What you need to know to become a certified Yoga teacher
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The world is waking up to new realities. We are living in trying times. Global pandemics, natural disasters, man-made tragedies have pushed people on the brink of confusion. People have several existential questions. What is the meaning of my life? What do my possessions really give me? Why do I feel an emptiness inside me? Basically, people are looking for a greater purpose in life. The West is especially awakening to spirituality. Yoga is one of the most effective paths to a deeper spiritual existence. No wonder the number of people doing Yoga has skyrocketed in the past decade, and the trend continues to rise.

This has eventually made me reflect on the existing opportunities in this field. How can I help spread the practice of Yoga? How can I benefit from my growth in Yoga practice?

The first thing that came to my mind was to become a Yoga teacher. In this way, I could contribute in spreading a practice that I consider essential for the spiritual growth of people and on the other hand, I could also seek a good professional career in these difficult times.

So I got going. And my search led me to answer my many questions. I want to share them with you, in case you have similar questions.

What kind of Yoga teacher do I want to be?

From the first moment, it was clear to me that I wanted to become a Yoga professional. I have seen throughout these last years, many of the “supposed” Yoga teachers were really fitness monitors, who considered Yoga as just another series of physical exercises.

I wanted to spread the true essence of Yoga, and for this, I needed the best training possible. I did not want to become a gym monitor, I wanted my students to discover the true potential of Yoga, and to contribute my little grain of sand to improve their lives. I started looking for training courses for yoga teachers, TTC (Teacher Training Course).

As of today, there is no qualification as such which is needed to become a Yoga teacher. This added more uncertainty when choosing the right training.

After a little market research, I discovered that there is an international entity dedicated to certifying Yoga schools. This entity is Yoga Alliance. It is the most prestigious entity in the world of Yoga, certifying the quality and content that training courses for Yoga teachers must have, granting them the RYS (Registered Yoga School) seal.

Which Yoga certification should I acquire?

There are two main types of Yoga teacher courses: 200h course and 300h course.

The 200h course (RYS200) is the basic course for being a Yoga teacher. As its name suggests, it is a 200-hour class that provides the necessary knowledge to start as a Yoga teacher.

The 300h course (RYS300) is a more specialized course. It prepares students to teach advanced Yoga principles and techniques.

The 200-hour courses are designed to adequately prepare students to teach yoga to adults in general. They all follow a more or less similar structure:

– Yoga techniques, training and practice: 100 hours

This category includes: Asanas, Pranayamas, Kriyas, chants, mantras, meditation, and other traditional Yoga techniques. On the one hand, the theory is taught on how it should be taught and what its technique is like. On the other hand, it includes practices in the execution of these techniques.

– Teaching methodology: 25 hours

In this area, the didactic skills are worked on to become a good teacher: communication skills, teaching styles, the student’s learning process, commercial aspects of teaching yoga, etc.

– Anatomy and physiology: 20 hours

It includes both the study of anatomy and physiology and its application to the practice of yoga (benefits, contraindications, healthy movement patterns, etc). They are studied both from a purely physical point of view (body systems, organs, etc) and from an energy perspective (chakras, nadis, etc).

– Philosophy, lifestyle and ethics for Yoga teachers: 30 hours

In this block, the different Yoga philosophies and traditional texts (Yoga Sutras, Hatha Yoga Pradipika or Bhagavad Gita) are studied. Also included are teachings on the yoga lifestyle, and ethics for yoga teachers, based on relationships between teachers, students, and the community at large. The ultimate goal is to understand that yoga teaching is a service to others, and therefore the Yoga teacher must be at the service of others.

– Practices: 25 hours

The course is completed with Yoga teacher practices, applying what has been learned in the course.

People who complete this course can choose to become certified with Yoga Alliance as Yoga teachers. For this, you need to have taught for 1,000 hours in a 2-year period. With these requirements, you can obtain the E-RYT 200 (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher) certification.

What is the 300-hour course?

The 300-hour courses are designed to develop and deepen the knowledge included in the 200-hour courses. In order to take the 300h course, it is necessary to have taken the 200-hour course.

The student is prepared to teach Yoga principles and techniques that are more advanced, more detailed, and subtler. This training provides greater skills for teaching Yoga.

Its structure is usually similar to that of the 200-hour course, further developing the content of each block:

– Yoga techniques, training and practice: 150 hours

– Teaching methodology: 30 hours

– Anatomy and physiology: 40 hours

– Philosophy, lifestyle and ethics for yoga teachers: 50 hours

– Practices: 30 hours

After completing the 300h course, and providing 4 years of experience as a teacher and at least 2,000 hours of training, since you finished the 200h course, you can get the E-RYT 500 certification from Yoga Alliance. This certification enables you to be a teacher in Yoga teacher training courses.

I was clear that the first step was to take the 200h course, but a new question arose.

Am I really ready to teach Yoga with a 200-hour course?

With experience, I have realized that the answer to this question differs from one person to another. There are people who take the 200h course as training to improve their Yoga practice (with great results), but there are other people who do it with the clear objective of being teachers. If you are in this group, you will be able to teach immediately. It all depends on the intensity and efforts you are ready to put in it.

I was determined to move on, so I started a process to select the Yoga school where I would receive my TTC.

How can I find a certified Yoga school?

There are a large number of Yoga schools for teaching programs. You can check their web pages and check if they have Yoga Alliance certification.

You can always check on the Yoga Alliance website itself that the school has its certificates up to date. I personally recommend Kavaalya, it’s a school with an amazing location in Goa (India) and a truly authentic teaching program.

Where to do the Yoga teacher program?

The certification you get by taking the program at any certified school is the same. Without a doubt, the quality of your learning depends on the quality of your teachers.

Without a doubt, the best Yoga teachers are in the cradle of this philosophy, in India. There are other quite popular places such as Thailand, Central America and Indonesia.

In any case, it is important that you contrast the quality of the teachers at the center you choose.

How much does a Yoga teacher course cost?

Most Yoga teacher training courses cost between € 1,500 and € 4,500. These prices do not usually include travel, in case you choose to do it outside your country.

Prices vary mainly by the type of accommodation you choose: single or shared room and the comforts they can offer.

Please note that the price is usually not indicative of the quality of the teachers, so pay close attention to this aspect.

What is the duration of a Yoga teacher course?

There are two main types of courses according to their duration:

  • The residential ones: The training is concentrated in 3-4 weeks of duration. They are a total immersion in the understanding and teaching of Yoga for a period ranging from 3 to 4 weeks. If you have that much time, these are the best options as they offer enough intensity of Yoga practice.
  • Part-time. They are carried out over a period of several months with weekly dedication, normally on Saturdays and Sundays.

Parting thoughts

These were the criteria that I considered when choosing my Yoga teacher course. I hope you now have a clearer idea of ​​what to do.

In my case, I decided on a course abroad in Goa (India) with Kavaalya, as I realized that intensive courses, including travel, were priced similarly to part-time programs in Madrid.

Now I have to put into practice what I have learned to continue growing personally and professionally.

My goal is to look for a job in a studio to learn from other teachers, gain confidence with the classes, and perhaps give private lessons to small groups. And unless I do, I won’t know. So let’s see.