I guess it really depends on what kind of yoga instructor you are looking for.
I have a 200-RYT and two 16-hour yoga certifications (all three trainings were live instruction), but do not have the NESTA online certification. The NESTA certification appears to be all done through at-home study, essay, and exam. The reviews from people who have taken it appear to be reasonably good.
Here are my concerns.
Since it is online, there is no process whereby the “instructor” is watched to see if they are moving safely and properly in their own practice.
Also since it is online, there is no process to see whether the instructor – even if they can move safely and properly in their own practice – can assess individuals and cue them properly.
They make it clear on their website that it is “sports yoga.” There is a lot more to yoga than the stretch aspect. Are your clientele wanting only the stretch piece (in which case a fitness yoga certification like this might be totally fine), or do they want more of a traditional yoga, which focuses on the pose, the breath, and mindfulness aspects of yoga?
I wouldn’t automatically rule a candidate out if this was their only yoga certification. However, I would ask this person what their home practice looks like (how often, what kind, what have they learned?). I would also ask who they’re currently studying with. If they’re not studying with a teacher and / or practicing, I’d be wary.
You might also compare the NESTA certification / education requirements to the standards for the base level of yoga instructors allowed to register with the yoga alliance (RYT)
In addition to having 200 hours of live course work, many of the programs have substantial homework. My 200 hour program ended up taking over 400 hours when you count the time I practiced at home, attending my teachers’ class, my reading assignments, and my written homework. So, an RYT will have had more education than a NESTA certified instructor, but that difference in education might be minimized through the practitioner’s own practice, effort, and ability to work well with your facility’s clients.
I would suggest if you are looking for a yoga teacher that you do not look for any ‘certification’ but whether they have an Alliance standing. There are several levels of Alliance standards…. RYT just means registered on the alliance, and indicates no level of training or experience. 200, 300, or 500 indicate how many hundreds of hours of training that meets the standards of what a yoga teacher should know, and an E indicates a teacher with some thousands of hours of teaching experience.
If your population is mostly people who want to do an asana based fitness program based on yoga then getting that sort of training might suit your needs. If you want the benefits of the practice to include more than stretching and strengthening you need a teacher who is understands, practices, and can teach more than asana…. breathwork, meditation, internally directed tools of focus, … all of that is important. Here is a very short video (I shared this recently on my yoga facebook page, because I think it explains some of the NIH research findings in a very easily understood way) that gives a very simplified understanding of some of the complexity of the practice:
And I agree that hands on work is vital in yoga. If your prospective instructor is someone who has trained for years, and taught, and went by a different path than a standard Alliance style training, then this could be fine. Plenty of people have taken alternative paths and are fabulous teachers and might decide to do something like the NESTA because something else was not possible for various reasons. But I think you need to know that they really understand more than just how to get in and out of down dog and head stand, or replicate a series of postures.
btw there are TONS of yoga instructors out there now. Studios love running teacher training because it is a big money maker. So you should find, particularly if you offer pay that is industry standard for your geographic area, that you have no problem getting a wide choice of teachers. One suggestion I would make is to visit a few stand alone yoga studios in your area. Generally speaking these places will have some of the most experienced and most highly trained teachers. Try a few styles to get a sense of what would work for your clientele. You might also make some connections to the yoga population as a whole that way. Then when you have an opening you could say, for instance, ‘I want someone with experience teaching warm vinyasa/multilevel yoga/chair yoga/Bikram/Viniyoga/Iyengar or whatever you need.