Do You Need To Be Certified To Teach Yoga? The Answer Is Both Yes And No

Do you really need to be certified to teach yoga? Well essentially yes, you do need to be certified to teach yoga. To become employable as a yoga teacher, you will need to have completed a minimum of 200 hours of yoga teacher training. So if you've been wondering do you need to be certified to teach yoga? For all practical purposes – yes.

The question about certification requirements for yoga teachers seems to come up a lot, this could be because yoga is really not 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.

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 to be certified to teach, if you want to get a job as a yoga teacher.

In this article we will 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 certifications that a yoga teacher can hold, 200-hr, 300-hr, 500-hr as well as various specialty teaching certifications. The topic of the different types of yoga certifications seems to be confusing to many, 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 and 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, 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 standards for different levels of yoga teacher training and yoga teachers who are a part of their registry. Ultimately one of the goals of Yoga Alliance is to create consistency in the yoga industry.

Yoga Alliance also has a rating system for registered yoga schools which can be helpful for aspiring instructors who are looking at choosing a yoga teacher training.

After completing yoga teacher training and becoming a certified yoga teacher through My Vinyasa Practice or Brett Larkin, for example, yoga teachers can then 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.

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

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. 

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.

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 an 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.

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 that 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.

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.

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Heather is the visionary behind The Yogatique - her passion project. Heather is CYT-200 (with Aligned Yoga), a practicing yogi of more than 15 years, a global citizen, a life optimizer, and a lifelong learner. She created The Yogatique to assist yogis in finding premium online yoga teacher trainings & classes that are affordable and accessible to all.

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