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How do I Become a Yoga Teacher?

B. Miller
B. Miller

Becoming a yoga teacher is a rewarding step with a large number of job opportunities. Yoga is currently very popular, due in large part to its low-impact yet surprisingly challenging workout. Deciding to become a yoga teacher will certainly improve your employment opportunities.

If you've decided to become a yoga teacher, chances are good that you've been taking yoga classes for quite some time. If you haven't, you will certainly want to make a weekly class part of your routine, and make a personal yoga practice part of your daily schedule. Most people who practice yoga also employ a well-rounded approach -- this means meditating daily, eating healthy meals, practicing breath techniques and often doing volunteer work. While all of these aspects of yoga are not necessary, it can help you decide if this is truly the career path for you.

Many people who practice yoga eat very healthy meals.
Many people who practice yoga eat very healthy meals.

It may seem overwhelming at first, trying to decide where to start. To become a yoga teacher, you will need to receive a certification. Certifications are offered in the form of 200-hour and 500-hour programs. Each of these programs needs to be certified by the Yoga Alliance in order for you to be able to include the initials "RYT" after your name, which stands for Registered Yoga Teacher.

Instructing yoga students can be a rewarding profession.
Instructing yoga students can be a rewarding profession.

The best place to begin is with your favorite yoga studio or instructor. If you regularly take classes at a yoga studio, there is a possibility that the studio offers a certification program. If not, your instructor may be able to direct you to a location that does. Most yoga teacher training programs are offered at 200-hour and 500-hour increments. 200 hours must be completed before 500 hours; you cannot go directly to 500-hour programs.

Some studios offer yoga teacher training in addition to their regular classes.
Some studios offer yoga teacher training in addition to their regular classes.

200-hour programs, naturally, require 200 hours of instruction and are the first step in becoming a certified yoga teacher. 500-hour programs are the next step in deepening your practice and your knowledge as a certified trainer. If you are seeking employment with an established yoga studio, you will need to check and see if they require only a 200-hour or a 500-hour certification; if you are opening your own studio, however, it is your choice as to how far to pursue your education.

Yoga teachers should be certified by the Yoga Alliance as having completed their training.
Yoga teachers should be certified by the Yoga Alliance as having completed their training.

There are other issues to consider when embarking on a training program to become a yoga teacher. You will need to decide if you want to take part in an intensive program, which may require you to live on-site for a few weeks or months. Other programs offer weekend and evening instruction, while still others offer distance learning. Searching the Yoga Alliance website is the best way to find certified teacher training courses.

Some yoga teacher training courses are held at a retreat.
Some yoga teacher training courses are held at a retreat.

Programs to become a yoga teacher are also fairly expensive. Most range from around $2,000 US Dollars (USD) to $5,000 USD. Keep in mind that yoga teachers often do not make much money, especially if you are establishing your own business. Often, health benefits, vacation pay and a retirement plan are not included, as you are more likely to work as a contract employee with a yoga studio than a full-time staff member.

Many yoga teachers work as independent contractors at yoga studios and receive no benefits.
Many yoga teachers work as independent contractors at yoga studios and receive no benefits.

Some people choose to become a yoga teacher and then teach yoga in their spare time. There are many varieties of yoga to learn about and teach, and many ways to benefit other people. You may choose to donate your time teaching yoga classes for free, or you may work teaching yoga in a physical therapy program. The options are virtually endless once you are a certified yoga teacher.

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Discussion Comments

burcinc

For aspiring yoga teachers, I'm sure you already about certification and the financial investment you need for that. I would like to make the suggestion however, to specialize in a specific type of yoga, rather than just yoga.

There are many different types out there and they're all attracting more interest with time. I think it's easier for yoga teachers who have specialized in a unique type of yoga to find work as yoga centers and students are looking for variety. People want to try different things. This may however mean more financial investment as you may have to travel to other places in order to get the right training for that specific type of yoga.

Those who are business savvy and can open their own yoga centers tend to make the most money. But it is important to start off anywhere to get the experience and also to really understand if this is your calling or not.

ysmina

@ddljohn-- I think many people have the same idea. I rarely see people asking about certification when they take yoga classes. But I agree with the article that all well established yoga centers will require their yoga teachers to be certified.

There may be small scale opportunities, at colleges and community centers, as you said which don't require certification. But anyone who wants to do this as a living ought to be a certified teacher. Otherwise, employment opportunity will be nill or very, very limited.

ddljohn

I didn't know that yoga teachers have to be certified.

I used to attend yoga classes in college and we had other fellow student teaching us as instructors. In fact, one instructor was my friend and she offered to make me an instructor but I didn't take up her offer. So I always thought that anyone who knows yoga and who can teach well can be a yoga teacher. I guess it's much more difficult than that.

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    • Many people who practice yoga eat very healthy meals.
      By: B. and E. Dudzinscy
      Many people who practice yoga eat very healthy meals.
    • Instructing yoga students can be a rewarding profession.
      By: sanneberg
      Instructing yoga students can be a rewarding profession.
    • Some studios offer yoga teacher training in addition to their regular classes.
      By: WavebreakmediaMicro
      Some studios offer yoga teacher training in addition to their regular classes.
    • Yoga teachers should be certified by the Yoga Alliance as having completed their training.
      By: iofoto
      Yoga teachers should be certified by the Yoga Alliance as having completed their training.
    • Some yoga teacher training courses are held at a retreat.
      By: Maridav
      Some yoga teacher training courses are held at a retreat.
    • Many yoga teachers work as independent contractors at yoga studios and receive no benefits.
      By: Andrey Kiselev
      Many yoga teachers work as independent contractors at yoga studios and receive no benefits.