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How To Become A Yoga Instructor: An Easy Guide

If you have a passion for practicing yoga, that devotion to your routine can blossom into a lucrative and rewarding career as a yoga instructor. But don't expect to go from attending classes to teaching them overnight, you need to participate in training courses designed to help you learn how to instruct others safely and effectively. These programs will also prepare you for the necessary certifications that must be maintained as long as you wish to teach. 

Let's explore everything you need to know so that you may become a yoga instructor. 

For more Yoga insights and tips check out the Yoga Society Website.

Is being a yoga instructor the right job for you?

Much like any occupation, you must first determine if this profession is something you wish to dedicate a significant amount of time (and money) towards pursuing. For anyone eager to be a yoga instructor, you should first decide what makes your practice so rewarding. If you believe you can lead and inspire others to reap those same rewards, you may have found the right job for you.

You must also determine whether you are ready to devote the necessary time towards your own practice, while also accommodating your students when they are ready and able to take classes. 

Related: What is Kundalini Yoga?

What type of yoga interests you most? 

A good rule of thumb is to pursue your certification in the yoga style that you have been practicing. This way, you already have more than just a fundamental understanding of that style, you are well-versed in every facet of it. Don't approach your teacher training as a way to learn about a whole new discipline, and you want to become an instructor by building upon the skills you have already honed thus far. 

So if you are a rigorous practitioner of Ashtanga, you should plan on developing that practice further. Focus on that style when the time comes to be certified as an instructor. 

Earning your RYT certification

The length of time that it takes to get RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) certified can vary depending on which certification you aim to obtain. Any teacher who has attended a qualifying RYS (Registered Yoga School) and completed a 200-hour teacher training course can get an RYT 200 certification. This is the most basic option. 

Earning an RYT 500 certification requires you to complete a 500-hour training course with one qualifying RYS, complete a 200-hour course and an additional 300 hours with the same RYS, or complete 200 hours with one RYS, and 300 hours with a different qualifying RYS. The RYT 500 also requires 100 hours of teaching experience in addition to a 200 or 500-hour certification. 

There are other certifications, including ERYT 200 and 500 certifications (the E stands for "Experience"). Obtaining one of these requires 1,000 or 2,000 hours of teaching experience and working as a teacher for two years (or four years for an ERYT 500 certification). 

These certifications are established and administered as per the standards and guidelines set forth by the Yoga Alliance. In order to gain an RYT certification, your training school of choice must be approved by that organization. 

Related: Forrest Yoga: The Path to Transformation

Gaining valuable experience

Once you have been certified, you may now begin to teach. But we all know how difficult it can be to start out. The major studios don't typically accept new teachers who are looking to get their "foot in the door." Private practice is an excellent way to start. Begin by networking with other students and teachers in the classes you take for your personal practice. This can help you gain initial clientele. 

You may also want to search through job listings for individuals interested in taking private classes or corporations seeking to hire yoga instructors for employee fitness outings. These can be very lucrative gigs and lead to more recommendations and more jobs! 

Don't forget about good marketing

Designing a smart marketing plan is absolutely imperative to success. We live in a digital age that offers a wealth of marketing options that are both economical and convenient. You want to develop an online presence, one that incorporates a professional website, social media pages, and perhaps a newsletter or blog that helps you build an email list of potential clients. 

This online presence will be invaluable. We all turn to the internet to find the things we need and want, and your future clients are very likely seeking you out there as well. Harness and exploit Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram's power to help you market yourself to the general public. 

Related: Our Favorite Yoga Mats of 2020

Earning an income

Taking the online component even further, you might want to consider offering online classes to get potential future clients to hire you. This is not just an excellent method for generating revenue, but also helpful for fostering trust with that clientele who will be ready to come back to you when they are eager to improve their practice in a private setting. Many of them may even suggest your classes to their friends and family. 

Of course, yoga instructors obviously prefer to work with their students in person because it allows them to form a personal bond. In-person teaching gives the instructor the capability for hands-on direction and correction during a class, but an online course, while preventing a personal bond from taking place, gives students the chance to try out your class and see if it is the right fit for them. If it is a good fit, they may take a class or a private session with you in person later on. 

women doing yoga in a studio

Closing Thoughts

Pursuing a career as a yoga instructor takes a lot of time and energy. You may not succeed at first, and it could be a year or two before you are making more money than you are spending, but those who remain dedicated to their pursuit are rewarded for their efforts on many levels. 

The opportunity to help others reach their physical and spiritual goals is a reward in and of itself for many instructors. The financial remuneration can also be profitable for those who establish themselves as knowledgeable and trustworthy experts in the field. 

For great yoga equipment and tips have a look at the Yoga Society Website.


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