Differences Between 200-Hour, 300-Hour & 500-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Explained

Choosing a yoga teacher training program is an exciting decision for anyone passionate about deepening their practice for personal reasons or becoming a Certified Yoga Teacher to teach others. One of the first decisions you'll need to make is which level of training to pursue a 200-hour, 300-hour, or 500-hour program.

Each level offers different benefits and suits various goals within the field of yoga teaching. But what are the differences between 200-hour vs 300-hour vs 500-hour courses? That’s what I’m unpacking for you in this article!

I was once in your position of deciding which yoga teacher training was best for me, so I know this topic pretty darn well! Ultimately, I decided to do my 200-hour certification with Briohny Smyth at Aligned Yoga. It's one of the best online YTTs.

I had been practicing yoga for over fifteen years before getting certified. I chose to do a yoga certification course to learn more about the history and philosophy of yoga and how to build sequences like Bri does because I love her ladder flows on Alo Moves so much. But enough about me! I want to help you understand the differences between the levels of yoga teacher certification courses, so without further ado, let's get to it.

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Online Yoga Teacher Training Offers

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  • Certification
  • Lifetime access

⬇Click below to discover the best Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher training online⬇

Training LevelHoursDurationCurriculumCertificationJob Opportunities
200-hour2004 – 12 weeksBasics of yoga philosophy & anatomy, teaching methodologyRYT-200General yoga teaching
300-hour30012 – 24 weeksAdvanced asanas & sequencing, adjustments & meditation techniquesRYT-500 (RYT-200 prerequisite)Specialized & advanced classes
500-hour50024 -52 weeksIn-depth study of yoga history, Ayurveda, chakras, advanced teaching skillsRYT-500 (RYT-200 & RYT-300 prerequisites)Teacher trainer or retreat leader

A 200-hour program lays down the groundwork – this is where every yoga teacher starts their teacher training journey. It’s the first level of yoga teacher training, and it's a prerequisite to moving onto higher levels. It covers essential aspects, including:

  • Anatomy
  • Meditation
  • Teaching methodology
  • Pranayama
  • Yoga history and philosophy
  • Subtle body energies like chakras

A 300-hour training aims at broadening your expertise further. It covers more advanced concepts including:

  • Advanced anatomy & physiology
  • Deeper meditation techniques
  • Advanced teaching methodology
  • Pranayama
  • Advanced yoga history and philosophy
  • Chakras & subtle body energies 
  • Mudras
  • Bandhas
  • Mantras
  • Sequencing principles
  • Advanced hands-on adjustments
  • Therapeutic uses of yoga 

To create a 500-hour curriculum, schools often combine their 200-hr & 300-hr training. But it also might further expand on:

  • Advanced alignment techniques
  • In-depth study of the ancient texts like the Yoga Sutras & Bhagavad Gita 
  • How to be a leader in the yoga community

A 200-hour course covers essential aspects of yoga philosophy, anatomy, teaching methods, and hands-on teaching experience.

During the program, you'll explore the history and philosophy of yoga. This involves studying parts of the Bhagavad Gita and other spiritual texts to gain an understanding of the spiritual principles behind practicing yoga.

You will also learn about human anatomy and how it connects with yoga poses. Understanding how different postures impact the body can help you better understand your own body and teach more effectively by guiding students through their practice anatomically safely.

An important part of this program is learning practical teaching techniques. You will learn approaches for organizing classes, cueing, demonstrating poses, assisting your students, creating inclusive environments, and developing your unique teaching style or voice.

Getting hands-on teaching experience is crucial during this training. There will be opportunities (and maybe even requirements!) for practice teaching in front of peers or on Zoom (in an online course) and get feedback from your classmates and instructors.

This practical experience is important. It’s very important that you start verbalizing cueing out loud. If you’re only repeating your yoga sequences in your head, it will be a lot harder than you might imagine for those words to flow from your mouth! 

When I uploaded my teaching demo, I couldn’t believe how different it was to say the poses out loud versus just saying them to myself in my head.

After successfully finishing a Yoga Alliance accredited 200-hour program, which is the gold standard for quality programs, you can become a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) at the 200-hour level if you decide to register with Yoga Alliance.

The term “200-hour” refers to the total hours you’ll dedicate to the course. This includes your required asana practice hours. 

The 200 hours are condensed into one month in intensive in-person training or extended over much longer periods in part-time training or online training.

For in-person intensive training you can expect to pay between $2,000-$4,000 not including travel and other expenses. 

Online training is more affordable, you can expect to pay between $400-$1,000.

The cost of a 200-hour YTT depends on a few key factors 

  • Location – online, at an ashram, or on an island at a 5-star resort (for example)
  • Experience of the lead educators 
  • The school’s reputation

Yep, a 200-hour certification is accepted worldwide, and it's the most common certificate.

Registering with Yoga Alliance as a RYT-200 with Yoga Alliance (or any other yoga teacher organization) is not required to teach yoga professionally. 

However, registering as a RYT-200 might improve your credibility as Yoga Alliance is the most well-known registry of teachers and schools in the yoga industry.

No, 200-hour courses are not the same. This is why I recommend that you look at the curriculum and research the program to ensure its what you’re looking for.

Completing a 300-hour yoga teacher training program gives you the chance to explore and become an expert in advanced aspects of yoga. 

This level of training goes more into detail on yoga philosophy, anatomy, teaching methods, and personal practice. In a 300-hour training, you will deepen your knowledge about poses, breathing techniques, meditation practices, and alignment principles to improve your own skills while learning how to effectively guide others.

You'll have intense study sessions where you'll break down complex yogic texts such as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali or Bhagavad Gita. Workshops on specific areas like restorative yoga or prenatal yoga are also included in the curriculum. With guidance from experienced teachers and opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, you'll develop a better understanding of body cues and adjustments that can enhance your teaching abilities significantly.

A 300-hour YTT will take six to nine months to complete, regardless of whether it’s in-person or online.

A 300-hour training is significantly more expensive than a 200-hour training. While it is 100 hours of additional training compared to a 200-hour training, the teacher trainers often bring a higher level of expertise and experience to this training, which adds to the price of the course.

To apply for this advanced teaching certification course, you will need to show your 200-hour certificate. 

After completing a 300-hour training, you can register as a RYT-500.

A 500-hour yoga teacher training program is the ultimate way to master yoga and become an expert because it’s an extremely intense track to pursue a teaching certificate.

Most schools combine their 200-hour and 300-hour courses to create their 500-hour training. So you’ll master yoga philosophy, anatomy, teaching methods (asanas), breath control (pranayama), meditation techniques, how to structure sequences, how to adjust different bodies, and the energy systems like chakras and nadis in your body. 

A 500-hour YTT is long and intense. It will take more than one year to complete.

There aren’t that many schools that offer 500-hour training. Online you can expect to pay $1,000 while in-person could cost you well over $6,000.

Some schools will ask if you have practiced yoga consistently for six months to one year before enrolling.

Some programs might also want you to show proficiency in basic poses. Before applying, make sure to check with each school about their specific requirements.

If you're thinking about joining a 300-hour program, you’ll need to have completed a 200-hour certification first. Some programs may also require that you have some teaching experience after your initial certification. Make sure to carefully go through the prerequisites for each school and ensure that you meet all the criteria before signing up.

Enrollment in a 500-hour teacher training program will have the same requirement as a 200-hour or 300-hour.  

In general, one of the most important requirements for any yoga teacher training program will be your dedication, mindfulness, and readiness for transformative learning experiences. 

Completing a 200-hour yoga teacher training program is the first step and sets a strong foundation for you to have the skills and confidence to teach basic-level classes. But it will probably take you a while to feel completely comfortable leading a class full of students.

Getting certified at the 500-hour level will enable you to charge more for your classes and even become a mentor to other teachers or start offering yoga teacher training yourself. 

I hope this article has clarified any questions you had about the differences between the 200-, 300-, and 500-Hour yoga teacher trainings. If not, feel free send us an email with your additional questions!

Learn more about yoga teacher titles and different levels of Yoga Alliance certification.

Some online yoga studios, online yoga teacher training programs, and brands that we write about may offer us a small percentage should you decide to purchase after reading our content. Thank you for enabling us to exist!

What are the main differences between a 200-hour, 300-hour, and 500-hour yoga teacher training program?

A 200-hour, 300-hour, and 500-hour yoga teacher training program differ in the level of knowledge you gain, teaching skills you develop, and practical experience you acquire. The 200-hour program lays down the basics, the 300-hour program dives into specialized areas, while the 500-hour program provides advanced training for mastery.

How do I decide which program is best suited for my goals as a yoga teacher?

When choosing a program for your yoga teaching career, think about how much experience you have now, what specific area you want to focus on, and where you see yourself in the future.

How do these programs impact career opportunities and advancement in the field of yoga teaching?

Finishing a 200-hour program means you can begin teaching yoga. A 300-hour program will enhance your expertise and abilities, while a 500-hour program will establish you as an authority in the field of yoga, unlocking advanced teaching chances and career growth opportunities.


Heather is a Certified Yoga Teacher the visionary behind The Yogatique, her passion project. She created The Yogatique to help yogis & other growth-oriented individuals discover premium high quality trainings and classes in the yoga & wellness space. Heather is a RYT-200 and a practicing yogi of more than 15 years. She is also a global citizen who has been living abroad for 10 years. Her passions include health & fitness, studying healthspan & longevity, exploring the road less traveled, & SEO. Heather can be reached at heatherj@theyogatique.com, or you can connect with Heather on LinkedIn.


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