How To Become A Certified Yoga Instructor? (7 Simple Steps)

If you are a yoga lover and often find yourself sharing its benefits with others, you might have thought about becoming a certified yoga teacher. But how do you go from being a yoga student to a certified yoga instructor? Whether you’re planning to teach yoga classes online or in person in a yoga studio, gym, corporate or anywhere else, this guide has everything you need to know. It will clear up any confusion and save you a lot of time and trouble, so you’ll know exactly how to become certified yoga instructor with minimal stress.

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about how to become a certified yoga instructor. It can be hard to find clear answers. To cut through the confusion, we’ve put together a simple guide on everything you need to know about becoming a yoga instructor. Let’s dive in and clear up any misconceptions, so you can confidently start your journey to become a yoga teacher.

Certification Requirements To Teach Yoga

In the USA or most of the western countries you need the certification to teach yoga, that’s why you don’t see yoga teachers teaching yoga all over the town. Most of the places they won’t let you teach without a proper certification and you will also need insurance to teach in most of the studios. Even if you teach online or in a park you are putting yourself at risk without yoga insurance.

Students also want to know that their teacher has done the yoga training certification. Without proper training leading a yoga class can be risky for you and for the students as well. This is why you need a minimum 200 hours yoga teacher training certification from Yoga alliance.

These courses are done in person but in recent years you can find the options of doing them online as well. However we strongly recommend doing these training in person to get hands-on experience rather than just learning it online as it’s not the same. Completing the course accredited by yoga alliance also makes it easier to get teaching insurance after you graduate.

While 200 hours training is the basic requirement, it’s always a good idea to continue learning through your teaching career. There are many specialized courses you can take to broaden your skills, like teaching yoga to children or per and postnatal yoga teacher training.

Many yoga teachers also choose to take a 300 hours yoga training course to deepen their understanding of yoga as 200 hours is not much time to learn everything about yoga and teaching yoga. To become a successful yoga teacher you need to keep on training and developing your skills.

What is Yoga Alliance?

Getting certified through a yoga school registered with yoga alliance boosts your credibility. Yoga Alliance USA is the biggest and most recognised registration body for yoga schools and yoga teachers. They don’t certify the schools like you would see with universities or in other education bodies but they do sort of behave like an accreditation body in some ways.

To register with yoga alliance you need to complete your training with a yoga school register with yoga alliance and the training is conducted by the teachers register with yoga alliance.

The way training will work is that Yoga Alliance has a set of standards that each school needs to follow, and each school will submit their curriculum to Yoga Alliance in order to have their training approved. Including a specified number of hours in topics such as yoga anatomy and physiology, yoga philosophy, lifestyle and ethics for yoga teachers, practice and techniques.

Yoga Alliance has a few different types of registration credentials which are aligned with the way training is typically conducted and you can read more about becoming a yoga instructor on their website.

The Key Differences Between 200, 300, and 500 Hour Yoga Teacher Training

We have seen many people get confused about yoga teacher training courses so let’s clarify things quickly.

200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training:

  • The 200 hour yoga teacher training course is a foundational course which needs to be completed before any other course.
  • The training can be focused on specific styles like hatha yoga or vinyasa yoga or it can be a multi style yoga teacher training course.
  • If the school is registered with Yoga Alliance USA, the specific focus of the training like Vinyasa or Hatha doesn’t matter because Yoga Alliance recognizes any training as the number of hours completed (200, 300, or 500).

300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training:

  • A 300-hour yoga teacher training should only be pursued after completing a 200-hour training.
  • This advanced level program builds on the foundational skills acquired in the 200-hour course.

500 Hour Yoga Teacher Training:

  • A 500-hour yoga certification is a combination of both the 200-hour and 300-hour yoga teacher training programs.
  • Students can complete the 200-hour program first and then move on to the 300-hour program or they can enroll in a comprehensive 500-hour yoga teacher training program that covers both.

Let’s take a closer look at the credentials that Yoga Alliance uses, as these often raise many questions.

What is RYT and E-RYT: What Do RYT 200 and RYT 500 Mean?

RYT Means Registered Yoga Teacher

To become a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with Yoga Alliance you need to complete specific training programs. For the RYT 200 credential you need to complete a 200-hour yoga teacher training course registered with Yoga Alliance. On the other hand, for the RYT 500 credential you need to complete a total of 500 hours of training. This can either be done through a single 500-hour YTT program or by first completing a 200-hour course followed by an additional 300-hour course, totaling 500 hours.

E-RYT Means Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher

Yoga Alliance also offers advanced credentials like E-RYT 200 and E-RYT 500. The “E” stands for “Experienced” indicating a higher level of expertise and practice. To become eligible for E-RYT 200, you need to complete a 200-hour training program and have at least two years of teaching experience and accumulate 1000 hours of teaching with a Registered Yoga School (RYS-200).

For the E-RYT 500 credential you need to complete a 500-hour training program or a combination of a 200-hour and a 300-hour program. Additionally you need four years of teaching experience and at least 4,000 hours of teaching experience. These credentials signify a deeper level of knowledge and a significant commitment to the practice and teaching of yoga.

How to Become a Yoga Teacher?

Becoming a yoga instructor is a lifelong journey filled with invaluable knowledge and experience. To teach yoga professionally most yoga schools require you to complete a 200 hour yoga teacher training course and obtain a yoga instructor certificate. There are many yoga ashrams and online yoga teacher training programs that make the process of becoming a yoga teacher much easier.

Whether you are looking for in person training at an ashram or prefer the flexibility of online programs that fits your schedule and learning style, these programs not only provide comprehensive training in yoga techniques, philosophy and anatomy but also offer hands-on teaching experience.

Here are the key steps you need to take to become a certified yoga instructor.

Step 1: Develop Your Personal Yoga Practice

Before enrolling in a yoga teacher training program it’s important to deepen your personal practice and get in better shape. Yoga is not just about being physically flexible and fit; it’s also about having mental strength. You’ll need mental strength to be disciplined and learn effectively during the training.You can join a yoga studio, watch online video tutorials, or take a beginner’s yoga course. This is also an excellent opportunity to explore different styles of yoga and see which ones resonate with you the most.

Step 2: Choose The Yoga Style

Yoga offers many different styles each with its unique approach and goals. As you start your yoga journey, it’s important to explore different styles to decide which one you want to learn and eventually teach.

Remember, there is no single best style of yoga. Each style comes with its unique set of pros and cons. Some people prefer a fast-paced practice, while others enjoy a slower pace. The key is to find the style that resonates with you and aligns with your personal practice, teaching philosophy, and ethics.

Here are the popular yoga styles to consider:

  • Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga: A dynamic and physically challenging practice 
  • Hatha Yoga: A balance between gentle and intensive practice.
  • Vinyasa Yoga: A series of poses that flow smoothly from one posture to another.
  • Iyengar Yoga: Focuses on precision and alignment with proper use of props.
  • Yin Yoga: A slow-paced style with poses held for a longer time to target deep tissue.
  • Bikram Yoga: Consists of 26 challenging poses practiced in a hot room with 40℃.
  • Aerial Yoga: Combines traditional and modern yoga poses with the use of a hammock.
  • Acro Yoga: A blend of acrobatics, yoga and Thai massage.

Step 3: Find The Best Yoga Training Program

When looking for a yoga teacher training program choose one that aligns with your beliefs and preferred yoga style. For an authentic experience consider studying yoga in India. If that’s not possible due to time or money, many online programs are available. Make sure the program is accredited by reputed organizations like the Yoga Alliance USA. This ensures the course meets international standards and provides quality training.

Step 4: Enroll & Complete a Yoga Teacher Training Program 

After selecting the best yoga teacher training course, enroll and complete the training. The training duration can vary from three to four weeks, based on the program you choose. However, 200 hours is considered the minimum training required before you can start teaching. For those who are planning to teach yoga internationally, it’s a good idea to register your certificate with the yoga alliance, and get your yoga insurance through a reputable yoga association.

Step 5: Register With Yoga Alliance

After completing your yoga certification course it’s important to register your certificate with yoga alliance, as many of the yoga studios and gyms prefer or require the instructors registered with yoga alliance.

Step 6: Gain Some Teaching Experience: Don’t Wait to Be Ready and Perfect

Many yoga students believe that they must be perfect before they start teaching. However, waiting to be completely ready can obstruct your progress. There is no such thing as being perfectly prepared or ready, you become perfect through practice and experience. So start teaching yoga to your friends, family members, or even at the park. This hands-on experience will boost your confidence and improve your teaching skills. Over time you’ll gradually be ready to teach at a professional level. Remember, this is the journey for every successful yoga instructor.

Step 7: Continue Educating Yourself

Many yoga organizations require you to continue educating yourself as it maintains the certification status, and it’s very important for a yoga teacher to keep yourself updated with new yoga style and trends and techniques. There are many 50-100 hrs small courses available that can enhance your knowledge and skills as a competent yoga instructor. Additionally you can explore some complementary practices like sound healing or reiki which can add significant value for you and your students. Consider taking shorter courses to delve into the other yoga styles such as yin yoga, prenatal yoga and aerial yoga expanding your expertise and offering.

Can You Complete Yoga Teacher Training Online?

Yes, it is possible to complete yoga teacher training online. There are several pros and cons that you should consider before starting online yoga teacher training courses. If you need more time or the funds for an in-person yoga teacher training course then opting for an online course would be a better choice for you as it provides complete flexibility and comprehensive training without straining your budget.

Although completing a yoga teacher training at a traditional ashram or a yoga school is a life-changing experience. Where you get engaging training sessions, unique cultural experiences and lifelong meaningful connections.

At Rishikesh Yogkulam, we provide online teacher training courses that can be completed from anywhere and at any time. These programs include in-depth video lessons, reading materials, and assignments that can all be done online. Even if you may not get the personalized guidance of a yoga school in rishikesh, you can reach out to your course teacher with any questions during or after your training has been completed.

Career Options and Opportunities for Certified Yoga Instructors

With Health and Wellness becoming the foremost concern, many holistic practices like Yoga is in higher demand than ever, bringing better career options and opportunities for certified yoga instructors.But how can you find work as a yoga teacher and what career opportunities are available?

Well here are several options for newly certified yoga instructors to make a living.

  1. Teaching group or private yoga classes at a yoga studio.
  2. Offering yoga and wellness services at a health club or spa.
  3. Conducting corporate yoga sessions for employees.
  4. Teaching online yoga classes and content creation on social media platforms.
  5. Providing private, in-person yoga sessions for different clients/students.
  6. Leading a yoga retreat, workshop, teacher training as a yoga instructor.

Today, the internet has created various new opportunities for certified yoga instructors to teach from anywhere in the world. Whether starting your own YouTube channel or teaching virtual classes for an academy, the options for online yoga instructors are many.

Yoga Instructor Salary: How Much Do Yoga Teacher Earn?

Many aspiring yoga teachers are concerned about whether it’s possible to maintain a fulfilling and financially stable life as a yoga instructor. The answer is yes, there are multiple ways you can turn your passion into a successful career.

On average, a yoga instructor earns a decent living but your earning will depend upon your expertise, experience, location, and most importantly how people are liking your classes. Some yoga instructors prefer to work independently by offering private classes or teaching at various studios or gyms.

In this case, their earnings would be based on the number of classes they teach and charges. It’s important to understand that earning a high salary isn’t the only objective to becoming a yoga instructor. Many individuals choose this career path for their love of teaching and helping others. Ultimately, the joy and satisfaction of helping someone to improve their life and well-being through yoga is priceless.

How Long Does Yoga Instructor Certification Take?

The length of Yoga teacher training programs can vary widely depending upon the program’s format whether it is full-time, part-time, in-person or online. Hence, some can be completed in just a few weeks, while others might extend over several months.

On average, most yoga teacher training programs range from 200-500 hours, which could take anywhere from 24 days to 12 months to complete. The hours are generally divided between contact hours (the time spent in class or practicum) and non-contact hours (the time spent studying independently or practicing teaching).

Kindly keep in mind that becoming a yoga instructor is a continuous learning process. So, you should continue learning even after getting certified to keep yourself updated with the latest techniques and styles throughout your entire career.

What A Yoga Studio Looks For In A Yoga Instructor?

Since there are no government regulations for yoga teacher requirements, it’s really up to a yoga studio to set those requirements. While each studio will have their own hiring criteria and standards, generally speaking, they want you to have completed at least a 200 hour yoga teacher training. While some studios are looking for teachers with a 500 hour certification.

One helpful tip is that studios usually conduct their own teacher training programs and hire students from within those programs. If there’s a specific studio you’d like to work with, it’s recommended to stay late after class and ask them what they look for in their teachers. But there are some key qualities which every yoga studio seeks in the yoga teacher.

  1. Certification & Insurance: Completion of yoga teacher training course with valid insurance.
  2. Teaching Style: Ability to teach various styles of yoga and the flexibility to accommodate the needs of students.
  3. Professionalism: Punctuality, trustworthiness, and a positive attitude.
  4. Communication Skills: Ability to connect with students with love and compassion.
  5. Passion and Dedication: A genuine passion and dedication for yoga and helping your students.
  6. Experience: A prior teaching experience or a significant personal practice.
  7. Continuing Education: Always open and committed to learning and evolving.
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