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Last updated on September 22nd, 2023.

Becoming a yoga teacher may seem like a daunting task, especially if you aren’t sure of the qualifications required. However, this could be an exciting step in your yoga journey, and the requirements may not be as heavy as you think. 

In total, the only qualification needed to become a yoga teacher is a certification from a trusted, Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher training (YTT) program. Yoga is not regulated at the state or national level, so many studios look for the RYT trademark to ensure quality skills and education. 

Becoming a yoga teacher is a great way to expand your practice and share your love of yoga with others. However, it’s important to find a solid and trustworthy teaching program. Below, you will like exactly what it takes to become a yoga teacher and how to get started.

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So You Want To Be A Yoga Teacher

Becoming a certified yoga instructor is an exhilarating experience for any yogi to take on. An excellent teacher training program will not only equip you to teach yoga, but will also promote significant personal growth.

Before you begin, it is critical to thoroughly grasp what it takes to become a yoga instructor.

Obtaining your yoga teacher certification entails more than just putting in the practice hours to prepare for training and paying for a course. Because, even if you have excellent teaching abilities, being a yoga instructor is much more than that.

It is critical to be clear about your intentions. Take some time to reflect on your yoga journey so far and figure out why you want to develop your practice. What motivates you to become a teacher?

Explore the many different ways in which you can use your certificate. Is it to teach prenatal yoga, become a yoga therapist, host workshops, or just improve your skills? Don’t choose the studio down the street simply because it is close to your home. Choose the course that gives the exact style you wish to teach.

A Brief History Of Yoga Teachers

For the most part, yoga has been practiced for over 5000 years. It was created around 4500 BC by Indian philosophers and spiritual masters who combined spiritual and physical techniques. Since then, it has evolved drastically, spreading to the west and becoming the modern yoga that we know today. 

When yogis and monks first arrived in the United States, they brought yoga with them. Swami Vivekananda is credited with being the first to introduce yoga and its philosophy to the west. He traveled the country giving lectures to promote the philosophy of yoga. He also wrote a book, Raja Yoga, which explained how yoga and meditation can help people achieve higher levels of spirituality and awareness.

Vivekananda established learning centers in the United States, and soon after, many other yogis and monks arrived, bringing various forms of yoga with them.

Who Is The Yoga Alliance?

The Yoga Alliance is the biggest nonprofit group representing the yoga community through Registered Yoga Schools (RYS) and Registered Yoga Teachers (RYT). They seek to promote high-quality and accessible yoga instruction by elevating the many different yoga styles and advocating for self-regulation in the yoga industry.

Yoga Alliance members have committed to a standard that promotes safe yoga instruction and accountability to equality in yoga. This is done through their ethical commitment and teacher training requirements.

The 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training

Yoga as we know it now is the result of centuries of instructors passing down this ancient discipline. The first step in becoming a certified yoga teacher is the 200-hour yoga teacher training

The Yoga Alliance holds all of its schools to a certain standard. Elevated Standards provide a unified core curriculum that includes:

  • Techniques, training, and practice
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Yoga humanities
  • Professional essentials

To achieve the 200-hour requirement, all training hours must be done with the same school or instructor.

In Person Certifications

In-person classes are the most popular options in terms of becoming a certified yoga teacher. Under the Elevated Standards, the Yoga Alliance requires that 100% of the required hours be spent in a classroom with curriculum centers around the core 12 competencies:

  • Asana
  • Pranayama and Subtle Body
  • Meditation
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Biomechanics
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Ethics
  • Teaching Methodology
  • Professional Development
  • Practicum

The standard does, however, allow for a maximum of 40 classroom hours to be provided online, divided between Anatomy & Physiology and Yoga Humanities. If a course wants to offer any additional online hours, they must apply for the Online Teacher Training Requirement.

Online Certifications

As the world shifts toward increased online connection and interaction, so does the teaching and practice of yoga. As a response, the Yoga Alliance launched the 2022-2023 Online Teaching Application, which allows RYSs to continue presenting teacher training programs online or in a hybrid manner.

Registered Yoga Schools (RYSs) must follow a certain set of rules and adhere to the Yoga Alliance Ethical Commitment in order to provide teacher training programs online. This requires a blend of asynchronous (prerecorded) and synchronous (interactive) learning to be completed online. 

Where Can I Get Started?

So, you’ve honed in on your why and where you’d like to see your path take you, but where do you start? Your best bet is to search the Yoga Alliance website for registered schools in your area that offer the course you are wanting to take. 

If you are interested in learning online, here are some 200-Hour RYTs to consider:

Remember to look for a school and instructor that aligns with your goals and what you hope to achieve. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, now have a clear idea of what it takes to become a yoga teacher, whether online or in person. It’s important to find a qualified and trusted school if you are on the path to becoming a yoga teacher.  If you’re just wanting to dip your toes in it try a yoga or spiritual retreat where yoga is offered.  See what it’s like to do a short intensive and then decide.

 However, the search for the right training doesn’t have to be as daunting as it may seem. Remember to look for the RTY trademark and utilize the Yoga Alliance website to find a program that is best suited for you.

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