I recently completed by 200-hour yoga teacher training (YTT) in Bali. On the stunning island of Nusa Lembongan to be precise. Before I embarked on this adventure, I had little idea what to expect. I’d hoped that I would meet wonderful people, find some new challenges and have fun along the way. It did not disappoint. For anyone who is about to head out on a similar endeavour, here is a short post setting out a day in the life of a yoga teacher trainee in Bali.
What does a Yoga day look like?
We started our asana practice at 0600 every day, apart from Sunday, which was our glorious day off. At first, the idea of waking up for this seemed daunting, but I quickly realised the benefits of a 0500 alarm to wake up my body and mind before class.
Throughout our first week, we practised Ashtanga Half Primary series and for the second week, we enjoyed some welcome relief with Vinyasa. After some meditation and pranyama, breakfast could not come quick enough.
After breakfast and into the afternoon, there are a mix of lectures focused on theoretical topics such as anatomy and philosophy, which always provokes some lively debate and some “asana labs”, which provide an opportunity to take a detailed look at each yoga pose.
We would take a one-hour lunch break, during which time we might have to study, shower, eat or take a well-earned dip in the pool. In the afternoon, we studied either Yin or restorative yoga, again looking at the pose break down or doing a practice.
What about the evenings?
On a typical day, we would finish around 17:30, have an early dinner sometimes together a group or individually, do any homework we had been set and head to bed early. Lights were out for most of us by 21:30 or 22:00 at the latest. But there were some evenings where we could enjoy a drink and a break!
Towards the last week, with teaching practise and exams well under way, I can confidently say I had my lights out at 20:30 every day. With a 04:30 alarm every morning, I wanted to make sure I had enough sleep. Things really ramped up in the last week!
Whatever happened, I always made time to enjoy the stunning sunsets in Nusa Lembongan and take a swim in the ocean.
How many hours of “yoga” do you do a day on YTT?
The physical asana practice, including meditation and pranayama was on average around 3 and a half hours per day. But this was not all back-to-back. At various points in the day, we might also practice or try different poses, but without sequencing.
Towards the end of the course, the last week or so, practice ramped up a little in preparation for our final teaching exams. On one day, I had 2 hours of class in the morning, around 2 hours of self-practice working on my own sequence and then 2 hours of practice with other students who wanted to run through their sequences. That’s 6 hours of Vinyasa in one day!
Is yoga teacher training hard?
Yes. Is the short answer. But also, no. It really depends on how you look at it.
It can be physically demanding, if you are consciously trying to deepen and improve your practice. It requires discipline, getting out of bed every day and turning up on the mat is not easy. Nor is sitting in a lecture, that at times will feel like being back at school, and actively engaging. You will also have little time for anything but yoga.
The biggest challenge for me personally as a yoga teacher trainee in Bali was a mental challenge. I had to use a lot of energy trying to find confidence in my ability to teach and not letting self-doubt take over.
But you will also (hopefully) realise how lucky you are to take the time and energy to do the training. You will feel proud and grateful for your body and mind and what they are able to do. Your teachers and fellow students will inspire you. With all of that, I found myself springing out of bed, so I can’t really say that it was hard!
How experienced do you need to be to do yoga teacher training?
This is really a personal choice and depends on what you want to get from the experience. Many people choose to do YTT to deepen their own personal practice and may decide not to teach once they graduate. Others may wish to hone their own practice before learning how to teach. I’d recommend speaking to the individual schools that you are interested in to find out what their expectations are.
Is there an exam at the end of YTT?
For the course that I took as a yoga teacher trainee in Bali, there was both a written exam (focused on theory) and a practical teaching exam. At the time, this felt quite overwhelming, but in retrospect I am really pleased that my school took the time to properly assess me before I was able to graduate. Being tested so thoroughly has given me confidence that I can be a great yoga teacher after the course.
That said, I would recommend not focusing on your exam all throughout your yoga training. Ultimately, you are trying to train to be a yoga teacher and you want to learn as much as you can from the entire course. This information will serve you into the future and not just in order to complete your exam and get your certificate.
What are the people on a yoga teacher training course like?
I feel incredibly lucky to have had an amazing group of people on my yoga teacher training course. Not only was my group small, we had only 8 students, but every single person was wonderful. Yoga people are good people, and yoga people in Bali seem to be even better.
The group I met were all fun, inspirational, compassionate and they all brought a much-needed sense of humour to the occasion. The people I met certainly made my experience as a yoga teacher trainee in Bali much better.
There’s no guarantee that everyone you meet will be like that, but if you choose a course that really speaks to you, then chances are the people you meet will be like-minded.
Is yoga teacher training online worth it?
Since the Covid pandemic, I have noticed that numerous teaching schools are now hosting online yoga teacher training. The school that I attended, Yoga Bliss, has an online or a hybrid (10 days in person and the remainder online) option too. Personally, whilst I would take a class or workshop online, I would much prefer to take YTT in person. The experience you will get in person is totally different online.
For me, I would say that there are three big considerations to make when deciding whether online yoga teacher training is worth it for you.
What you want from online YTT
If you want to quickly train without leaving the comfort of your home, or you need something that fits around your schedule, then online training may be the best for you. But, if you want an intensive experience, to meet other people, to really benefit from the course in 3D, then you may find that online training doesn’t scratch your itch.
Doing an in person training is intensive and it can broaden your horizons. You have the opportunity to engage with and connect with other students, learning from their experiences as well as your own.
If your learning style is more “doing” than “listening”, then you may also find the online training to be a particular challenge. Additionally, if you are not always self-motivated, it could be easy to slip behind though online training. When you do an intensive or in person course, it’s almost impossible to lose focus, because the teacher and your classmates will hold you to account.
Quality of teaching
The quality of yoga teacher training will vary widely. Many offer a cheap option to train a yoga instructor, some of these may be great. But others may be as low quality as they are cheap. I would highly recommend that you shop around until you find the right fit for you and if you do choose to take classes online, perhaps enquire about whether you can “try” a class or sample before you commit. You may find that the teaching style doesn’t suit you.
How advanced your practice is
An in-person yoga training allows you to advance your practice quickly. If you are already very comfortable with the level of your practice and don’t want to improve it, or you have classes outside of yoga training that are improving your practise separately, then online may suit you. Undoubtedly, you will learn new information on an online courses, including how to teach, but for total beginners or inexperienced practitioners, it may not give you everything you need.
Where did I take my 200-hour yoga teacher training?
I was lucky enough to study for 3 fun packed weeks at Yoga Bliss on the delightful island of Nusa Lembongan. This course is INCREDIBLE, from the professional teachers to the range of yoga styles taught. I cannot speak highly enough of it!
If you want peaceful island paradise and top-notch training, get in touch with Yoga Bliss. Instagram details below.
Want to read more about Bali or YTT?
- How to prepare for YTT overseas
- What to pack for YTT in Bali
- What to do in Nusa Lembongan
- How to get to Nusa Lembongan
- 10 things to know about Ubud
- Where to stay in Ubud