Do You Need To Be Certified To Teach Yoga? Yes & No! Why Certification Is A Gray Area

A question sooooo many yogis (and yoga teacher training students) have is, do I need to be certified to teach yoga? In this article, we will look at certification requirements as designated by Yoga Alliance and by the law. The legal answer is no, you do not need to be certified to teach yoga.

But it's not that black and white. To actually get a job teaching yoga, you'll need a certification to prove that you have the skills and knowledge required to lead students in a yoga class.

So essentially, yes, you need a teaching certification. Or rather, to be employable as a yoga teacher, you will need to have successfully completed a minimum of 200 hours of yoga teacher training.

If you’ve been curious to learn more about the certification requirements that yoga teachers should meet to actually get hired as a yoga teacher, this is for you!


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Yoga is not a legally regulated industry in most places. However, there are organizations such as Yoga Alliance and the the British Wheel of Yoga that are paid membership associations made up of teachers and schools that have created a self-regulating yoga industry.

Those two organizations set standards for core education, such as 200-hr, 300-hr, and 500-hr YTT. They create requirements for what should be included in the different levels and types of yoga teacher training.

They also create guidelines for continuing education requirements for yoga teachers to ensure that certified yoga teachers remain active in their personal and professional growth.

Again, although certification is not required by law, any yoga studio or online yoga platform will require that you be a certified yoga instructor to actually conduct yoga classes.

Yoga studios want to know that their yoga teachers are competent in guiding students through asana classes skillfully and safely. This is ultimately why yes, you do need certification to teach yoga.

But you might be surprised to learn that the answer about certification requirements is different depending on which organization you ask. For example, to register with Yoga Alliance as an RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher), you'll need to show your 200 hour yoga teacher certificate to join.

If you complete yoga teacher training, you will get a certification from your school. Every yoga school issues its own YTT certificate to graduates of their program. The only way you would not get a certificate would be if you didn't finish the course.

Different levels of yoga certification: 200-hr, 300-hr, 500-hr

There are multiple types of yoga certificates that a yoga teacher can hold. You are probably familiar with the core levels of: 200-hr, 300-hr, and 500-hr.

Yoga Alliance yoga certification levels: 200-hr, 300-hr, 500-hr.

But there are many other specialty teaching certifications too. Think Yin, Kids, Chair, Pranayama, etc. The topic of the different types of yoga certifications seems to confuse a lot of people, and rightly so! 

Each yoga teacher training course, or yoga school, issues their own certification to trainees.

For example, if you successfully complete 200 hour yoga teacher training with Brett Larkin's UpLifted teacher training, you will earn an UpLifted yoga teacher certification.

One thing to understand, first and foremost, is that Yoga Alliance does not issue yoga teaching certifications. Yoga Alliance is an organization that serves other purposes, but they do not conduct yoga teacher trainings. Therefore, they do not issue yoga teaching certifications. Make sense?

Yoga Alliance is a paid membership organization that has created guidelines for different levels of yoga teacher training and guidelines and standards for yoga teachers who choose to join the Yoga Alliance registry. Ultimately, one of the goals of Yoga Alliance is to create consistency in the yoga industry.

After completing yoga teacher training and becoming certified through a Registered Yoga School, yoga teachers can pay and register with Yoga Alliance as RYTs (Registered Yoga Teachers).

If you do yoga teacher training at a yoga school that is not registered with Yoga Alliance, you will be a Certified Yoga Teacher because you will have your certification issued by your school. But you are only a Registered Yoga Teacher if you register with Yoga Alliance as a RYT. Make sense?

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How long it takes to get yoga certified

It takes 200 hours of yoga teacher training to become yoga certified, but how long it takes a person to complete a 200-hr TTC (teacher training course) is dependent upon the training you enroll in. 

You can complete 200 hours of yoga teacher training in 4 weeks or 4 months, depending on which type of yoga teacher training you choose – intensive or part-time.

Is 200 hours of training enough to teach yoga?

200 hours of yoga teacher training comprise the foundational education necessary for yoga teachers to skillfully guide students through yoga classes. So yes, 200 hours of yoga teacher training is enough to teach yoga.

Consider 200 hour yoga teacher training to be the foundational yoga teacher training. 200 hours equips you with the required skills and knowledge to begin instructing students. From your 200 hour training, you build.

A foundational 200-hr yoga teacher training certification is what nearly all studios, yoga students, yoga apps, and online yoga platforms will be looking for to consider you for a yoga teaching job they are looking to fill.

Of course, having advanced yoga certifications can make you an even more ideal candidate, but a 200 hour certification is indeed enough to begin teaching in a professional setting.

Takeaway on why yoga teachers legally don't need to be certified

So, to get back to the real question of whether you need to be certified to teach yoga, essentially, you do need to be certified to teach yoga. Yoga teachers should have a certification to actually get a job teaching yoga. But by law, do not need a teaching certification.

For further questions and explanations about yoga teacher training, take a look at basic questions about yoga teacher training where I cover more Q&A about yoga teacher training.

FAQ about becoming a yoga teacher

Can you make a living as a yoga instructor?

It's a great time to become a yoga instructor and cash in thanks to the rise in popularity of online yoga courses, online yoga teacher trainings, and yoga apps. With some entrepreneurial ambition, digital marketing skills, and a yoga teaching certification, making a 6 figure income is totally possible!

How many levels of yoga teacher training are there?

Technically, according to Yoga Alliance there are 3 main core levels of yoga teacher training. These levels are 200-hr, 300-hr, and 500-hr.

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

Heather
Heather

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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