How to Become a Yoga Instructor
Yoga instructor has become one of the most popular professions in recent years. Many yoga students notice the positive benefits yoga has made in their lives and start to wonder how to become a yoga instructor. Teaching yoga as a career is rewarding but also challenging. Teacher training programs are widely available, although standards can vary.
How To Become a Yoga Instructor: Yoga Alliance Programs
Most yoga studios expect that a yoga instructor has completed at least a 200-hour teacher training program. If you are wondering about how to become a yoga instructor, ask your own teacher or your local studio about teacher training. Many teacher training programs are registered with the US-based Yoga Alliance that maintains a registry for yoga teachers and training programs.
The Yoga Alliance sets certain minimum requirements for training. YA-registered training include a 200-hour teacher training program and a 500-hour training as well as further education. The YA 200-hour training includes studies of asana, anatomy, yoga philosophy and teaching techniques. Teacher trainees usually complete a 200-hour program before continuing in the more extensive 500-hour program. After completing the program a newly qualified instructor can register with the Yoga Alliance and use the letters RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher).
So how to become a yoga instructor and how to find a teacher training program? The standards of teacher training programs vary wildly. Entry requirements for training vary too, but most of the reputable programs expect that trainees have practised yoga for at least a few years before entering a teacher training. Certain yoga schools have specific training programs for potential teachers: for example to become a Bikram yoga teacher one has to complete a Bikram teacher training. Some national organizations have their own standards that differ from Yoga Alliance’s requirements. In the UK the British Wheel of Yoga has a teacher training course that lasts 2-4 years and has stricter entry requirements than many other trainings.
How To Choose a Yoga Teacher Training Program
Before choosing a training program it is important to ask what the program includes. Ask if the training program is registered with an organization (such as the Yoga Alliance). Ask about the teachers’ experience in practising and teaching yoga. It also makes sense to ask whether the program will help you to find a teaching job after the training is completed. Some studios that offer teacher training programs also employ newly qualified yoga instructors from these programs. Always check how much practical teaching experience you will get while training, or if there are opportunities to get practical teaching experience after the course is finished. One of the best ways to get hands-on experience is to apprentice or assist an experienced yoga teacher.
A teacher training program can cost between $2000 and $5000 or even more. Some teacher trainings are month-long intensives and some programs are spread over several months of classes and workshops. Intensives are often more expensive than programs that are spread over a long period of time. A month-long intensive requires that you take a lot of time off your work, family life and other duties. Different trainings also focus on different areas of yoga. Some training programs might have a strong focus on anatomy, other programs might put an emphasis on philosophy.
How To Become a Yoga Instructor and Build a Career
With so many teacher training programs there are also thousands or even tens of thousands of newly qualified yoga instructors every year. Most yoga instructors are self-employed. Many newly qualified teachers work part time and keep their day jobs until they decide whether a full-time career as a yoga instructor is a viable option.
The varying standards of yoga teacher training have been criticized in the last few years. There have been calls for stricter standards and higher requirements for future trainings, and calls for more government regulation of training programs, so requirements and standards for yoga instructors might change in the future. When looking for a teacher training program take into account the differences in standards, and research any training program carefully before committing to it. One good option is to train with a teacher you have studied with in the past. Another good option is to ask your favorite yoga teacher how to become a yoga instructor in their style of yoga.