Becoming a yoga instructor was one of the most life-changing things to happen to me. I’ve now been teaching yoga for five years, but I still remember the excitement of starting my journey and doing my first yoga teacher training in Thailand like it was yesterday.
If you’ve also fallen in love with everything yoga, and want to share your passion with others, then it might be time to start thinking about how to become a yoga instructor! The process can take time, but it can be life changing and is easier than you might think.
In this article, I will detail the steps you need to take to gain your yoga teaching certification, become a registered yoga teacher and kick-start your new career.
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5 Steps to Becoming a Yoga Instructor
1. Determine If You Are Ready To Start Teaching Yoga
The first step of how to become a certified yoga teacher is understanding if you are ready to take the next step. Why do I say this? Because there are many variables to determining if now is the right time.
Sure, if you’ve just discovered yoga and only attended a couple of yoga classes, it goes without saying you are not ready yet. But if you’ve had a consistent yoga practice for a while (at least 6 months) and feel the urge to take things further, how do you figure out if now is the right time to become a yoga instructor?
Well, there are several signs that may suggest it’s time to take the leap and start to teach yoga. For example, if your yoga practice has become more than a hobby and is now a significant part of your daily life, this is a big signal. Check out this article to discover 5 more signs that you are ready to become a yoga teacher.
Also, you don’t need to have the desire to teach to do a yoga teacher training course. There are many reasons to do a YTT besides teaching, such as to deepen your personal practice or spiritual journey. Many of my YTT buddies did not go on to teach after graduating, yet they found the course just as beneficial and transformational.
2. Choose The Right Yoga Teacher Training Program For You
If you’ve determined that you’re ready to take your yoga journey further and feel the call to share the practice with others, it’s time to make that dream a reality.
Becoming a yoga instructor is more than mastering the physical practice or ‘asanas.’ Yoga teacher training programs will also cover pranayama (breathwork) and meditation techniques and dive deep into yoga philosophy and history, alignment, anatomy and physiology, and teaching methodology. The best yoga teacher trainings will also include plenty of practice teaching yoga and may include other therapies, workshops or spa treatments.
The first action for anyone wondering how to become a yoga teacher is choosing a 200-hour yoga teacher training. A 200-hour yoga teacher training program is the foundational yoga certification that is required from all yoga instructors who want to teach yoga.
After you complete the 200 hour training you can deepen your knowledge with a 300 hour yoga teacher training course. You can also do both at once with a 500 hour training, however this is very intense so we recommend taking a break between courses to rest and integrate what you’ve learned.
With so many yoga teacher training courses available around the world it’s important to do your research and pick a good one! Make sure you complete your yoga instructor certification with a registered yoga school, preferably one approved by Yoga Alliance as this will allow you to sign up as a Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher.
It’s vital to carefully consider your options rather than sign up for the first yoga course you find. Here are some key things you should think about:
There are numerous yoga styles these days, from traditional Hatha yoga, to dynamic Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow, to more relaxing Yin and Restorative yoga.
Make sure you choose a course in the style of yoga that you want to teach. If you’re not sure, choose a multi-style yoga training course to learn them all and keep your options open.
Intensive vs Part Time
Most yoga teacher training courses follow one of two structures:
- Full-time intensive courses, lasting 2 to 6 weeks – These courses are typically residential and consist of long days of studying and practice (10-12 hour days, 6 days a week).
- Part-time courses that last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years – These courses typically run on weekends (one or both days) and, thus, must be at a yoga school close to your home or online – more on that later.
One of the great things about doing an intensive YTT is that you can find them worldwide. This allows you to combine your yoga training with travelling by choosing a course in a destination you have always wanted to visit.
As the place where yoga originated, India is an obvious choice and offers many affordable and authentic YTTs, however visiting India is not for the faint hearted but there are many other options.
The tropical and spiritual island of Bali in Indonesia, Thailand and Costa Rica are all amazing places to do yoga teacher training, there’s also some good options in Europe. If you’re not still sure where to do your YTT check out this article where I reveal the 6 best destinations for yoga teacher training.
However, remember that intensive YTTs are, well, intensive. You will only have a little time to explore the location during the course, so it’s best to arrive a week before or stay a while afterwards.
If you choose a part-time course, you’ll need to seek a yoga studio near your home and ensure you can fit the schedule in around your work or other commitments.
Check the Reviews
Sometimes the course and accommodation descriptions don’t always reflect the true reality so reading reviews from previous students is the best way to know what to expect.
A good place to search for yoga teacher training courses worldwide and check reviews is bookyogateachertraining.com. Testimonials on a yoga centres website or social media pages might not always tell the full story, so it’s really important to check reviews on unbiased websites like this.
Online Yoga Teacher Training
Alternatively, you can do an online teacher training which can be the most affordable way to become a qualified yoga teacher. Online programs have risen in popularity in recent years but are very different to in-person YTTs. Check out this article about the pros and cons of online yoga teacher training programs to learn more about them.
3. Prepare For Your YTT
Once you’ve chosen and signed up for a YTT, it’s time to sit back and anxiously twiddle your thumbs until the big day arrives. Just kidding!
I cannot emphasise the importance of preparing for your yoga teacher training enough. In a 200-hour course, you will learn an overwhelming amount of knowledge. To reduce this overwhelm, start now to increase your practice and study other aspects of yoga.
I recommend reading a few yoga books. A couple I read before my first YTT were ‘Light on Yoga’ by B.K.S Iyengar and ‘The Heart of Yoga‘ by T. K. V. Desikachar.
These books introduce and explain yoga philosophy, which gave me a basic understanding of the topics I learned in my course. You can find out more about these books and discover other excellent books for yoga teacher training in this guide.
Another part of preparing for yoga teacher training is knowing what to expect. I know what you’re thinking; how can you possibly know that if you’ve never done a YTT. Well, you may not have done a YTT, but many people have – like me. I share my reflections in this article on things I wish I had known before doing my yoga teacher training.
4. Start Packing
Of course, a practical way of preparing for your yoga teacher training is to pack! While this sounds obvious, I mention it because many yogis (myself included) arrive at their YTT over or under-packed.
For example, on my first 200hr YTT, I totally underestimated how many yoga clothes I needed and wished I’d brought my own yoga mat! So to save you from making the same mistakes as me, I’ve put together this YTT packing list.
5. Get Your Yoga Teaching Career Of The Ground
Preparing for and completing a yoga teacher training course is a massive thing. But it’s only the beginning of your yoga teacher journey.
So what do you do once you’ve graduated from your course and have your shiny new certificate in hand?
You have gained TONS of knowledge about yoga and how to teach it. Still, chances are the thought of standing up in front of a room of students causes immense anxiety.
The best thing to do once you finish your YTT is to start getting experience teaching straight away. This could be teaching to your friends, subbing for one of your teachers, or even applying for your first yoga job.
This doesn’t mean you’re not ready to start teaching. It doesn’t mean you should stop studying, either.
I began teaching yoga straight after my YTT. I did my course in Thailand and wanted to stay in Asia for a few months after. So I started looking into teaching yoga abroad and before I knew it, I was in Cambodia teaching at a yoga retreat centre.
There are many work-for-accommodation-style yoga teaching opportunities all around the world. This is an excellent way to gain some experience while travelling low-cost (if this is something you’re interested in).
Final Thoughts On How To Become A Yoga Instructor
Yoga teacher training changes your life in many ways. One of the most significant changes is that it sets you on a new, more aligned career path.
By becoming a certified yoga instructor, you’ll get to share your passion and help others experience the many incredible benefits of the practice.
You know that saying ‘do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life!‘ – maybe once you become a yoga instructor you’ll know what they mean!
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