Congratulations! You are ready to sign up for a yoga teacher training (YTT) program. When you enroll in a YTT program, you pay tuition to the studio, but there are a few other expenses that you will want to consider when budgeting. I'm here to help you think about those other expenses.
YTT programs vary depending on the studio, the number of hours, and the time frame in which the training is held. My program was a 200-hour Yoga Alliance certified* program in the Unites States. Here's what experience has taught me:
1. Sign up early
Studios want to know that they are going to have bodies in the classroom. They often incentivize early-bird signups. Savings may range from $50 to several hundred dollars. Usually, they advertise this in their promotional materials, but if not, you can always ask.
2. Consider transportation and parking
The training program that I was a part of was split between two locations in the city. At one location, parking was free, but at the downtown location, students had to park at meters or in garages. If you know that your program will take you into the heart of a city, put a little money aside for parking or an app-enabled ride service, look into public transit, or carpool to cut costs.
If your program is overseas, then you could have some hefty transportation costs. Keep this in mind so that your credit card doesn't burst into flames upon re-entry into your home country.
3. Food expenses
During your training, you are going to have to eat. It takes a lot of energy to be active for so many hours per day. You may also find that your body craves different (and cleaner) foods when you are undergoing training. My program did not mandate strict dietary changes, but some will insist that you switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet while you are training. Prepare healthy meals and snacks to bring with you, or you will spend a fortune on eating out.
For residential programs, food (and room and board), may be included in your tuition.
4. Tap into your local library
My program required us to read a book and watch a documentary from a list of approved titles. Although I am an unrepentant bibliophile, buying more stuff wasn’t feasible at the time. Luckily, I was able to find several books and documentaries that I could use to fulfill my requirements for free at the library.
5. Self-care expenses
YTT programs can be tough on your body. You will practice multiple times per day, and if you are working on specific postures, then you may be hopping in and out of those repeatedly. Everything should be done with an emphasis on safety, but when you are moving that much, the potential for injury is always there. If you want to avoid injuries, then you will have to have self-care systems in place.
I had a special recovery tea* that I drank every afternoon, and I had a ginger and arnica balm* that applied to my creaky and aching self at regular intervals. I took Epsom salt baths, and at the end of my training, I needed a massage to put everything back in order again. In total, my self-care routine cost me around $100 during my training, but I got through it without illness or injury.
6. Lost wages
If you are in training, chances are that you probably have a day job. Depending on your program, most of your learning efforts might be squeezed into weekends. If you do a 200-hour intensive, then you will have several weeks of long physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging days. I came home wiped out every day, and I didn’t have loads of other responsibilities. Some of my colleagues worked during the evenings and nights. I was blown away by their grit.
Check the program’s schedule, figure out if you can use paid time off or vacation time, and calculate how much adjusting your work schedule will cost you so that you can plan accordingly. You may not have much choice regarding work, but if you can shift your hours or take advantage of a benefit, then it will make things a bit easier for you.
7. Outside Yoga Classes
Your program may ask you to take a few classes with different studios so that you can practice with new teachers in different environments. The drop-in rate in my area ranges between $15 and $20. Look into free or reduced-cost promotions for new students at studios near you. You may be able to go to a donation-based class and save a little money. (I always try to leave at least $10 for the teacher in a donation-based class.) If you have a friend with a membership at another studio, then they may be able to get you in on a buddy pass. Who knows? You may love one of those places and become a member.
YTT was an investment that I made in myself. It was worth every dime, but I was able to make all those dimes count with a little bit of forethought.
I'll write a follow-up in a few weeks on post-training expenses. Did I miss any costs that crop up in training? Feel free to leave a comment below.
* I was not compensated to promote these products/ businesses- I just like them.