Why Yoga Alliance Certification Is Not Required To Teach Yoga + Q&A About Requirements & Registration

Some of the biggest questions on all new yoga teachers' minds are, ‘Should I register with Yoga Alliance?' or ‘Do I need a Yoga Alliance Certification?' ‘What does Yoga Alliance certified mean?’ You're about to find out! Grab your tea and get ready to take some notes yogi, as we cover that and more in this guide to Yoga Alliance!

Having a Yoga Alliance certification can make you stand out in the ever-competitive yoga industry. But is Yoga Alliance really worth it, is it a waste of money, is it necessary?

I had this exact thought when I first became a yoga teacher five years ago. So I did what you are doing now and turned to the good old internet to find the answers. But guess what? It left me even more confused!

Why? Because, as it turns out, EVERYONE had an opinion on Yoga Alliance, and just like Marmite, people seemed to love it or hate it.

As someone who likes to form my own opinions, I ended up spending hours researching Yoga Alliance. So, to not let that go to waste, today I'm sharing an impartial look at Yoga Alliance, so you can decide for yourself whether it's worth joining.

And I know what you're wondering… Did I end up registering with Yoga Alliance or not? Well, you'll have to keep reading to find out!


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IS YOGA TEACHER TRAINING ON YOUR RADAR?

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Overview of Yoga Alliance

Yoga Alliance is a non-profit organization formed in 1997 to represent the yoga community. oga Yoga Alliance currently has over 7,000 yoga schools and 100,000 yoga teachers listed in their registry.

Yoga Alliance is not the only registry of yoga teachers, but Yoga Alliance is the most legit registry of yoga teachers and yoga schools, and it is also the biggest and the most popular.

Yoga Alliance has created curriculum guidelines and standards for yoga teachers and yoga schools. Thus ensuring that all yoga schools and yoga teachers that are part of their registry meet certain criteria for yoga education.

To register with Yoga Alliance, schools and teachers must show that they have met or exceeded all set Yoga Alliance requirements. Teachers and schools should also follow Yoga Alliance Scope of Practice to maintain their membership as shown below.

Image of Yoga Alliance Scope of Practice that registered yoga teachers and registered yoga schools should follow. 1. Follow the Yoga Alliance of conduct 2. Teach yoga 3. Adjust postures or practice with explicit and informed consent 4. Share yogic philosophy, history, and anatomy 5, Advise and teach within permitted scope 6. Maintain relevant credentials.

Aside from being a registry, Yoga Alliance has also created a social credential system (aka a rating system). This creates more transparency in the yoga industry and community.

Yoga teacher trainees must rate the YTT training they attended to complete their registration. And the ratings are displayed on the school’s Yoga Alliance public profile. Hot tip, I recommend that all yogis glance at the Yoga Alliance school profiles of any YTT’s they are considering enrolling in.

Yoga Alliance school evaluation survey for social credentialing.

Yoga Schools that pay to register with Yoga Alliance (more on that below) are referred to as Registered Yoga Schools (RYS). While yoga teachers who register with Yoga Alliance are referred to as Registered Yoga Teachers (RYT).

To become a yoga teacher in Yoga Alliance, you must first complete yoga teacher training with a Registered Yoga School. Then you register with Yoga Alliance.

While a Yoga Alliance certification is not needed to teach yoga, there are perks of joining for teachers and schools.

What does it mean to be Yoga Alliance certified?

The Yoga Alliance certification is a distinction to show that your yoga education and experience meet the Yoga Alliance requirements. Or, in other words, you're a yoga teacher that people can trust.

Certification also indicates that you completed yoga teacher training with a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga School, and thus Yoga Alliance approved the course curriculum, the syllabus, and the course instructors.

3 Benefits of becoming a Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher

Now, if you're going to hand over your hard-earned money to Yoga Alliance, you're probably wondering what you will get in return, and if there are many benefits of joining Yoga Alliance.

Below are three reasons why you should register with Yoga Alliance, aside from the credibility and authority you gain by doing so.

Why you should register with Yoga Alliance

  1. Joining Yoga Alliance may open you up to more yoga teaching jobs and opportunities. This is because some employers require their instructors to hold a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher credential.
  2. Gain access to events, community support, and exclusive details and discounts.
  3. Start building your CE hour profile from the beginning in case you want to run teacher trainings yourself in the future. If you go into running teacher trainings in the future, a Yoga Alliance registration makes you look professional, serious, and trustworthy. Also, your future students will also be able to register as RYT’s.

However, don't panic, it doesn't mean you will have a hard time getting yoga classes if you don’t register.

Yoga Alliance certification requirements

image of Yoga Alliance RYT 200 path. The path of going from student to teacher with Yoga Alliance.

Yoga Alliance RYT 200 requirements

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

Most yogis who dream of teaching yoga will sign up and complete a 200-hour teacher training course. This is the foundation to teach yoga and is the most commonly found type of YTT. 200 hours is also the minimum amount of hours you need to register with Yoga Alliance as a teacher.

If your certificate is for a 200-hour course, you will register as an RYT 200. However, all training hours must come from the same school and program. For example, you cannot do multiple 50 or 100-hour teacher training courses.

No teaching experience is required for the Yoga Alliance 200-hour credential, so you can register as soon as you graduate. You do not need a set number of teaching hours for Yoga Alliance.

But remember, you don't have to wait to become an RYT before you can start to teach yoga. You can begin teaching while your Yoga Alliance registry is in process.

Yoga Alliance RYT 500 requirements

Yoga Alliance yoga teacher training 300 hour curriculum requirements infographic. Yoga Alliance requires 300 hours of study and covering a range of topics in yoga teacher training.

Once you've been teaching yoga for a while, you may want to upgrade your teaching credential from RYT 200 to RYT 500 (Registered Yoga Teacher 500-hr).

To do this, you'll need to meet two requirements:

  1. Complete an additional 300 hours of (advanced) yoga teacher training (equalling 500 hours in total of yoga teacher training)
  2. Record 100 teaching hours

The additional 300 hours do not need to be with the same school you gained your 200-hour certification. However, it has to be a specific 300-hour advanced course, not a combination of short continuing education programs.

RYT 500 single training track training

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 complete a 500-hour yoga teacher training (registered with Yoga Alliance) from the beginning, you can skip the RYT 200 credential and go straight to RYT 500. However, if you are doing that, you'll have to wait until you have taught 100 hours of yoga before applying.

Yoga Alliance registration costs

So how much does it cost to join Yoga Alliance? The initial fees and the annual membership fees are different for teachers and schools.

Yoga Alliance registration cost for teachers

For yoga teachers, there is a one-off initial registration fee of $50 and a $65 annual fee. So, the first year's membership costs $115 and is $65 a year after that.

The cost is the same for all teacher designations, such as RYT 200 and RYT 500. However, if you are already an RYT 200 and you have just gained your 300-hour yoga teacher training certification, you'll need to pay an additional one-off $50 application fee to upgrade your credentials to RYT 500.

Yoga Alliance registration cost for schools

If you run a yoga school and are looking to start offering yoga teacher training programs, registering with Yoga Alliance is more expensive.

The first year will cost your school $640, including a one-time fee of $400 to cover an in-depth assessment to ensure your course matches Yoga Alliance standards. If and when your application is approved, you'll pay the $240 annual dues.

The 10 steps to register online as a yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance

Infographic that shows how to register with Yoga Alliance in 10 steps.

You'll need to complete your registration on the Yoga Alliance website. Below is a quick step-by-step guide on how to complete the yoga teacher registration process. The registration process can take 2-4 weeks, depending on how quickly your school responds to Yoga Alliance verification request. Yoga Alliance will contact your school to confirm that you graduated.

The 10 step process to register with Yoga Alliance online 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.

The steps to register online as a yoga school with Yoga Alliance

If you are registering your yoga school, the process is longer and more in-depth as there are many more requirements. For example, you'll need to submit your school's syllabus, ensuring it covers all aspects of yoga practice, spanning these four categories:

  1. Techniques, Training, and Practice (including proper alignment of yoga postures)
  2. Yoga Anatomy & Physiology
  3. Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle, & Ethics (including yoga history)
  4. Professional Essentials (including teaching methodology)

Your syllabus must also meet the ‘contact hours' and ‘non contact hours’ standards.

Yoga Alliance Continuing Education requirements

Yoga Alliance continuing education requirements.

As briefly mentioned, one of the requirements for keeping your registration valid is to complete 30 hours of Continuing Education courses every three years. This does not have to be through one 30-hour program; you can combine short courses and workshops, provided they are all done with YA-Registered Yoga Schools.

So, for example, you might complete a 20-hour Pranayama YTT and a 10-hour Ayurveda course. Another popular continuing education program is a Yin Yoga TTC, which is typically at least 30 hours long.

You can then add the details and certificates for these courses on your next yearly renewal.

Earning your Yoga Alliance certification online

In 2020 many Registered Yoga Schools began offering their 200-hour Yoga Alliance certification course online. Some of the most successful and well-known names in modern yoga like Paul Grilley offer online yoga certification now.

A Yoga Alliance certification that you earn online has the same value as a certification you would earn by attending an in-person teacher training course.

Many online yoga schools offer a very wide variety of core yoga teacher training courses: 200hr, 300hr, 500hr. And many also offer an impressive amount of Continuing Education and specialty courses. We write about a lot of these courses on The Yogatique. Check out our main menu to discover more and read about the pros & cons of yoga teacher training online.

Yoga Alliance vs Yoga Alliance International

Yoga Alliance and Yoga Alliance International are different organizations offering the same service. Neither of these organizations issue teaching certifications, they offer a registry and credentialing system for yoga teachers and schools.

One key difference between Yoga Alliance and Yoga Alliance International is that the latter accepts ALL yoga teacher graduates. You can join Yoga Alliance International regardless of whether you attended a school from their registry, as long as the yoga training matches their standards.

However, you can only join Yoga Alliance if you completed your YTT at one of their 7,000+ Registered Yoga Schools.

Takeaway on Yoga Alliance

If you're yet to do your yoga teacher training and are unsure whether you will apply for a Yoga Alliance certification, choosing a Registered Yoga School for training is a good idea.

While yoga teachers do not need to have a Yoga Alliance certification, it can be very beneficial. But whether you choose to register or not is totally down to personal preference. Plus, you can join anytime in your yoga career, so there is no rush to do it immediately.

Full disclosure – while my yoga teacher training program was Yoga Alliance Certified, I chose not to register with Yoga Alliance.

I taught for many years in the UK and Asia in yoga studios, gyms, high schools, and retreat centers and never once missed out on a job because I wasn't a YA registered yoga teacher.

I hope this information will assist you in making a confident decision, whatever you choose! Here's more from me on what's included in yoga teacher training. Happy yoga teaching!

FAQ about Yoga Alliance

What is Yoga Alliance membership?

A Yoga Alliance membership is available to yoga schools and yoga teachers. Membership includes registration in the Yoga Alliance database and a title that distinguishes members from other schools and teachers in the yoga industry that are not part of Yoga Alliance.

What happens if I don't renew my Yoga Alliance membership?

If you don't renew your Yoga Alliance membership you can no longer use the RYT or RYS designation in your marketing material and promote yourself as a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga School or a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher. You can still continue to teach and offer yoga classes.

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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