How I almost got ripped off by an online Yoga Teacher Training and why I need your help


Shore walking at Ft. Myers Beach Florida
When I meditate, I go to the ocean, and the sound of the waves helps me get clear. On my third failed attempt at teacher training I had to take it on the chin and begin again. And what about this: Maybe I’m meant to share yoga—and support teachers—in another way. More meditation and less forcing required. Easier said than done.

I register. I pay. I’m so excited. So is my instructor. To quote her email message line “Squeeee!”

It has all come together. I float through about five weeks of smiling every five seconds.

I will always be glad for those moments of elation. So, so happy. “I’m going to be a yoga teacher,” I whispered to myself. This has been my dream for the last six of the dozen years I’ve been actively practicing. I see so many people who need what yoga can give them. I will finally be able to help!

Then, a few weeks before class, fifth item down on an emailed to-do checklist: By the way, the instructor is not offering Yoga Alliance “registration” because it’s too much hassle and there is no value for dues paid. The more she knows about YA, the less she wants to be involved. That it’s basically a US-based paid charity. That there’s really no certification or enforcement of standards.

  • Any school that submits a one-page syllabus and submits dues can become an Alliance school, so it has no meaning.
  • It’s on an honors system, so nobody checks what you’re doing.
  • There is a gray area when it comes to contact hours—some think it’s 50 but it’s really 125. Schools and teachers lie about contact hours all the time. 

Squeeee? More like—Oh, Shit.  

And duh. To be so easily misled is humbling. After more than a half-century of life to once again find out the hard way that if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

The truth crashed in the very day I Instagrammed a photo of my gorgeous anatomy textbook (yes, I bought all the required books) and made contact with the author—one of the well-known, respected instructors participating in the training that began January 19, without me. anatomyyoga-sutras

Jack Kornfield A Path With Heart, from the amazing spiritual thought leader.
I’m enjoying the books my almost-teacher chose for the course.

There WERE signs.

  • Like not being asked about previous yoga experience.
  • Like thinking that doing classes and a practicum via Zoom can be equated to in-person, hands-on training.

Have you ever wanted something so much that you delude yourself into thinking This is it!?

My third run at yoga teacher training. I was so sure it would be the charm.

The I-want-my-money-back-moment: she suggested that I could lie to the Alliance (credentialing is on the honor system) because she remains a registered YA school. All we would have to do is not be honest about the required amount of contact hours—if they even bothered to ask me about it.

So. Not. Yogic.

And Yoga Politics. Really?

For me, the question isn’t about paying dues—I come from a blue-collar IBEW family, so I don’t have a problem with chipping in for the greater good. And I weary of the poor-mouthing. Yes, I know there are very few rich yoga teachers around. 

But maybe if we all quit boo-hooing about how broke yoga teachers are, and stop operating with lack mentality, abundance might flow in. Just a thought. At any rate, whining about $55 annual dues when you’re taking in $2,900 X 30+ students is disingenuous at best.

Hello Kitty cheers everyone up.
My Dark Night of the Soul including snuggling up with Hello Kitty and a big pink quartz in my yoga room (aka the guest bedroom). I bawled (and soothed myself) like a little girl, but that’s OK. Because tears are a sign of letting go. And this phony-baloney endeavor had to be released.

Honestly, I don’t care about being listed in the Yoga Alliance registry as much as I care about the credential. Even if it’s a one-off for the year I earned it. And as far as complaining about paperwork? Hellooooo—credentialing requires documentation. Preferably honest documentation.

The Alliance helped us in Michigan. Or did they? Now that’s I’ve read the diatribes against it, I’m more confused.

Here are some of the anti-alliance arguments my (almost) online instructor shared:

Why you don’t need a certificate

Is YA registration worth it?

Yoga Alliance Approved, My Ass

Next Step. This, or something better!

In my new vision, I’m on the beach. In Bali. Or Greece. Maybe Costa Rica. With Sting and Trudi by my side, as Snatum Kaur performs her greatest Kundalini hits—with special guest classes by Shiva Rea and Maya Fiennes. Or I’m studying with one of these 100 most influential yoga teachers in America.

But a training right here at home would be pretty fantastic, too.

Yoga teacher training opportunities are non-existent in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. How can we bring a certified yoga teacher training here, as a two-week or month-long intensive? I’m taking names (students AND teachers), suggested locations—any ideas that could help us bring a quality training to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. If anyone else is already exploring this, let me know how I can help.

Maybe we could do it at Mount Bohemia, which has started offering a summer Yoga retreat. Or maybe LaRose Wellness Retreat. Who else has room? Holistic Center for Mind, Body and Spirit? Spirit of the North Wellness in Copper Harbor? Michigan Tech?

I am open to ideas. Let’s do this. You can PM me if that’s easier.

With a Learner’s Mind, and Reverence for the Golden Chain of Teachers, I Also Humbly Ask:

  • Where did you go for RYT training?
  • Do YOU care about the RYT after your name?
  • What does the Yoga Alliance mean to you?
  • How did you find your yoga teacher?

My almost-teacher put together a comprehensive syllabus that I was excited to dive into. I wish her and her class well.

My truth? I don’t want it that way. I would already be teaching yoga if I didn’t feel that credentialing is worth it.

Want to Know More About Yoga Teacher Training and its Main (At least in the US) Governing Body?

Here’s an intro to the Yoga Alliance board

And more about standard contact and non-contact training hours

YA credentialing standards for the beginning 200 hour RYT training includes:

  • Technique, Training and Practice — 75 hours
  • Teaching Methodology — 15 hours
  • Anatomy and Physiology — 10 hours
  • Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle and Ethics —20 hours
  • Practicum — Five hours

For a total 125 contact hours

I was going to get all profound with the famous Buddha quote that when the student is ready the teacher will appear. But that’s fake, too. Sigh.

So I’m just going to keep asking, keep breathing, keep doing, keep BEING yoga. And sharing it with anyone who wants to practice with me.


Buddha by the window on my yoga routine notebook.
I had my notebook ready—full of the routines I’ve been writing for years based on different themes, like The Yin You’re In and Bed, Bask and Beyond and In the Mudra. I’m just going to keep crafting my routines, and meditating on where I will find my teacher.

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