You’ve decided you’re ready to become a yoga instructor. YAY!!!

I’m sure you have so many questions. Like how to become a yoga instructor first of all. But you’re probably also wondering if you need to be a certified yoga instructor or a registered yoga teacher? What yoga course is the right one? Are all yoga schools created equal? Will I truly be ready to teach yoga classes after I complete all of the steps?

Pause….take a breathe…I have the answers to your questions and have broken everything down into steps to guide you are on your yoga teacher journey.

“There can be hesitation when thinking about committing to something, for some of us more than for others, but I promise you this will be the most meaningful, beautiful, and uplifting investment of your life.”

– Rebeca V., former YTT student

1. Determine Yoga Instructor Requirements

Determining your yoga instructor requirements starts with finding a reputable yoga teacher training program that meets your needs. Specific requirements for certification may vary from one program to another, but you’ll at the very least want to look for a 200 hour yoga teacher training program with a registered school. You’ll want to do you research, check the school’s credentials and reviews, and especially make sure it is a comprehensive training.

Yoga instructor requirements

You’ll also want to look into what the yoga teacher requirements are in your area. Do local studios require you to register with a certain agency(organizations who aim to uphold the safe and ethical teaching of yoga)? Or is there an organization whose directory you’ll want to be on? Look into them and check what their requirements might be.

Some common yoga registries include:

  • Yoga Alliance: Yoga Alliance is a US based non-profit organization that sets a standard for the industry in order to support the integrity of the yoga community’s teachings. You might find a lot of studios prefer you to have a YA registration.
  • World Yoga Federation: World Yoga Federation provides International certifications and recognition for teachers with standards similar to Yoga Alliance.
  • Christian Yoga Association: The CYA is an organization that aims to provide community to Christian based yoga practitioners.
  • International Association of Yoga Therapists: International Association of Yoga Therapists seeks to cultivate the development of yoga therapy as a healing modality.

Keep in mind there are fees associated with many of these organizations and each holds their own requirements for membership. Most often it starts with enrolling in a certified yoga instructor training. You can also look through each of these sites directory for different trainings approved under their umbrella. You do not necessarily have to choose a training from their list, but it is a resource available to you.

2. Understand the Yoga Alliance

Since we’re on the subject, it’s important to know that certification in the yoga world is something that’s very much in flux. Yoga’s “governing body” is not really regulated by the state or at the national level.

So you can pay Yoga Alliance for permission to use their RYT trademark after your name, but it doesn’t actually, really mean anything at the government, state, or national level. Yoga Alliance certifications don’t expire, but they do lapse. If you choose to register with the Yoga Alliance, you’ll need to do a few things every year or two to maintain your certification.

So it may or may not be worth doing, based on your personal goals.

If you wanna deep-dive with me into what certification really means, I absolutely suggest you listen to this podcast, where I go into a lot more detail.

YouTube video

So what is an RYT certification for, then?

It’s mostly for yoga and fitness studios in the US to assure that the yoga instructors they hire have completed a minimum level of education as a yoga instructor. It doesn’t, however, ensure that you actually practice yoga, that you have any teaching skills, or that your training program was of high quality.

While it is certainly helpful when applying for a teaching job at a yoga studio, it’s not necessary for other more lucrative teaching gigs (like being a yoga instructor online or course creator).

If you’re clear about your goals for your training program, then you’ll be more clear about whether or not an RYT certification is necessary.

3. Choose the Right Yoga Training

Now that you know different registration requirements you definitely wanna start some kind of registered yoga teacher training (YTT).

Beyond the certification that formal training provides, there are several major benefits to taking YTT that will take your commitment to your yoga practice to the next level.

NOTE: There IS a difference between a certified yoga teacher and a registered yoga teacher. Certified simply means that you have completed a yoga teacher training program. To be a registered yoga teacher you will have to have obtained your yoga teacher training certificate AND registered with an organization like Yoga Alliance, meeting their requirements.

What are the different kinds of yoga teacher training?

The most common format is to do a 200-hour yoga teacher training course but there are different levels of yoga certification. You may start with a 200-hour certification and then do a 300-hour certification after, which adds up to make 500-hour certified yoga instructors. If you already know you want your 500-hour certification great! Think of it like this, 200 hour yoga teacher training is level 1, 300 is level 2 and the combination of the two equates to your 500-hour certificate. So you’ll need to start your 200-hour program first.

What does a 200-hour yoga instructor certification entail?

You cover a lot of material in 200 hours, everything from teaching, yoga anatomy, and yoga philosophy. Be picky and really do your research on where you do this 200-hour training because it’s really gonna teach you everything you need to know about how to be a successful yoga teacher.

While most yoga studios will focus on hatha yoga or vinyasa flow in their certification program, you can totally choose a yoga instructor training that focuses on the yoga and meditation style that most interests you. There are many types of yoga, from restorative yoga, prenatal yoga, yoga Nidra, and Ashtanga yoga, to yin yoga, you definitely have a lot to choose from.

You can do a 200-hour training all at once, in a month-long in-person intensive, over the course of many weekends, a few weeks, or you can even do 200-hour online training programs. There are a lot of different types of training depending on yoga style, like:

How many years experience do you need?

“I was initially worried about joining the YTT as my own practice isn’t as advanced as many others in the group, but I was immediately reassured. The support of Brett, the TA’s and my classmates was invaluable, and the opportunity to practice teach really helped to build my confidence! Thank you”

– Gillian, former YTT student

This is a common question and concern. A solid personal practice in which you’re doing yoga regularly is required. Ideally, you love yoga and are practicing yoga postures daily, before yoga teacher training even begins. But that doesn’t mean you need to be doing handstands and pretzel twists. There isn’t a set number of years experience you need to become a yoga instructor. As long as you have a solid practice, a passion for yoga, and FEEL ready to do it then I say go for it!

How much does it cost to get certified in yoga?

I’ve written all about how much yoga teacher training actually costs, but the short answer is that cost fully depends on what kind of training you’re after. Historically yoga teacher trainings have cost anywhere from $3,000-$4,000 if you are enrolling in a reputable school with a longstanding record of trust and legitimacy. COVID changed the market because everyone rushed online and you can now find free online workshops and courses for as little as $97. In short, it depends on the quality of training you are looking for. There is such a wide range you really need to ask yourself what you are looking for in a training, what are you trying to get out of it and who do you want to train with?

How long does it take to get yoga certified?

This depends on the level of training that you get, including continuing education courses. It also depends on where you complete your training. A standard 200-hour immersion course will be about a month long, whereas your local yoga studio likely offers courses over weekends over the course of 6 months. This is also true for a 300/500-hour certification.

A lot of online programs are also open ended. Which means they have no set end date. Which seems great, like you have all the time in the world to finish your yoga teacher training, but in reality that could allow you to put it off indefinitely and you’d never receive your yoga teacher certification. You know yourself best, and if you know you’ll need accountability then look for a program that will provide it.

What’s the time commitment?

Again, this depends on the level of training that you get. But if you were looking at something like the Uplifted 200 hour training it might look something like this:

You can expect each week to have been 8 – 10 hours of teacher training commitments:

  • 4 hours of watching video content assignments
  • Three 90-minute Live Calls (attendance required at one of the three)
  • 30 minutes of at-home reading or homework

I know my course is designed with parents and full time workers in mind. Obviously, you could find courses that might have a lighter time commitment, but I guarantee they won’t be as well rounded.

Can you get Yoga certified online?

TOTALLY! In 2020 Yoga Alliance quickly rushed to approve all online trainings. At the time, sadly, they did not issue any standards for online training. Meaning class sizes aren’t capped, the courses themselves aren’t monitored, and they don’t require synchronous completion(graduation with a group of your peers). However they do now require a minimum live component to each training.

All of that just to say, although you can 100 percent get certified online you should still do your research to make sure you are choosing a QUALITY program.

Experience 3 Training Videos from Inside My 200-Hour Online YTT 👇

YTT 200 Multidevice and Manual A

4. Choose the Right Yoga School

Now that you’ve decided the style of yoga teacher training you want to study, hatha yoga/vinyasa yoga etc., and decided whether you want an in person training or online yoga teacher training it’s time to find your school!

Things to look for in a yoga certification program

There are so many schools out there to choose from and it can be overwhelming. Some things to consider while you choose a yoga teacher training:

  • Does the time commitment meet my lifestyle?
  • Is there enough live support?
  • Does the cost meet the value of the material?
  • Is there a community to connect with/keep me accountable?
  • How many yoga teachers has this program certified?

If you do yoga teacher training online first make sure its reputable, refer to this post: How To Know If An Online YTT Is Legit: 8 Things To Look For. You’ll also want to make sure that it’s interactive, and you’re getting direct feedback and support from a teacher over video conference. I’ve written a list of the 7 best online yoga certifications for yoga instruction where I list a few different online schools that I personally recommend because I know their instructor and/or material deeply. I also break down some of the most popular online yoga teacher training courses you see out there today so that you can make the most informed decision when choosing one.

Beyond this you’ll want to check certifications. Are they yoga alliance certified? Or do they have certifications with ACE (American Council of Exercise) or NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine)? Those last two organizations have a very strict vetting process when it comes to the yoga teacher training programs they give their stamp of approval to — more so than Yoga Alliance. You may not find many yoga teacher training programs that have them.

To become a yoga instructor it’s not a requirement for your training to have these things, but knowing that they do tells you that their material has been highly evaluated. It wasn’t easy, but I am incredibly PROUD that my Uplifted Yoga Teacher Training has been vetted and certified by these additional organizations.

“It may seem complicated learning how to teach yoga with an online course, but it is possible and it actually is amazing because you can do it when it fits better in your schedule.”

– Alicia, former YTT student

5. Get Yoga Insurance

Once you’ve either completed or almost completed your training you’ll want to put yourself out there and start teaching. Most yoga schools should cover this, but you’ll want to get yoga insurance. Once you have that, you are truly in business! I will link to beYogi, which is my top pick, in the cards and description below.

6. Find Places to Practice Teaching Yoga

brett larkin teaching ardha matsyendrasana - seated spinal twist in yoga

You want to practice… so teach. I think a lot of people think they’re gonna do their 200-hour certification and feel really confident right off the bat.

The reality is it takes years to build up that confidence, to have a presence in your teaching, and really have a strong voice.

So you wanna start practicing and teach yoga to everyone you can.

Teach your mom, your dog, anyone who’ll listen to you. Offer free yoga classes at your house or in the park. So much of how to become a yoga instructor is how you embody the teachings and wisdom of yoga. So practice yoga both on and off the yoga mat.

Just start logging those teaching hours, because, just like anything in life, the more you do it, the better you’re gonna get.

While you certainly learn to teach in training courses, it doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily ready to do so. Just like knowing the yoga asanas doesn’t mean that you perform them all consistently each day, knowing teaching methodology doesn’t mean that you’re ready.

So get as much experience as you can!

You Might Also Like: 13 Yoga Playlists for Every Style and Taste

7. Start Making Money Teaching Yoga

Now that you’re a certified yoga instructor, its time to start charging money for people to take your classes. This could mean that you’re teaching in a studio, or maybe you’re hosting events in your home.

Maybe you’re teaching in corporations, going into businesses and teaching there, or partnering with local restaurants to have yoga sessions and wine nights.

You could lead retreats.

You could teach yoga online, like me and start earning at least 5k a month.

There have never been more opportunities to find success as a yoga teacher in the way that you really enjoy, and are passionate about.

Can you make a living teaching yoga?

Yes, I certainly do! But it depends on your standard of living, how you’re earning money, and definitely your mindset. If you want to make a decent living from teaching yoga, then I recommend teaching yoga online.
Learn more:
The Truth About How Much Yoga Teachers Make (And Why)
How To Teach Yoga Online And Make Money (Like Me)
How to Lead a Live Online Zoom Yoga Class
10 Tips On How To Start A YouTube Channel For Yoga Teachers
3 Best Tools To Launch A Yoga App (That You Can Actually Afford)
10 Best FREE Facebook Groups For Yoga Teachers

How much do yoga instructors make?

If your goal is to teach at a yoga studio, then you can expect to earn anywhere from $20 to $80 per yoga class, depending on your teaching experience and the yoga studio. If you want to teach private yoga classes, then you could earn anywhere from $50 to $150 per yoga class. If you’re teaching an online course, then the sky is the limit.
Learn more:
The Truth About How Much Yoga Teachers Make (And Why)
20 Awesome Ways To Make Money As A Yoga Instructor
Should You Quit Your Job To Teach Yoga? Probably Not
Private Yoga Lessons Cost: A Yoga Teacher’s Guide On How To Price Classes

8. Build a Mailing List ASAP

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the most important thing you can do for your yoga business is start a mailing list!

Have a way that you can keep in touch with the people who come take in person classes and probably really enjoy your classes.

To me, this is even more important than most other marketing tactics as a yoga instructor. It will help keep you top of mind so that when your network needs a yoga teacher, they know to come to you.

Closing Thoughts

“It is understandable to be nervous and to have many questions about what is to unfold. My advice would be to sit back and breathe and let yourself absorb. Trust the process and be engaged. The time and effort invested will all be worth it.” – Radha, former YTT student

If you still want more information about yoga certification, I have dozens of free podcasts all about how to pick a training that best meets your needs, the exact questions to ask, tips and tricks to make the most out of your training experience, and how to know if you’re ready to take the plunge.

And, of course, I offer an online yoga teacher training course that will walk you through all of it.

Next Steps

Experience 3 Training Videos from Inside My 200-Hour Online YTT