Your Ultimate Guide To How To Become A Yoga Instructor: Embracing The YTT Path

Do you feel the calling to take your yoga practice to the next level? If so, this guide to how to become a yoga instructor is just what you need!

Do you want to share the power of yoga with others to help make the world a more conscious, mindful place?

I remember this pivotal moment in my yoga journey.

I had been practicing yoga for several years. Although my life had changed multiple times throughout that time, yoga remained my bedrock.

As a result, I started getting curious about how to become a yoga instructor, researching the ins and outs of it. 

If you're reading this article, chances are you're pondering on a potential yoga teaching career yourself. 

If so, light some incense, center your mind, and read on as I share everything you need to know about becoming a yoga instructor. 


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The first step to becoming a certified yoga instructor is choosing a course that suits your needs, preferences, schedule, budget, etc. 

Here are six things you should consider before signing up for your YTT. 

If you've practiced yoga for a while, you likely already have a preferred style. Whether it's dynamic Vinyasa or gentle Yin Yoga, choosing a YTT aligned with your preferred style is crucial.

But what if you aren't ready to specialize in just one style?

In that case, opt for a multi-style YTT that covers a range of practices, such as Hatha, Vinyasa, and Yin. This allows you to broaden your knowledge and practice and, thus, teach various classes. 

Understanding the focus of the YTT you're considering is essential, as they are not all equal. Some courses emphasize asana, while others delve into philosophy, meditation, or anatomy. 

So, what is it that you're interested in the most? 

If you're curious about yoga's philosophical roots, opt for a YTT emphasizing Sanskrit, mantras, mudras, and chakras. 

Conversely, if you're intrigued by the scientific aspects of yoga, look for a course focusing on anatomy and biomechanics.

Yoga teacher training programs can be intensive full-time courses or long-term part-time courses. Which one you choose will depend entirely on your personal circumstances.

For example, if you are currently between jobs and have ample time, doing a month-long intensive YTT makes sense.

But if you're juggling work, childcare, and home commitments, a part-time course you attend once or twice a week will be much more convenient. 

Of course, aside from in-person courses, you can do yoga teacher training online. An online yoga teacher training course is the most flexible and affordable option, as you can study at your own pace. 

Of course, you should seek highly experienced yoga teacher trainers. But you should also ensure your course teacher is someone you're compatible with. Each yoga trainer has their own teaching style, so look for the one that best matches your unique personality. 

If you’re doing yoga teacher training to teach in the future, choosing an accredited course is important. What’s more, selecting a course approved by Yoga Alliance shows that it meets their minimum yoga training standards.

Where you do your YTT will determine the course cost. For example, yoga teacher training programs in India are typically cheaper than those in Western countries. You can also opt to do your training online, which will undoubtedly save you a lot of money.

The quality of yoga schools differ, here are four components you should review about a course to weed out the bad YTTs and make the right choice.

YTT programs accredited by Yoga Alliance must include lessons on all their curriculum topics. For example, Yoga Alliance-certified courses must consist of 100 hours of techniques, training, and practice. 

However, this topic category includes asanas, pranayamas, kriyas, chanting, mantras, and meditation. And the yoga school can choose which yogic techniques they focus on. So, some courses will emphasize asana, while others will include a balance of all techniques.

To gain a broad understanding of yoga and a comprehensive teaching skill set, opt for a YTT that offers the most comprehensive curriculum.

Another critical thing to consider is a balance between theory and practical teaching. Teaching yoga requires hands-on practice, so look for a course with many teaching practice sessions. 

For example, at the end of the first week of my YTT, our teacher had us teaching sun salutations to the rest of the class!

Sure, it was incredibly nerve-wracking. But jumping straight into practice teaching helped me feel more confident when I began my teaching career.

You want to look for a YTT that will offer you plenty of feedback so that you can refine your teaching style. If you’re taking an online YTT this could look like uploading photos or videos of yourself performing certain yoga poses or videos of you practice teaching for the educators to review.

In my yoga course, the teachers would give us feedback after each teaching practice session. 

Part of the final exam was to teach three full yoga classes. The feedback my teacher gave me after the first attempt helped me ensure the following two classes were a better experience for everyone. 

Another valuable aspect of a yoga teacher training program is ongoing mentorship. This might be the opportunity to email your teachers and ask for advice or several check-in sessions after the course ends.

Community support during and after a YTT is a game-changer. Yoga teacher trainings are no walk in the park, but one thing that helps you get through it is the support of your classmates. 

So, look for a course with things like teamwork activities, group events on your days off, matching you with classmates if it’s online, and virtual or in-person support circles. 

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A 200 hour yoga teacher training is 200-hours comprised of studying theory, asana practice, hands-on teaching practice, and elective hours. It’s a blend, it’s not just 200-hours of reading about yoga history and philosophy,

An in-person yoga teacher training program will be either full-time and intensive or part-time and long-term. Let's discuss the average duration of both these formats.

Intensive 200-hour yoga teacher training courses typically run for 3 to 5 weeks. In an intensive course, you will study six days a week (up to 12 hours daily!). While it is physically and mentally challenging, this is a fab option if you want to gain your yoga instructor certification quickly! 

Part-time courses are much more chill, as you study for one or two days a week (typically on the weekend or in the evenings). However, with this learning style, it can take up to 1 year to reach the 200 hours required for your yoga teacher certification.

Many online training programs have a flexible duration, allowing you to complete the training in a timeframe that suits you. With a 200-hour online course, you could become a certified yoga instructor in as little as one month or as long as 1+ year. 

Yoga teacher training programs cover various modules, including theory and practical application. They also include both written and practical exams.

Let's take a deeper look at how you will spend your days in a YTT: 

Every Yoga Alliance registered yoga school must include all five of the following modules in their course curriculum:

  1. Techniques, Training, and Practice  – This includes asana, pranayama, kriyas, mantras, meditation, and other traditional yogic techniques. The delivery of these subjects will consist of analytical training (such as asana labs) and guided yoga practice (similar to a regular yoga or meditation class).
  2. Teaching Methodology – This includes the principles of demonstration, observation, assisting, and correcting when teaching. It also covers communication skills and different teaching styles. This module may also teach about the business side of yoga. 
  3. Anatomy and Physiology – This includes physical anatomy, like the bodily systems, and energy anatomy, like the Chakras and Nadis.
  4. Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle, and Ethics for Yoga Teachers – This module includes the study of traditional yogic texts. It also includes how yogic concepts can apply to your lifestyle and the ethical guidelines to follow.
  5. Practice teaching – This includes leading yoga classes, observing others teaching yoga, and assisting students while someone else teaches.

The daily lesson schedule for an intensive YTT will depend on the yoga school. However, to give you an idea of what to expect, here is my 200-hour yoga teacher training schedule.

  • 7- 8 am – Meditation
  • 8 – 10 am – Morning asana practice
  • 10 am – 12:30 pm – Lunch break
  • 12:30 – 3 pm – Lectures/workshops/practice teaching
  • 3 – 4 pm – Afternoon break
  • 4 – 5:30 pm – Afternoon asana practice
  • 6 – 7 pm – Lecture

Looking at the intensity of this schedule, you may wonder if every session is compulsory. The answer is yes! You are expected to attend every lesson. However, there is usually some leeway if you are sick. My yoga school allowed students to miss up to 5% of the course due to illness.

When you become a yoga instructor, you will gain much more than just teaching skills. The twice-daily asana sessions will help you advance in your personal yoga practice and improve your physical fitness.

But it won't just be a physical transformation that you witness. Yoga training facilitates personal and spiritual growth as you learn so much about yourself through the study of yoga.

Every person in my yoga training experienced some personal growth. Some classmates found clarity and solutions for problems they were having in life. Some were inspired to make a significant career or life change. And others felt a deeper understanding of themselves.

The yoga teacher training experience is unique for everyone. But the sheer intensity of the course, combined with learning about deep philosophical topics, will help you grow in one way or another.

To get certified, you will need to complete all of the coursework in your YTT and pass a final exam. This final exam will be two-fold, including both a written or multiple choice test, and a practical portion where you get to demonstrate all of the teaching skills you picked up in your training.

If you’re taking an online course, you will upload your practice teaching video. For in-person trainings, you will perform your practical in-person.

Once you have your teaching certificate you can then register with Yoga Alliance online. The online process is very simple. Here’s how you do it.

The 10 step process to register with Yoga Alliance as a teacher:

  1. Go to yogaalliance.org and click ‘join'.
  2. Create your teacher profile account by entering your details: name, birthday, email address, and password.
  3. Select ‘teacher' to register as a yoga teacher.
  4. Apply for the RYT credential by selecting the credential you are registering for (RYT 200, RYT 300, RYT 500).
  5. Enter your training start and end date.
  6. Search for, locate, and select your school in the Yoga Alliance school registry directory.
  7. Upload your teaching certificate and send the registration request.
  8. Wait for an email from Yoga Alliance confirming that they received your enrollment confirmation from your school (this can take 10-14 days).
  9. Log back into Yoga Alliance and pay the registration fee.
  10. Complete a review of your training program to complete the registration process.

Legally, you can teach yoga without a yoga instructor certification. The yoga industry does not enforce teaching certifications, so it is possible to teach without formal education. 

Still, there is a big difference between informally learning under the guidance of a reputable yoga instructor and teaching yourself through YouTube videos. 

Also, to become insured as a yoga teacher, you’ll need to have a certificate and insurance is important should one of your students get injured in class.

Many yoga studios, gyms, and leisure centers will require yoga certification to teach there. So, you might struggle to find teaching jobs if you do not have a yoga certification.

Having an RYT certification will also increase your credibility as a yoga teacher. In particular, Yoga Alliance credentials are now internationally known. As a result, many yoga studios see it as an unofficial prerequisite to becoming a yoga instructor.

So let's recap on the top benefits of doing a yoga certification course:  

  • Increased respect from yoga studios and students
  • More job opportunities, including opportunities to teach for big-name studios and brands
  • Possibility to earn more money (as you have more authority)
  • No potential legal problems should a student sue you (as certification allows you to get liability insurance)

You will encounter different durations when searching for yoga courses: 200, 300, or 500 hours. So what is the difference between them, and which should you choose?

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

A 200-hour yoga teacher training is the foundational course to becoming a certified yoga instructor. 200 hours is the minimum amount of teaching hours you must complete to become a registered yoga teacher and begin your teaching career.

However, a 200-hour YTT is just the tip of the iceberg. While you will learn so much that your head feels like it will explode, if you're serious about teaching yoga, you shouldn't stop there.

Many yoga instructors start with a 200-hour course to learn the basics and get some experience in the studio. Then, later on, they advance their skills by taking a 300-hour course.

This is what's included in a 200-hr yoga teacher training course:

  • Teaching, technique, training & practice (75 hours)
  • Anatomy & physiology (30 hours)
  • Yoga humanities (30 hours)
  • Professional essentials (50 hours)
  • Elective hours (15 hours)

A 300-hour yoga instructor training is a more advanced course than the foundational 200 hours. It focuses on more advanced postures and meditation techniques. It also goes deeper into subjects 200-hour training brushes over, like yoga philosophy or anatomy.

If you complete both a 200-hour and a 300-hour course with a Yoga Alliance registered yoga school, you can then update your credentials to a 500-hour RYT (registered yoga teacher).  

This is what's included in a 300-hr yoga teacher training course:

  • Techniques, training, practice (50 hours)
  • Teaching methodology (5 hours)
  • Anatomy & physiology (15 hours)
  • Yoga philosophy, lifestyle, and ethics for yoga teachers (30 hours)
  • Teaching methodology (30 hours)
Yoga Alliance 200-hr, 300-hr, 500-hr yoga teacher training requirements infographic. Image describes how many hours of study are required for each area of study in yoga teacher training.

If you want to jump straight into the deep end, you can take a 500-hour yoga teacher training from the get-go. 

A 500-hour YTT combines the curriculum of 200-hour and 300-hour courses. This allows you to begin your yoga teaching career with more knowledge and skills. You will also be able to register as a 500-hour certified yoga teacher straight away.

However, 500-hour courses take a lot longer to complete. For example, an intensive 500-hour yoga teacher training program will take 10-12 weeks, whereas a part-time course may last up to 2 years.

This is what's included in a 500-hr yoga teacher training course:

  • Techniques, training, & practice (150 hours)
  • Teaching methodology (30 hours)
  • Anatomy & physiology (35 hours)
  • Yoga philosophy, lifestyle, and ethics for yoga teachers (60 hours)
  • Practicum (40 hours)

Continuing education is compulsory if you register as a Yoga Alliance RYT. As a registered yoga teacher, you must complete 75 hours of CE every three years. However, this includes showing proof of 45 hours of teaching yoga, so only 30 hours of yoga training are required.

Yoga is not something you study once, and that's it. It is a continuous journey of learning and exploration. So, an essential thing to remember when learning how to become a yoga instructor is that there is no finish line.

If you're anything like me, completing your 200-hour course will leave you with more questions than you already had. You will learn so much, yet feel there is still so much to learn. So you will be naturally eager to continue studying. 

You could enroll in an advanced 300-hour course to gain your 500-hour RYT credentials. But 300-hour courses can be pricey. So, consider taking continuing education courses instead – short courses lasting 10 to 100 hours. 

So, what type of continuing education courses are available? The offerings will depend on your location, but the most common CE courses are:

  • Yin yoga (30-50 contact hours)
  • Restorative yoga
  • Prenatal yoga
  • Yoga Nidra
  • Aerial yoga
  • Adjustments
  • Advanced Asana

Understanding of how to become a yoga instructor will allow you to make a confident and assured decision about your future career. 

But taking a yoga teacher training course doesn't mean you MUST become an instructor. In fact, embarking on a YTT is an excellent way to deepen your own practice while learning if you truly want to teach yoga. 

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! 

Gemma
Gemma

Gemma is a Certified Yoga Teacher of over 5 years. Aside from being a CYT 200, Gemma is also certified in Yin and Yoga Nidra. Gemma is passionate about sharing her expertise of yoga and wellness through words, guiding others along the path of personal and spiritual development. She is in LOVE with everything related to personal-growth and psychology. Aside from helping others find more peace and stillness, Gemma runs a kitten rescue project in Thailand, where she is currently residing. Gemma can be reached at gemmac@theyogatique.com, or you can connect with Gemma on LinkedIn.

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