Everything you need to know about getting a yoga instructor certification
Are you an aspiring yoga teacher? If so, you may be wondering what kind of yoga instructor certification you need to start teaching.
The quick answer is that you don’t need a certification to teach yoga, but it definitely helps. Here is everything you need to know about why you should get a yoga instructor certification and how to do it.
Pro Tip: Thinking of starting your own yoga studio? Learn how this lawyer turned her love of yoga into a full-time business.
Who needs a yoga instructor certification?
To start teaching yoga, you do not need to have a certification, but you may have trouble finding a job, or clients, without one. Many studios require that you have at least a 200-hr RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) certification. The RYT 200 is the foundational certification you need before you can advance to any of the other designations.
There are 6 designations in total:
- RYT 200
- RYT 500
- E-RYT 200 (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher)
- E-RYT 500
- RCYT (Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher)
- RPYT (Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher)
All of these certifications are approved by Yoga Alliance, which is a non-profit association with over 90,400 members. Its mission is to “promote and support the integrity and diversity of the teaching of yoga.”
After completing the RYT 200 certification, you are eligible to apply for a more advanced teacher certification. For instance, the E-RYT 200 is for Experienced Registered Yoga Teachers and requires 1,000 hours of teaching experience.
What are the benefits of a yoga instructor certification?
When you become a certified yoga instructor, it gives you access to more jobs since many studios require certification. If you work as an independent contractor, you may have an easier time attracting clients with this designation.
Plus, you will have a certification that is internationally recognized and demonstrates your deep knowledge and skill in the practice of yoga.
Membership at Yoga Alliance is separate from obtaining a certification, but if you choose to become a member, you enter into a community that provides resources and support to help you in your yoga career. Their website lists the following membership benefits:
- “Marketing in the RYT directory,” meaning you will be listed as a certified instructor for potential students to find you.
- “Access to free and online workshops.” Yoga Alliance has a vast database of workshops to help yoga instructors teach and grow their careers.
- “Advocacy alerts,” meaning Yoga Alliance will contact you about issues in the news that impacts the yoga community.
- “Invitations to community events.” This allows you to network with other yogis in your area.
- ”Insightful publications” about yoga and special discounts on yoga attire and classes.
Yoga instructor certification requirements
Here are the requirements you need to know to obtain a RYT 200 certification.
- Complete at least 200 hours of training with a qualifying yoga school. Keep in mind that you have to complete all of your training at one school and cannot combine training from multiple schools.
- For the RYT 200, you do not need to complete any teaching hours, however, any certification above this one requites that you complete a certain number of hours toward teaching.
- You must pay a $50 application fee to Yoga Alliance for the certification.
- You will also need to pay a fee to the yoga school of your choice. Most programs will cost around $2,000.
- To maintain your certification, you must pay a $65 annual membership fee.
- You also must complete continuing education courses to maintain your certification. You can read more about the specifics on the Yoga Alliance website.
What can you expect in a yoga instructor certification program?
In any RYT 200 program, new yoga instructors are given the foundations of practicing and teaching yoga. You can expect course material related to anatomy, types of meditation (Asanas and Pranayamas), the history of yoga, how to structure a class and teach poses, and the ethics around the business of yoga. You can read more about what is considered ethical business practices related to teaching yoga here.
These topics could vary based on the school you choose, but at its core, any RYT 200 program is designed to teach you about the rituals and practices of yoga and provide you with the tools you need to instruct others.
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