions in the Kullu Valley of India, at the foot of the Himalayas and the Croatian isle of Losinj, on the Mediterranean sea.
Our yoga ashram in Kullu Valley is a beautiful villa in the idyllic village Ropa, where the villagers, the animals and indigenous plants live together peacefully and harmoniously. The village is situated in a lovely self-contained valley away from the hustle and bustle of the city, surrounded by pine-studded mountains offering views of enchanting sunrises. Countless creeks and waterfalls meander through the village and it is a special delight to drink the refreshingly pure water from the mountain spring.
“The village, the local people and the mountains of Himalayas rounded the experience off as the most authentic one I could have had as my first yoga teacher training,” says Victoria Canellas, of Madrid, Spain who completed her training in India in 2011.
If you do decide to take your training abroad, think carefully about the types of amenities you’d like. Are you okay with a more rustic experience, or do you want some modern comforts?
The yoga teacher training on the isle of Losinj is held in a stunning villa, in a quiet residential area, minutes away from the beach. It has modern amenities and is surrounded by lush, delightful gardens where an abundance of Mediterranean and subtropical plants and flowers flourish.
The villa sits in a pine forest offering views of the sparking blue sea. You may be lucky enough to spot dolphins in the bay during an early morning stroll.
Yoga sessions are held on an outdoor terrace whenever the weather permits. Students find their yoga practice is complemented by the incredibly healing atmosphere of the island.
“This was one of the most amazing experiences for me; situated on the beautiful, peaceful island of Losinj and overlooking the sea, where the air is fresh and the energy just felt right,” says William Webber of London.
Your teacher training experience is a time of deep study and inner work. Choose a location that will support the experience you are trying to create for yourself. Also know that you have the ability to choose a different path for your advanced yoga teacher certification training. By giving it thoughtful consideration, it’s unlikely you’ll regret your ultimate choice of location.
Train to Become a Yoga Teacher with the Himalayan Yoga Institute
Every year we certify new yoga teachers who go on to spread the teachings and practices of yoga, creating meaningful careers for themselves and changing people’s lives for the better. Read more about our approach to yoga teaching.
Click here to find out more about our teacher training in the Indian Himalayas
Click here to find out more about our teacher training on the isle of Losinj