My yoga teacher training experience (RYT 200 hour)

Hi friends! How’s the day going so far? It’s been a fun and busy day one over here! I took a BODYPUMP class, and then Livi and I ran a couple of errands before hanging out at the park. She’s starting swim lessons today, and I hope she loves it!

So this weekend was an exciting one because it was the official culmination of our yoga teacher training experience.

Yoga teacher training 2

(Mara, Ryan, Natalie, Kristen, Jaz, me, Leigh, Brandon and Crystal)

I started the training back in January with a group of amazing individuals who quickly became close friends. We spent a lot of time together discussing sutras, attending lectures, and practicing asanas. Yoga teacher training is something that I’ve wanted to do for years, and I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to complete this training before baby #2 makes her arrival this fall.

I was always a little worried that teacher training might remove some of the magic of yoga. Whenever I end up teaching a class that I love to take, I think about it from an entirely different perspective. This doesn’t mean that I love the classes I teach any less, but it changes the dynamic of the experience. Yoga has always been something something special and sacred that’s just for me. Well, after our YTT, I love yoga more than I thought possible and it’s created a deeper, richer experience in my own practice.  

I’ve written a couple of posts about my training so far, and here is the final one with all of the training deets. 🙂

Yoga teacher training

My yoga teacher training was through Sol Yoga at Point Loma Sports Club. When I found out they’d be offering their first yoga teacher training, I immediately jumped on board, as Crystal, the group fitness director would be leading it. She has been teaching and studying yoga for many years, and she also teaches at the Chopra Center. I was excited for the chance to learn as much as I could from her, and also decide through my journey if I’d want to potentially teach classes myself. 

How our training was structured:

We met every Thursday night, and many Saturday afternoons. Thursday nights were lectures, while Saturdays were focused on workshops, meditation and asana practice. Each Thursday, we discussed sutras from Patanjali’s yoga sutras, and focused on the theme for that night.


Here are the different topics we studied:

What is yoga?

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga


Pranayamas and Bandhas

Role of a Yoga Instructor

Yoga Techniques

Yoga & Pregnancy

Anatomy and Physiology




Our materials:

“The 7 Spiritual Laws of Yoga”

“The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali”

Our binder, which was packed with handouts and information. It’s about 200 pages, and I can tell that I’ll refer to it often.  

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-It was a long process, and I think that it really encouraged each of us to really learn and absorb the materials. I feel that because it took a bit longer, I learned and retained more than I would have during a short intensive course. 

-It changed me as a person. I finally learned that it means to live yoga off the mat, and have implemented many of the strategies we learned during training in my everyday life. That to me was worth the tuition fee alone. After yoga teacher training, I meditate daily, take extra time to count my blessings, BREATHE through my stressors, and feel like a calm, more focused and centered version of myself. Sure my fiery Latina still comes out, but for the most part, I feel more peaceful and patient throughout the day. 

-I learned proper alignment for the asanas. While I’ve learned many poses from attending classes on and off for the past 10 years, there were still many poses where I was like, “I’m not sure I’m doing this exactly right….” Now I know proper alignment for my favorite poses, and also some tips for setting up the newer asanas. 

-Learning my own mantra, which was a magical part of our teacher training and my favorite thing that we did. I wrote a little bit about it here, but each of us received our own personal mantra, based on the sound and vibrations the Earth was making on the day and in the place where we were born. Crystal had a special ceremony for each of us to receive our mantra, and afterwards we meditated on it for 30 minutes. I use my mantra in my own meditations now, and it feels powerful to be using a mantra that was chosen for me. 

-The personalization of studying in a small group. Because we were a small group (9 people), we had the ability to ask questions and have our experience tailored to the subjects we wanted to learn. Since this was my first yoga training experience, it was nice to feel like our instructor was accessible. There are trainings with hundreds of students, and while I’m sure they are amazing, this was exactly what I needed for my first experience. 

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Photo: Danny Chan


-It was a long course. I had to miss a couple of weekend meetings (for fitness conferences and travel) and felt like I was missing out! The good news is that Crystal was really flexible and worked to coordinate our schedules so we didn’t miss too much if we were out of town. 

-While it deepened my practice, I do feel like I analyze yoga more often than I used to. This comes with the territory of learning to teach my favorite classes. Even though I am paying more attention to the phrasing, form cues and verbs instructors use, I feel like my love for yoga wasn’t tarnished in the least. My love for yoga became deeper and stronger, and I feel excited to continue to practice as long as I’m able. 

All in all, I’m so thankful that I was able to complete this training and to have another certification under my belt. I’m hoping to use my yoga teacher training in my profession one day, whether it’s through teaching classes, teaching a yoga class at Liv’s school when she’s a little older, or who knows? You can add this to my list of random hobbies, but I’d love to explore becoming a doula sometime in the future. I feel like YTT could be beneficial for that, too. I’m just excited for the opportunity to share yoga with others because it’s dramatically impacted my life. <3

Let me know if you have any questions about the process!

What goal are you currently working towards??



My teacher training was through Sol Yoga at Point Loma Sports Club. My tuition wasn’t comped or discounted beyond the normal member rate; just wanted to spread the word in case any local friends were interested. Their next training will begin March 2016. 

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  1. my hope is, is that in the next 3 years (by 1 year out of undergrad), i’ll have the opportunity to take a YTT 100 or 200 hour course, kinda like you, to deepen my practice and increase my understanding. sounds like you had a great time! i always thought a small class would be weird, but i like your point of view and i’ll consider that now 🙂

  2. My 200 training was crammed into 3 weeks. It was such a blur! I wish I could have done one more spread out like yours was.

  3. Hi Gina! So awesome that you’ve completed training, and I can understand the cons that you mention. I’d love to pursue yoga certification one day. I surely do want to get into practicing more than once a week! 🙂 On my next visit to SD, I hope to come to your yoga class!

  4. I’m currently working towards a sub-30 5K time.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this with us! I’ve considered YTT a few times and it’s cool to get a peek inside what they actually entail! Glad yours was so eye opening and informative!

  6. Congratulations on the new cert; I think it sounds like a rewarding experience.

  7. Congratulations! Finishing your 200 hour training is such a huge accomplishment! I did my training over nine months (one weekend a month) and also really liked that it was more spread out because we had more time to absorb the training and more time to practice both yoga and teaching. It sounds like you found the perfect program for you. Can’t wait to read more about your yoga teaching adventures!

  8. Ah I remember when I was Livi’s age and I took swim lessons. That brings back such fond memories. I hope she enjoys it! In addition, CONGRATULATIONS on the completion of YTT! I hope it proves to be worth it, and I am sure you are going to make an incredible instructor for yoga. 🙂

  9. Rosamund says:

    This looks like an amazing experience! I have just begun my bikram yoga journey and am loving it so far. My goal is working towards teacher training in Thailand after I have a little more experience with the practice. I was wondering if I could ask you a yoga related question? I know that yoga is often used on rest days and as a way of combating overtraining, but do you think you can over train from yoga? I am unsure if the symptoms would be the same as regular overtraining, and if this is something more common in bikram where the practice is a little more cardiovascular.

    • Fitnessista says:

      i think you can definitely overtrain with yoga, and with bikram. it makes your heart work harder to cool yourself down, and the perceived exertion is definitely higher. i think it’s smart to maintain a mix of activities in training and have at least one full day of rest each week

      • Rosamund says:

        thanks! I have been feeling a bit sore but when I mentioned it to some of my classmates they commented that yoga would be good for soreness, rather than the cause of it.

  10. Way to go on completing training!! My friends want to take me to a restorative yoga class soon!

  11. Hi! Thanks so much for this. I was wondering how you chose your training program. In Bombay I loved my yoga instructors, but the studio I was at did not do any training. I’m currently in Dhaka and there are no teacher training programs that I know of. I’m interested to be in Sri Lanka for a program if possible, but not sure of the best options. How would you recommend choosing a course?


  12. Thank you so much for sharing your YTT journey and congrats! It has been so nice following along with your certification journey.
    I am currently looking at a few training programs in my area and attending some info sessions this month. One training is 12 weeks and the other two are 9 and 11 months. While I so badly want to be certified by the end of the year, my gut is telling me to take a longer course to allow everything to sink in. Thanks for sharing your insight on course length. So helpful!!

  13. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

  14. So so interesting! It sounds like a really great experience.

    I love learning new things – trying to teach myself French but it’s a slow process (I need to get better at committing to do a certain amount of it each day / week). That’s definitely one of the good things about a structured class; it doesn’t leave any room for excuses 🙂

    • Fitnessista says:

      that is really cool you’re learning french. what are you using to learn??

      • I started out with the Rosetta Stone (great resource!), but now I’m trying out a different approach of compiling a document of the usual sentences I say all the time, and translating them. Trying to get myself to be able to speak the very basics just so I can be understood, and then work on the tenses and masculine / feminine afterwards… we’ll see how it works!

  15. I’m working towards having my first baby girl in September. Trying to keep her healthy through eating well and lots of walking!

  16. Hi Gina! I am near completion of my YTT in San Diego as well. I’m loving every minute of it! I’m really interested in how you created your own mantra based on the day your were born. I would love to do that as I struggle a bit with meditation and think this might be helpful. Can you share more on how you did that or any resources that might be helpful?


  17. I really enjoyed hearing about your program and how it has affected you. Thanks for such a thorough review! As you know, I’m going through my 200 hr YTT right now and share a lot of your views. It is life changing so far and i’m only a third through. Our program is quite long as well. We meet for 15 hours each weekend we meet, every other weekend, for 12 weekends in total. While the YTT weekends are pretty time intense, we have 2 weeks in between to absorb and reflect on the info. A con of my program (at least in my introverted mind) is the size. There are 27 students and I would much prefer a smaller group. 9 sounds ideal!

    I was starting to have a lot of anxiety about the process as thoughts flooded my head about future teaching. Will I be a good enough teacher? Can I do this? Do I even want to teach? I’ve decided to let all of those questions go…. I’m planning to really enjoy the process and get as much out of it as I can for my own personal benefit. I love yoga! I want to learn and meditate and grow. After YTT is over I can evaluate what I want to do! This approach is much more yogic anyway, right?

    Namaste, my friend 🙂

    • Fitnessista says:

      much more yogic 🙂 i noticed that i stopped worrying and freaking out about stuff like that during training. i realized it doesn’t really matter, that this is an opportunity to GROW, and everything will unfold as it will 🙂
      namaste to you! xo

  18. Love it! Congratulations! So glad you had an awesome experience and don’t feel like it took away your love of yoga – rather deepened it. I felt the exact same. My training was long too but I also felt like it allowed topics and discussions to sink in more and I could get more out of them. I’m sure you will be an awesome yoga instructor if and when you decide to teach!

  19. Congratulations!! Reading about your YTT experience has really made me want to get back into yoga. Even though I lived in Boulder for the past few years, I couldn’t find a studio that resonated with me. I just moved back to Philadelphia for grad school and am hoping to find a studio that fits, or to at least pick up my practice on my own. I would love to hear any thoughts on exercise and the chakras if that’s a post topic that might interest you. I’ve been digging Belinda Davidson’s chakra meditations but I’ve never seen anyone talk about them in the context of fitness and exercise!

  20. I just wanted to pass this along. As someone who lives in a rural area, with no gym that offers yoga classes, or any group fitness classes at all, my only experience with yoga had been through DVD or YouTube. At a local business, they began offering yoga classes. I cannot even begin to explain the difference having a real teacher correcting your form, and going at it alone. So to all you teachers out there, you’re appreciated.

  21. Thanks so much for sharing your experience! I start my 200-hour YTT next week, and I’m so nervous/excited/still nervous! I’m mostly doing it to deepen my own practice, but someday I’d love to teach and be involved in yoga full time.

    Tips for someone who might jump into the fitness world?

    • Fitnessista says:

      that is so exciting! i hope you have an amazing experience too 🙂 i would just check with the studios where you’d like to teach and see what they require. most gyms and clubs require a group fitness cert, but i don’t think it’s the same for yoga studios. you’ll likely need a cpr cert too.
      yay, good luck!!!

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