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how to become a yoga instruction - pretty woman teaching yoga class

How To Become A Yoga Instructor – Everything You Need To Know

Maybe you’re here because you think you have what it takes to be a yoga instructor and you want more information. Maybe you’re new to the yoga world and have fallen in love with it and want to teach. Perhaps you just happened to stumble upon this article out of sheer boredom. Whatever the reason you’re here, read on because we have created a comprehensive guide for you on how to become a yoga instructor.

Below, we discuss what you do, who to certify with, how many hours of training you need and more.

Let’s get right to it…

What do yoga instructors do?

yoga teacher giving tips to another woman in class

Yoga instructors are different from yoga teachers. Although, the terms are used interchangeably by yoga teachers and instructors alike. The major differences do not exist in the job title or their certifications but in their teaching styles. One isn’t considered better than the other and some students might prefer one style over another. This doesn’t make any instructor or teacher any less knowledgeable about yoga and its principles.

Yoga instructors learn yoga poses and philosophies and share that with their students. Typically, yoga instructors will lead a class by sitting at the front on their yoga mat. Their students replicate the instructor’s poses and breathing. The main objective of an instructor is to demonstrate, display, and instruct.

Yoga teachers by definition get certification or schooling. Generally, you won’t find a yoga teacher on their mat. They will be observing the class, instructing, and guiding the student into the poses. They may even offer modifications. Yoga instructors do know alignments, asanas, and poses enough to demonstrate; but they might not be able to execute those on every student. 

Why not? 

Teachers are taught to help students find the correct poses for their body type and body limitations.

Yoga instructors have flexibility where they can work either full-time or part-time. Of course, this will depend on where they choose to work and how much money they want to make. Some may choose to work for a gym or studio. Others might take their approach and choose to work with clients one-on-one.

There are advantages and disadvantages when you choose to become self-employed. Advantages include you get to choose your schedule, hours you want to work, clientele, and salary. The disadvantages are you have to network and advertise heavily to get clients, you work a set schedule or inflexible schedule, salary is chosen for you, and some places may require certification or schooling.

Whether you choose to work for an established business or start your own, travel is essential. You may decide to open your own studio or location and have to travel for your students. If you choose a more traditional route, traveling to and from your place of work is a given.

Should You Become an Instructor?

There are things you should ask yourself before you become an instructor. The first being, why do you want to become a yoga instructor? 

If your answer is for the money (it’s actually pretty good), then your heart might not be in the right place. Yes, you’ll make decent money but if it’s not something you plan on practicing daily or you don’t love it, you might want to look elsewhere for a job that will make you happier. It does cost money to become a registered instructor and does take time and practice as well so those are things to consider. 

What’s Required to Become a Yoga Instructor?

woman in front of laptop learning to become a yoga instructor

Yoga instructors aren’t required to undergo any type of schooling or education program if they don’t wish to. However, most gyms and studios do ask for certification to be hired. You may get lucky and find a place that doesn’t or choose to become self-employed in which case you won’t necessarily need the certifications.

Should you want the certification for your own business and knowledge, or to work in a gym or studio, there are programs available. Those that wish to pursue their RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) should look into programs or schools that are RYS (Registered Yoga School) certified by the Yoga Alliance.

Yoga Alliance has a set standard for schools applying to be RYS and has high standards for their prospective students and teachers. To become an RYT there are a few steps you will have to complete. You’ll need to complete a 200 or 500 hour-program from one of the RYS. There are also membership and registration fees that will need to be paid. 

This may sound overwhelming or not as easy as one thought. The goal is to ensure that yoga instructors are constantly developing and learning. The Yoga Alliance wants to maintain that all instructors are properly educated.

Yoga insurance is something that’s recommended, but we’ll touch on that later on.

Step by Step Instructions

yoga instructor working with a class in a nice studio

Step 1: Learn Yoga Basics

You don’t have to be an expert when first starting out. Learning at least the asanas and working on your poses as you go is a great first step. There are many styles of Yoga. It’s trial and error when it comes to the style that suits you best. Many start off by learning hatha yoga and discover other styles like Power yoga, Bikram, Vigorous Vinayasas, and Ashtanga.

Step 2: Research Yoga Teaching Programs/Courses

When looking for a course there are some things you should consider.

  • What’s the reason you want to be a teacher?
  • Your commitment type (i.e. not having much time for daily practices or courses)
  • Can you afford the training?
  • What style of yoga do you want to train in?
  • Is an accredited school important to you?
  • Type of program you want (i.e. online or in-person)
  • How much experience do you have?

When it comes to choosing a program, you have the option of attending in-person or online. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

Online Learning Advantages:

  • Learn from the comfort of your home
  • Cost is lower
  • Save time on commuting to classes

Online Disadvantages

  • Not being able to have human contact to know if you’re truly posing/aligning correctly
  • Potential to delay time in completing the course because of life/no one to physically push you to get assignments done
  • Delays in feedback or help from the teacher

In-person Advantages

  • Being around other students to help with knowledge and support
  • Receive immediate feedback from teachers and peers
  • Able to ask questions directly and immediately to the teacher
  • Planned academic schedule (i.e. learn at the pace of the group)
  • Get to train in places all over the world

In-person Disadvantages