Yoga Teacher Certifications Explained: RYT 200, RYT 300, RYT 500 – Yoga Instructor Levels Demystified

If you’ve been contemplating becoming a certified yoga teacher you may have wondered what the difference between 200 hour, 300 hour, and 500 hour yoga teacher certifications are. In this article we’re going to explore the different certification levels for yoga teachers. If you’ve been having a hard time choosing which yoga teacher training certification level to pursue, hopefully, this will help guide you!

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Let’s first look at what RYT 200, RYT 300, and RYT 500 mean

Yoga Alliance 200-hr, 300-hr, 500-hr yoga teacher training requirements infographic.

What does RYT 200 mean

A RYT 200 is a registered yoga teacher who is certified at the 200 hour level by a registered yoga school also known as an RYS. This title signifies that the yoga teacher has completed their 200 hour yoga teacher training at a school that is affiliated with Yoga Alliance. 

Yoga Alliance uses the terms registered yoga school, or RYS, and registered yoga teacher, or RYT, for schools whose curriculums have been approved under their YA guidelines, and for yoga teachers that have completed yoga teacher training from said schools. Anytime you see RYS or RYT that indicates an association with Yoga Alliance.

Yoga Alliance has developed guidelines that yoga schools must meet in order to be Yoga Alliance-approved teacher certification trainings. The criteria are different for 200 hour and 300 hour yoga teacher trainings.

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RYT 200 yoga teacher training includes:

A 200 hour yoga teacher training is a combined 200 hours of study, practice, and contact hours. If you attend an RYS 200 hour training you are assured that the YTT meets set criteria and has been approved by Yoga Alliance.

The chart below illustrates Yoga Alliance elevated standards, created in 2020.

Yoga Alliance Elevated Standards includes:

75 hoursTechniques, training, practice
30 hoursAnatomy and physiology
30 hoursYoga humanities
50 hoursProfessional essentials
Yoga Alliance graph of yoga teacher training requirements.
Yoga Alliance 200 hour yoga teacher training

What does RYT 300 mean

A RYT 300 is a yoga teacher who is certified at the 300 hour level by a RYS. This title signifies that the yoga teacher has completed their 300 hour yoga teacher training through a program that adheres to Yoga Alliance educational standards.

A RYT 300 is a more advanced yoga teaching credential as the YTT has gone into deeper depth on certain topics. You must first be a certified yoga teacher at the 200 hour level in order to enroll in a 300 hour advanced teacher training.

As well as the training requirements outlined above for RYT 200 training, a RYT 300 course includes an additional 100 hours of training in the areas listed below. Discover the best advanced 300 hour online YTT's if you're already certified at the 200 hour level.

RYT 300 yoga teacher training includes:

5 hoursTeaching methodology
15 hoursAnatomy and physiology
30 hoursYoga philosophy, lifestyle, and ethics for yoga teachers
30 hoursPracticum
20 hoursContact and elective hours

What does RYT 500 mean

A RYT 500 has completed a total of 500 hours of yoga teacher training at a RYS. Becoming a RYT 500 can be achieved by taking a RYT 200 and RYT 300 course separately, or by enrolling in a 500 hour yoga teacher training course. 200 hours of training + 300 hours of training = 500 hours of training.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s delve deeper into yoga teacher training.

Is 200 hours enough to teach yoga

Yes, 200 hours is enough to get a job as a yoga teacher. Most schools, websites, and studios will require that you hold a 200 hour yoga teaching certificate to teach at their establishment. If you have successfully completed 200 hour yoga teacher training it is likely, and assumed, that you possess the basic knowledge to skillfully and effectively teach yoga. 

That said, yoga is not a regulated industry or profession, so although there is no law requiring a yoga teacher to have completed 200 hour TT, it is nearly impossible to become employed without having a 200 hour teaching certificate. Discover the best RYT 200's online here!

How do I become a RYT 200

You can become a RYT 200 by enrolling in and completing a 200 hour yoga teacher training certification program at a school that is a registered yoga school with Yoga Alliance. You will need to satisfy all contact hours, non-contact hours, practice hours, and finish all exams and submit a teaching practicum, as well as everything else that is required by your school to complete the course.

Once you have successfully completed the course and you have your teaching certificate you can register with Yoga Alliance. It’s that simple!

Yoga Alliance in itself does not certify yoga teachers but rather allows teachers who have completed teacher training at a RYS to register as part of the alliance once they've successfully finished yoga teacher training.

↓Great Yoga Alliance approved yoga teacher trainings you should look into↓

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How long is 200 hour yoga teacher training

200 hour yoga teacher training typically takes between 3-6 weeks to complete when done in-person in a destination/retreat type yoga teacher training format. This requires that a person take several weeks off of work and also likely fly off to a very exotic and remote destination. However, online 200 hour yoga teacher training can be completed at your own pace and worked into your life and your schedule. It can be said that online yoga teacher training is much more practical. 

Why is yoga certification so expensive

In the past yoga, teacher training has been a huge investment, but now it can be very affordable. The most affordable way to earn your yoga teaching certification is by doing yoga teacher training online. Virtual yoga teacher training certification courses cost a fraction of what in-person training costs. You can now have the world's leading yoga teachers at your fingertips, literally! You can complete YTT  in your living room and on your own time. And by doing this you’ll save yourself literally thousands of dollars.

Does a yoga certification expire

No, a yoga certification does not expire. However, to maintain the title of RYT and maintain affiliation with Yoga Alliance registered yoga teachers are required to complete 45 hours of continuing education hours every 3 years and renew their registry with YA yearly.

If you're feeling confused by the lingo in the professional world of yoga you're not alone! This article may help you better understand Yoga Alliance. The best step to take is the first step! Enroll in teacher training and all of the pieces will come together along your teacher training journey. And feel free to reach out to us if you need further clarification on any of this.

Yoga vocabulary:

CYT: Certified Yoga Teacher
RYT 200: Registered Yoga Teacher, 200 hour Certification
RYT 300: Registered Yoga Teacher, 300 hour Certification
RYT 500: Registered Yoga Teacher, 500 hour Certification
RYS: Registered Yoga School
RYT: Registered Yoga Teacher
TTC: Teacher Training Course
YA: Yoga Alliance
YTT: 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.

The Yogatique