[wp_ad_camp_1]Every choice you make in life is a creative decision; from deciding what yoga pants you put on in the morning, to choosing paint colors for your kitchen remodel. Choosing a Yoga Teacher Training in a fabulously exotic place like Costa Rica is right up there with one of the most creative decisions you’ll ever make, so set your imagination free. Here are some things to consider and questions to ask while choosing the perfect program for your adventurous soul:
Cast a Wide Net
When starting your list of potential teacher trainings in Costa Rica, give your creative muscle full reign by laying out every Costa Rican training program you can find. Once you begin to define your search, certain programs will eliminate themselves naturally. Don’t rule out anything too soon; casting a wide net allows your creativity to run wild and keeps options on the table once you start to narrow down fields like time, budget and accreditation.
Consider Your Time Frame and Budget
As you likely have a busy life and schedule, the first things to consider are the dates and number of weeks you have available to travel and immerse yourself in the program. If your dates are specific, you will dance a delicate dance as you rule out programs based on the dates they are offered or the number of weeks the training takes. They are all different. This will be the first and best way to start really narrowing down your options. Make sure to include in your itinerary and budget the number of days or weeks you plan to travel and explore the rest of the country after your training. Other things to include in your budget are meals and accommodations. Are they included with the training program? Many do include these things and many do not. Make that research part of the initial investigation. If food is not included in the price of the program, look at the cost of food nearby. If it’s a high tourist destination, the prices will be higher than in other parts of the country. There will be options for every budget, but it’s best to look at these things in the beginning stages of your decision-making process.
The next most important thing to do, is get clear about your intentions. Do you plan to open a studio one day? Do you intend to teach yoga or is your intention solely to deepen your practice? If you do plan to teach, where will you teach and to who? All of these questions are ones to keep in the forefront of your mind as you look at each program and its syllabus to decide if it is a good fit for your yoga future. Rule out any programs that seem to go against or do not resonate with your main objectives and intentions.
Should Your School be Registered with the Yoga Alliance?
Based on where and to whom you want to teach, it will matter whether or not your training program is accredited with the Yoga Alliance. If you are doing your training solely to deepen your practice, you will not need to be a registered yoga teacher. In a lot of countries you might teach, accreditation will not be a consideration. In the United States and most Western cultures, however, students and studios want proof that their teachers have been trained to international certification standards, and that’s where the Alliance comes in. The Yoga Alliance has a database of over 3,000 registered yoga training schools. Their aim as an organization is to provide teachers and students with credible information, support and high standards for our ever expanding and popular industry. Decide if being registered with the Alliance is important to you at this juncture and if so, rule out any programs that are not.
What’s Your Style?
Start by identifying the style of yoga you have been learning; the one that inspired you to become a teacher. Talk with your teachers about their training. Did your favorite teachers train in classical styles like Iyengar, Sivananda or Ashtanga? Did they begin with one of these styles and branch out into more modern approaches like Power Yoga or Jivamukti? How did they evolve their style of teaching and do you enjoy their classes? It doesn't hurt at this stage of the game, while deciding which style to train in, to take some different kinds of classes from different teachers and rule out anything that doesn't fit your yoga style. As you observe and experience these different techniques, do some online research about the subtle or not so subtle differences and begin to decide what your teaching style will be and what designation best suits your personality and strengths.
What Kind of Environment Best Suits your Approach to Learning?
Once you've narrowed down your program options with logistical broad strokes, you can start to consider the environment of the programs you are considering. How many students would be in your training group? Do you prefer to learn as part of an intimate group of students or as part of a larger group? How old are the students that frequent this particular school? Will you feel a connection with them? Make sure the program you are looking at trains in your language or a language very familiar to you so you will be able to communicate with the teachers and other students. Teacher trainings are amazing opportunities to bond with your yoga peers. You will be opened up to a whole new view of the world and you will share this connection and special time with your fellow students for years to come. Make sure you have a feel for the type of people you’ll be surrounded by. Reach out to people who have taken the course and ask them about their experience.
Be Aware of Any Dietary Restrictions
Many yoga teacher training programs adhere to a strict vegan or vegetarian diet. Just as many do not. Decide if this is a factor for you and find out the school's guidelines before settling on a program. If animal protein is a staple in your diet for health (or any other) reasons, a program offering only vegan meals will not be the best choice. By the same token, a program with a vegetarian or vegan regime might call to you and be a welcome experiment you’d like to try during the weeks of your training and significantly add to your experience.
What Kinds of Activities are nearby?
Retreat destinations tend to offer ample free time to students for hiking, biking, surfing and exploring. Between studies, you’ll need time to clear your mind and you should consider what types of activities you are naturally drawn to and make sure they are close by. Chances are, you’ll have the opportunity for a few day trips, but your studies and asana practice will keep you busy. You’ll want some form of enjoyable release nearby.
Be Inspired by Nature
Costa Rica offers teacher trainings all over their green, serene and exotic country. From ocean to river views and jungle to mountain accommodations, there is something beautiful for everyone. Decide what element of nature truly inspires you. Do you enjoy the wild waves symbolizing renewal, the flowing river symbolizing flow and movement, the grounding force of the mountains representing balance and stability, or the lush, nutrient rich jungle full of life? Look at the options left on your list, even meditate with each one and see if your creative decision-maker has any surprises for you.
Kristin Daemon is a yoga teacher, freelance writer and owner of Seaside Yoga, the first yoga studio in the small town of Seaside, Oregon on the rugged, Pacific Northwest coast. You can find and friend her on Facebook or check out and follow her blog, kristindaemon.com.
Images via: @lauraquirosortiz,