Do You Need To Be Certified To Teach Yoga? Yes & No!

A question sooooo many yogis (and yoga teacher training students) have is, do I need to be certified to teach yoga? Well, I've got the answer to your question, but it's not that black and white. In this article, we will look at certification requirements as designated by Yoga Alliance and by the law.

You might be surprised to learn that depending on which organization you ask, the answer about certification requirements is different.

Here's the deal yogi, essentially, yes, you do need to be certified to teach yoga. 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.

But, can I teach yoga without certification?

Yoga is not really a regulated industry in most places. So although by law certification is not required, any yoga studio or online yoga platform will require that you are a certified yoga instructor to actually conduct yoga classes.

So do you need to be certified to teach yoga? Yes.

Prospective employers 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 – if you want to actually get a job as a yoga teacher.

Read on as we look at some of the common questions and misconceptions about certifications in the yoga industry.

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

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What are the different types of yoga certification?

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

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

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? (See more on this topic below).

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 teaching certification.

Or, similarly, if you complete yoga teacher training with My Vinyasa Practice, at the end of the course, you will earn a My Vinyasa Practice yoga teaching certification.

So really, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of different types of yoga teaching certifications because each yoga school is issuing their own. Make sense?

There is also an array of different certification levels, such as: 200-hr, 300-hr and 500-hr. And to further add to that, there are many specialty certifications also, such as Yin, Children’s Yoga, Prenatal, Pranayama, and so on and so forth.

What is Yoga Alliance’s role in yoga certifying yoga teachers?

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 that choose to join their registry. Ultimately one of the goals of Yoga Alliance is to create consistency in the yoga industry.

Schools that are registered with Yoga Alliance are called Registered Yoga Schools. Yoga Alliance has a rating system for RYS's. The ratings are actually created by past students of the schools' YTT's.

Looking at school ratings can be helpful for aspiring instructors who are looking to choose the perfect yoga teacher training.

The image below is a copy of the Yoga Alliance survey that YTT graduates receive after they have completed their yoga teacher training to rate the course they attended.

Yoga Alliance school rating survey.

After completing yoga teacher training and becoming a certified yoga teacher through My Vinyasa Practice or Brett Larkin, for example, yoga teachers can then pay and register with Yoga Alliance as a RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) if the yoga teacher training they have completed is a RYS (Registered Yoga School) with Yoga Alliance.

If you decide to choose a yoga school that is not registered with Yoga Alliance for your yoga teacher training, you are indeed a certified yoga teacher upon successful completion, too, because your school will issue you a teaching certification. Make sense?

Alternatively, if you complete YTT with a RYS but decide not to register with Yoga Alliance, you are also a certified yoga teacher.

In other words, you do not need to register with Yoga Alliance, but thousands of yogis and yoga schools certainly opt to do so!

And did you know that besides Yoga Alliance, there are other similar organizations that some yogis choose to register with? Even though they are not talked about as much, there are!

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How long does it take to become yoga certified?

How long it takes to become yoga certified is the easier part to understand! 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. 

How long 200 hours of training actually takes you to complete is a little different though. See the image below for the various timelines you can follow to complete an online self-paced yoga teacher training.

Online yoga teacher training completion timeline estimator

How many hours/week
you can dedicate to online YTT
How long it will take you
to complete online YTT
55hrs/week4 weeks
25-30 hrs/week8 weeks
20 hrs/week12 weeks
12-15 hrs/week3-4 months
10-12 hrs/week5 months
9-10 hrs/week6 months
6 hrs/week9 months

200 hour yoga teacher training is conducted in two different ways:

  • Intensive yoga teacher training retreat: (average 3 – 4 weeks depending on the YTT)
  • Online yoga teacher training or part-time in-person training: (average 4 – 8 months)

Some select schools offer part-time yoga teacher training held during the evenings and weekends. Part-time training could be ideal for those who work full-time and can’t afford to take 3-4 weeks off of work for in-person yoga teacher training. But honestly, I don’t see part-time in-person YTT’s being commonly offered.

Is 200 hours of training enough to teach yoga?

200 hours of yoga teacher training comprises 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.

The image below illustrates the curriculum topics to be covered in a 200-hr yoga teacher training in order for the training to meet Yoga Alliance standards.

Yoga Alliance yoga teacher training curriculum requirements infographic. Yoga Alliance requires 200 hours of study covering a range of topics in yoga teacher training.

How much does it cost to become a yoga instructor?

The question about the price of yoga teacher training comes up a lot. The price range for YTT is vast, to say the least.

At the low end of the pricing scale, you have online yoga teacher trainings like YogaRenew that starts at about $340 for 200-hr YTT.

At the higher end of the 200-hr pricing scale, you're looking at an upwards of $3,000. And there is literally every price point in-between.

Advanced trainings like 300-hr will cost significantly more, as will 500-hr.

Takeaway on can I teach yoga without certification

So to get back to the real question of ‘can I teach yoga without certification', essentially, you do need to be certified to teach yoga. Yoga teachers must have a certification to actually get a job teaching yoga. But by law, you do not need a teaching certification.

If understanding the different types of yoga certifications has been a cause of confusion for you, you’re not alone! I hope that this article helped to clear up any confusion that you may have about the different types of certifications and different levels of 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.

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Heather is 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, or you can connect with Heather on LinkedIn.

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