How do I become a yoga teacher?

Q:

How do I become a yoga instructor?

A:

So you love yoga, you’ve been practicing for a while and you’ve decided that you want to share this incredible practice with others. You want to become a yoga teacher. What next? (Try a Guided Meditation to Finding Your Life's Purpose.)

While there are many possible routes to becoming a yoga teacher, in the West, the one that is most widely accepted by the yoga community (as well as by studios, gyms and insurance providers) is a 200 hour yoga teacher training course that is accredited by a yoga organization such as Yoga Alliance. (Learn more in How 500 Hours of Yoga Teacher Training Changed Me.)

The content of these teacher trainings depends a lot on the kind of yoga you want to train in, but there are a few commonalities. You’ll usually learn about asana practices, class structure, alignment, pranayama, meditation techniques, yoga philosophy, yoga anatomy and a lot of “how to's,” including some or all of the following:

  • How to cue students into poses
  • How to keep students safe
  • How to make adjustments and assists
  • How to use positive language in class
  • How to plan and theme classes
  • How to teach different levels of students
  • How to offer modifications
  • How to run a yoga business

Of course, taking a teacher training alone won't make you a yoga instructor. It’s crucial that, as a teacher, you maintain and deepen your own yoga practice. Yoga teacher trainings often make this an explicit requirement of their course. For example, you may be asked to undertake a daily home practice, and perhaps, keep a yoga journal so you can reflect on your personal journey. You will also be asked to undertake additional reading and reflection. In many cases, you will be encouraged to observe experienced yoga teachers lead classes. (Read more in Should You Be Keeping a Yoga Journal?)

It’s crucial to bear in mind that even once you’ve finished your yoga teacher training, this doesn’t necessarily make you a yoga instructor. You become a yoga instructor by doing it and by developing and sharing your practice. As a yoga teacher, you’ll find you learn more from your students than they learn from you (really!) and this is one of the great privileges of teaching. So stay committed to your own yoga practice, continue learning, and never stop being a yoga student yourself. Enjoy learning to teach - it is a magical thing. (Learn 5 Qualities of a Good Yoga Teacher.)

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Written by Jade Lizzie
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Jade is a yoga teacher, blogger and health and wellness geek. Her mission is to share the happiness that yoga has brought into her life. Full Bio