How to become a Yoga Instructor: 8 Things You Need to Know

become a yoga instructor

So you want to become a yoga instructor?

Read on to learn:

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  • How much it will cost you
  • Which yoga teaching you should choose
  • How to find a job afterwards
  • and more…

1. What is your yoga practice style?

There are a handful of different yoga branches out in the world today. Some include Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Kundalini and Yin/Restorative, just to name a few. Notice the yoga practices that you are naturally drawn to. You can begin this process by exploring different types of yoga classes. Or you can simply run with the practice that you’ve already cultivated.

2. Choose between a 200hr, 300hr or 500hr Yoga Teacher Training Program. 

These may sound intimidating. Not to fear, they can be easily broken down as there are key distinctions between them. 

Simply, yoga teacher training programs are defined by the number of hours they take to complete. The most foundational being the 200hr teacher training. This certification covers the basic history/philosophy of yoga, basic anatomy and physiology. This information ensures you are teaching safely. Additionally the 200hr certification will get you hired at most yoga studios. 

A 300hr yoga teacher certification will take your personal practice and instruction to the next level. This certification dives into nuances of yoga postures, breath work and the philosophies of yoga. 

Detailed time is spent on cultivating a meditation practice, and dissecting individual postures. The 300hr yoga teacher training course is a great middle ground for those who have already received their 200hr, and are looking to bulk up their teaching abilities.

And lastly, the ultimate yoga teacher training program, a 500-hour program. There are two types of 500hr programs. A 500-hour RYT course is for those who have already completed their 200 and 300hr’s and have had 100 hours of teaching experience. A 500hr YTT course is for those who do not have hands on experience, but have 500 hours of classroom time under their belts. (Disclaimer: This certification can be a bit overwhelming if it’s your first immersion into the world of yoga instruction.) 

3. Is your yoga teacher training certified by Yoga Alliance?

“What the heck is Yoga Alliance?” you may be asking yourself.

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During your search for a credible teacher training program, you will inevitably stumble onto the Yoga Alliance accreditation. 

Although the Yoga Alliance certification is not regulated by any specific organization, it serves the yoga community as a whole. In particular, it is helpful for studios hiring new teachers. 

It is important for studios to trust that their teachers meet a standard of safety and instruction abilities. If a program is certified through Yoga Alliance, it means they meet a level of criteria through their teaching program. Which in the end means that you, as the student, will hopefully receive quality instruction. 

Taking a teacher training course that isn’t accredited by the Yoga Alliance is not critical, as experience holds the most water. However, it will certainly help you to find a job at most yoga studios.

This article on Book Retreats provides a handful of credible 200hr teacher trainings all across the globe. Depending on your location, one of these may be a viable option for you. 

The Yoga Journal is another great resource with a plethora of articles on choosing a yoga teacher training. One can use them as a compass, to determine the credibility of a yoga teacher training. 

4. Practice teaching yoga whenever you have the opportunity

“Practice makes perfect.” We’ve all heard this saying, and if most of us roll our eyes at it. As corny as this saying may be, it is very relevant in terms of teaching. 

It takes many classes to feel comfortable in your own skin and in your abilities. Finding your voice and teaching style takes time and cultivation. Which is why teaching as much as you can, will help you immensely

The interview process, in many yoga studios, includes a demo class. They will have you guest teach, to get a feel for your instruction style. If you’ve already taught a couple of classes prior to this, that will help you release some of your nerves. 

Whether it’s teaching to your parents, friends, significant other or even in front of the mirror. Get comfortable with the key sequences and cues.

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Before you know it, you’ll be instructing with awareness and ease. 

5. Choosing a yoga studio to teach for

The secret to picking a studio to teach for, is to take classes from that studio. 

The second you enter their studio, you can begin to determine the vibe of the studio. You can get a feel for the other teachers and the members that practice there. All studios are different depending on their geographical location and the demographic they target. 

It’s important to work for a studio that supports your journey as a new teacher. That will help you navigate the different challenges you will face. Continue to cut yourself some slack during this process. And remember that all teachers you will meet were new instructors at one point too.

Two great resources for finding yoga teaching jobs are Yoga Travel Jobs and Yoga Trade. These platforms connect studios looking to fill teaching spots and yogi’s looking to teach. 

yoga-trade

6. Making a living through teaching Yoga. 

According to Payscale, an average full-time yoga instructor salary is $35,000 per year

payscale

This is great supplemental income. However for most areas, this is not enough to live solely off of. 

Making money from teaching a sacred practice can feel uncomfortable at first. 

Quickly though, you will realize the value of the service you are providing for people. When people join your class, you are giving them permission to let go of their day. You are giving them the opportunity to set down their stress and anxieties for the hour duration of your class. 

Responsibilities, jobs, pressures of life are allowed to remain outside of the door. Your class gets to unfold on the mat, in response to your cues and encouragement. You are providing a great service. 

Step into the role you are taking on. Healing hearts, bodies and minds is great work. Once you step into the significance of this role, you will be able to accept the money as just an exchange of energy. 

7. How to maintain your yoga teacher training accreditation. 

Yoga certifications don’t “expire.” 

That being said, many people find it helpful to go back and take another yoga teacher training, if it’s been a while since your last one. It can be helpful to refresh your knowledge and skills. 

It is highly recommended to keep taking classes, long after your yoga teacher training. Every teacher has tools and tricks in their language and teaching that can cultivate your teaching abilities. Use the things you like from certain teachers, and leave the rest. 

8. Keeping up with your daily practice. 

This is the most valuable tip for becoming a yoga instructor. If you were to only take one thing away from this article, let it be this. 

Keeping up with your own personal connection to yoga, is the best thing to do if you want to be a quality teacher. Know how certain poses feel on your body. What specific sensations make you feel. What cues help you unfold and breath. 

Once you have isolated things that give you permission to ground, you will be able to guide others.

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Yoga Teacher 

How much do certifications typically cost?

A 200hr teacher training can range from $1,900 to $3,000 depending on the program. Program costs will range depending on the branch of yoga they teach.

For example, Bikram teacher training programs can cost twice as much than a Vinyasa based teacher training program. A 300hr teacher trainings can range anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000. Whereas a 500hr teacher trainings can cost as much as $7,000. 

How long does it take to become a yoga instructor? 

A 200hr course can take anywhere from 3 to 5 months. A 500hr course can take six months to a year. 

Is becoming a yoga instructor worth it? 

There is no better feeling than being able to guide people through a yoga sequence. The work is rewarding and sustainable. Being a yoga instructor, it is possible to leave your work feeling relaxed and destressed. 

What qualifications do you need to be a yoga instructor?

Taking a yoga teacher training program, ideally accredited by Yoga Alliance. These programs can range in cost, and time commitment. 

Can you make a living teaching yoga? 

It depends on where you live, and how much you instruct. If you were committed to teaching consistently, you could get some decent cash flow coming in. However, most yoga teachers teach part time. 

What is the best yoga certification to get?

This depends on the style of yoga and your experience. If you are looking for a basic yoga instruction course, the 200hr will normally get you where you need to go. 

Can I take my yoga teacher training online? 

Due to the pandemic, many yoga teacher training have shifted their focus to virtual certifications. Taking your yoga teacher training online has both negative and positive aspects. 

The benefits of an online yoga training includes being able to access the training material from the comfort of your home. Usually programs offer continued access to their material, long after the course is over. This is a helpful tool, for when you start teaching. Being able to pause and rewind, can help those who have trouble retaining information the first time around.

Some of the aspects that an online yoga teacher training platform may have a hard time meeting, is the sense of comradery and ability to build strong relationships. After a year of relying heavily on Zoom, most of us can attest to the fact that interacting solely online is challenging. It’s easy to miss cues and dealing with internet connection mishaps can be a pain. 

All of that being said, the success of an online yoga teacher training depends on the training and the individual taking it. 

Julien
About Julien

Julien Raby has been in the web marketing industry for 15 years. An avid yoga practitioner himself, he's now the full-time owner of The Yoga Nomads where he helps yoga teachers earn more from their passion.

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