Yoga is an increasingly popular practice with new people seeking yoga classes or instructors all over the world.
Becoming an instructor will deepen your relationship with yoga. Independently, you learn more about its history, philosophy, and practice. And if you end up teaching yoga – you learn from your students as much as they learn from you.
Let us go through the steps of how you can become a yoga instructor, but also, deeper than that – how to choose your yoga teacher training.
The Bottom Line
In a nutshell:
- The first (mandatory) step is getting a 200-hour YTT certificate. This will allow you to get insurance to protect you and your students. You complete this 200 hours with an institution and teacher of your choosing.
- If you decide to further upgrade your teaching practice, you can move to a 300-hour YTT program, which helps you deepen your understanding of asanas, pranayama, anatomy and physiology, philosophy, meditation, and useful teaching principles and methods.
- You now have 500 hours of YTT which you could have mixed and matched or completed with a single organization.
A 200-hour yoga training course will cost you $3,000–$3,500 or more, but this is really a ball-park figure, depending on things like the pace of the course, whether it’s part-time or full-time, and whether some or all of the course are online or in-person or require additional travel and accommodation.
Getting your certificate and refining your teaching skills is only part of what it means to become a yoga instructor, though.
If you enjoy teaching or helping people, being a yoga teacher is emotionally and spiritually rewarding. Furthermore, you can supplement your income while investing in your passion.
The national salary for yoga instructors in the US ranges from around $18.50 per hour to $63.50 per hour, depending on location, types of classes, experience, and training.
So, let’s go through how you can qualify as a yoga instructor. Of course, we won’t leave it at that – we’ll also share some advice on how to become an excellent yoga instructor by finding your niche, building a following, and learning continuously. We’ll also consider how yoga teacher training can deepen your own yoga practice.
Knowing how to do yoga isn’t enough to become an official, trusted yoga instructor. Think of it this way: just because your cousin knows how to drive, doesn’t make her the best person to teach you.
Being certified as a 200-hour teacher with a school that has been registered with Yoga Alliance lets students know that you have reached the industry standard necessary for yoga instruction. This gives you a seal of approval with which to let students know you can teach yoga safely. Peace of mind for everyone.
Before getting your hands on a yoga teaching certificate, most schools will expect you to do at least 200 hours of training.
During those 200 or so hours, expect to cover the foundations of yoga, including:
- Meditation and pranayama
- Yoga history
To choose the course that’s right for you, look at what they say about:
- Qualifications and Values
But what do each of these mean?
Receiving a yoga teacher certificate from a trusted school is important because the training will provide you with the skills that you need to teach yoga effectively. Earning your certificate will also allow you to purchase insurance, which is important for your work as a professional.
An accreditation might also make it easier for you to find a place to work, such as at a yoga studio, a spa, a gym, or a retirement home. It can give you the credibility to build your business online via social media.
You might also see your first accreditation as a foundation upon which to add further learning, workshops, and teaching courses.
2. Balance Your Spending
Don’t be put off by courses demanding a lot of money for teacher training. Nor should you jump at courses that seem cheap. Neither really tells you much about the quality of the teaching.
Courses can run from hundreds to thousands of US dollars. Typically, however, a 200-hour course costs around $3,000 to $3,500.
If your school is registered with Yoga Alliance (a professional yoga organization), you could also elect to register with them as a yoga teacher to promote yourself as an RYT (registered yoga teacher). Registering with Yoga Alliance costs about $50. Though the certificate doesn’t technically expire, you’d need to pay an annual fee of $65 to maintain the registration. You also need to complete a continuing education requirement every three years.
Upgrading the certification to Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher (RCYT) or Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher (RPYT) is possible for those pursuing YTT beyond their 200-hour training. Doing so would necessitate paying for specialized training, of course, and an additional $50 fee payable to the Yoga Alliance.
Affordable study programs are available and it’s worth taking the time to find a course with payment and timetable plans that suit your budget and schedule.
Most importantly, however, look for trusted courses. That means:
- It’s clear that the teachers are professionals with recognized qualifications
- They allow you the opportunity to browse the entire syllabus
- The course has clear goals and learning objectives
- There are clear learning expectations and requirements for passing the program
- The program has an excellent reputation
- The program is registered with Yoga Alliance, indicating that it has met YA’s minimum standards for training
3. Find a Learning Pace and Style That Suits You
Consider whether group sessions will work for you or whether you work best at your own pace.
Some online programs may offer you the ability to work at your own pace. This option can be particularly useful for students with other obligations, such as work commitments or caring for dependents. However, if you only study solo, you will miss the peer interaction and faculty feedback that can help elevate your yoga teacher training experience.
Learning in a group entails stricter time constraints, which could be good as it provides you with a timeframe and motivation to progress. Studying with others can also be beneficial if that includes sharing experiences, working together in groups, and deepening your learning as you help each other progress.
For those concerned about running out of steam, group courses are good for motivation and morale. They build community and apply helpful pressure and structure to keep learning on track.
Depending on your preference for learning alone or in groups, online or in-person, different schedules will apply. For instance, there are intense YTT boot camps that last only several weeks. You can still do the requirement of 200 hours or more but over a much shorter period than other courses. This can be tiring but excellent for those with time constraints in their daily life.
Slower-paced YTT programs last several months and take place online or in-person in a studio near your home. Some online programs permit you to work at your own pace. Remember that progressing in such a program requires commitment and self-motivation, plus organization and time-management skills.
4. Consider the Instructor’s Qualifications and Values
Although your teacher training experience isn't only about earning a certificate, your certificate will hold more weight if you have earned it with a reputable school or top-notch teachers.
Look at your potential teacher’s credentials and experience before deciding to study under them. Research their philosophies, personalities, and backgrounds. You might have a better outcome with a teacher or school that shares your values and goals.
Tips To Help You Become A (Fantastic) Yoga Instructor
Learn the Origins of Yoga
You don’t need to understand the combustion engine to drive a car. However, knowing a bit about what happens when you start the engine, push the accelerator, and change gears is helpful if you want to be an advanced driver or to teach someone how to drive.
To be a mindful steward of the yoga lineage, it’s helpful to understand where it’s all coming from and how it has evolved over thousands of years.
The best teachers are those who practice what they preach. The fact that you are immersed in yoga will be inspirational to your students.
Furthermore, practice and instruction are cycles that feed each other, making you a better instructor and a more fulfilled practitioner. Yoga learning never ends and you’ll find that teaching others is a fantastic way to make your practice more fulfilling.
This is not so much a prerequisite as a reminder to allow yourself some artistic license and personal flair. Being a yoga teacher isn’t like being a go-between for an instruction manual. Bring your personality, experience, culture, preferences, and abilities to the fore.
Make the most of what makes you different. Be authentic and you will attract the right students – and teachers.
Specializing can help you identify a niche for yoga instruction. While you’ll have a narrower audience, your niche differentiates you from other instructors, removing some of the challenges of competition and potentially making your work more satisfying.
Being a specialist also gives you the chance to deepen your learning, experience, and practice.
Specialize in something you love and that means something to you. Your enthusiasm as much as your expertise will help you connect with your students.
Being a yoga teacher isn’t just about demonstrating asanas. It’s about connecting with your students. That’s why you will benefit from honing your communication skills.
Excellent communication skills for yoga include:
- Speaking clearly
- Maintaining good eye contact
- Explaining things with appropriate detail
- Remaining calm in the face of challenges
Whether you are instructing in person, via livestream, or using a recording, good communication skills will make a massive difference to the effectiveness of your teaching.
Yoga is a lifelong journey.
Even if continuous education is not obligatory for your training institution, making learning a habit can help you get more from yoga by broadening or deepening your knowledge.
You might try taking additional modules in meditation and pranayama, anatomy, children’s yoga, or prenatal yoga, for example. Studying will make you a better teacher and improve your knowledge and practice.
Take the Red Pill
An excellent yoga teacher training course will give you a solid and well-rounded approach to yoga. Not only will this benefit your future students, but it will also deepen your own practice, making it even more effective and meaningful.
YTT can give you insights by providing context for the postural practice of yoga. It can connect the dots that make a vivid picture come to life.
You’ll also learn how to create and combine sequences of asanas and postures to achieve specific goals. Yoga teacher training will help you uplevel existing skills and gain confidence and expertise in new, previously unknown skills. Like the red pill Neo takes in the Matrix, YTT can take you beyond what you may have even imagined was possible.
DoYogaWithMe Yoga Teacher Training
Our instructors are Experienced Registered Yoga Teachers (E-RYTs), which means they have successfully completed 200 or 500 hours of yoga teacher training at an institution registered with Yoga Alliance, and followed that up with at least 2000 hours of teaching.
Our comprehensive hybrid course combines the guidance of four instructors to offer you a range of styles and expertise comprising over 60 years of teaching experience.
We maintain our registrations by following the Yoga Alliance Code of Conduct and completing its continuing education requirements. Veteran yoga teacher trainer Rachel Scott has created a course that goes way beyond the learning requirements of the Yoga Alliance, which are helpful baseline standards, not limits.
Our course fees vary depending on the payment option you select. You can choose to pay in installments if that’s more convenient for you, or save a little by paying for the 200-hour training in full.
Or, Try Our Master Practitioner Program
Our Master Practitioner Program responds to our learners’ requests for a program that would help them take their practice deeper and challenge themselves without having to take the exams that are required to receive a teaching certification. This course is lighter, self-paced, and balanced with a combination of live classes and on-demand learning.
This program is perfect for those who want to deepen their practice but aren’t interested in teaching (or eager to take exams).
More Modules and Opportunities
We also provide yoga teacher training modules for you if you run a school and would like to integrate our yoga philosophy and/or functional anatomy training bundles recognized by the Yoga Alliance.
And — best of all, we’d like to think — you’d be learning from instructors that you already know, love, and trust. Knowing your teachers is not a prerequisite to learning success, but your existing relationships with instructors can help you be more relaxed and receptive. You’ll also have fun.
Our first course is free. Perhaps that’s as far as you’d like to go down the YTT journey – and that’s fine, too!
Check out some testimonials from students so you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Or get in touch with us if you have any comments or questions about our yoga teacher training!