9 Questions to Help You Decide If You Should Take a 500-Hour Yoga Teacher Training

Lara Falberg
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If you finished your 200-hour yoga teacher training, you may have started to wonder: Should I go for the full 500-hour yoga teacher training certificate?
 
Completing the first round of training is challenging enough. But as yoga practitioners, the study never ends. We are eternal students.
 
For many years, I was firmly against going through a traditional 500-hour YTT. I believed that in taking many trainings over the years, I had achieved an advanced level of teaching and that I didn’t need the distinction of the 500-hour yoga teacher training stamp.
 
It took me almost 13 years to decide differently. But now I’m excited to delve back into the determined and committed student role.
 
 

Why Take a 500-Hour Yoga Teacher Training?

Taking on a 500-hour program will set you apart from the thousands of other yoga instructors looking to make their mark – it has been equated to obtaining a master’s degree!
 
And, let’s get real: it matters. You stand apart from the sea of 200-hour instructors and further your understanding of yoga and all the many layers that are so integral to the practice.
 
It’s a big commitment, and obtaining a 500-hour certificate absolutely lends itself to your credibility and dedication to the practice and your role as a teacher.
 
 

How to Know if a 500-Hour YTT is Right for You

Look, it’s damn expensive. The cost is anywhere from around $3,000 to $5,000. Most of us don’t just have discretionary dollars laying around that aren’t earmarked. And it’s a giant time commitment.
 
If you just completed your first training, you’re still digesting the vast amount of information you learned. It’s a lot to take in, and there’s no pressure or hurry to get your 500-hour YTT certification.
 
If you went through YTT to deepen your practice or to learn a little more about yourself, a 500-hour program may not be the next crucial step in your practice journey.
 
It’s all very personal. And the most important thing is to know why you’re choosing to either go for it or not.
 
It really boils down to what your goals are and how to best achieve them.
 
 

9 Questions to Help You Decide If You Should Take a 500-Hour Yoga Teacher Training

If you vacillate and are unable to decide if you should dedicate the time, money, energy, and effort to taking a 500-hour YTT, ask and answer these nine questions to determine which path is right for you.
 

1. What motivates me to teach yoga?

What is it exactly that sparks the flames in your belly to share your love, passion, and knowledge of yoga by teaching it?
 
Some people go through a training to discover that what they actually love is being a student. But, if you are on fire to teach, then perhaps a 500 YTT is the right fit for you.
 

2. How do I feel about the students who attend my classes?

Teaching yoga is all about the connection to students through the practice. Feeling this on a profoundly deep level may be an indicator that this is a path you need to continue to walk.
 

3. What do I really want to offer as a teacher?

Figuring out specifically what you, as a teacher, want to provide for students is paramount in differentiating yourself.
 
If increasing your knowledge base and doing so within a more structured environment speaks to you, a 500-hour YTT may just be the thing to keep you on your chosen track.
 

4. Why do I feel compelled to teach yoga?

This is different than motivation. What we want to offer is related to why we want to offer it, but they are two separate entities.
 
The “why” is about feeling called to be of service. In what way do you want to help students? What are your goals in offering this practice to others?
 

 
 

5. How have I evolved as both a teacher and a student since completing my 200-hour YTT?

Taking time to reflect on the changes in your practice and teaching modalities will help you decide to either pursue a 500-hour YTT or continue to gain experience teaching and practicing.
 
Some people dive in headfirst soon after completing their first 200-hour training. Others need a little longer to figure out areas of concentration and to gain a bit of experience under their wings.
 

6. What were my original goals going into a 200-hour YTT?

Some of us just wanted to immerse ourselves in the practice and learn as much as we could. Others knew they wanted to teach. What were your specific goals?
 

7. Did I meet those goals?

Hindsight gives us a much clearer vision of what we really want. Looking back, were your original goals met? Did new goals develop through the training?
 
Reflecting back, we can survey our experience and determine what value it had to us personally.
 

8. What are my specific reasons for pursuing a 500-hour YTT?

Considering the cost and time expenditure, understanding your own personal reasoning for taking this next-level course is vital. Write your reasons down and reflect.
 
Not sure what to look for in a 500-hour yoga teacher training program? Consider this Before You Choose
 

9. Are there other ways to meet these goals?

For many years, I knew my goals were to progress as a teacher and student. So I studied daily, reading anatomy, philosophy, asana, and breath-work articles. I’ve taken over 35 weekend workshops and been to several yoga festivals. And, until now, that met my goals.
 
Knowing and owning your own will make your decision effortless. If it’s about further study and you need structure, cool . . . you’ve got your reason. If you love being a part of a group dynamic and developing those shared experiences, right on.
 
If you feel a 500-hour yoga teacher training will offer you the credibility you need to continue on with other goals, excellent . . . go sign up. If your ego is begging for that 500-hour distinction after your name, then get honest with yourself.
 
 

500-Hour Yoga Teacher Training: The Takeaway

Regardless of your reasons, hopefully now that you’ve gone through the questions and considerations, you’ve docked onto your decision. If it’s a clear and resounding yes, go for it with gusto and research the programs you’re considering thoughtfully.
 
If it feels like this isn’t the right choice for you, at least not right now . . . don’t worry, yoga teacher trainings aren’t going anywhere! If it eventually surfaces as an important adventure, you’ll go for it one day.
 
And if it doesn’t, there are other adventures just waiting for you in abundance.
 
Still not certain? Here are 8 Reasons Every Yoga Teacher Should Get Their 500-Hour Certification

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Lara Falberg

Lara has been teaching yoga since 2006, trained in Atlanta, now residing in Columbus Ohio. Her website is a yoga teacher resource offering verbals cues, mini sequences, class themes, and studio reviews. Her novel Yoga Train is about a group of people who travel through the yoga teacher training experience together. Follow her on Instagram (@iworkbarefoot), Facebook and Twitter.

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