Yoga in the west is becoming increasingly popular.

So popular, in fact, that you could spend hours online, reading about yoga teacher this and yoga instructor that, learning about all the different ways yoga instruction can be given…

…and still not fully understand the difference between teacher and instructor.

It’s okay. The truth is that there isn’t really a difference (in most cases). A lot of the time the terms are used interchangeably.

But if you want to break it down from a philosophical perspective (you know how yogis love yoga philosophy), then I’m ready to do that for you.

Hint: it comes down to understanding the intention behind instructing and teaching.

So if you’re thinking about becoming a yoga instructor (or a yoga teacher), then read this. It may serve as a solid foundation from which you can grow your yoga career.

What Is The Difference Between Yoga Instructor And Yoga Teacher?

yoga teacher

There is no difference between yoga instructor and yoga teacher when it comes to your certification and job title. There is, however, a difference in the style of teaching between the two. A yoga instructor gives instruction for the yoga postures while demonstrating them at the front of the yoga class. A yoga teacher, on the other hand, not only spends time guiding students into each yoga pose but also spends time moving around the yoga studio to give more personalized feedback to the students.

An instructor focuses on giving yoga instruction for each asana, whereas a good yoga teacher helps students find the yoga postures in a way that works for their yoga practice.

A yoga instructor spends most of their time on their yoga mat at the front of the class and a yoga teacher spends most of their time walking from student to student, helping them apply yoga techniques to their practice.

You can choose your own yoga teaching style and find what works for you. You could even choose one style of yoga instruction for the yoga studio and another for private lessons.

Because when you get your yoga teacher certification, there is no clause that states the kind of teaching style you must use or which yoga techniques you must teach.

In fact, you don’t even need a yoga certification to be teaching yoga at all!

Just like your yoga practice grows and evolves with you, so does the way that you teach yoga. So feel free to explore your personal style and what it means to be a good yoga teacher.

What is a yoga instructor called?

In traditional yoga, a yoga instructor is a lot like a guru (which translates to ‘teacher’). A yoga practitioner with a dedicated yoga practice is a yogi (or yogini for female practitioners). So a yoga instructor is designed to help others on the path of yoga, including the practices of pranayama, meditation, and, of course, yoga asana.

What is the difference between RYT and CYT?

The main difference between RYT and CYT is that RYT is a registered trademark by the Yoga Alliance and CYT is not. Both indicate that you have completed a teacher training course and are now teaching yoga, though the RYT (registered yoga teacher) status simply means that you have voluntarily chosen to pay fees to the Yoga Alliance in order to be registered with them as a yoga teacher.

A CYT, or certified yoga teacher, simply indicates that the instructor has studied with a specific yoga program and completed the yoga teacher training course. This is most common with branded yoga styles, like yoga nidra, vinyasa yoga, yin yoga, chair yoga, hot yoga, etc.

You can receive your CYT status as well as become an RYT by paying fees to Yoga Alliance. Or you can opt to skip the RYT status, save some cash, and continue teaching yoga.

Which is what, truthfully, most yoga teachers do.

What does a yoga instructor do?

In modern yoga, a yoga instructor usually leads group yoga classes at a yoga studio, fitness center, or gym. In traditional yoga, a dedicated yoga practitioner, known as a yogi, helps guide other students on the path of yoga, both on and off the yoga mat.

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