The Best Places in the World to do a Yoga Teacher Training
I’m of the opinion that if we all just did a little more yoga, the world might just be a better place. We might all breathe a little deeper, be a bit bendier and maybe, just maybe learn to let go of some of the things we can’t control. So whether you’re an aspiring yoga teacher, or just want to dive a bit deeper into your own practice, a yoga teacher training is a great opportunity to recenter and reconnect amidst a technology driven world. Now, before you fly off to eat, pray and love your way through Bali, here are some important things to know that will help you choose the best yoga teacher training location for you.
How to Become a Yoga Teacher
To become a registered yoga teacher (RYT) by the national standard of the Yoga Alliance, you’ll have to go through a 200 hour training course. There are two ways to do this: an immersive training where you get it all done in 4-5 weeks, or a prolonged training where you meet up every weekend over the course of several months (this is often the more popular option for those with full time jobs). If you can find the time to do an immersive training however, it can be a very transformative experience, not to mention a great excuse to travel somewhere exotic around the world. Immersive trainings often take place in beautiful vacation destinations all over the world, like Thailand or Costa Rica, and the location will play a large part in your overall experience. You will be living in a new place for a month or more of your life and will therefore be able to immerse yourself in the local culture, while honing your art. You’ll be able to dive into the traditional food, find the hidden gems and maybe even learn a new language!
How to choose the best Yoga Teacher Training location
The location you choose often has an impact on the style of yoga you will be learning. The regimented and traditional style of yoga in India will be very different than the progressive power yoga training you might take in the hip Bali beach-town of Canggu. So, with all that being said, how do you choose where to complete your training?! It depends on the experience you’re looking for and the type of yoga to plan to teach. Let’s dive in…
The top 6 destinations in the world to do a teacher training
For decades, Bali has been a mecca for yogis. Whether it is to learn, teach or just retreat, this island is known to have a special spiritual healing energy that creates the perfect setting for deepening your yoga practice. From the lush jungles and waterfalls in Ubud, to the sandy shores of Canggu, there are all types of trainings happening year round in Bali. I personally did my first training in Ubud with Shades of Yoga and would highly recommend that experience to anyone, yogi or not. We trained 6 days a week for 21 days. These trainings can be intense, most days you’ll be practicing at least twice per day with lectures in between. But it’s hard to complain when you’re surrounded by rice terraces and being fed delicious vegetarian meals.
You can find any style of yoga in Bali and often popular western teachers leading the trainings. I personally studied Vinyasa, or flow yoga. Other well known schools in Bali are the Yoga Barn and Radiantly Alive. Go with Ubud for a zen jungle experience with weekend excursions to waterfalls and ecstatic dance parties or Canggu for surfing, healthy cafes and beach bars. Another popular area is Uluwatu, which is gorgeous and located right on the beach but a bit more isolated.
With beaches, jungles, and a national slogan of “pura vida”, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better location to do your yoga teacher training. When you’re not learning about ancient philosophy and practicing your Sandskrit, you can fill your free time with surfing, hiking and eating fresh local homemade food! You can find any style of training in Costa Rica, the most prevalent being Vinyasa (flow yoga) and Ashtanga. Costa Rica is also generally more affordable than North America or Europe. The most highly recommended trainings in Costa Rica are Gypsea Yoga School, Sacred Paths yoga School and Marianne Wells Yoga School.
It doesn’t get much more authentic than doing your yoga teacher training in the birthplace of yoga. With an emphasis on yogic philosophy and breath, the traditional style of yoga taught in India is more regimented than you might think. Don’t get me wrong, the asanas (postures) and ancient philosophy are the core foundation from which every style of yoga henceforth has been based on, but don’t expect any music or inspirational quotes during your practice. Trainings in Mysore will be as authentic as it gets, but you’ll have to forgo many western comforts, whereas trainings in Goa will provide a bit more luxury. Styles of yoga will most likely be Hatha or Mysore, with less “flowing” and more poses in specific sequences. Kranti Yoga comes highly recommended, as well as Yoga East+West (that focuses on balancing traditional teaching with new world western practices).
Already known as a spiritual destination, Thailand is a popular spot for both yoga trainings and retreats. Whether you’re looking for mystical vibes in the mountains of Chaing Mai/Pai or a tropical island oasis in Koh Samui or Koh Phangan, you’ll easily find trainings led by internationally renowned teachers. Thailand is a vibrant and welcoming country, during my short time there I felt as though they were always celebrating with festivals, parades and ceremonies. It has been said to be the “land of smiles” and I could imagine falling even more in love with their culture during an immersive training. Wonderland Yoga School on Koh Phangan comes highly recommended from fellow yoga teachers and well as Pure Flow. For my mountain lovers, Yoga By Candace in Chiang Mai.
The yoga scene in Mexico is almost as big as it is in the United States! With a low cost of living and many scenic destinations, Mexico should be high on your list when considering teacher training destinations. I was blown away by the class I took in the trendy neighborhood of Condesa in Mexico City, and international yoga teachers flock from all over the world to teach in the hip beach town of Tulum. For a hippy surf town that feels a bit more authentic than Tulum, check out Sacred Path’s Yoga Teacher Training in Sayulita. Another training that has come highly recommended is Yoga Dicha in Tulum.
For enchanting scenery and rich buddhist culture, Nepal is a truly unique choice for a transformative training. Surrounded by the Himalayas, the environment itself lends to reflection and introspection. Accommodations will most likely not be luxury, but the experience is once in a lifetime. Plus, what you spend on your plane ticket you’ll offset in training/accommodation prices. Most styles offered here will be Hatha, with some Vinyasa. For Nepal yoga teacher training comparisons check out this post!