Yoga Tree, a large studio chain in the San Francisco Bay Area, will be offering teachers enrolled in its 500-hour teacher training program the chance to declare a major, marking a shift toward a university-style teacher training.
The school joins the ranks of other educational institutes upping the ante for yoga teacher training. Naada Yoga Studio in Canada also encourages its advanced teacher trainees to declare a major, and Loyola Marymount University recently launched a master’s degree program in yoga studies that also satisfies the requirements of 500-hour yoga teacher training certificate.
This also comes at a time when Yoga Alliance, the nonprofit association that represents yoga teachers and studios, is revamping the process to register yoga teacher training programs.
Yoga Tree says this change is in response to demand from yoga students, who are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are seeking teachers for more in-depth studies, says Darren Main, director of teacher training for the studio. Offering majors will also help teachers work beyond the typical studio class setting, which is also becoming more relevant as a population of yoga students begins to age. "We're trying to reach yoga beyond the young and the healthy," Main said.
Of course, it's also a way to help yoga teachers develop their skills so they can become more marketable in an industry quickly becoming saturated. “If you want to get a job at a major yoga studio, a 200-hour program isn't going to cut it anymore,” Main said.
Yoga Tree's study majors include Alignment Based Yoga, Flow Based Yoga, Gentle and Restorative Yoga, Yoga and Psychology, Therapeutic Yoga, Yoga Philosophy, or Women and Yoga. The program also offers a general studies option for students who do not wish to choose a major.