How To Become a Certified Yoga Instructor: A Complete Guide From Indian Yoga Teacher

    Become a Yoga instructor

So you are looking for how to become a certified yoga Instructor?

Becoming a certified yoga instructor is a very novel career, especially so for people who are born with this instinct to help others grow mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

As a yoga Instructor, one can help others achieve holistic well-being by helping them to be more flexible inside-out.

The world needs excellent, grounded and open-hearted yoga Instructors. Now more than ever, when there is a global awakening happening, the world needs aware, kind and conscious yoga instructor. So, is yoga your passion?

We team up with Yoga Instructor Bipin Baloni (Teaching at Rishikul Yogshala) to craft this comprehensive guide on how to become yoga instructor.

So without ado, let’s checkout this guide to becoming a certified yoga instructor by Indian Yoga Teacher.

Fundamentals

What is the role of a Yoga Instructor?

Before you become a certified yoga teacher, let’s get clear on the role of a yoga teacher.

When you look at a yoga asana class from the outside, you see things from a simple lens. The yoga teacher is teaching and guiding the students, and the students are receptive and learning from the teacher.

However, it is not as simple as it looks from the outside. A yoga teacher’s role in teaching is multi-dimensional. A yoga teacher does not merely teach students how to perform asanas but also is a guide for the students.

A yoga teacher’s role is to help students bloom into their best selves and to hold space for students as they learn about who they are. Yoga means ‘union’- the union of body, mind and soul. A yoga teacher’s role is to guide students to achieve this inner union of body, mind and soul.

The teacher’s role is to push students to the best of their abilities but also know when not to push and let the students find their unique ways. Students learn a lot from their yoga teachers like children a lot from adults.

Yoga teachers have an essential responsibility to bring out the best in students, to influence and impact students in a positive way that changes their lives for the better.

The yoga teacher has a crucial responsibility to be a lighthouse for her students.

Why do you want to Become a Yoga Instructor?

Having our intentions clear, before doing anything, helps us do that thing in the best manner possible. Knowing why you want to do something and having our intention clear about the ‘why’ makes the whole process smoother and graceful.

So why do you want to become a certified yoga teacher? To understand what your intentions are, sit with yourself. Speak to yourself. Meditate and get clear on your intentions before you begin your adventurous journey.

Perhaps, you have a deep love and passion for yoga, maybe, you love being of service in the spirituality domain, and you are naturally a wise human being.

Perhaps, you enjoy helping others and have a strong light inside of you to share with the world. Perhaps, you believe in the healing and transformational powers of yoga.

Perhaps, it’s all of these reasons. Be honest with yourself about why you want to teach yoga. Set your intentions clearly before you begin your journey forward.

What Yoga Style do you want to learn?

There are many styles of yoga – Hatha yoga, ashtanga yoga, Iyengar yoga, hot yoga, kundalini yoga, and so many more styles of yoga which we will describe in detail further down in the article.

Choose the style for your first teacher training course and then teach that form of yoga. As you progress on your path as a yoga teacher, in the future, you can do multiple yoga teacher training courses with different styles and teach a combination of different styles.

What kind of Yoga Program do you want to do?

In every destination where yoga schools offer teacher training programs, there are two kinds of yoga teacher training programs that are offered. You can choose from one of these depending on what suits you best.

Short term/full-time course

The short-term course usually involves 1-3 months of yoga teacher training course.

There are mainly three levels of short-term courses – 200-hour, 300 hour and 500-hour yoga teacher training courses. The 200-hour course is for beginners, the 300-hour program is for intermediate yoga teachers, and the 500-hour program is for advanced teachers.

To be eligible for the 500-hour teacher training, in most schools it is mandatory to have completed the 200 hours and 300-hour program.

The full-time course requires you to stay at the yoga school for 1-3 months depending on the level, and the classes go on from morning and last until the evening. This short-term course is extremely intensive and is the most effective form of yoga teacher training if you want to immerse yourself in the yoga world deeply.

Long term/part-time course

The long-term course is a part-time course which doesn’t require you to stay at the yoga school as the classes go on only for a specific time in the day. Some yoga classes conduct their classes from morning till mid-afternoon and some from afternoon till evening.

The long-term course goes on 6-7 months, counts as a 600-700-hour teacher training course and is not as intensive as the short-term full-time program. The long-term program is for people who cannot afford to take time off work or any other obligation but still want to become certified yoga teachers.

The long-term programs in most schools are less expensive than short-term programs.

What is your Budget?

Check your bank account and reflect on your budget for teacher training life adventure. There are schools that offer yoga teacher training course for a wide range of budgets from $1000 – $10000 depending upon your level, country and yoga school you choose.

Some fantastic yoga schools offer training programs at a low price. So, keep in mind that more price doesn’t equal to a good training program.

Which Country do you want to go?

India, Bali, Nepal and Thailand are no doubt the best yoga destinations that offer some extraordinary yoga teacher training programs. India being the birth mother of yoga, has some of the most splendid yoga schools in the world.

Exotic Bali is easy on the pocket but not more than Nepal. In Nepal, you will find some excellent programs which don’t require you to spend much money but will ask for your full dedication and sincerity.

Thailand is another exotic country full of pristine beaches and fierce yoga studios. So, choose the country your heart feels called to and then fly.

Pick the right Yoga School and Program

This is a crucial part of the journey of becoming a certified yoga teacher. If you choose the right yoga school, you are halfway there. When you choose the right school, you learn from the best teachers with many other benefits.

To choose the right school, do your research and speak to trusted people and yoga teachers. The right guidance is invaluable. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you are deciding the yoga school.

A School and Program officially recognized by Yoga Alliance and QCI

Yoga Alliance And QCI certification to become yoga instructor

To be certified from a yoga school and a yoga teacher training program that is recognized by Yoga Alliance will be much beneficial for you. Schools that are registered with yoga alliance tend to have quality teacher training programs that reflect integrity.

It is not compulsory to be registered with yoga alliance though it is instrumental and beneficial. The yoga alliance has set certain standards that maintain the quality of yoga which allows quality yoga programs all around the world.

If you do your training from a yoga school registered with Yoga Alliance, you will naturally have more weight and benefits as a yoga teacher.

If you are doing a teacher training program in India, then doing it from a school recognized by QCI is one of the best things you can do for your yoga teaching life. QCI (Quality control of India) is similar to the Yoga Alliance and makes sure the quality of yoga is set at its highest.

Again, it is not compulsory to go to a yoga school recognized by QCI, but it is incredibly advantageous and valuable.

A School and Program that includes:

School And Program That Include

An ideal and holistic yoga teacher training course would have these five main components.

Asana and Alignment

Asana and alignment include the yoga asanas and correct alignments of the asanas. Good yoga schools have yoga teachers who are highly experienced and knowledgeable in Asana and Alignment. Having a good yoga teacher makes a huge difference in the training experience.

Philosophy and Meditation

Yoga philosophy includes ancient scriptures like Bhagavad Gita, yoga sutra and Hatha yoga Pradipika which shed light on the profound wisdom and philosophy of yoga. Meditation is an essential aspect of every yoga teacher training program. So pick a yoga school that offers meditation classes.

Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy and physiology is all about the human body and how yoga affects the human body. Any yoga teacher training course is incomplete without an in-depth study of anatomy and physiology.

Shat Kriyas

Shat kriyas are six yogic practices that help in the purification of the human body. Shat kriyas are mostly taught in advanced teacher training courses and are an essential part of the course.

Teaching Methodology

In teaching methodology, you will learn how to design a yoga class from start to end, which is a vital aspect of every teacher training. Here you will learn how to design creatively and technically sound yoga classes

For the best yoga teacher training experience make sure the yoga school and yoga program you choose as these five subjects as its focus.

A School that offers the Style and Level of Yoga you want to learn

 Style And Level Of Yoga to become yoga instructor

First, set your heart and mind on the yoga style you want to learn and then find a Yoga Alliance and QCI (for India) registered school that offers that style.

Multi-Style

Multi-style yoga teacher training courses include two or more forms combined. Generally, a yoga course provides a single style of yoga, but multi-style yoga offers two or more styles combined. Ashtanga and Hatha, Iyengar and Hatha and other combinations are offered.

Ashtanga Vinyasa

Ashtanga is an ancient style of yoga that includes performing specific asanas in a particular sequence while coordinating the breath with the movements.

Hatha

Hatha yoga is the most widely practised style of yoga, which involved holding each asana for several seconds. This style of yoga is the slow and steady style of yoga.

Iyengar

Iyengar yoga is a more therapeutic form of yoga which was invented by BKS Iyengar to heal a severe health issue he was facing. Iyengar yoga’s primary focus is the alignment of the body during asanas, and it uses blocks, straps, blankets, chairs and other props for asana practice.

Level of yoga – 200 Hour, 300 hour and 500-Hour Teacher Training Programs

Level of yoga teacher training to become a certified yoga instructor

Every yoga school offers mainly three levels of yoga teacher training courses. As described earlier in the article, the 200-hour yoga teacher training course is for beginners; the 300-hour yoga teacher training course is for the intermediate and 500-hour yoga teacher training program is for the advanced practitioner.

Practice hard and give it all you got

As you find the perfect yoga school and start your teacher training program, give it all you got and give it your hundred per cent.

Your main focus should be to learn as much as you can and as deeply as you can. A good teacher is forever a good student. Practice hard and understand the philosophy of yoga. When you understand the philosophy of yoga combined with a solid practice, you will be unstoppable.

The passion with which you practice and live the wisdom of yoga in your day-to-day to life will help you tremendously in becoming an excellent certified yoga teacher.

The process of becoming a certified yoga teacher is a life-changing and transformational process. It brings a profound change and transformation in you that will forever change how you live life and respond to life.

The yoga teacher training program is an initiation into spiritual warriorship. This process is deeply transformational because it awakens your soul and spirit. You learn how to face life’s difficulties with strength and compassion, which is the mark of a true spiritual warrior.

So, give it all you have, learn as much as you can and as you graduate from your first yoga teacher training course be prepared to shine your light in the world with the ancient science of yoga.

Get Registered for RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher)

RYT 200 500 yoga alliance

Once you are done with the life-changing and transformative yoga teacher training course, you can register for RYT.

It is not compulsory for you to register as an RYT, but it is definitely beneficial and useful. You will be more credible all around the world if you are an RYT. As an RYT, you will have more job options. But, at the end of it all, what really matters is how good a yoga teacher you are.

If you are an excellent yoga teacher, chances are your yoga career is already very bright. But being registered as an RYT gives you more visibility and credibility not only in America but all over the world.

The world of yoga is changing. A few years earlier registration as an RYT or any other registration wasn’t necessary. But as yoga spreads like wildfire, it has become more critical to maintain the quality and high standards of yoga.

This quality and high standard is maintained through the RYT, Yoga Alliance and QCI qualifications.

Look at different Career options as a Yoga Instructor

As a yoga teacher, you have plenty of options on how you want to start your career as a yoga teacher. You can teach at yoga retreats, yoga schools or start your own yoga studio in your own city.

You can also start your yoga studio in countries like Bali, Thailand or India where the demand for yoga and yoga teachers is increasing by the day. These Asian countries that are the most famous and loved yoga destinations in the world have many yoga schools and retreats.

Teaching at these international yoga schools and retreats have many advantages. You get to travel and stay abroad. You get paid very well. You get to meet many different people from all around the world, while you do what you love.

Starting your own yoga studio has its own benefits like you are independent in your business and can be the creator of your business. You get to take charge and create the kind of yoga experience that you want to.

Starting your own studio might be difficult at first as sometimes, it takes time for the student base to build up. But as you offer excellent and unique yoga classes and do things right, you are set for success.

It’s always a good idea to first work with an existing yoga retreat or yoga school for a few years to get a good experience before starting your own yoga business. So, look at your options and feel into what calls to your soul and follow your heart.

Somethings every Yoga Instructor should know

You are a space holder

One thing to understand about teaching yoga is that, in the heart of the matter, this is not about you. It is about your students. As a yoga teacher, you are a space holder. You hold space for your students to bloom into their best selves.

To become an excellent space holder, you need to be empty of your worries, your egoic agendas and leave everything out the door that is not aligned with the highest good of all. As a yoga teacher, you have an incredible opportunity to change lives for the better.

As a yoga teacher, you are in a position to influence your students positively. Yoga has a lot to do with the body. The human body stores emotions from the past. So, if one of your students burst into tears, hold space for the emotions that arise within your students.

As a yoga teacher, you are blessed to witness the profound transformations that your students go through.

Be respectful and compassionate

Being a yoga teacher, you are in an influential place. Make sure you understand that is a delicate responsibility as you are leading your students. Make sure you guide them right and make sure you treat them right.

Be respectful and compassionate with your students. Honour your students and know the student is as equally divine as the teacher. If there were no students, who would the teachers teach? So, don’t disrespect, talk rudely or insult your students.

Know when to push your students and know when to let them be to find their unique way.

Don’t forget to have fun with it

Give it your best but don’t forget to have fun with it. Becoming a certified yoga teacher and being good at it is a demanding life path. It asks for your complete sincerity, dedication and devotion.

As you give it all you got, remember to enjoy the process because, at the end of it all, it’s not the destination that matters, but the journey.

So have fun on your journey, take regular time outs, invest in self-care, take care of yourself health and enjoy the small victories in your journey to becoming an excellent certified yoga teacher.

The journey to becoming a certified yoga teacher is profoundly transformational and life-changing. It changes our perception of reality and how we view life in many ways. We all know that we are here for a purpose.

So, look within, and ask yourself. Why is my purpose? Is your purpose to become an outstanding yoga teacher? If yes, then jump in and transform the world.


Author Details

Bipin Baloni

Bipin Baloni

Bipin Baloni is a Yoga Teacher with over 8 years of experience in the teaching field. His core specialization is in hatha and asthanga Yoga. He is a registered Yoga teacher who provides 200,300 and 500 hour yoga teacher training in rishikesh, India. Being a strong devotee of yoga, I’m strongly inclined towards the Health & Wellness sector and write informative and qualitative articles and blogs.


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