Yoga Certification Programs

Through interviews and research Allied Health World has gathered information on the process, benefits, and misconceptions associated with becoming certified as a yoga teacher. Here we answer the questions that are most frequently asked about national yoga teacher certification by those individuals who are considering being trained for a career teaching yoga:

What is the job outlook like for yoga instructors?

Why should I consider national certification as a yoga teacher?

Becoming nationally certified as a yoga teacher is completely elective. There are no specific licensing or yoga teacher certification requirements set by individual states, nor are there any mandated by the federal government. For those who wish to become a yoga teacher, the only requirement is adequate personal experience performing yoga and successful completion of a formal training program. Still, national certification is worth considering as it does give a level of assurance to prospective employers, peers, and
National organizations offer certification that is intended to function as a verifier to clients and prospective employers that the certified yoga teacher has graduated from a reputable training program that respects the history and tradition of yoga, and that is at minimum 200 hours in length. These organizations often facilitate competency and skills testing for graduates of approved programs as a condition for becoming certified. Joining one of these organizations will require annual dues as well as some continuing education in order to renew certification. These organizations often offer opportunities for meeting their continuing education requirements quite easily through seminars, workshops, or online study. A national organization for yoga teachers will usually offer the benefit of an online registry for its members that will allow clients and employers alike to confirm that a yoga teacher is indeed certified. The general public can even use an online registry to shop for certified yoga teachers in their area.

What are some of the national yoga teacher certification agencies?

A number of national and international organizations exist that offer yoga teachers the opportunity to distinguish themselves through certification. The Yoga Alliance is perhaps the best recognized organization of this kind. The stated mission of the Yoga Alliance is to promote quality instruction to yoga teachers so as to ensure that those who will be working with the public as teachers, and by extension functioning as ambassadors of yoga, are well aware of yoga’s benefits and historical significance.

Other organizations include the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT). This international organization is concerned with conducting research into the many-facetted benefits of yoga, while working with yoga teachers to help establish yoga as a recognized and respected form of physical, emotional, and psychological therapy.

The IABYT (International Association of Black Yoga Teachers) is dedicated to increasing the presence of yoga within inner city communities. This IABYT makes focused efforts to bring black yoga teachers from around the world together under a common organization to create a forum for mutual support, nurturing, and inspiration, all with the intent of promoting access to quality yoga instruction within inner city neighborhoods.

Many other yoga teacher organizations exist that cater to specific methods of yoga. A quality education through a reputable training program should be the primary concern of anybody considering a career as a yoga teacher. After this, yoga teacher certification through one of these organizations is always available after testing for competency and paying the required dues.

What are the typical training standards for national yoga teacher certification?

The training standards set by most of these organizations is quite consistent across the board. Most schools offering programs to aspiring yoga teachers make an effort to meet these requirements so as to gain approval and improve their standing within the national and international community of yoga teachers, therapists, and practitioners. It is worth noting that graduates of programs that haven’t yet been recognized by the Yoga Alliance can still become certified and gain the RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) credential after a more extensive application process, which would include demonstration of competency.

As an example, the Yoga Alliance offers two levels of recognition to its members: The Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) 200 level and 500 level, commonly denoted by the credentials RYT 200 and RYT 500.
Two hundred hours of training through approved yoga teacher courses will prepare graduates to join the Yoga Alliance as Registered Yoga Teachers. These 200-hour long programs are the ones most commonly offered by schools with yoga teacher training courses. These courses will very often break down as follows:

  • One hundred (100) hours of techniques training and practice
  • Twenty-Five (25) Hours of teaching methodology
  • Twenty (20) hours of anatomy and physiology
  • Thirty (30) hours of yoga philosophy, lifestyle, and ethics for yoga teachers
  • Ten (10) hours of practicum and observation

The difference of fifteen hours is usually distributed among these categories in accordance with what a given school chooses to emphasize.

Some aspiring yoga teachers opt for the more robust 500-hour programs leading to the RYT 500 credential. These programs are expected to cover the same topic categories as those listed above, but spend more time exploring each of these in greater depth.

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