Which yoga teacher training course should I choose?

Which yoga teacher training should I do?

Choosing a yoga teacher training course

Today I finally signed up to do a yoga teacher training course — something that has been on my to do list for years — and have decided to go with Yoga Professionals & YMCA Fit.

To be honest though, trawling through dozens and dozens of yoga teacher training courses made my head spin a bit, partly because I didn’t have a clear idea of who I wanted to teach (I’m still a little unsure) and also because I wasn’t 100% sure which training courses would be most respected. Money also came into the equation as well. Did I want to splash out on a £3000 + yoga course or did I want to try a cheaper 200 hour one? Is it better to spread the teaching out over 2-3 years or squash it all into a month?

I’ve practised a wide variety of styles over the years but currently like Sivananda. However, I didn’t want my training to tie me into one particular style!

The point of this article is to give you a bit more clarity and all the information I’ve found out since researching yoga teacher training courses. 

Important questions to ask yourself before choosing a yoga teacher training course

1. What style of yoga would you like to teach?

Bikram yoga health benefits

Over the last 10 years it seems as if ‘yoga’ has been tagged on every single word in the English dictionary. There are now hundreds of different yoga teacher trainings all over the world offering something slightly different. It’s a daunting process but if you have an idea or enjoy a particular style of yoga, consider teaching that. For example, Yoga London teach 200 and 500 hour programmes in Vinyasa Flow. If you’re unsure, choose Hatha Yoga — the style where all other styles originated from.

2. Who would you like to teach?


Do you want to teach advanced yogis, pregnant women, the elderly, children…everyone? To be honest, I’m not 100% sure yet who I’d like to teach, so I don’t think it’s 100% necessary to be too picky with this. Perhaps when you start your course, you can do additional workshops in niche areas afterwards, such as Triyoga’s short pregnancy teacher training course.

3. Where would you like to teach?

off the beaten path

Do you want to teach yoga in a gym, in an ashram, retreat, your own business…? Once you have an idea of where you’d like to teach such as in a gym or specific yoga centre — approach the relevant people from those places or speak to freelance yoga teachers about which yoga qualifications they have. You should then have a clearer idea of which course is right for you.

4. How much time do you have?

be more productive at work

Some Yoga Alliance teacher training courses require you to take a month out to live in an ashram where you would then complete 200 hours of intense training, other courses are purely online or combine a mixture of online learning with face to face workshops. Other questions to ask might be, how long do I want my course to last for, how much time can I commit and how will me doing the course affect others around me?

Choosing a yoga teacher training course

Ok, here goes — when I first started researching into yoga teacher training courses, I only looked at Yoga Alliance accredited ones, but there are other accreditation bodies to consider. Different people have different opinions, so I’ve tried to be objective. I do feel, however, that it’s important for you to make your own mind up. After all, there are many different routes into yoga and you have to pick the one that suits you best.

Although some of these courses are aimed at a global audience, I’m focusing mainly on yoga courses for a UK market as I’m based in London.

Global yoga teacher training courses

Sivananda Yoga

Sivananda yoga hatha yoga teacher trainings take 1 month to complete where you will study and practice yoga in an ashram with other students. There are teacher trainings pretty much all over the world so finding a course near you shouldn’t be a problem — you would just need 30 days to do the training.

Cost: Teacher trainings start at around $2,300 | Accreditation: Yoga Alliance

Bikram Yoga

If you want to train to be a Bikram yoga teacher, unless you live in Los Angeles, you will have to travel to LA and be taught by Bikram himself. Once you train as a Bikram yoga teacher, you will also have to do an additional top up course every 3 years costing an additional $250

Cost: $15,500 which includes accommodation and meals | Accreditation: Bikram Yoga

Forrest Yoga

Forrest Yoga, created by Ana Forrest, is a 27 day foundation teacher training which you can do in a variety of locations all over the world such as Greece, Germany and the US. On completion you are accredited through the Yoga Alliance.

Cost: $4,375 | Accreditation: Yoga Alliance

Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini yoga teacher trainings are accredited by the Kundalini Yoga Teachers Association (KTYA) so on completion you would just be certified to teach kundalini yoga. If you’d like to specialise further, this is also a possibility. Not only can you train in many different places, there are also courses in kundalini for pregnancy or mastering the addictive personality.

Cost: varies | Accreditation: Kundalini Yoga Teachers Association (KTYA)

Acro Yoga

Acrobatics meets yoga! You can train to be an Acro Yoga teacher in Australia, Bali, Barcelona, Mexico and more. Level 1 trainings appear to take around 15 days to complete.

Cost: courses start at $2,995 | Accreditation: ?

Yoga teacher training courses in the UK

It would be exhaustive to list them all, but here are some of the courses I looked at whilst doing my research.


This was probably one of the best, yoga teacher training courses I spotted, if you’ve got two years to commi. At the end of the yoga diploma you would be accredited with both the British Wheel of yoga, Yoga Alliance, and have the option of registering with REPS. Plus, you’d be taught by some of the best teachers in Europe.

Cost: £4,080 for the full 500 hour yoga diploma | Accreditation: BWY & Yoga Alliance

Yoga London

If you practise Vinyasa Flow yoga, Yoga London would seem like the best option. You train over the weekend and can choose whether you’d like to take 3, 6 or 9 months to complete the course, depending on how much time you have to commit.

Cost: £2,799 for a 200 hour Yoga Alliance accredited training | Accreditation: Yoga Alliance

Yoga Professionals

This 500 hour yoga diploma with Yoga Professionals and YMCA Fit accredited by REPS seems to go into a lot of depth in not just anatomy and physiology, but also the ancient teachings of yoga, how to develop your own style and more. You can study in your own time and during weekends. This course is incredibly in depth and also great value for money.

Cost: £1,499 | Accreditation: REPS & CYQ

Special Yoga Centre

I’ve been to some of the best yoga classes in London at the Special Yoga Centre, so was naturally interested in their 200 teacher training which also includes a 3 day retreat in Cornwall. The courses is partially described as ‘an exploration and personal journey into the Branches of Integral Yoga’.

Cost: £1,950 | Accreditation: Independent Yoga Network & REPS

Yoga Campus

You can study either in West yorkshire or London and complete the Hatha yoga course over 18 months after completing 12 residential weekends.

Cost: £3,030 | Accreditation: Yoga Alliance, Independent Yoga Network & REPS

Fitness Industry Education

Fitness Industry Education offer online yoga teacher training courses which wasn’t something I had originally considered, but it could complement other courses quite well. The great thing about Fitness Industry Education is the good chance of being offered a job at the end of your studies. They prefer to employ yoga and pilates teachers who have been trained by them.

Cost: £999 | Accreditation: REPS

British School of Yoga

This is another online yoga course. It’s very cheap, so I have no idea how in depth it would be, but it I did consider it as an introduction to yoga teaching.

Cost: £325 | Accreditation: British School of Yoga (BSY)

Yoga teacher training courses in India


If you want to do your yoga teacher training in India, by far the best resource I’ve found is the website yoga.in. You can search the site by location, yoga style, length of training etc. You can also search for yoga holidays, retreats, yoga therapy trainings and much more.

Accreditation Bodies for Yoga explained

Yoga Alliance

When you think of yoga accreditation bodies, this is the one that often springs to mind. You’ll find a wide variety of yoga styles that are accredited with the Yoga Alliance and the good news is, it’s recognised worldwide and a highly reputable organisation. To teach in a fitness context or at a gym, however, you will also need to be accredited with the Register for Exercise Professionals.

Yoga Alliance UK

Yoga Alliance UK, contrary to what many think, is not part of the Yoga Alliance, but is a reputable yoga accreditation body in its own right. You will find a variety of 200 and 500 hour teacher training courses listed here including Forrest Yoga and a meditation teacher training with Inside Meditation. To teach in a fitness context or at a gym, however, you will also need to be accredited with the Register for Exercise Professionals.

British Wheel of Yoga (BWY)

The British Wheel of Yoga is the UK’s largest yoga community and is renowned for it’s 500 hour yoga teacher training courses that are also accredited with the Yoga Alliance and take approximately two years to complete. On completion of the 500 hour yoga teacher training diploma, you can also become accredited with the Register for Exercise Professionals.

Independent Yoga Network (IYN)

The Independent Yoga Network came about to preserve the spirit and practice of yoga and offer an alternative to yoga courses offered by the fitness industry. If you choose, however, to be accredited through another body, you may also be able to get accredited with the IYN too — you just have to get in touch.

Register of Exercise Professionals (REPS)

Unlike the others, the Register of Exercise Professionals isn’t just for yoga, but I think it’s definitely worth being accredited by them so you can teach in fitness or gym contexts as well as at yoga schools. The good news is that you can be accredited, for example with the British Wheel of Yoga and get REPS accredited fairly easily too.

Why I chose the Yoga Professionals & YMCA Fit for my teacher training

When I go to yoga classes I practise Sivananda yoga. However, at this stage I chose not to do their 200 hour, month intensive Yoga Alliance accredited teacher training. It doesn’t mean that I won’t in the future, but right now, I wanted the creative freedom to be able to design and create my own classes.

Originally I was very close to doing the 2 year British Wheel of Yoga accredited course with Triyoga in London. However, for a first time training, I wasn’t sure about it — I also didn’t want my course to take two years to complete. So, I went with Yoga Professionals. Here’s why:

  • The course is 500 hours and does not compromise the ancient teachings of yoga.

  • It’s accredited with REPS

  • The teacher Conrad has over 22 years of teaching experience and has written several books on yoga.

  • The learning is blended which means the physiology and anatomy parts can be studied online and the yoga can be studied as part of a group in person.

  • Considering the course is 500 hours, it’s incredibly cheap which means if I wanted to then go away and do another teacher training afterwards I could afford it.

  • I have a pretty poor understanding of anatomy and physiology so wanted to make sure I was getting a thorough training in this too. With almost 200 hours of physiology and anatomy training, you can’t say the course is not thorough.

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  • Marion

    Hi Clare, I am seriously considering doing a teacher training with Yoga Professionals & YMCA fit as well. How do you like it (especially the on-line part)? Would you recommend it? Cheers!

    • http://www.thoughtbrick.com/ Clare

      Hi Marion, I actually have four months to go until I start the teacher led/ face to face part of the training. However, my experience so far of using the online program has been excellent. Prior to this training I had no in depth knowledge of anatomy etc, and I can say first hand that this course does go into a lot of depth in this respect. As part of the course, I’ve also been writing a yoga journal where I record 60 hours of practice, which has been really rewarding and has inspired me to try out different styles of yoga. From Oct-Jan I’ll be posting up more blogs on the teacher led part of the course.

      • Marion

        Thanks a lot for your answer, Clare. Before I make up my mind, I will try to see if this training can be Yoga Alliance certified (there’s a strong possibility that I move to the US next year).

        • http://www.thoughtbrick.com/ Clare

          No probs — you might be able to become certified with Yoga Alliance UK but I think the Yoga Alliance changed their rules a few years ago meaning that the yoga teacher training course you choose to do has to be approved by the Yoga Alliance. Either way, let me know which course you choose in the end and how you get on.

          • Mr. Cool

            so how is it please?

          • http://www.thoughtbrick.com/ Clare

            If you’re referring to the TTC I’m doing at the moment with Yoga Professionals, I can say It’s excellent. Plus, it’s good to have space to absorb all the information.

          • BB

            How are you finding it all?

          • http://www.thoughtbrick.com/ Clare Hudson

            Hard work, but a lot of fun. The physiology part goes into a lot of detail which is always a good thing.

          • BB

            I have tried to contact them for a call back since last week and haven’t heard is there any other way of getting in contact with them?

          • http://www.thoughtbrick.com/ Clare Hudson

            You should be able to find all the information you need to get in touch with them and ask any questions, on this page http://www.ymcafit.org.uk/courses/diploma-in-teaching-yoga
            Good luck.

  • Satheesh Donthy

    You missed the most important of all – Isha Foundation Hatha Yoga Teachers training. One difference is – there is no 100% gaurantee that all students will pass the program. They use 2000 years old teaching style. The other major difference is grace. Watch a Isha Yoga Teacher doing the poses and compare that to BVK or other traditions. I found that Isha Yoga teachers are in a category of their own. Their training program includes many other Isha programs other than Hatha Yoga. They conduct only one class per year (if I understand correctly).

    The other major difference is – you are not allowed to get creative and change anything. Attend this program if you think you can teach it as they teach you. No creativity is allowed. Format of the class and content is defined by Sadhguru himself. Their program is more designed for achieving access to higher dimensions than strictly for health. Isha programs are designed to bypass the mind and intellect. This is a big difference compared to other yoga traditions.

    All the best.

    • http://www.thoughtbrick.com/ Clare

      Hi Satheesh,
      I’ve never heard of the Isha Foundation so thank you for sharing this. I’ll definitely check it out. Have you been through the course yourself? Did you feel 21 days were long enough?

      • Satheesh Donthy

        I have done the 2 day program. The teachers program is about 28 weeks. They also include many other courses for teachers. All the best.

        • http://www.thoughtbrick.com/ Clare Hudson

          That’s always good to know – once I’m fully qualified I’ll be looking to do more yoga teacher training workshops, so I might look into it.

  • Peter Azzopardi PT

    Hi Clare, this is a great article and one which I’ve found very useful. How are your studies going? I’ve gone with the Fitness Industry Education 200 hour course which gives the CYQ level 3 diploma. As I’ve already qualified as a level 3 PT (also through REPS) – I get exemption from the anatomy. I spoke to BWY and Yoga Alliance UK and neither accredit the CYQ diploma (s). However I spoke to FIE and they said that as the diploma gives level 3 entry to REPS, you don’t actually need accreditation with the others (BWY or Yoga Alliance). In fact all other course providers self govern and have to submit their courses to REPS to gain their accreditation.

    Many thanks

    • http://www.thoughtbrick.com/ Clare Hudson

      Hi Peter,
      I’m pleased you found it useful and hope you enjoyed the FIE course. Certainly if you want to teach yoga in gyms in the UK, you’ll need to be REPS accredited and both the FIE and Yoga Professionals course are great for that. However, specific yoga centres may have standards, especially if you ant to teach a specific kind of yoga. I’m nearing the end of my yoga course right now and have found it to be an excellent and thorough introduction into teaching yoga and physiology. However, in a a few years time, I will probably want to specialise further in perhaps restorative yoga.
      Good luck with it all and I hope the teaching goes well.

      • Peter Azzopardi PT

        Hi Clare,

        Thanks for your reply. I haven’t finished the course yet, I started it in August 2014 and like you, I need to do 60 hours practice. I am working through this by attending weekly Yoga classes (my instructor trained in India with the Himalayan Institute – 200 hour course accredited with Yoga Alliance) and I need to do 2 weekend practicals and a final assessment. It’s going well and I’m getting there! I was very lucky that personal training client of mine sponsored me and paid for the course in exchange for 25 1:1 sessions with me. She loves Yoga and doesn’t get time to attend classes so we’ve both gained :) it also meant I needed to find the best value class which is also accredited as I couldn’t expect her to pay £4000+ ! Like you, I think the CYQ is a great place to start and a very worth while course in its own right and one which can easily be bolted onto with CPD that may then be the prerequisite for the more strict standards that private Yoga centres demand. Thanks for reading :)

        • http://www.thoughtbrick.com/ Clare Hudson

          Hi Peter,
          That’s really kind of your PT client and also a great idea. I wish you all the best of luck with the course. You’ll have to let me know how the teaching goes.
          Take care,

  • http://www.thoughtbrick.com/ Clare Hudson

    One more thing to add — once you’ve done your yoga teacher training, there are also loads of specialist yoga ttc’s or workshops you can do to expand on your knowledge. Originally, I thought it was about doing just the one training, but I’ve since changed my mind.

  • hannah rymer

    Hi there, I am also studying for a level 3 diploma in teaching yoga with YMCA fit. I start the practical assessments this weekend but have a done a lot of the online learning content so far and have found it excellent, very comprehensive and easy to use. Im not sure yet where or who I want to teach at the end of it but like Clare I found the format and price of the course, as well as the fact that its REPs accredited, much more appealing than a lot of the other courses I looked into.

    • http://www.thoughtbrick.com/ Clare Hudson

      Hi Hanna, glad you’re enjoying it. I think you have the right idea – doing the anatomy and physiology first. I’m almost finished!
      Anyway, I wish you all the best of luck with it.

      • hannah rymer

        Yes they told me when I enquired about the course that the online modules should ideally be completed before the course starts so Im already behind! Between my full time job, studying online, reading Conrads book and actually practising yoga its been a push but Im really enjoying it and excited for the practical days. The prospect of actually teaching a class is very daunting though!

        • http://www.thoughtbrick.com/ Clare Hudson

          I’m with you on that – there’s certainly a lot of work, but it’ll be worth it. :)