The Ultimate Guide to

Become a Yoga Teacher

Want to become yoga instructor but don’t know how or where to start?

Well, there’s a simple way, complete a Yoga Teacher Training Course and then start teaching. The problem is that it’s not as easy as it seems to be. You, first, will have to answer a lot of questions:

Do I really want to be a yoga teacher?
What does it mean to be a yoga teacher?
What are the job perspectives?
Am I ready to undergo a course?
Where do I find such courses?
What type of course?
What yoga style should I choose?
How to choose the proper school?
What is the cost?
What kind of certification do I need?
Which certification is better?
What to do once I get the certification?

You see, there are a lot of options out there, so many points to consider and as many paths to follow. You might feel overwhelmed and end up thinking – “Maybe, it is not for me after all”. NO, it is, it surely is! It may be the best decision of your life.

quotation-mark

Nothing good comes easy!

Continue reading if you want to know all important points on becoming a certified yoga teacher. This guide is split in 4 parts, you can just scroll and read or navigate to what interests you the most using the following menu:

Step 1. Are you sure you want to become yoga instructor?

So, first thing first, what are your WHY’s? If you find yourself reflecting upon one or more of the following categories, then you have the clarity required.

1. You want to share yoga

Because it has already enlightened you with an insatiable desire to make its benefits accessible to everyone and is starting to consume every aspect of your life.
Many people start their practice in an effort to feel better, even without being conscious about it. We at times succumb to some trauma physically and emotionally and yoga assists us in opening up to release it.
You feel grateful to yoga because it helps you, so now you are deeply connected to the practice and want to help others. Giving back is a natural process.

2. You are looking for a career opportunity

You are aware of how yoga, as a process of well-being, is becoming very popular and the demand for real yoga teachers and studios is increasing exponentially. You too want to join the trend.
That is a good reason but know that without passion nothing excels. If making a living is your only motive, you may find yourself down at times, simply because your life is not in alignment with your deepest desire.
Yoga is a growing industry that will likely continue to evolve within our lifetimes. But check if you really want to share the practice with others from the bottom of your heart, then you will reap its rewards, for sure.

A few facts about the business of yoga:

infographic-01-v2

50 million

is the estimated growth of people practicing yoga in 2020

infographic-02

29 bln USD

is the amount of money spent on yoga in 2019

infographic-03

22 millions

searches for yoga on google only in 2019

3. You want to deepen your practice

It may happen that you do not have a professional focus or simply do not feel that teaching is for you. You just want to deepen your practice and experience authentic Yoga taught by Yoga Masters. If so, keep reading, steps 2 and 3 of are for you.

After some time, constant yogis realize that yoga isn’t just about the postures and getting stronger. You experience mental shifts as a result of a consistent practice and develop a sincere desire to learn more about the fundamentals of this process.

quotation-mark

Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.

4. You want to feel a sense of fulfillment

Helping others is very rewarding and that exactly is what being a Yoga Teacher means. We feel a great sense of satisfaction when we help others because we go beyond our own needs and fears. It is a moment when we are really embodying our true nature.

5. You want to be around people similar to you

You already feel a great connection with your yoga class mates and want that feeling of alignment to last forever. Your yoga instructor training friends are like no others. Whenever you need support, there they motivate you to keep you going.
Being with people with similar interests is very motivating and inspiring.

ttc-image-01

6. You feel like it somehow just lined up

If you have the means and support and that strong gut feeling telling you “That is for me and it is the time”, then maybe the universe is talking to you. What are you waiting for?

Step 2. A teacher training course can be a challenging experience. Make sure you are up to it.

Ok, you got it clear that you want to be a yoga teacher! Here are just a few pointers before jumping into deep waters.

1. Are you ready for physical and emotional demand?

All life-changing experiences are challenging, and teacher training is one of those. You will feel physically and psychologically stressed. Nothing to fear, at the end it is very gratifying, but be prepared.

2. Is it your first experience with yoga?

Although it is not strictly required, we recommend you to have a basic knowledge of yoga before taking any teacher training courses. Once you have a base, to adapt to the course requirements will be a faster process.

Being a ‘beginner’ or an ‘advanced practitioner’ or simply practicing at home or in a studio isn’t relevant. But it is important that you have a minimal idea before, to understand what you are jumping into.

3. Are you ready to eat, live and breathe yoga?

You will be deeply involved with yoga and everything related to it 24/7, for three weeks, eating simple and nutritious vegetarian food, learning asanas, philosophy, meditation. You will be literally thinking about postures all the time. It is very intense.

4. Do you just want to have a short getaway while pursuing your yoga practice?

Then a yoga instructor certification course is not for you. You should be choosing a retreat where you have a combination of yoga and/or meditation classes as well as time for yourself. During intensive courses, you have time for relaxation only on Saturday’s afternoons and Sundays.

Step 3. Choose the right Yoga Teacher Training

Once you reach here, many of your doubts are gone, but still a degree of uncertainty remains. Don't worry, it is normal. We have an unconscious resistance to change. Just recognize it and move forward.
It is time to look into the yoga instructor course world of options to see what suits you. Let's start!

1. What type of course: Intensive or part-time?

There are two basic choices when it comes to yoga teacher course, either do a long course which runs only on weekends, or an intensive course that lasts from 3 to 4 weeks.
There’s no one right answer to which one is better. But if you’re looking for more of a life-changing, transformative experience with exposure to a more native, real and authentic training, consider going overseas.
An intensive training will hardly be comparable to part-time teacher training. It will make you discover your inner self in a manner you hadn’t thought about.
Part-time trainings tend to feel more like returning to school, where immersive trainings will touch on every aspect of your life. None is necessarily better than the other, it just depends on what your intention is.

ttc-infograph-01-v2

Short-Term vs Long-Term

Basic options at the time of choosing a yoga teacher training program on weekends over a period of a few months or intensive in 3/4 weeks

2. How much should I pay for a TTC

Though the cost varies from country to country, you will have to invest from €1500 to €5000 or more. So, it is not cheap and this article will help you make the right choice.
Important: Don't let the price dissuade you from what you know feels right to you. Remember that this is not an expense but an investment that you'll keep with you for the rest of your life.
Even though there are no good reasons for that, long term courses are not much cheaper than intensive programs if you consider all costs involved. Unless you choose a fancy resort in which case doesn’t make sense as it is not very much in line with the purpose and you will NOT have time to enjoy it.
For intensive courses overseas the main cost factor is location. So here we are having a look into the main options:
Bali and Thailand win over India in terms of average quality of the centers and maybe in terms of additional activities, but India is unbeatable in terms of authenticity and intensity of the experience.

ttc-infograph-02

Cost by country

Also, in terms of price, courses in India tend to be around €1000 cheaper than in the other two locations.
As for teachers, there are no possible comparisons here. Indian Yogi Masters are in a completely different level of involvement with yoga. That is why many teachers in Bali and Thailand come from India or were trained in India.

3. Should I go for a Spiritual or for a secular school?

Even though it is not easy to understand for western minds, there is no religion involved. Secular or spiritual have to do more with the focus.
Deeply traditional schools (what here we call spiritual) understand yoga as a way of life, they do not understand intensive programs or certificates.
In a secular school you have access to the roots of yoga, principles and philosophy and get the tools to redirect the way you face life, while a spiritual school expects a drastic change, renunciation.

4. What Yoga lineage is more suitable?

There are some schools focusing on new yoga trends like Aerial yoga, Hot yoga, Power yoga, etc., that is ok, except that often new trends come to an abrupt end. Yoga schools must teach the traditional principles of real yoga, Hatha Ashtanga Vinyasa, as it has always been.
Once you get the basics, learning any other discipline is easy. Don't start building the house from the roof starting from the ground level.

5. Preferred course focus?

It is important to focus on schools for which teaching is a very important factor. Regardless of whether you intend to teach or not, the following two points are essential:

  • Graduate students should be able to organize and lead a yoga class. To be effective as a teacher your students should open up to you and place their trust in your hands and that is not an easy task. You should show mastery and confidence and master some techniques.
  • Safely guide your students in and out of the poses to prevent injuries. That requires a methodology that needs to be understood and implemented.

6. What subjects should be covered in the Syllabus?

One of the things that shocks most of the students when they start a teacher training course is the fact that they are going to learn about many other aspects required to have a balanced life, not only poses.
The following are the subjects that would be typically covered during a good program:

yoga-types-icons-01

Yoga Poses/Asanas

Precise alignment and proper flow are the streams of yoga studies and the basis of yoga. The school should pay a lot of emphasis on the traditional practices of Hatha and Ashtanga Vinyasa which steadily prepares for Raja Yoga.
Include warm up exercises, traditional hatha, ashtanga vinyasa, art of sequencing, know how to string the poses together, (opening, in and out, finishing, relaxation), modifications for beginners, standing and balancing Asanas, forward bends, backbends, inversions, twists.

yoga-types-icons-02

Meditation

How to withdraw the senses to the internal world is the important question. Meditation will provide an extensive range of practices and tools to understand the process and its application, so ultimately you can discover your own practice and lead your students into impactful experiences.

yoga-types-icons-03-v2

Pranayama techniques

Prana is the fundamental force behind existence, and it manifests as breath within the human organism.
For a yoga practitioner breath is a medium to reach to the inner self and access realization. By regulation over breath we can regulate the overall being.

yoga-types-icons-04

Yogi Philosophy

Philosophy is the core of yoga. The classes must be conducted in an interactive environment, to allow you to get answers regarding mundane, emotional and spiritual life.
Important points to cover are: the different paths of yoga, origin of yoga and its history and how it has evolved, Study of Yoga Philosophies and traditional texts such as Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Bhagavad Gita, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, 8 Limbs of Yoga. Philosophical system, ethics of teaching yoga and how to apply the yamas and niyamas.

Anatomy related to yoga

Anatomy classes allow the students to gain a basic knowledge about the human body and its most important systems. Some aspects to study are: Nervous, Skeletal, Respiratory, Muscular, Cardiovascular system in the context of Yoga. Benefits & Contradictions of asanas, healthy movement patterns and physical limitations of the body. Understanding of energy Anatomy (nadis, Koshas, chakras, prana, mudras, kundalini, bandhas).

Alignment and adjustments

The Role of Body Adjustment and Alignment is especially important. It gives us a better understanding of our body by boosting mindfulness and awareness. An added benefit is the body's energy flows has an immediate reflection in the mental process.

yoga-types-icons-07-v2

Principles of Ayurveda

The program should include knowledge about ayurveda basics concepts, it’s purposes & objectives, the five element theory, the 3 doshas, the gunas and its application to food and the ayurvedic view of health & wellness.

yoga-types-icons-08-v1

Class management

You have to be able to present, expose and direct effectively.
For this, you must learn principles related to the teaching methodology in yoga, such as: observation principles, the art of voice, techniques of public speaking, general management principles, hand adjustments, and assisting and correcting techniques.

yoga-types-icons-09-v1

Others

Yin yoga, yoga Nidra, mudras, chanting, etc.

7. How many of students per class?

Smaller class sizes allow more personal guidance, but larger trainings offer the opportunity to connect with more like-minded people and also it is more likely to find disciplined students that raise the bar.
An ideal size is 20 to 25 people per class.

ttc-image-04-v1

8. Is Language important?

Most of the courses overseas are in English so attending those programs require a certain amount of proficiency in the language to be able to handle the classes.
Teachers in international yoga centers are used to having students from all over the world with different speaking abilities, so don't worry if you don't master English, as long as you understand and can express yourself.
Anyway, there are schools providing programs in different languages. Check if yours is there.

9. Is the school Yoga Alliance registered?

If you plan to be a certified yoga instructor, check if the school is accredited by a well recognizable yoga association. There are many certifications available out there, but most of them are devoid of content and may lack value or recognition. Yoga Alliance® is by far the most recognized institution worldwide in yoga programs and yoga teacher registration and most studios and students have come to expect it from their teachers.
Yoga Alliance provides a framework required for every Registered Yoga School (RYS) to follow to be able to lead Yoga Teacher Trainings.
The fact that the school is registered with Yoga Alliance is important and a must, but it’s not the end of the road in the selection process.

10. Are the teachers qualified and experienced?

This is a KEY aspect to consider. Before choosing a center, pay attention to the teaching staff, even consider talking to them before enrolling.
There are fantastic teachers in the world but if, for example, you choose India, then you must have the option of accessing the roots of yoga and that can only be done by native teachers.
Of course, the presence of teachers with other origins can facilitate the integration of students of different nationalities.
Finally, put yourself in the hands of very experienced teachers.

11. How to decide about the location?

If the course is held overseas, check the location to make sure it fulfills your requirements to avoid any cultural shock.

Research about the place (distance to international airport, surroundings), airport transfers, food (fresh and vegetarian), accommodation in-site (preferred) or off-site, yoga shalas, weather conditions. Don't hesitate to ask questions to the staff, or current students to clear any doubts or uncertainties.

12. What do the past graduates say about the school?

You’ll be spending valuable time and money, so do your homework and look into the website, social media, etc. Pay attention to the opinion of previous students. This is by far the best guide. If you do not find enough information or trusted testimonials, ask for more details and even details of students from your own country. This first-hand information will help you in making the right choice.

Step 4. I got my certification, and now what?

Be patient, you are now facing your professional career, don’t intend to have total clarity about the future. Life will open as you move forward.
The recommended things to do are the following:

1. Visualize what kind of teacher you would like to be.

Some see themselves working in an studio or coaching or teaching in retreats around the world, while others, have a preferred business approach and think about having their own studio or their own web or channel and teaching online.
If you want to have fulfillment in your life, the secret is “progress”. The only thing that’s going to make you happy long-term is knowing that you’re making progress. And for that you need to know where you want to go.

quotation-mark

Progress = Happiness

Tony Robbins, the greatest motivational speaker of our times, says - “Progress results from actively and consciously choosing to create a life you love; a life where you can’t wait to jump out of bed in the morning because you are growing, contributing, impacting and serving”

2. Move towards your target

Becoming a yoga trainer is not only a matter of getting a course completion certificate. The art of teaching develops gradually as you go.
At first we recommend you to take it easy and start with personal classes, it can be a friend or a family member. Working in a studio assisting experienced teachers is also a great option.
This way you gradually build your confidence and your style. You learn by doing.
From time to time stop and assess your progress, make sure your career is going in the direction you really desire.

3. Keep learning

Whatever you do in life, there is always more to learn. Show interest in other techniques, in what successful people do, in market trends,...update constantly about what is happening in your concerned world.
As a teacher that completed a foundation 200-hour teacher training, a great next step to take is to go for an advanced yoga teacher course of 300 hours. But don’t jump to it immediately, before, give some time for the teachings to be integrated.
The 300-hour course helps to deepen your already existing knowledge and foundations of yoga and improve your teaching skills.
After undergoing both programs you are automatically eligible to register as RYT-500, Yoga Master.

In the end, it’s all about YOU

Don’t rush in! Spend time reflecting on what you really want and need. Meditate on what truly resonates within yourself.
In the end, becoming a yoga instructor and doing a teacher training is an incredible experience that is well worth the investment and you won’t regret it.
In the process of choosing the right course, firstly, make a list of the 5-6 options that you find most attractive and then shortlist 2 or 3 centers considering the previous factors. After that, check the testimonials, pictures (real pictures taken in the real centers) and videos, call or message the centers to ask them about syllabus, accommodation, food, etc.
Finally, it should not be difficult for you to develop an understanding and feeling about which one really suits you.
Put all your effort into it, get 100% involved and your moment will come. Do not compromise for anything but your dream.

quotation-mark

Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.

This is a transformational experience unlike any other. Don’t miss it!
Wishing you love and luck for this very exciting journey!

Get this guide in your inbox

WhatsApp chat