How to Become a Certified Yoga Instructor
Find out how to become a certified yoga instructor. Research the training requirements and learn about the experience needed to advance your career in yoga instruction.
Should I Become a Yoga Instructor?
Yoga instructors guide students in yoga practice. They help students learn poses and use the correct forms. Yoga instructors may also provide guidance in yogic philosophy as well as areas complementary to yoga, such as nutrition and meditation. Professionals in this field teach group classes, workshops, or one-on-one classes at yoga studios, fitness centers, and related facilities.
Yoga instructors may work full- or part-time, and some are self-employed. Depending on their employer and yoga class schedule, instructors may work daytime, evening, night, weekend, or holiday shifts. Travel isn't uncommon, whether it's among several locations of a gym or to clients' homes. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the median annual salary for yoga instructors was $34,817 as of May 2015.
|Education Required||Completion of teacher training program|
|Certification or Registration||Optional registration may be preferred by some employers|
|Key Skills||Physical fitness; strong speaking and communication skills; motivational skills|
|Additional Requirements||CPR certification|
|Median Salary (May 2015)||$34,817 (all yoga instructors)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale.com, Job postings (August 2012)
Steps to Become a Yoga Instructor
Let's take a look at the steps required to become a yoga instructor.
Step 1: Learn Yoga
You should take courses in varying types of yoga to understand which style works best for you. Different types include Ashtanga, Anusara, Hatha, Vinyasa, and Bikram yoga. In addition, the style of instruction may vary by facility and teacher. You should pay attention to these differences in order to find the type of training that fits you best.
Find a mentor. A mentor can help aspiring teachers learn about various teaching techniques and styles of yoga. In addition, mentors can help aspiring yoga teachers decide which training program is most suitable.
Step 2: Complete a Teacher Training Course
Yoga teacher training includes coursework in anatomy and physiology, instructional techniques, and yoga philosophy. You'll gain hands-on experience by observing teachers and teaching classes. Many schools adhere to the guidelines set by Yoga Alliance for 200-hour and 500-hour teacher training programs.
- Network with teachers and peers. Yoga teacher training does not guarantee a job. You should network with classmates and faculty while in school.
- Know your market. Competition among yoga teachers is strong in some areas. You may consider a unique approach to distinguish yourself from other teachers. For example, depending on the market, teachers can offer yoga tailored to golfers and other types of athletes.
- Become certified in CPR. Most health and fitness centers require that instructors have the skills to deal with a health emergency by being certified in CPR. Students can take a CPR course while enrolled in a teacher training program.
Step 3: Get Registered
Students who complete programs that meet the guidelines set by Yoga Alliance can apply for the organization's Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) credential. Registration is voluntary, but many employers prefer credentialed instructors.
Step 4: Earn Continuing Education Credits
Most professionals in this field attend workshops and seminars to keep their knowledge up to date. Teachers registered with the Yoga Alliance are required to complete 75 hours of continuing education every three years. This includes teaching yoga for 45 hours and attending additional classes for 30 hours. RYTs who meet certain experience and education requirements can pursue advanced credentials.
To become a yoga instructor, you need to be knowledgable and able to do yoga along with completing a formal training course and meeting any requirements set by your employer.