Are you interested in becoming a yoga instructor? We’re giving you everything you need to know about getting your yoga instructor certificate. Click here.
You have a passion for yoga. You start each day with sun salutations and end each evening in child’s pose.
You may have started practicing yoga because you wanted to reduce stress or get in shape, but somewhere along the way, something clicked. It became an intrinsic part of your life, and now you want to share it with others.
Perhaps you’ve thought about becoming a yoga instructor. But there’s a lot to consider, and you probably have a few questions about whether or not this is the right path for you.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about getting your yoga instructor certificate.
What is yoga teacher training?
If you’re interested in earning your yoga instructor certificate, you’ll need to go through yoga teacher training (YTT).
YTT requires a certain amount of hours (typically 200 or 500), during which you’ll study a set curriculum that qualifies you to become a yoga instructor. You’ll learn things like poses, sequences, meditations, and chants.
Once you’re certified, you’ll be officially able to start teaching yoga.
Consider your finances before you start
Teaching yoga seems like a dream. You get to do what you love, make your own hours, and perhaps best of all, wear yoga pants to work every day.
But before you jump in head first, it’s a good idea to pay close attention to the financial reality of becoming a yoga teacher. The cost to earn your yoga instructor certificate typically starts at around $3500 (although there are less expensive courses available), so you must be willing and able to make that initial investment.
Will it be profitable?
After that, you need to determine if you can make teaching yoga profitable for you. Give some serious thought to how you’re going to make this work.
Are you planning on teaching full-time, or in addition to your current job? Would you like to work at a studio or wellness center, or would you prefer to start your own business?
If you think you’d prefer to work for someone else, make sure you understand what that means. Can they guarantee you a certain number of classes per week? Do they pay a flat rate per class or per student? Do they offer things like health insurance or 401k?
If you’re thinking of working for yourself, do you want to do in-home private classes, or do you want to open your own studio? Is there another yoga instructor or businessperson you’d like to partner with? Have you considered how you’re going to market yourself?
Sit down with a calculator (or use an online budget tool) and figure out exactly what your income must be to cover your essential expenses. Then determine how much you could make if you worked for a studio versus working for yourself.
This will give you some clear-cut numbers, which should provide some clarity on which direction to take.
It doesn’t happen overnight
Remember – building a successful yoga business will not happen overnight. You may need to teach a few classes at a local studio before starting your own business. Or you may need to keep your day job for a few more years before you can make a living teaching yoga.
Building a dream takes time, so don’t give up, even if you can’t achieve exactly what you want right away.
200-hour versus 500-hour training
Did you figure out your finances? Good.
And you’re still in? Great!
Once you’re ready to move forward with earning your yoga instructor certificate, there are a few more things to consider, including how many hours of training you should take.
In order to officially be certified to teach yoga, you must take at least 200 hours of YTT. But you also have the option to take a 500-hour training course.
So what’s the difference?
The 200-hour yoga instructor certificate teaches the necessary elements to become a certified yoga teacher. This is the minimum amount of time it takes to earn your certification. You’ll study yoga philosophy, postures, anatomy, history, meditation, and breath work.
There’s so much to learn about yoga itself as well as how to teach it, and the 200-hour training is just a start.
If you really want to delve into all there is to know about yoga, we recommend taking a 500-hour training. It goes more in-depth into the topics that the 200-hour course typically only touches on.
The 500-hour yoga instructor certificate also allows you to offer continuing education classes to other yoga instructors.
Schedule and location
Do you want to earn your yoga instructor certificate in a couple of weeks or over the course of several months? Lucky for you, YTT courses are offered to fit any schedule.
Some schools offer intensive 14-day or 28-day programs, while other schools schedule their course every other weekend for six months. With the 500-hour YTT, it could take up to a year to complete, depending on the frequency of classes.
If you’re taking a course that’s spread out over several months, you’ll likely want to stay local. But if you’re taking a shorter intensive course, you may want to consider doing a yoga teacher training retreat in locations like India, Portugal or Costa Rica.
Don’t have the time to devote to in-person classes or the money to travel? You also have the option to earn your yoga instructor certificate online from the comfort of your own home, and at your own pace.
The options for earning your certificate are practically endless!
Never taken a hot yoga class before? Sign up for one.
Only ever taken power yoga from one instructor? Take it from someone else to see how other people interpret the style.
Once you figure out what direction to go, you’ll have solid information to help you select your school.
If you decide you’d like to focus on a wide range of styles – perhaps if you’re thinking of how to market yourself when you’re ready to start teaching – you’ll want to find a YTT that offers several yoga types.
On the other hand, becoming an expert on one particular style might work better for you. Perhaps you’re trying to fill a niche, appeal to a specific audience, or focus on one style that truly resonates with you. In that case, you’ll want to look for a YTT that focuses on the specific style of yoga you’re interested in.
Narrow down your list
Once you’ve determined what style or styles you want to become certified in, you can significantly narrow down your search for the right school. If you’d like to focus on, say, prenatal yoga, and the school you’re researching doesn’t offer any prenatal courses, then you can cross that school off your list.
Do you work better in a small class with plenty of personal attention from the instructor? Or do you learn more when there are lots of other people in class to bounce ideas off of or collaborate with?
When looking to enroll in a YTT course, check the maximum number of students that they accept. If that number is, say, 30, and you feel like you’ll get more from a class where you get one-on-one attention from your teacher, you should probably move on.
But if you feed off the energy that comes from bigger groups, a class size of 30 might be perfect for you.
Finding the right teacher can make or break your YTT experience.
Before you sign up for a YTT course, find out who the instructor will be. Check out their website. Read their bio to find out basic information, including how long they’ve been teaching. Review any testimonials that are available to see what other people think of them.
See them in action
Online research is a great start, but nothing beats seeing them in action. If possible, take one of their yoga classes to get a sense of their style and technique in person.
Do you like their teaching style? Do they have a good energy? Do you feel a connection? Is it someone you think you can trust?
The time spent earning your yoga instructor certificate can be long and intense, and learning under a teacher who you just don’t connect with can quickly wane your enthusiasm for becoming an instructor.
What do you do after you’ve earned your yoga instructor certificate?
Just as practicing yoga is a personal journey, so is teaching.
Once you’ve earned your yoga instructor certificate, you can do whatever feels right to you.
Start teaching at a studio right away. Offer free classes at a local park to build up your client base. Don’t teach at all and instead use what you’ve learned to become a better yogi.
The journey is yours, so enjoy it.