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How To Become A Yoga Instructor – Step-By-Step Guide

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By Lisa Czachowski, Tex Contributor

Edited: By Johnny Bevers

If you have ever had the desire to be a yoga teacher, you will find there are several, easy step-by-step instructions you can follow to help you learn to become a yoga instructor.  A career as a yoga instructor can be a rewarding experience for any person who is passionate about this ancient form of exercise.


Considerations for Becoming a Yoga Instructor

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The journey to becoming a yoga instructor is a long one, as it requires a great deal of practice and hundreds of hours of training.  Before starting the path towards becoming a yoga instructor, there are several factors to consider with this decision.  The first is the cost.  Typically teacher-training programs for yoga cost a few thousands dollars.  There is also a time commitment involved with teacher training programs as well.  Many of the programs involve a serious time commitment, involving months of classes on nights and weekends.

While the training process involved with becoming a yoga instructor can be difficult, it is also important to be aware of the realities of becoming a yoga instructor.  There are many people who will teach lessons in order to supplement their current income.  However, for those who are looking to turn teaching yoga into a full time position, it is important to remember the challenges that this comes with.  In order to work full time, most yoga instructors will need to find several different jobs at different studios.  It is also important to remember that being a yoga instructor involves being an independent contractor.  This means there is no insurance, 401K or any other benefits associated with maintaining a job as a full time yoga instructor.

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If you are comfortable with these different aspects of being a yoga instructor then you are ready to continue moving forward towards training.

Developing a Proficiency in Yoga

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One of the first and most important steps on the way to becoming a yoga instructor is to develop regular yoga practice.  Before you can become a teacher, you must develop a proficiency in this ancient form of exercise.  Daily yoga practice is important, and before you can be an instructor, you will want to make sure you try a number of different types of yoga and that you are familiar with advanced yoga moves, to ensure you are capable enough to teach all types of students.  There are several different types of yoga practices to become familiar with including:  Ashtanga, Bikram, Kripapul, Hatha and Lyengar.  Familiarize yourself with these different practices and determine which types you would like to teach.  After you are comfortable with one or several types of yoga; you are ready to continue the course towards instructor training.

Completing Your Yoga Instructor Training

yoga teacher instructing a yoga class with healthy womenBefore you can be hired as a yoga instructor you will need to complete the proper training.  Different studios may have different requirements; but the average studio requires teachers to have approximately 200 hours of hands on training.

There are countless yoga schools and studios that offers classes specifically for aspiring teachers.  During these classes, you will not only be able to practice different postures and routines, but learn about the basics of teaching classes as well.  This includes learning about physical anatomy and injury prevention as well as the history of yoga, the philosophy behind the moves, and other important lessons that will help any student develop an in-depth understanding of this practice.  Yoga teacher training is more in-depth than simply taking yoga classes and is often more costly.

Before signing up for yoga training, it is important to look at the curriculum offered, as different yoga teacher training program will focus on different types of yoga. If you only practice Bikram yoga, then you will find yoga instructor training programs for this type of practice may be more difficult to find.  Typically Bikram yoga teacher training programs only focus on this type of yoga and no other types; while other classes may focus on multiple disciplines.  However, if you are interested in more general teaching opportunities, and practice Hatha or Vinyasa yoga; you will find that more courses will offer the general teaching curriculum you need to become certified.

You can either receive traditional training or advanced training, which will allow you to teach higher level courses.  This typically re quires 500 hours of training, and more intensive classes.

Getting Your Yoga Instructor Certification

yoga instructor t-shirtFor more information on completing yoga certification, visit the Yoga Alliance.  This is a national registry and source of information for yoga instructions.  On their website, there are guidelines and resources available to help you complete your certification.  There is also a directory of teachers and studios that can help you get the training necessary to complete your course requirements.  After an instructor has received their certification through the Yoga Alliance, teachers will be able to use the acronym RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) after their name.  Once you have completed all of the requirements and received the certification, you will be able to start applying to different studios. Most studios and gyms will ask for a copy of your certification and ask that you provide proof of enrollment from your educational facility.  After you have received your certification, you will find that some studio require on-going training as well, which may mean taking additional courses every few years.

Understanding Yoga Instructor Salaries and Employment Opportunities

yoga teacher salary with cash shotTraining and receiving your certification for yoga instruction is only half the battle.  In order to be a yoga instructor you also need to understand the market and the employment opportunities you will be faced with as a yoga teacher.  Typically, most new yoga instructors will find a local studio to teach at.  There are also many large gyms that staff several yoga instructors to teach different classes.  Once you are more established, you may consider teaching private yoga lessons either through a gym, community center or in a local park.

When it comes to applying for a position at a studio, remember there are some more established studios that will only look for seasoned yoga instructors with a strong following.  However, if you look for a newer yoga studio, or one that offers a variety of beginners courses; you will find that they are typically more lenient when it comes to hiring new yoga instructors.  Many studios may ask to watch you teach a class first, before hiring.

Salary is also an important consideration when it comes to actually finding a job as a yoga instructor.  This can range from $15 per lesson to $80 per lesson at most gyms and studios.  There are several factors that weigh into how much a yoga instructor will make per class.  This includes the contract with the gym or studio and the number of students that are attending each class.  Many yoga instructors find that teaching private lessons is one of the best ways to earn a significant amount of money.  Most teachers will charge $50-$150 for individual private yoga classes.  However, as a yoga instructor it can sometimes be difficult to find the right clientele or the potential students who want private lessons.  While it can sometimes take a while to build a strong enough reputation as a yoga instructor to earn a substantial income, there are many yoga instructors who are able to earn a living or at least strong supplemental income while teaching yoga.

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