Yoga Teacher Titles Explained – Difference Between CYT, RYT, and More

Yoga acronyms every aspiring yoga teacher needs to know

If you are an aspiring yoga teacher you may be curious to learn more about the various titles that yoga instructors hold – CYT, RYT, E-RYT to name just a few. The world of yoga is abundant with acronyms! In this article we’re going to break down and describe the various certification levels you can hold once you’ve successfully completed yoga teacher training. We’re also going to better define Yoga Alliance and what it means to be registered with YA as a school or yoga teacher. Let’s take a look at the difference between a CYT and a RYT first.

Article content:

(Click any link below to jump directly to section)
What is a CYT or Certified Yoga Teacher
What is a RYT or Registered Yoga Teacher

What is a E-RYT 200 or Experienced Yoga Teacher 200
What is a E-RYT 500 or Experienced Yoga Teacher 500
What is a RYS or Registered Yoga School

What is Yoga Alliance
Why would a school or yoga teacher choose to not register with Yoga Alliance
Yoga vocabulary

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What is the difference between a CYT and RYT

What is a CYT or Certified Yoga Teacher

A CYT or certified yoga teacher is a yoga teacher that has completed any all-encompassing yoga teacher training. A CYT has completed the number of required learning hours that their chosen school has designated as the minimum educational hours to complete to earn a yoga teaching certification from their program. 

This means that the yoga school or teacher training program that a CYT has finished is likely not associated with Yoga Alliance, but they conduct yoga teacher training certification courses independently. Anyone who completes a CYT program should receive a yoga teaching certificate from the YTT program that they completed, but that school is likely not affiliated with the Yoga Alliance. It is likely not a RYS or registered yoga school. 

Even though yoga schools that are issuing CYT certifications are not necessarily adhering to Yoga Alliance curriculum standards, their yoga teacher training certification course is likely a minimum of 200 hours and they are likely great options to consider if you’re researching which yoga teacher training to enroll in.

What is a RYT or Registered Yoga Teacher

A RYT or registered yoga teacher has completed a minimum of 200 hours of learning and non contact hours at a RYS or registered yoga school, and they have decided to register with Yoga Alliance after completing their YTT or yoga teacher training. This means that the yoga school they have attended has had their yoga teacher training curriculum approved by Yoga Alliance. 

Even after completing a 200 hour yoga teacher training program at a RYS, a yoga teacher is not required to register with Yoga Alliance, but many choose to register with YA because the title of RYT signifies that the program they have completed adheres to YA educational standards.

What is a E-RYT 200 or Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher 200 hour

This credential signifies that a yoga teacher has completed a 200-hour teacher training with a RYS 200 and has at least 1,000 hours of teaching experience since completing training, and has taught for at least two years post training.

What is a E-RYT 500 or Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher 500 hour

This credential signifies that the yoga teacher has completed a 500-hour teacher training with a RYS 500 (or a 200 hour and 300 hour training separately) and has at least 2,000 hours of teaching experience since completing the training and has taught for at least 4 years post training.

What is a RYS or Registered Yoga School

A RYS or registered yoga school is a school that is affiliated with Yoga Alliance. They have paid the fee(s), had their curriculum approved by YA, and it fulfills the specific requirements as designated by Yoga Alliance. This means that students that complete their program have the option to register with Yoga Alliance upon program completion. 

Registered yoga schools have also had their teaching staff accepted by Yoga Alliance as qualified to be certifying other yoga teachers.

According to YogaTeacher.org, it is important to note that Yoga Alliance does not certify yoga teachers. YA allows yoga teachers to register with them once they have completed a yoga teacher certification course at a RYS.

What is Yoga Alliance

That brings us to better defining what exactly Yoga Alliance is. Yoga Alliance was founded in 1999 to better regulate the yoga industry, to put it in layman's terms. With the formation of the Yoga Alliance, the members and staff of the alliance created standards, rules, and paid membership. 

Part of their standards mean better defining what a yoga teacher training should consist of and thus what a yoga teacher should theoretically know upon completion of YTT.  Yoga Alliance has decided that a certain number of learning hours should be spent studying certain subjects or topics during teacher training for graduates to be effective and knowledgeable yoga teachers. This includes topics such as: yoga history, yoga philosophy, yoga anatomy, pranayama and teaching skills. YA Standards are ever evolving, see below for the most current Yoga Alliance standards in 2021.

Yoga Alliance 200 RYS yoga teacher training requirements infographic. 200 hour online yoga teacher training course requirements.
Yoga Alliance yoga teacher training standards

The idea behind YA is to ensure that curriculum standards are being standardized worldwide for yoga teachers and yoga schools, so to speak. A yoga teacher who has completed a YTT at a RYS in India should then theoretically have a similar in-depth understanding of the same core topics and concepts of a yoga teacher who has completed a YTT in the USA at an RYS.

Yoga Alliance also requires RYT’s to uphold their code of conduct and be committed to continuing education.

In order to become a RYS or registered yoga school, schools need to submit their syllabus to Yoga Alliance and have it signed off on.

Why would a school or yoga teacher choose to not register with Yoga Alliance

There are a number of reasons why a school or yoga teacher may choose to not register with Yoga Alliance. One of those reasons being cost. The Yoga Alliance charges a registration fee and an annual fee to both RYS’s and RYT’s. See below for Yoga Alliance 2021 fees.

Yoga Alliance fees 2021 Registered Yoga Teachers
Yoga Alliance fees 2021 Registered Yoga Schools

Another reason a school may choose to not register with YA is that their curriculum does not align with the standards that Yoga Alliance has set. This doesn’t mean that their curriculum is inferior, but perhaps it’s just different. See below for Yoga Alliance 2021 standards.

A third reason for not choosing to participate is that a school or teacher has chosen to register with another association. World Yoga Federation, for example.

If all of this seems overwhelming to you, you’re not alone! You will come to understand all of this even better during the business portion of your yoga teacher training.

Vocabulary:

CYT: Certified Yoga Teacher
E-RYT 200: Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher 200 hour
E-RYT 500: Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher 500 hour
RYS: Registered Yoga School
RYT: Registered Yoga Teacher
YA: Yoga Alliance
YTT: Yoga Teacher Training

We hope this post has helped to clarify questions you may have had about some of the acronyms in the professional yoga world! Our article about the differences between RYT 200, RYT 300, and RYT 500 delves deeper into the various yoga certification levels if you're unsure of which teacher training path is for you or simply wanting to learn more. Feel free to reach out to us if you'd like any further clarification on anything!

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