How to Become a Yoga Teacher
You’re lying in a dreamy savasana after a deep and sweaty vinyasa practice when you begin to hear your teacher’s voice calling you back to reality … You begin to feel your breath waking you back up and, like the fluttering of your heart, you have an idea: you want to be a yoga teacher.
Teaching yoga is a popular up-and-coming profession. Have you ever wondered how your favorite yoga teacher became one? Like the ultimate goal of samadhi, there are many paths to achieve the same thing. But at the end of the day, there are some important things to know when starting your own personal yoga teacher journey.
Here’s a look at 7 questions to answer when you’re wondering how to become a yoga teacher.
1. Why do You Want to Become a Yoga Teacher?
Becoming a yoga teacher is often very personal, and there is no right or wrong answer to this question. However, it is important that your ideas and visions of becoming a yoga teacher remain aligned with the principles and traditions of yoga. If you see yoga as simply a business or money-making opportunity, it may be a good idea to check your ego and intentions before proceeding.
Many people who practice yoga love it so much that they just want to share it with others — their friends, families or anyone in the world. Perhaps you want to share your love of health, fitness or mindfulness. Whatever it is, it should come from a place that is pure and true, a reflection of the love you have for the practice and all that it provides, which you can share with others.
Some are some of the passion-driven reasons why people choose to become yoga instructors:
- To promote health
- To reduce stress for yourself and others
- To increase flexibility and strength
- To learn how to meditate
- To enhance self-awareness
2. What Style do You Want to Study?
There are many different styles of yoga today. Observe the classes that you regularly attend and enjoy the most. Can you picture yourself teaching it? Be honest with yourself.
You may even have a teacher you study with regularly, or perhaps a teacher you would like to study with who runs a training program. Your own yoga teacher can also be a great resource when it comes to figuring out where and what you would like to study. Ask about their training and background. Who knows? They may have some great advice on what you should do.
Here’s a list of popular styles of yoga that you can study around the world today:
- Yoga nidra
- Aerial yoga
3. What Training School Would Fit Your Needs?
Choosing a yoga training school that would be a good fit for you is essential when deciding to become a yoga teacher. Your yoga education will be your foundation, serving you every day and allowing you to grow as a yoga practitioner and teacher.
Most schools follow the accreditation of the Yoga Alliance, which is a governing body to regulate the standards of teaching yoga and training teachers. Most schools offer 200-, 300- and 500-hour trainings that are accredited by the Yoga Alliance.
200 hours’ worth of training is generally the minimum accepted standard. Depending on your time frame and how much you want to time, money and energy you want to invest, you could complete 200 hours initially and then add the other 300 over time.
However, some schools don’t follow the Yoga Alliance’s standards, opting instead to teach yoga through direct transmission only. Iyengar, Ashtanga and a handful of others do this. These are often highly desired and specialized styles of yoga to teach that require years of dedication and education — usually much more than 200 hours of training.
If you do decide to go the more common Yoga Alliance route, it’s important to ensure you receive a well-rounded yoga education and that several key topics are covered.
Yoga Teacher Training Course Checklist:
Be sure to check out the reviews of the school and the teacher’s backgrounds if you can beforehand as well.
4. How Much Time do You Have?
There are generally training program lengths. Many schools offer course that run between 3 weeks and 1 month, often in far-away exotic locations, or a local studio near you may offer weekend immersion programs over a period of 3 to 6 months. Again, there is no right or wrong way — you just have to choose what is best for you.
Some feel that leaving home and work behind to focus on yoga is the best choice, one that can lead to a transformative experience. Others may enjoy doing a slower-paced program built around their lifestyle without having to travel very far.
5. Do I Have What it Takes to Complete a Program?
The next step is pretty straight forward — you need to complete your program! Whatever the requirements are, make sure you practice diligence and responsibility in completing them in a timely manner. Attend your classes, do your homework, practice teaching on your fellow students, and ask questions!
200 hours is a lot of time and it requires a lot of energy and hard work. But, in the end, it’s all worth it. You may be required to do a practice teaching session and/or written exam, so make sure you study up. If you’re committed, you’ll have your certification in no time.
6. Do You Have the Patience to Practice?
After you have your certification, it’s time to practice, practice, practice … teaching, that is! Offer free classes in parks or donation-based classes at your favorite studio. Ask your friends and family if you can practice on them, too — they will love it! Trust me from experience …
Also, make sure you keep up with your own practice — just because you’re now a yoga teacher doesn’t mean the journey is over for you.
7. Are You Willing to Promote Yourself?
When you’re ready to apply for your first job, it’s time to get your résumé and a good cover letter together. List your teachers, training program and any special workshops you’ve taken. You can also list your practice teaching sessions.
In your cover letter, write about what yoga is for you and how your yoga teaching style sets you apart from others. From there, you can begin to market yourself more by creating a website, getting professional photos taken, ordering business cards or developing your social media presence.
Final Thoughts on How to Become a Yoga Teacher
Becoming a yoga teacher can be a hugely fulfilling and fun way to share and spread your love and understanding of yoga. It takes hard work and dedication. And, in the end, you don’t have to be able to stand on your head or even twist into the world’s smallest pretzel. What matters most is sharing what yoga means to you, from your heart, so that others can live happier, healthier and more enlightened lives.
Any yoga teachers out there? Use the comments section to let me know if I missed anything, or send me a message through our contact page.
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