The British Wheel of yoga is the main governing body for yoga in the UK and recognised by the Sports Council, but there are other providers too. The BWY Foundation course offers students an opportunity to deepen personal practice and learn a lot of things that teachers may not cover in depth in a general ability class. It can also be a stepping stone to continuing on to taking a teaching diploma. Click here for more information on foundation courses near Cardiff.
You might like to look at the British Wheel of Yoga events in Wales - listings page http://www.bwywales.org.uk/events.htm for workshops, events, retreats etc.
You may also like to look at some of the short training programmes provided by Yoga Campus. Although they are based in London, they have some top visiting teachers from America, UK and India and offer short intensives focused on specific themes which may also appeal.
If you are thinking of doing your full teacher training, there are many things to consider. Donna Farhi, in her book 'Teaching Yoga' makes some excellent points about how to go about choosing a teacher training provider. I have scanned this section, so please contact me if you'd like a copy emailed to you.
Key questions to ask:
- does this course give a thorough enough teaching of all aspects of yoga, including anatomy and physiology, philosophy, pranayama, mantra, mudram meditation etc. Does it reflect the broad spectrum of Yoga as a complete spiritual tradition? (or does it overemphasis asana and ability to perform gymnastic style yoga poses?) Is it cut short to fit into a tight time scale? what does it ommit?
- will this help me to be the best teacher I can be? Please do not view teacher training as something 'to get out of the way' as quickly as possible.
- will I need to continue with further studies after this course in order to be a proficient teacher?
- does it provide me with support after the qualification or am I left to my own devices? is there an ongoing CPD requirement and support with this?
- can I work well with this teacher - can I learn to the best of my ability from this person/people?
- will this course equip me well with all I need to know in order to share the joy of yoga safely and to integrate people with all sorts of illnesses/injuries and conditions safely into my classes?
- will this course give sufficient time to learn and process what you have learned? Remember - you don't learn to practice yoga in 2 week or 2 months - it takes time for your body and mind to absorb and process - learning to teach is very similar
- am I more interested in progressing my own learning and practice (which is fine - look at foundation courses or intensives with international teachers on areas you are interested in) or do I really want to teach (learning to teach yoga is very different than being a good student).
- will it give me a well recognised qualification that will enable me to teach where I want? and to get insurance? (I have worked with organisations that will only take BWY teachers for example)
- will the course offer you sufficient time to practice teaching and offer feedback on your teaching during the course? - does it offer external assessment and observation?
- are you ready? have you been practising yoga consistently for at least a couple of years - regularly attending classes and home practice? Some schools won't take you with anything less than 2 years, some 3. Have you worked through, or have a clear path to work through any issues remaining in your own mind and body before you consider teaching others? It would be wise to question any courses willing to take on potential trainee teachers with anything less than this.
- does the structure of the course work for you? Some have long weekends, others have retreat style intensives over longer periods.
- what kind of training and experience do those leading the course have? are they respected and reputable within the yoga community? Do they have high standards? (I qualified through BWY 500 hour+ route, which is already a well respected qualification taking nearly 3 years, but my course tutor viewed this as a minimum standard and aimed to go well beyond this).
- does the tutor 'walk the walk'? do you feel the tutor exhibits yogic values and lives what they teach? is there integrity? Do you have shared values?
- have you visited the venue, met the tutors and 'got a feel for the place' and the people? is it an atmosphere that reflects your values, and your preferred learning styles? do you feel you can learn to the best of your ability here? will this place support you to be the best teacher you can possibly be?
- what is the feedback from previous students? how many of them are teaching now? Have you experienced their teaching?
Generally better teaching training programmes are run over at least one if not 2-3 years, to allow time to cover all of the material in sufficient depth, but also for the trainee teachers to fully absorb, process, practice and prepare to teach.
Remember - people look to us as teachers, doctors, spiritual leaders, therapists - clearly we are not qualified medics, physios, chiropractors, priests, etc but like it or not, these are the many hats that students will put us in, so we need to prepare to do this well and be honest about our limitations. In the same way, just because you've been ill doesn't make you a doctor - just because you practice yoga doesn't make you a teacher. We wouldn't consider visiting any of the professionals above with them having had sufficient and appropriate training - yoga teaching shouldn't be any different.
Good luck with your ongoing studies!