Yoga Alliance:

Everything You Need To Know

Yoga Alliance FAQ

How long does it take to get certified to teach yoga?

Great question! And it’s one of those questionably satisfying answers LOL, which is: It depends.

Depending on the program, it could take anywhere from two weeks to a full year to become a certified yoga instructor depending on the training format and whether it’s a Yoga Alliance Registered School.

The Yoga Alliance requirement for an RYS 200-hour yoga teacher training program is a minimum of 180 contact hours (the Yoga Alliance is currently making some concessions due to COVID-19). The format and duration of delivering those hours is up to each school. Non-Yoga Alliance Registered Schools tend to hover near the 200 total hour mark too, while the time to complete a specialized certification program, like for restorative yoga, children’s yoga, or yoga therapy, varies more widely.

Here’s an idea of some common teacher training formats:

Immersive – All at once

“Immersive” refers to traveling somewhere for full-time study and completing all the training hours in one go. In theory, this means you could crank out an immersive training with 12 hour days and be a certified yoga instructor in 15 days (believe it or not, these are out there!) More common is something like 18-ten hour days with a couple of days off in the middle for a total of 21-24 days.

Immersive – Modules

Another common format is to break the required 180 contact hours into segments or modules where you meet for 5-10 day periods until the hours are completed. With this style, expect to take from six months to one year to receive your 200-hour certification. This format is common if you’re studying to become a yoga therapist, which can take several years.


If you’d prefer to train while maintaining your day-to-day life, some yoga studios offer trainings on evenings and weekends that may take 8-12 weeks complete.

What is the difference between RYT and CYT?

I’m really happy to help out here because there are so many confusing acronyms in the yoga community, hey?

RYT stands for “Registered Yoga Teacher” and means the teacher completed their training with a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga School (RYS) AND the teacher then registered with the Yoga Alliance.

CYT stands for “Certified Yoga Teacher” and means the teacher completed a yoga teacher training program. This designation means one of two things:

  • The teacher trained with a non-Yoga Alliance school
  • The teacher trained with a Yoga Alliance school but then chose not to register themselves with the Yoga Alliance

To clarify, these designations do not indicate one’s yoga teaching skills, quantity of teaching experience, or the type of yoga practice that they share. They only identify that one has registered with the Yoga Alliance (RYT) and the other has not (CYT). A Yoga Alliance certification does not in and of itself guarantee higher quality training or more experienced instructors.

How much does YA cost?

It’s always beneficial to consider your upfront and ongoing investment for your commitments. Currently, Yoga Alliance registration costs an initial $50 application fee plus a $65 annual dues for a total of $115 when you first register. You will then pay the $65 fee annually plus whatever you might need to spend to meet Yoga Alliance’s continuing education requirements.

These fees get your name in their online directory and a few membership benefits.

I didn’t complete an RYS training. Is there an alternate pathway to becoming an RYT?

Right now, the short answer is: Nope.

Currently, the only way to become an RYT is to train with an RYS. Historically, the Yoga Alliance would consider your application for registration even if you had not attended an RYS by reviewing your course’s curriculum to see if it met their standards, but they ended this practice in 2011.

However, according to the Yoga Alliance website, they are working on an alternative registration pathway for yoga asana teachers with extensive training and experience that share ethical views with Yoga Alliance such as providing a “high quality, safe, and accessible” yoga class. Yoga Alliance writes they are “excited” to offer this alternative pathway, but they do not state when they might complete or enact this new policy.

How do I join Yoga Alliance as an RYT when I complete my training?

Well, first of all, CONGRATS on completing the often challenging and always transformative process of a yoga teacher training! Registering with Yoga Alliance will be easy in comparison.

Once you’ve completed your training with an RYS, follow these steps:

  • Go to the Yoga Alliance
  • Select “Join” in the top right corner
  • Follow the prompts to create your account
  • Select “Teacher” on the left
  • Select your RYT Designation (RYT 200, RYT 500, etc.)
  • Select your program designation
  • your training Start Date and End Date (the end date should match the date on your certificate)
  • Enter the name of your RYS and click “Search”
  • Click “Select” next to your teacher training program
  • Upload a digital version of your certificate and click “Send Request”
  • Wait to receive an email confirmation from your school (this can take around 14 days)
  • Once you receive the confirmation email, log back into your account
  • Select the “Teacher” tab and complete the registration and membership payment
  • Finish the registration process by completing a review of your school as part of Yoga Alliance’s Social Credentialing system
What to expect after you register with YA

In brief: An email. (Sorry, there’s no real fanfare haha.)

You will get an email with the following:

What you choose to do with all of this is up to you.

Are there any prerequisites to complete before joining an RYS program?

As it often is, the short answer is: It depends.

Per Yoga Alliance: It’s a no.

Per your program: It’s a maybe.

Some Registered Yoga Schools (RYS) have requirements before beginning the training to take advantage of Yoga Alliance’s allowance of up to 20 non-contact hours so that you can take ownership of some of your own learning and to keep course costs down. These requirements generally aim to get practitioners started with a personal practice, get them teaching yoga right away, provide a knowledge base for the course, or help ease the transition into yogi life.

Here are some examples of possible RYS program prerequisites:

  • A certain number of years as a yoga practitioner
  • Attending yoga classes and taking notes on things like the teacher’s tone, mindfulness of student abilities, teaching methodology, and the yoga posture sequence
  • Self-study on yoga history or yoga philosophy e.g. exploring one yoga sutra in your daily life and writing about what you discover
  • Starting a simple meditation or pranayama practice and documenting what you notice
  • Eating a vegetarian diet for a certain number of days in advance of a vegetarian immersive training
  • Recording a video of your yoga practice or some simple yoga poses
  • Recording yourself teaching a short yoga asana sequence like Surya Namaskar A to get a bit of teaching experience
Is Yoga Alliance affiliated with Yoga Alliance UK, Yoga Alliance Australia, Yoga Alliance Canada, or Yoga Alliance Professionals?

I’m glad you asked because this can create a lot of confusion!

The answer is: Nope!

They are all completely separate entities and your Yoga Alliance membership isn’t transferable to these other organizations.

In general, you may want to check out the organizations relevant to the area where you will be teaching yoga.

The separation of these entities is also important to consider if you end up wanting to lead yoga teacher trainings. For example, if you certify with a Yoga Alliance Professionals course and later want to lead a Yoga Alliance certification program, your Yoga Alliance Professionals trainings will not count towards your Yoga Alliance teacher trainer eligibility. You will need to train again with a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga School (RYS) in order to meet Yoga Alliance teacher trainer standards.

What are the requirements to maintain my RYT registration?

Yoga Alliance lists five requirements to maintain your RYT (the last two most directly affect your ongoing RYT eligibility):

How can I find my next renewal date?

No one likes when their renewal just slips their brain! You have two places to find your Yoga Alliance member renewal date:

  • Your registration confirmation email will contain your renewal date if it’s your first year as a member
  • On the main page of your “Teacher Dashboard” when you log into your Yoga Alliance account

Additionally, when you first create your Yoga Alliance account, you automatically opt-in for account notifications for membership-related information. So if you don’t change anything, you will get a reminder email as you approach your renewal date. To manage your notification options, go to your teacher dashboard and click “Communication Settings”.

How do I submit my renewal payment?

You will submit your renewal payment in the same way as your initial registration.

  • Log into your account
  • Click “Renew Now” on the teacher dashboard main page
  • Choose the date that you want to renew until
  • Follow the prompts that walk you through the fee total ($65 unless you’re adding another paid membership like RCYT or YACEP and then there will be an upgrade fee)
  • Consent to the code of conduct, scope of practice, etc.
  • Enter your Paypal or credit card information
What happens if I don’t renew my membership?

If you take no action to renew your membership at the end of your annual term, your membership will be automatically terminated. This means you lose rights to the Yoga Alliance trademark, your name is removed from the directory, and you lose access to member benefits, continuing education, and resources.

You will keep your account and the ability to login so that if you choose to renew later you can login and do so without paying the initial $50 application fee again. To renew after your membership has lapsed, login to your account and click “Teacher Registration Expired”, then “Renew Now”, and pay $65 annual due.

How do I get a refund for my registration?

Everything’s easier with bullet points! Here are the steps to getting a refund and some helpful information:

  • Within 30 days of renewing or registering for the first time, you can email requesting a refund. You will need to provide the following information:
    • Yoga Alliance ID Number
    • Full legal name associated with the account
    • Email address associated with the account
    • Phone number
    • “Join Date” listed on your account
    • Your reason for canceling
  • If you are eligible for the refund, they will process your refund within 30 days of the request
    • They will send you an email if you’re not eligible
  • You will receive the prorated amount of your membership dues onto your original form of payment
    • You will not be refunded your initial one-time application fee or any donations you made to the Yoga Alliance Foundation
  • Your membership will be terminated immediately

Recently On the Blog