11 Important Questions to Ask Before Choosing Your Yoga Instructor Course

Congrats! Embarking on a yoga teacher training course will absolutely change your life, and that’s why it’s so important to choose the right yoga instructor course for YOU. I have personally taken a handful of yoga teacher training courses that have ranged from really freakin’ awesome to ugh… what a waste of money, time, etc. I want to make sure you find the yoga instructor course that works best for you, your needs, your lifestyle, and your practice.

Here are eleven questions you should definitely ask any yoga school before signing on the dotted line.

1.) Is the yoga instructor course registered with the Yoga Alliance?

yoga-teacher-training-course-meditation

Yoga Alliance provides the minimum standard for which a Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher training must meet. The Yoga Alliance outlines a minimum number of hours to be spent on each topic: philosophy, anatomy, practicum, methodology, etc.

I’ve heard horror stories where yoga instructors were duped into taking a yoga instructor course not registered with the Yoga Alliance and their teacher training fell way short.

While Yoga Alliance isn’t a perfect organization, it does provide a bit of necessary accountability to instructors leading yoga teacher training courses.

2.) Who are the lead yoga instructors? What’s their experience? What style(s) do they teach?

yoga-teacher-training-trainees

You will spend a LOT of time with your yoga instructors and your fellow yoga teacher trainees. I recommend chatting with the lead instructors before the teacher training begins. Find out what the lead yoga instructors are passionate about. What do they love to teach?

If possible, you should take a class with the instructor before the teacher training. Do you actually enjoy their class? Would you like to teach the way they teach? Some instructors will invite you to take a class with them at a local studio or give you a video link to preview. Familiarize yourself with their teaching style and explore other styles too.

What type of yoga will you be learning? Vinyasa? Iyengar? Bikram? Ashtanga? Restorative? Yin? Hatha? Integral? Kundalini? Make sure their teachings align with what you want to learn AND with what you want to teach.

3.) Where is your yoga teacher training course located?

yoga-teacher-training-course-location

Will the training be in your hometown or abroad? Is the training held at a yoga studio, retreat center, or conference room? Will all of your class sessions be in the same place? Are portions of your yoga teacher training done online?

What time of year is the yoga instructor course? Is it in the summer or winter? Is it during the rainy season or dry season? I personally wouldn’t throw out a yoga teacher training course just because it is in the offseason… you’re doing yoga and learning the whole time anyway, but if it’s important to you, then take note.

4.) What are the expenses associated with your yoga instructor course?

yoga-teacher-training-course-cost

Typical 200 hour yoga teacher trainings cost between $2300 and $4500 USD. Sometimes these trainings are all-inclusive, other times it’s just the training that is included.

There are often additional expenses associated with yoga teacher trainings. Examples of additional expenses include: books, manuals, private lessons for missed hours and registration with the Yoga Alliance.

If the yoga teacher training course isn’t in your hometown, then you will also need to factor in accommodation, meals, and possibly flights.

5.) What is not included in the training?

yoga-teacher-training-course-required-reading

Make sure you know exactly what is included and what is not included in your yoga teacher training.

Also, note that your registration as a Yoga Alliance registered yoga instructor is typically not included in your course fees. The Yoga Alliance registration isn’t much, so don’t let that deter you from becoming a yoga instructor.

Books are often not included either…. which is a good thing. You can often find used copies for cheaper online on Amazon or similar.

If it’s a destination yoga teacher training, then accommodation and meals are frequently included, but not always. You might as well double check.

6.) How many teacher trainees do they accept?

yoga-teacher-training-course-class-size

There are benefits to both larger and smaller yoga teacher trainings. In larger groups, you have an opportunity to connect with more like minded people and see more bodies in their yoga practice. In a smaller group you will receive more one-on-one time from your instructors, develop closer relationships with your classmates and have more time to practice teaching yoga. What do you value most? Choose accordingly.

7.) How long will it take to become certified? What is required to receive certification?

yoga-teacher-training-course-homework

Some yoga teacher trainings are done in an intensive format, typically around three weeks long, others are spread out over a few months or even a year. All formats have their benefits. In an intensive you are fully immersed in the yoga lifestyle. In a longer training you have more time to integrate between sessions.

Are there any additional papers or online classes that you will need to complete before you receive your certification? I didn’t look into this for my 300 hour yoga teacher training and I realized that I was going to have to essentially write a masters thesis to receive my certificate. Whoops! I learned my lesson.

You will also likely be required to attend a certain percentage of class hours to reach the minimum requirement set out by Yoga Alliance. The lead instructors for your yoga course will also have their own standards of attendance.

8.) What’s their policy on attendance, cancellation, etc.?

yoga-teacher-training-attendance-policy

Each yoga teacher training course will have different policies regarding attendance, cancellations, etc. Some teacher trainings allow you to make up time with private sessions (usually at a cost), extra book reports, or self-study.

Know the yoga teacher training course’s policies. If you know the policies then you won’t be surprised when something does come up.

9.) How much yoga experience is required to participate?

yoga-teacher-training-experience

Many yoga teacher training courses require you to have a minimum number of years or hours of practice under your belt. Some yoga instructor courses are more flexible on this requirement and some are more strict.

A few courses may even require that you practice at their studio for a certain number of hours/months/years before acceptance into their yoga instructor course.

10.) Will the program teach you how to modify for those with injuries? How to teach beginners? How to teach all levels?

yoga-teacher-training-course-beginners

No matter where you end up teaching after taking a yoga teacher training course, you will end up with beginners in your classes and you will end up having people with injuries in class too. It’s important, from a safety standpoint, to be able to teach both of these populations.

11.) What are the yoga instructors passionate about teaching? How do they teach?

yoga-teacher-training-course-anatomy

Are the instructors passionate about teaching anatomy? Are they passionate about story telling, theme-ing, philosophy? Do they teach from their mat? Do they walk around the room? Do they demo? Do they use their hands? Do they use their voice to speed class up or slow things down? Do they teach pranayama and meditation? Do they teach the business of yoga?

You should find out as much as you can! It’s okay to ask to see their syllabus too. You’re paying good money to enroll in their training, so they should be happy to answer your questions.

I hope this blog post helps clear up some of your questions. I also recommend that you reach out to your yoga instructors in your community and ask them about their experience with teacher trainings. In hindsight, what would they have done differently?

If you’ve read this far, you might be interested in checking out the Ambuja Yoga 240 hr. Intensive Yoga Teacher Training held in Bend, Oregon in August 2018. As always, Toni and I are happy to answer your questions.

Have you already completed a yoga teacher training course? If yes, please share your experience below.

Love and Light,

Autumn

The Dos and Don’ts to Grow Your Instagram Following With Hashtags

When I meet with yoga instructors to discuss their branding or marketing strategy on social media I see the same mistakes again and again. I’ve decided to share what I’ve learned over the years, so you and other yoga instructors can quickly learn how to grow your Instagram following without wasting valuable time like I did.

best tips to grow your instagram following

1.  If you don’t use hashtags, start now.

One thing I have learned over the years is the importance of using the tools Instagram gives you. One of the most important tools to use on Instagram is the hashtag “#”, or “pound sign” if you’re old school. Hashtags sort and group like images and make Instagram images searchable. Your yoga students are likely using these hashtags to look up inspiration for their own practices, so it’s in your best interest to be there!

I see talented instructors failing to use hashtags on Instagram all the time. If you aren’t using hashtags your images will only be seen by your followers, people directly searching for you or by people snooping your feed. This isn’t good if you’re trying to grow your following, especially if you’re already putting a lot of time and effort into creating quality content.

2. Choose your hashtags wisely.

100 best instagram hashtagsDon’t use a bunch of random hashtags. Each hashtag you choose should be intentional. Also, check to make sure the hashtag you’re using is still active. No sense in using a hashtag that no one is using. Instagram has also been known to shut down hashtags that are overused or misused.

Some unexpected hashtags Instagram has shut down or restricted are: #goddess, #instagirl, #killingit, #shesquats, #booty, #curvy, #publicrelations, #stopdropandyoga, #sunbathing, #woman, #womancrushwednesday, #women, #cheeky, #desk, #everybodyisbeautiful, #bikinibody, #bombshell, #adulting, #happythanksgiving, #newyears, #newyearsday, #freethenipple, #girlsofinstagram, #instabody, #instababe, #loseweight #popular, #thinspiration, #thinspo, and #wtf. Just don’t use these or any other more scandalous #hashtags and you’ll be fine.

What hashtags should you be using as a yoga instructor? Here is a curated list of just over 100 popular hashtags specifically for yoga instructors and yogis.

3. Don’t be spammy.

You will not grow your Instagram following by spamming on Instagram. Don’t post to the same hashtag group in back-to-back posts or multiple times a day. If you must post multiple images in a short amount of time from a specific event, use Instagram’s slideshow feature, so you’re not filling your followers feeds with your pics… Do not spam, period!

4. Don’t abuse your hashtags.

Don’t stuff your Instagram captions with hashtags. If you use hashtags every other word in your Instagram caption it is difficult to read and appears spammy. Here is an example of what I mean:

I’m so #excited! I went to a #yogaworkshop with #dylanwerner in #Bali and I can #finally get into #handstand on my own. #Practiceandalliscoming #yogalife

Instead try:

I’m so excited. I went to a workshop with Dylan Werner in Bali and I can finally hold handstand on my own! Thanks @dylanwerneryoga!

#yogaworkshop #handstand #practiceandalliscoming #yogalife

This is a mistake I see commonly with yoga instructors that are new to Instagram and are just learning to use hashtags. Keeping your captions clean, uncluttered and easy to read should be part of your strategy to grow your Instagram following.

5. Grow your Instagram following by engaging with hashtag users.

Like and comment on the most recent posts in the hashtags you are using. If you catch someone while they are still online, and your comments are authentic they will check out your profile. If your profile resonates with them then they will likely like, comment and follow you too.

Like I said before, make sure your  comments are authentic and not just a ton of emojis or generic comments like “Cool”, “Love it”, etc. Use generic comments minimally. Pro tip: Comment on what they say in their caption, not just the image. It shows genuine interest.

6. Store hashtags in a note app or in Google Keep

Save yourself time and keep your hashtag groups organized in a notes app. I like to use Google Keep personally, but use whatever works best for you. Once you have your hashtags stored in a notes app you can simply copy and paste them into the first comment. I like to have 5 dots, one on each line, before my hashtags start. By using the dots I can hide my hashtags and it doesn’t look spammy or desperate.

7. Have two to three sets of Instagram hashtags.

Grow your Instagram following by creating two to three sets of Instagram hashtags for each type of post. For example, if you mostly post yoga asana pics create two groups of hashtags. With two sets of hashtags you won’t burn out or spam your hashtags and you won’t be competing with yourself for featured posts.

If you also post delicious vegan food create one or two hashtag groups for this topic. If you post travel pics, create one or two hashtag groups for this post type too. And then don’t use the same hashtag group in back to back posts (unless they’re a day or two apart).

8. Use hashtags with many posts and fewer posts.

Don’t just use the most popular hashtags. Use a variety of hashtags. If you only use the most popular hashtags you risk your images getting buried. If you also use smaller active (and more niche) hashtags you will be more likely to rank in the top nine and trend for that hashtag. You want this! It means more eyes are on you!

9. Keep it relevant: 2-3 topics.

This is just a general rule of thumb. Once you’ve decided on your brand image and what’s important to you and your ideal client/student stick with two or three relevant topics. If you’re a studio you could focus on your yoga community (both instructors and students), events and inspirational quotes. If you’re a traveling yoga instructor you could post yoga pics, healthy food, and adventure pics. These are just ideas. You do you.

10. Create a brand hashtag.

For example, if your business name is Ambuja Yoga your hashtag could be #ambujayoga. If people are snapping pics at your events, ask them to use your hashtag and ask them to tag you in the pic. You can even offer to repost/regram their pic to increase their exposure… it’s a win-win!

You may also want to create an event hashtag. This is a fun way your students can share pics and connect with one another.

Still have questions about using hashtags to grow your Instagram following? Reach out via my contact form. I’m happy to help.

Adi Mudra

Hey yogis, your mudra for the week is Adi Mudra. Adi Mudra received it’s name, adi= first and mudra= seal, because it is the first position the hands are capable of inside the womb. Adi Mudra is most commonly practiced during pranayama, but may also be practiced in asana.

yoga-mudra-adi-mudra

To Practice Adi Mudra

To practice Adi Mudra tuck the thumb into the palm, so the tip of the thumb touches the little finger, then close the fingers over the top of the thumb to make a gentle fist. In meditation or pranayama turn the palms down and rest the hands on the thighs. Adi Mudra is calming to the nervous system and is nice to practice at the end of an asana practice. I’ve also found that it can help with balance in some of the balancing postures like tree pose.

Benefits of Adi Mudra:

  • Calms the nervous system
  • Stimulates udana vayu (the governing vayu for the upper chest, throat, and head)
  • It is thought to aid in pranayama because it increases breathing and lung capacity, thus increasing oxygen flow throughout the body. Source: yogapedia.com
  • The adi mudra is also thought to stimulate the brain, which is closely related to the crown (sahasrara) chakra that governs an individual’s sense of peace, higher awareness and oneness with the universe. Source: yogapedia.com
Autumn Adams
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Autumn Adams

Owner, Founder, & Retreat Leader at Ambuja Yoga
Autumn founded Ambuja Yoga in 2014 to share her love of adventure, yoga, and travel with her fellow yogis. Ambuja Yoga has morphed into more than she could have ever dreamed and she is thrilled to have a "job" she loves. She is forever grateful for the opportunity to facilitate personal growth and self love through yoga while taking yogis to off-the-beaten-path destinations worldwide. Follow Autumn on Instagram @autumnadamsyoga.
Autumn Adams
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Yoga Vacation: Central Oregon

Cobra-pose-bhujangasana-yoga-asana

With spring break upon us and summer break just around the corner it’s time to start planning your vacation… and why not add yoga to the mix? I’m available to travel to your vacation home, local park or other destination in Central Oregon for private yoga, semi-private/small group yoga, and yoga parties (think ladies trip/bachelorette/bridal party**). Take advantage of your much deserved vacation time with a stress reducing yoga practice that will leave you feeling both energized and restored. Each yoga practice is customized to your specific needs, whether you’re working with an injury/special condition, desiring improved strength and flexibility, or just looking for a way to unwind. I provide music, mats, props, and bottled water on request.

Individual Sessions

1 hr. $65
1 ¼ hr. $75
1 ½ hr. $85

Session Packages**

1 hr. class x 5: $300
1 ¼ hr. class x 5: $350
1 ½ hr. class x 5: $400
** Class packages expire 6 months from purchase date.

Group Rates

The above rates plus $15 dollars for each additional individual per session.

Current Service Area

No Travel Fee
Bend
Redmond
Tumalo

$15 Travel Fee
Sunriver
Mt. Bachelor
Sisters

$20 Travel Fee
Black Butte
Elk Lake
Prineville
Powel Butte

** Bridal Groups please see my Wedding Wellness page.

FAQ

1. How much will it cost to have a yoga instructor come to my vacation home in (fill in the blank ex. Sunriver)? There will be three of us practicing yoga for one hour.

Base Rate ($65) + Additional People ($15 x 2 ppl.) + Travel Exp. ($15) = Your total investment ($110)
= $36.67 per person

What if we want 75 minutes?

Base Rate ($75) + Additional People ($15 x 2 ppl.) + Travel Exp. ($15) = Your total investment ($110)
= $40.00 per person

2. Is our yoga instructor licensed, insured, and/or certified in CPR?

There is no licensing for yoga instructors in the state of Oregon, however your yoga instructor is registered with Yoga Alliance and has Liability Insurance. Your yoga instructor is also certified in CPR. To protect you and our yoga instructor(s) each student is required to fill out a Health and Liability Questionnaire and Waiver before class begins. The information obtained in this form helps our instructor(s) design fun, appropriate classes that fit our students needs and abilities.

3. Where can we practice yoga?

Ideas for a yoga practice space: living room (with furniture moved to the side), bonus room, sun room, deck, or shaded lawn. Depending on local availability we may be able to rent studio space at a local Bend studio.

4. My husband and I would like to have private yoga on each day of our vacation in Sunriver(6 days of yoga). How does that work out?

We will look at your schedule and our instructor’s schedule to plan what time for each day works best for you, understanding that we may need to schedule morning classes on certain days and afternoon/evening classes on certain days to accommodate your vacation activities and our current schedule.

Here is the payment breakdown:

5 class package ($300) + 1 additional class ($65) + 1 additional person for 6 classes $15/person ($90) + Travel Expenses for 6 days $15/day ($90) = Your Investment $545
= $90.83/class or $45.42/pp/per class

Reservation Request

Note: You will receive a confirmation email once your reservation has been processed.

 

Namaste,

Autumn

Autumn Adams
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Autumn Adams

Owner, Founder, & Retreat Leader at Ambuja Yoga
Autumn founded Ambuja Yoga in 2014 to share her love of adventure, yoga, and travel with her fellow yogis. Ambuja Yoga has morphed into more than she could have ever dreamed and she is thrilled to have a "job" she loves. She is forever grateful for the opportunity to facilitate personal growth and self love through yoga while taking yogis to off-the-beaten-path destinations worldwide. Follow Autumn on Instagram @autumnadamsyoga.
Autumn Adams
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