The life of yoga teachers and what it takes to become a yoga instructor is mythologized and misunderstood. The uninitiated often wonder, is it hard to become a yoga teacher?
It’s super hard to become a teacher because you have to learn everything about yoga and master every pose in your yoga teacher training course.
Once you actually start teaching yoga, it’s easy! You roll out of bed in yoga gear, pop into a handstand and chant om, and ride your bicycle leisurely to the studio (vegan chai in hand) where you teach an amazing class for an hour without any preparation. And this magically pays all the bills! Leaving the rest of the day to curate your legging collection, take yoga selfies for your social channels, and contemplating the meaning of life. Right?
Sorry, but nope! No, no and no.
Successful yoga teachers are professionals in their own right. The path to becoming a yoga teacher requires serious commitment—however, it doesn’t have to be a grind either! (Read more truths about becoming an instructor here.)
In this post I’ll answer that prevalent question: Is it hard to become a yoga teacher? And [spoiler alert] I’ll share with you eight reasons that it’s easier than you think!
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1. You Can Take Your YTT Online
I can read your thoughts now: Can I really get my yoga certification online?? Does it actually work and let me teach yoga? The short answer: YES! (I address this question and a few things you need to know before becoming a teacher here.) Not only can you become a certified yoga teacher online, but there are now many quality online yoga teacher training courses (including some YTTs that are registered with Yoga Alliance), and so it’s easier than ever to become a yoga instructor! While a yoga teacher training program is a big time commitment no matter the format, many online courses have flexible schedules and reasonable timelines that allow you a few months to go at your own pace while including ways to get some hands-on experience too.
2. You Can Teach Online
Not only is it easy to train at home, once you have your RYT certification (RYT stands for Registered Yoga Teacher which means you completed your yoga instructor certification with a Yoga Alliance registered yoga school) you can even teach from home! Far gone are the days when the main teaching job available to most yoga instructors was to teach at the local yoga studio. There are so many options to teach from home now, like starting a youtube channel or creating an online program, that make it easy to transition into teaching yoga without even quitting your day job. Online yoga classes are a great way to start teaching online and then as you grow as a teacher you can go beyond the physical practice with things like online programs, special workshops, retreats, and trainings. I can tell you from my own experience, online programs are where it’s at and are only limited by your own imagination and effort.
3. You Can Set Yoga Instructor Salary (Yes, It’s Up for Negotiation)
Okay, so not every studio will allow you to negotiate right away if you just got your yoga teacher certification. But now there are many teaching avenues outside of the traditional studio yoga class. In addition to all the online routes mentioned in #2, you have more say over your pay when you offer private yoga sessions, run retreats, intensive series, or teach corporate yoga. You can even rent your own space somewhere and price what you want for your classes! Pro-tip: Make sure you’re covered with a great insurance plan to ensure an unexpected legal hiccup doesn’t put a damper on your yoga lifestyle.
4. I Already Made Your Business Plan!
While teaching yoga used to be more of a hobby than a profession, the yoga biz is now booming my friends! Which means if you’re looking to make your passion into your career it’s, once again, easier than ever before to become your own boss and CEO. Not convinced? I get that because yoga business often isn’t covered much in yoga teacher training programs. That’s why here I walk you through creating a yoga business plan so you can carve your own path as a successful yoga business owner.
5. There Are Tons of Free Resources
Back in the day, being a fledgling yoga teacher after completing training felt like being thrown out of the nest! It was like Woohoo I’m certified! …Wait…now what?? Most trainings left teachers without much support or guidance after their yoga instructor training to help them start teaching and growing in their field. But now there are SO many free resources to support you on the rewarding journey of teaching yoga. From abundant blog posts (check out Yoga Journal, Yoga International, or Elephant Journal for example), podcasts, and Facebook groups, there are ample opportunities to learn from and be supported by other teachers so you don’t feel like you’re going it alone.
6. There are Tons of People Practicing Yoga
Remember in 2016 when Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance partnered up and figured out that 36 million Americans practiced yoga? …Imagine how many people practice yoga worldwide now! Many more people are turning to yoga practice and yoga courses to cultivate some inner steadiness and peace, and as the number of students is rising…so is the demand for teachers!
7. There Are So Many Niches
Remember #6? Well, because so many people are practicing yoga there are many TYPES of people practicing that will have different needs and resonate with different teaching methodology and teaching styles and so there are lots of directions to take your career! You could teach kids yoga, chair yoga, yoga for veterans, yoga for anxiety, yoga for athletes, yoga for [insert almost any profession or common issue]…the list goes on and on! You are only limited by your creativity and your willingness.
8. You Don’t Have to Know Everything About Yoga
Many think that in order to become a certified yoga instructor they have to become an expert on yoga. Welp, even the best yoga certification course won’t teach you everything about yoga because no one knows everything about yoga and they never will. This is why it’s such an amazing practice that we can enjoy learning about for a lifetime…and this is exactly what continuing education is for! Yoga teacher training courses give us a foundation of basic knowledge that is the catalyst for a rich yoga journey. Our role as teachers is then to keep building on what we know through our own practice and study so we can share this with our students.
Fortunately for us, there are many accessible online continuing education options so we can keep learning after our teacher trainings. From doing our own research and study, to receiving mentorship, to attending online or in person continuing education courses, we can easily continue to build on the knowledge gained in our first yoga instructor course and keep growing as yoga students and teachers.
That’s it friends! How do you feel after reading this? Did your shoulders drop a bit? Have a smile on your face? And is your mind thinking…maybe I can do this after all! You absolutely can! Keep doing your research (check out 6 things you must know before you begin) and open your mind to possibility and YOU TOO can become a yoga instructor.
So.. Is It Hard To Become a Yoga Teacher?
With all of the resources out there for new teachers, it doesn’t have to be. But don’t underestimate the commitment needed to make a career out of this ancient practice. When you honor yourself, your students and both the professional and spiritual nature of the teaching tradition, becoming a yoga teacher will be a breeze. From 30 day intensive programs to extended self-paced study options, you can even choose how long to take while becoming certified to teach yoga – making it easier and more accessible than ever to start.
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