Does Learning at Your Own Pace Yoga Teacher Training set you up to FAIL?

Yoga Teacher Training and Choice overload

Have you noticed there are so many options for where you can do your yoga teacher training?

Choice overload is a cognitive impairment in which people have difficulty making decisions when faced with many options. Alvin Toffler first introduced the term in his 1970 book, Future Shock. Since your inquiry began, your google searches have pushed even options into your feeds. I remember how it felt to make this choice for myself, it was frustrating and overwhelming.

Right now, most schools now only offer online-only or predominately video-based training, and they are leading you to believe you will get the same experience as in-person cohort-based training, just for less money. However, the truth is that learning at your own pace is more challenging! 

So, I had a choice to make. Do I follow the video-based, learn at your pace trend? Or do I maintain our 100% live training method?

Time for research!

I want to share why I have chosen to keep our live and in-person training model.

My first step was to get informed. So, I spent weeks in Yoga Alliance discussion groups, listening to the experiences of other schools and the Yoga Alliance recommendations and expectations. Then, I spoke with technology experts about internet quality, lighting and sound equipment. I continued until I felt I had all knowledge and resources I needed to manage the transition operationally.

The question I was left with, which for me was the most important; what is best for current and my students. 

So, I returned to why I founded the Life of Wellness Institute. At that time, two things were happening; the first was watching my students and teachers struggle with how the school I worked for was treating them, the second was witnessing the decline of mental and physical health in my community. These experiences led to our vision: compassionately embracing our authentic selves as we navigate all of life’s experiences. 

As a yogi with 30+ years of experience, I watched and was personally impacted by studios and schools, making decisions based on profit margins, attachment to lineage, and lack of responsibility to ethics, agency, and autonomy. In addition, I was adding the insight from the Yoga Alliance’s working to elevate Yoga Schools by cultivating higher quality training, safety, accessibility, and equitable teaching of Yoga. Lastly, considering the experiences students and teachers had shared with me. The combination of these lenses, and more that I share below, made my choice easy. 

I found insight in an unlikely place.

Like many of you, I watched a lot of Netflix in the first weeks of the pandemic. Funny enough, it helped me.

Have you seen Nailed It? If you haven’t seen it, they challenge amateur bakers to re-create edible masterpieces after seeing a sample. As I watched it, I was pretty frustrated by how much they made fun of the difference between the original and the reality. But then it hit me; this is what happens when your training is missing or lacking quality! 

The same is true in Yoga!

Yoga Teacher Training challenges are not new

Over the past few decades, before the pandemic, I have watched yoga schools cram more students into the classroom and do more and more online video-based portions of the program. Video content is ultimately just more profitable for schools. They save payroll, studio usage, and operational costs. But, unfortunately, this decision is not for the student’s good or with the training quality a priority. Of equal concern is the quality of the training students are receiving.

Acknowledging the lack of quality standards, accessibility and ethics issues in Yoga, the Yoga Alliance did years of reflection investigation and research. The result was Elevated School Standards. Under the new standards, schools must have more live training hours, and an experienced senior teacher is now needed.

Unfortunately, the pandemic slowed these new expectations, and we live with the results. Not only are the issues that the Yoga Alliance was working to resolve still there. The pandemic has again caused declines in quality. School after school has chosen not to follow the Yoga Alliance Online Exemption recommendations to balance live and video-based content. 

Learners Need Access to Expertise

The problem is, according to Andrew Ho, a Harvard University assistant professor of education says that unfortunately, the completion rates for learning at your own-pace courses have traditionally been meagre, with results anywhere from 0.5 percent to 10 percent

So, what makes your training successful? For this, I turned to experts in education and our students. A study conducted by the University of Warwick found that one of the primary causes of the dropout rate was the lack of instructor support provided when the course becomes challenging. They say that live interaction with a knowledgeable instructor remains an essential component of learning for many reasons.

Harman Singh, Founder of WizIQ, explained one of the most common issues, “The real problem is when you get stuck, no matter how motivated you are, you can’t get through a concept. So, I need an instructor, a teacher, to help me get through some tough subjects.”

Our students all agreed. “Being able to ask my questions at the moment and experience the concept in my own body and mind with the support of Melanie was what I valued most about my training.”

Learners Need Other Students

Harvard Professor David J. Malan researched minimal in-class models and determined attendance is also crucial for how it feeds student engagement. Telling Inside Higher Education, “enough former students reported something was missing, not just the students themselves but the energy of the audience, that we decided to bring live lectures back this fall.”

There is an important social component to learning; students enjoy and benefit from the participation of others in the class. In my experience, this is especially true in Yoga Teacher Training, where we learn to support a wide variety of students by sharing each other’s experiences and challenges in the classroom.

Our students all agree. “I learned so much from listening to my peers share their experiences with the practice, and it helped me to listen with curiosity and hold space for my future students.”

Ahimsa

अहिंसाप्रतिष्ठायां तत्सन्निधौ वैरत्यागः

Ahiṁsāpratiṣṭhāyāṁ tatsannidhau vairatyāgaḥ

After doing all this reflection and research, I turned back to Yoga. What would Ahimsa do? 

The literal translation of Ahiṁsā or Non-injury for a Yogī, means the cessation (tyāgaḥ) of hostility (vaira) (in one) coming close (sannidhau) to him (tad). Often said as not to harm self or others. 

Through this lens, the answer was simple. The only way to not harm you, the student, your practice, and your future students were to continue providing the highest quality of training. 

"Her trauma-informed training, therapeutic insights, and overall nurturing approach leads you through an experience of self-exploration and body confidence that is unparalleled."

A note from our founder, Melanie Taylor

For more than 30 years, I have guided students of all ages and ethnicity to discover their inner strength and connect with their TRUE selves. 

I have personally experienced trauma, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder. These experiences have transformed my life, and grounded me in my stand for my students. I work to transform what it means to live in our bodies. To wage peace in the war we have had with our bodies, minds, and spirit. Together we will discover how to come back home to your true self in a gentle, loving way that fits YOU.

I have written and designed our programs through over 30 years of personal experience in Yoga, with more than 1500 hours of training and over 7000 teaching hours as a Yoga Teacher and Therapist with a focus on developing health and bringing peace to living with stress, trauma, anxiety, and depression.

Everything I do is founded in the wisdom of Yogic teachings, current science, with a trauma-informed lens, to prepare you to work with your practice and design practice for your students. 

"Melanie, I need to impress upon you what you are doing is profoundly important. You are giving women a new lease on life; the value is priceless—nothing but love and respect for you. Sometimes you light candles, and sometimes you light a firecracker. This time you lit a lighthouse that will endure and guide others as well." Lindsey C

We thank you for considering us.

Where you choose to take your Yoga Teacher Training is one of the most important decisions you will make for your future. 

All our training provides you with an embodied experience of the content, mentoring, tools, resources, and a community to embody the training and life with peace of mind and the confidence to share this gift with others. Together we will discover the roots and wisdom of Yoga, combined with the advancements of science and neuroscience to address the complexity of living a life of wellness in the 21st century.

  • We are a Trauma-Informed, and Body Neutral School.
  • In addition, we are a Yoga Alliance Certified School.
  • You can choose between our 200 Hour of Yoga Teacher Training or our  Advanced 300 Hour of Yoga Teacher Training.

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