Have you ever left a yoga program feeling so uplifted that you wished you could provide that experience for others? If you’re passionate about yoga and love the idea of sharing its benefits with others, becoming a yoga instructor might be the perfect path for you. But where do you start?
Let’s walk through the journey of how to become a certified yoga instructor, from the initial spark to getting yoga teacher training and certification and leading your very own school in your studio.
Why Should You Become A Yoga Instructor?
Teaching yoga is a fulfilling way to contribute to others’ well-being while deepening your own practice. As a teacher, you’ll guide students through yoga techniques and training that can improve their physical health, mental clarity, and emotional balance. It’s a career that not only fosters personal growth but also creates a community of like-minded individuals who value health and mindfulness.
Moreover, becoming a yoga instructor offers flexibility in terms of career and professional experience. You can teach at a studio, offer private classes, or even lead retreats for yoga teacher training around the world. It’s a role that can adapt to your lifestyle and personal goals, whether you’re looking for a full-time career or a part-time passion.
How To Become A Yoga Instructor
Once you’re ready to take the next step, you should know the basic requirements for becoming a yoga instructor:
- Build a consistent practice
- Understand the basics
- Deepen your knowledge with training
All of the above includes a foundational understanding of yoga principles and techniques, completion of a certified yoga teacher training program, and gaining hands-on experience through teaching yoga classes. Let’s talk more about each step below.
Build a consistent practice
Think of it like this: to teach yoga well, you need to know it well, and that comes from personal experience.
So, to start things off, you need to be training for yoga regularly. It’s not about being able to twist yourself into a pretzel or stand on your head. What matters is that you’ve been showing up for yoga teacher training on your mat consistently, hour after hour, and have a good grasp of what yoga is all about.
Understand the basics
It’s important to understand the basics of yoga poses, even the simple ones. You should know how to do them and what they’re supposed to feel like. This way, when you teach and conduct yoga teacher training, you can explain the poses clearly to your students. You don’t have to master every single pose, but you should feel confident in the fundamentals based on your experience.
Deepen your knowledge with training
Yoga is more than just poses. It’s a whole system that includes breathing exercises, meditation, and philosophy. As you get deeper into your practice, try to learn about these other parts too. They’ll make you a more rounded yogi and a better teacher down the line.
Do I Need A Yoga Teacher Certification To Teach?
Technically, you don’t need any certification, a degree, or specific yoga teacher training to teach the activity. Nonetheless, having the right credentials and experience shows potential students that you take your profession seriously and have received adequate training.
How to Choose the Right Yoga Teacher Training Program
Finding the right yoga teacher training program can help you become the best instructor you can be. Here are key factors to consider to ensure you choose a program that aligns with your goals and values:
1. Accreditation and standards
Accreditation is a sign of quality and can be important for your future employment opportunities. In Canada, look for programs recognized by the Yoga Alliance to guarantee that the curriculum meets industry standards, such as Yoga Kawa’s 14-week yoga teacher training program.
A comprehensive program should cover key areas such as yoga philosophy, anatomy, teaching methodology, and practical teaching experience. Our yoga teacher training program offers a robust curriculum to equip you with the tools necessary for a successful yoga teaching career. It’s meticulously structured to help you gain a deep understanding of yoga philosophy, anatomy, teaching methodologies, and practical teaching experience.
2. Yoga style
Choose a program that specializes in the style of yoga you are most passionate about, whether it’s Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, or another style. It should provide a thorough understanding of the poses, sequences, and philosophy you want. Training in a style you love will be more enjoyable and fulfilling.
3. Faculty and experience
Check the instructors’ backgrounds and make sure they have extensive experience, both in practicing and teaching yoga. Experienced instructors can provide deeper insights and more nuanced training.
4. Practical teaching experience
A good program should include ample opportunities for you to practice teaching. Hands-on experience is crucial for building confidence and honing your teaching skills. Additionally, check if the program offers personalized feedback and mentorship to help you grow and improve as a teacher.
5. Advanced yoga teaching certifications
If you wish to further your education, you can pursue a 300-hour or even a 500-hour yoga teacher training certification with a credible school, which delves deeper into specific areas of yoga and teaching techniques. Some yoga teacher training courses offer specialties like chair yoga or yoga for specific populations, which can broaden your teaching scope.
Advanced courses, such as those in anatomy, philosophy, and specific yoga styles, will enhance your understanding and skill set. These additional courses can open up new opportunities, allowing you to customize your classes to different student needs and preferences.
You can also get certified for a first aid and CPR course, which is often a requirement in many yoga studios. Being prepared for emergencies is an essential part of being a responsible teacher since you may encounter situations that require immediate medical attention during a class.
Hands-on experience for yoga teachers
Remember, the journey doesn’t end with yoga teacher training and certification courses. Most programs require about 200 hours of yoga teaching training hours for you to become fully certified. These hours give you hands-on experience and help you find your voice as a teacher.
Start by offering free or donation-based classes to friends and family, or consider volunteering at a community center. This will help you build your teaching skills and gain confidence in front of a class with your course.
Community classes, workshops, and yoga festivals are also great opportunities to gain exposure and network with other yoga professionals. They can provide valuable feedback on your teaching style and course curriculum to help you improve.
You might also consider seeking a mentor in the yoga community. An experienced teacher can provide guidance, share insights, and offer advice on navigating the professional yoga world.
Find someone who resonates with your teaching style and values, and don’t be afraid to reach out to them for guidance. A mentor can help you refine your teaching techniques, recommend further training opportunities, and provide support as you build your yoga career.
Types of Yoga You Can Teach
While there are countless styles of yoga courses, some are more popular and widely taught than others. Here are the most common examples:
- Prenatal yoga
Each style has its unique features and benefits, and it’s important to choose the one that resonates with you most.
Hatha yoga is often the foundation for many other styles of yoga. It emphasizes static poses and breath control. This style is excellent for beginners since it offers a slower pace and focuses on the basics of yoga postures and breathing techniques.
Vinyasa is a dynamic style that links movement with breath. The poses flow smoothly from one to another, creating a dance-like sequence. This style is popular for its fast pace and creative sequences, which is why it’s a favorite of those who enjoy a more active practice.
Ashtanga yoga, characterized by its predetermined sequence of poses, is a strenuous and physically challenging style. This form of yoga requires strength and endurance.
It’s suitable for individuals who desire a rigorous and disciplined practice. Ashtanga yoga is often recommended for individuals who are already physically fit and enjoy a structured workout.
Iyengar yoga focuses on precise alignment and the use of props, such as blocks, straps, and bolsters, to assist in performing the poses correctly. It’s an ideal style for those who want to focus on details and posture, which is why it’s ideal for individuals with injuries or chronic conditions.
Kundalini Yoga is a mystical style that combines yoga postures, meditation, chanting, and breathing exercises. The goal of Kundalini yoga is to awaken the Kundalini energy located at the base of the spine. This style is known for its spiritual and mental benefits and often appeals to those seeking a deeper connection with their inner selves.
Restorative yoga is a relaxing and therapeutic style that uses props to support the body in poses, allowing for complete relaxation and rest. This style is perfect for those who want to reduce stress and restore balance in their bodies. It’s suited for all levels, including beginners and those recovering from injuries.
Prenatal yoga is specially designed for expectant mothers. It focuses on gentle movements and breathing exercises, which aim to increase strength and flexibility, reduce stress, and prepare the body for childbirth.
This type also provides an opportunity for pregnant women to connect with their babies and with other expectant mothers. Always make sure you have proper yoga teacher training before teaching prenatal yoga to guarantee the safety of both mother and baby.
Starting Your Yoga Teaching Career
After getting your certification and course, it’s time to start your teaching journey. Here are seven steps you can take:
Find teaching opportunities in a school or studio
You can start by applying to local yoga studios or fitness centers. Some places might ask for a trial course, so be prepared to show your skills on top of your certification. Additionally, you can also offer private classes or organize training and workshops in community centers or parks.
Yoga Kawa’s Yoga Teacher Training program offers guidance on how to find and secure teaching experience effectively, including resources on how to market yourself as a yoga teacher. Additionally, we’ll walk you through the process of connecting with potential employers and creating compelling workshops and classes that reflect your unique teaching style.
Build your network
Networking is valuable in the yoga industry. Attend workshops, festivals, and other events to connect with other yoga teachers. They can provide advice, share job opportunities, and even become your mentors.
At Yoga Kawa, we provide 8 hours of mentorship training so that you can get in-depth and personalized coaching. During your sessions, you can learn more about a particular yoga style or ask questions about the administrative and operational side of the business.
Continue learning with an advanced course
The world of yoga is vast, and there’s always something new to learn. Continue attending workshops, conferences, or an additional teacher training course to keep your knowledge and skills up-to-date. The additional certification from a credible yoga school certainly doesn’t hurt.
Develop your unique teaching style
Each teacher has a unique style. As you teach more, you’ll begin to develop your own. This could be a particular way you sequence your course, how you incorporate yoga philosophy or the type of atmosphere you create in your classes.
Nurture your personal practice
Don’t forget about your own practice. Continue to nurture it, as it’s the foundation of your teaching. Your personal practice is your time to explore, learn, and grow, both as a yogi and as a teacher.
You should also get your name out there. Create a professional website, design business cards, and make the most of social media. Offering free classes or workshops can also be a great way to attract potential students and showcase your teaching style.
Lastly, stay true to yourself and your yoga journey. Don’t try to be someone else or imitate another teacher’s style. Your authenticity is what will resonate with your students and make you stand out as a teacher.
Best Yoga Teaching Techniques
Just as important as understanding different yoga styles and poses is mastering various teaching techniques. Every student is unique, and being able to adapt your teaching style to different individuals and circumstances is key to being an effective yoga teacher.
Observe clear communication
Relaying instructions clearly is a must when teaching a yoga course. Your words should be articulate and unambiguous to prevent any misunderstandings or injuries.
Verbal cues should be concise yet detailed enough to guide the students through each pose. Remember, your voice is a powerful tool; use it to create a positive and relaxing atmosphere in your class.
Demonstration is an effective way to teach a yoga course, especially for visual learners. Performing the poses yourself allows students to see the correct alignment and transitions. However, it’s important to balance demonstrations with observations to make sure all students perform the poses correctly and safely.
Observation skills allow you to become a yoga instructor who can assess individual students and the class as a whole. As you observe your class, look for misalignments, assess the energy and mood of your students during the course, and make necessary adjustments. This skill can help you create a safe, inclusive, and effective yoga session every time.
Remember to be hands-on
Hands-on adjustments are a delicate and personal method of teaching a course. They involve physically guiding a student into the correct alignment or deeper into a pose.
This approach requires a deep understanding of anatomy and a sensitive touch. Remember to always ask for consent before making any physical adjustments to respect the comfort and boundaries of your students.
Tap into your creativity when designing sequences for your course that flow well, incorporating themes and weaving in yoga philosophy. A creative yoga school keeps students engaged, challenged, and inspired.
It also allows you to express your unique yoga style and personality as a teacher. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and try new things to make your course unique and memorable.
Developing Your Teaching Philosophy
Aside from techniques and styles, cultivating your own teaching philosophy is a central part of your journey as a yoga teacher.
Here are eight aspects to consider:
- Create a safe and inclusive environment
- Promote mindfulness and self-awareness
- Encourage consistent practice
- Respect individual differences
- Teach with compassion and empathy
- Pursue further education and personal growth
- Integrating yoga ethics
- Embrace a holistic approach
This philosophy will guide your approach to teaching and will define what yoga means to you. Let’s dive deep into what each of these aspects means.
Create a safe and inclusive environment
A safe and inclusive environment includes making sure that your yoga space is free from any physical hazards and that all props and equipment are safe to use. It also involves creating a welcoming space where everyone, regardless of age, race, gender, or ability, feels comfortable and accepted in your course. Remember, yoga teachers shouldn’t tolerate discrimination and judgment in their classes.
Promote mindfulness and self-awareness
Yoga teachers must encourage students to tune into their breath, observe their thoughts without judgment, and listen to their bodies. This awareness can improve their yoga technique and practice and help them find calm and focus in their daily lives as they go through your course.
Encourage consistent practice
Your teaching philosophy should also stress the importance of consistent practice. Regular yoga practice can significantly improve flexibility, strength, and mental clarity. Encourage students to commit to a routine that suits them and to be patient with themselves, as progress in yoga often takes time.
Respect individual differences
Each individual comes to yoga with their unique abilities, challenges, and goals. Yoga teachers must honor these differences and tailor their approach accordingly. It’s not about achieving the “perfect” pose but rather about the journey and self-discovery that each pose initiates.
Teach with compassion and empathy
Recognize and validate your students’ struggles and achievements. Be kind, supportive, and understanding since yoga can be challenging and emotional for many. Yoga teachers must create an environment filled with empathy and compassion that helps promote a positive and nurturing space for their students.
Pursue further education and personal growth
As mentioned, you should never stop learning. Maintain a commitment to attend workshops and training, read relevant books, and seek mentorship from experienced teachers. When you constantly learn and evolve, you improve your skills and knowledge and stay updated on the latest trends and advancements in everything yoga.
Integrating yoga ethics
Yoga ethics, or Yamas and Niyamas, are foundational principles that you should integrate into your teaching philosophy. They include non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, non-excess, non-attachment, purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-study, and surrender.
Incorporating these principles into your classes lets you teach more than just the physical aspect of yoga. As a result, you can pave the way for a deeper transformation in your students.
Embrace a holistic approach
A holistic approach to teaching yoga goes beyond the physical poses. It acknowledges yoga as a mind-body-spirit practice. This includes teachings on breathwork or Pranayama, meditation, mindfulness, and the philosophical aspects of yoga, such as the Eight Limbs of Yoga. It also values the integration of healthy lifestyle choices and the practice of self-care.
How To Start Teaching Yoga
To become a yoga instructor, first complete your yoga 200-hour teacher training and get a certification. This provides you with the necessary knowledge, skills, and confidence to teach in-person or online yoga.
Next, create a suitable location where you can comfortably conduct the classes for your yoga school. It should be a quiet, clean, and well-lit area with enough space for you to demonstrate the poses and for your students to practice. Invest in quality yoga mats, blocks, and other props. Platforms like Zoom are great options for conducting online yoga classes.
Then, decide on the style of yoga you want to teach and prepare your lesson plans accordingly. Having a clear structure and sequence to your classes will help you lead your sessions smoothly and confidently.
Consider the price as well. Most online yoga teachers charge per class, but you might also consider offering package deals for multiple classes. Regardless of whether you’re a per hour teacher or per package, your price should reflect your expertise, the demand for yoga classes in your area, and the quality of your instruction. We recommend you offer free trial classes to attract potential students.
Establish a schedule on your calendar and stick to it, whether you’re teaching weekdays, weekends, or both. Consistency is key to building a solid client base.
Creating Your Yoga Program
Creating a successful yoga program involves careful planning and understanding your audience. Here’s a guide to help you build a program that resonates with your students and reflects your expertise as a yoga teacher:
1. Know your students: Assess the experience level of your students. Are they beginners who need more guidance on basics or advanced practitioners looking for a challenge? Tailoring your program to their level ensures everyone benefits.
Also, ask what your students are looking for in a yoga class. Some may seek relaxation and stress relief, while others might want to build strength or flexibility. Understanding their goals helps you create a more targeted and effective program.
2. Find your yoga style: Choose a style that aligns with your expertise and meets your students’ needs. Whether it’s the gentle flow of Hatha, the dynamic sequences of Vinyasa, or the calming poses of Restorative yoga, style consistency helps students understand and appreciate its nuances. As a result, you can provide a more cohesive experience.
3. Plan the class structure: A typical class usually has opening and warm-up portions. First, begin with a short meditation or breathing exercise. This helps students center their minds and prepare for physical practice.
Then, proceed to gentle stretches or basic poses to warm up the body. This reduces the risk of injury and prepares students for more intense poses.
You can then start with your yoga sequence. Dynamic styles like Vinyasa include Sun Salutations to build heat and rhythm in the body. Make sure to incorporate standing, balancing, and even seated poses for a dynamic session. Conclude with Savasana to allow students to relax and absorb the benefits of the practice.
When sequencing your poses, plan for a smooth transition in between. Each pose should logically lead to the next to create a seamless flow that feels natural to the body. Additionally, incorporate a variety of poses that target different body parts. This creates a balanced workout for the entire body.
4. Determine class duration and frequency: While 60 to 90 minutes is standard, you can adjust based on the style and your students’ preferences. Also, plan how often you will hold classes. Regular, weekly classes are ideal for steady progress and maintaining student engagement.
5. Set pricing: Research the going rates for yoga classes in your area to set competitive prices. In Canada, the price can vary depending on your location, style, training, and experience. Typically, classes cost between $15 to $30 per hour.
You can also opt for bundles or packages, like a set of 10 classes at a discounted rate, to encourage long-term commitment. The bottom line is that your pricing should reflect the quality and uniqueness of your teaching while remaining accessible to your target audience.
From The Yoga Mat To The Teacher’s Seat
Becoming a yoga teacher is a journey of growth, learning, and sharing. It’s about taking your passion for yoga and turning it into a tool that can uplift and transform others’ lives.
From getting yoga teacher training with an RYS to building your own practice and mastering the art of teaching, every step you take toward becoming a yoga instructor is filled with opportunities to deepen your understanding of yoga and yourself.
Can a beginner do yoga teacher training?
Yes, a beginner can do yoga teacher training. However, it’s best that you have at least a year of consistent yoga practice and 200 hours of training under your belt before you enroll in a certified yoga teacher training program. This gives you a solid foundation and helps you understand your body, the principles of alignment, and the basic philosophy of yoga. But remember, every journey is unique. You don’t need to be able to do advanced poses or certification to become a teacher.
What qualities make a good yoga teacher?
A good yoga teacher is knowledgeable, patient, empathetic, and inclusive. They should be well-versed in the physical aspects of yoga, including alignment, anatomy, and sequencing. Additionally, they should understand and be able to communicate the philosophical and spiritual aspects of yoga. A good yoga teacher recognizes the individual needs and abilities of their students and creates a safe, welcoming environment for all.
How long does it take to become a yoga teacher?
Some programs can be completed in a month’s time, while others might take up to a year or more. The duration of your training largely depends on the time you can commit, the structure of the yoga school program, and your own pace of learning. At Yoga Kawa, we offer a comprehensive 200-hour yoga teacher training program that meets the standards set by the Yoga Alliance.
What is the easiest yoga to teach?
The easiest yoga to teach is often Hatha yoga. This traditional form of yoga focuses on basic postures and slower movements, which makes it less challenging and easier to instruct, especially for beginners.
However, what may be “easy” to teach can vary depending on the teacher’s familiarity, comfort level, and experience with different styles of yoga. As such, it’s best to teach a style of yoga that aligns with your passion and understanding to deliver the most authentic and effective teaching experience.