Hi Lynne - thanks for posting your question on the Forum.
This is a very broad question and the answer depends very much on what each individual student is looking for. Often, one of the first questions asked is - is the teacher certified as a Yin Yoga teacher? The answer to that is tricky: there is no certifying body who will guarantee or certify Yin Yoga teachers. (See this thread
on this topic for more details.) So, there is no point asking if the teacher is certified to teach Yin Yoga but you may want to ask about his/her background in Yin Yoga: who did she study with, for how long, when? But, let’s back up a bit. We can investigate both the teacher(s) and the training offered. Here are a few categories to consider:
Experience in Yoga
Experience in Teaching Yoga
Philosophy of Yoga
Outline and duration
Pre-requisites, pre-reading, workbooks given, books required
Class Size and location of training
Now, we can look at some of the details. For the teacher(s) - it may be worthwhile to know how long they have been practicing yoga, and Yin Yoga more specifically, and how long they have been teaching. Who did they study under and where did they acquire their Yin Yoga experience? There are also many philosophical approaches to yoga and the teacher may embrace one of these more strongly. Is she strongly bhakti and spiritual or more asana focused or jnani: more cerebral? Personally, I describe my style as “edutainment” - part educational and part entertaining. This is enjoyed by some people, but leaves others cold, especially if they are looking for a much more meditative/spiritual practice. How approachable is the teacher? Are you comfortable asking questions of her or is she aloof and distant? While there are clearly some personalities that are not cut out for teaching (imagine someone with anger management issues, reeking of drugs or alcohol - probably not the best personality for teaching yoga) but there is no one “right” personality for teaching. A lot depends upon what you are seeking and what resonates with you.
The training itself must also meet certain minimum criteria, but there, again, there is no one way to teach yoga. Do you want a course that is more theoretical or one with lots of practice time? Do you want to learn how to teach yoga in this course, or if you already know that, are you seeking to simply learn how to add Yin Yoga to your repertoire? How much anatomy will be covered? The yin tissues of the body are quite different than the yang tissues that you may have learned about in your earlier yoga teacher trainings. How much energy anatomy will be discussed? YIn Yoga does deliberately target the Daoist meridian lines: will you learn about that? What about the meditative aspects? Yin Yoga is a very quiet practice and can be a great contemplative tool. Will time be spent on covering the asanas individually as well? Will you get time to practice teaching Yin Yoga to others?
The facility itself is a consideration: is it adequate for the number of students expected? Do they have enough props? Is it warm enough? Is it the kind of environment you want to spend a week or more in? Cost is always a consideration and generally you can expect to pay more for a more experienced teacher. Rates vary and can range from $15 to $25/hours of training. You may also want to know, of the total number of hours, how much of that is direct contact with the teachers and how much is time you spend on your own in self study (I believe the Yoga Alliance “allows” ~10% of posted hours to be self-study hours.)
Of course, this can’t be an exhaustive list of criteria, but one excellent way to discover if the teacher will be right for you is to take a class with her before you commit. Also, ask past attendees for their feedback.
I hope this helps - it would be interesting to hear views from other students and teachers.