How to Get Certified in Yoga – 9 Simple Steps

Co-authored with Bipin Baloni, yoga teacher trainer from Rrishikul Yogshala

Love yoga and wondering how to get certified in yoga?

Whether it is for physical benefits or mental wellness, yoga has become the favorite among people of all ages.

Yoga studios, yoga teacher training centers, yoga retreats and more, are everywhere across the globe. Thus, it’s not uncommon for many who practice yoga to want to take that practice to the next level.

You may have been enjoying Yoga for a number of months or years. But to enter into the world of professional Yoga, certification is necessary.

You may be a master of Astavakrasana. But, one’s perfection in asanas doesn’t make them a certified Yoga teacher.

In this post, we’re diving in deep into the world of yoga teacher certification. We’ll answer all the top questions like how long it takes, what it costs, and what yoga teacher jobs pay.

So if you are interested in becoming a yoga teacher, let’s review why and how to get certified in yoga.

One of the things yoga can help with significantly, is in helping manage back pain.

So if you suffer from lower back pain or sciatica, take a moment and check out this Amazing Video which shows you a fantastic yoga stretch that can really help!

Why get certified to teach yoga?

There are many reasons people attend yoga training programs:

  • To explore Yoga in deep
  • Become a certified Yoga teacher
  • Witness personal development
  • Just for the physical benefits

Whatever may be your aim, you need to consider the following points before you look at how to get certified in yoga. Of course, one of the main benefits of practicing yoga is the powerful impact the breathwork has on our bodies and minds.

If you are just starting out on your yoga journey, I highly recommend you take a moment and review my highly-shared post on the 9 Powerful Yogic Breathing Benefits.

1. The crucial role of choosing a style of yoga plays

how to get certified in yoga Middle Class Dad woman in a black bra holding a black yoga mat

There are a great many different styles of yoga.

You can’t just have a little bit of experience to begin a career in this field. Get acquainted with the different styles

  • Ashtanga – 6 series of movements performed in order with a focus on flowing & breathing
  • Hatha – slow-moving, gentle yoga that focuses on holding poses and breathwork
  • Bikram/Hot – 26 poses performed in order in a room heated to 105. Hot Yoga is typically a Bikram-style class without licensing his name
  • Vinyasa – an energetic dance-like style linking breath and movement
  • Power – A cardio-focused style blending Ashtanga and Vinyasa
  • Iyengar – Focuses on precise movements held for longer periods of time

It is only after you try out different styles, you’ll be able to know the style that suits you best. After all, each is different and while you make like them all, you will naturally be drawn to some more than others.

Also consider if this will be your career path, certain types of schools may pay better than others. The demand in your town for certain styles may also be greater than other styles.

Thus, when learning how to get certified in yoga, it makes sense to choose a style you love and for which there is a good career opportunity.

Of course, yoga isn’t just great for adults, so if you have kids, take a moment and learn about how Yoga Boosts Self-Esteem in Kids in one of the Middle Class Dad posts on Lifehack.

2. What yoga certification is best?

Selecting a Yoga TTC (teacher training certification) program is your next step in learning how to get certified in yoga.

Yoga teacher training schools exist all over the globe. There’s probably one near you.

Ideally, you would attend a yoga teacher training in India or Nepal. The most authentic and traditional yoga is alive in the most vibrant form in India; the birthplace of yoga.

India offers completely ancient styles of yogic teachings. But traveling to India may not be right for everyone time-wise or financially.

Start by searching on Yelp in your town and reading reviews of yoga TTC programs. Yoga Alliance is a non-profit which certifies Registered Yoga Schools, so searching their database can help eliminate low-quality schools.

Finding the right school is a crucial step in learning how to get certified in yoga.

3. How long does it take to become a yoga teacher?

how to get certified in yoga Middle Class Dad woman on the wood floor rolling up a light blue yoga mat

Like yoga itself, yoga certification requirements vary wildly by training center. However, a 200-hour yoga teacher training is the most common.

Thus, 200 hours is the minimum amount of time you need to spend on learning before you can earn a certification. Most teacher training centers go through a 200-hour course anywhere from 3 to 5 months.

Without this basic certification, you will have a very hard time getting hired as a yoga teacher.

If you want to take your career as a yoga teacher beyond the minimum, then other certifications are also available. For example, the 300-hour yoga teacher training course goes well beyond what you will learn in the 200-hour training.

It is an advanced step of training and it also gives you a career advantage over the many others than just complete a 200-hour course. Of course, it also allows you to delve deeper into the learning.

Once you are done with a 300-hour yoga teacher training course, consider the 500-hour yoga teacher training course. This is an advanced level course and not necessary to get hired. But it would definitely be something not every yoga teacher in your town has. Expect this level to take anywhere from 6 months to 1 year to complete.

4. How much does yoga certification cost?

Yoga teacher training is serious business.

You cannot compromise on the quality of the training and in many cases, you get what you pay for. You need to research training centers well and talk to the teachers and ex-students of centers in your area (or where you ideally want to train). Also, learn about the history of the training center before you enroll in yoga training.

Undergoing yoga teacher training in India, Nepal, Thailand, etc. is much more affordable (both in training and cost of living) compared to getting trained in the U.S. or Europe.

On top of that, you’ll be exposed to the traditional teachings of yoga by teachers who have spent a huge part of their lives in learning the age-old science of life in its truest form. But you will be away from your job & family and have travel costs associated with that.

Yoga teacher training certifications in the US typically vary anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. Thus, learning how to get certified in yoga isn’t cheap!

The book Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques on Amazon Prime is a great resource for those on the journey of how to get certified in yoga.

It has 4.5 stars and hundreds of reviews and is “an essential resource for new and experienced teachers as well as a guide for all yoga students interested in refining their skills and knowledge.”

5. The proven power of aligning your goals with the school’s curriculum

Before you begin your teacher training in yoga, you know what you want to learn, right?

You probably already know the movements. So are you wanting to improve your class leading skills? Improve your ability to do the movements while calling out the pose names?

Or perhaps you are interested in the business side of opening a school?

Make a list of everything that you want to learn about how to get certified in yoga. Once you are done, match your list with the course curriculum offered by the training center.

Do your goals match what the school offers?

If most of your primary goals are taught at the school, that’s a great sign. If not, continue your search for the right yoga teacher training center.

6. Does yoga certification expire?

If you are getting your training through a school certified by Yoga Alliance, they do have requirements for keeping your certification in good standing. Those include:

  • Abide by their code of conduct
  • Only use their authorized terminology (for example you are not training or licensed to heal, prescribe or suggest medical treatment)
  • Get and report to them at least 45 hours of teaching and 30 hours of training every three years
  • Pay an annual fee to keep your certification in good standing (currently, $65/year once you are certified)

So while your yoga certification does not expire, per se, there are certain requirements and payments necessary to keep it in good standing.

7. How much do you make as a yoga instructor?

Like most jobs, pay varies wildly in the US and across the globe.

For instance, pay in San Francisco is likely to be considerably better than it is in Des Moines, Iowa. But you also have a much higher cost of living. Like other jobs, supply and demand is also a factor too.

If your town is only just becoming in-tune with yoga or your town has thousands of certified instructors as we do in the Austin area where I (Jeff) live, pay may be lower. Of course, if you are great at what you do and start to build a following, pay will increase over time, so always serve your students to the best of your ability.

According to PayScale, the average hourly rate in the US for a yoga instructor is $25.07. On the low end it’s around $14/hr and on the high end (think San Francisco or New York), you’re looking at closer to $50/hr.

While that sounds pretty good, do consider that unlike a 9 to 5 job, you aren’t likely to be working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

But if you’re diligent, willing to teach classes early morning, evenings after the working day is done for most, and weekends, you can earn anywhere from $25,000/year to over $100,000/year.

But definitely make sure this pay range meets your financial goals before learning how to get certified in yoga.

8. Do you have to have a license to be a yoga instructor?

Legally? No.

In most places (and remember this could change or be different where you live, so this should not be considered legal advice), you do not have to have a certificate to teach yoga.

That being said, would you pay some guy down the street to be your personal training just because he likes to work out? Probably not.

Of course, if you just want to organize an informal group doing yoga in the park every Saturday morning (which would also likely be free to join), I would not waste time or money getting certified.

But if you want to make teaching yoga your career, you most certainly want to get certified.

9. The principles of karma yoga

Many certified yogis also love to indulge in Karma Yoga.

Karma yoga is best described in the Bhagavad Gita (an ancient 700-verse Hindu scripture) as “Do your duty without the concern to the fruit of it”.

The essential principles of karma yoga include doing one’s duties and helping and serving others without any ego or attachment. In order words, train yourself to do what needs to be done with no expectation of recognition or reward.

Thus after you have learned how to get certified in yoga, you may want to consider this higher calling.

Of course, beyond the poses, there’s a lot more involved in making yoga a career, so definitely check out the book The Yogi Entrepreneur: A Guide to Earning a Mindful Living Through Yoga on Amazon Prime.

After all, many yoga teachers are great at teaching but often struggle with the business aspects of teaching yoga.

It has 4.5 stars and almost 100 reviews and is the definitive manual on starting and growing a yoga business.

Did we cover everything you wanted to know about how to get certified in yoga?

In this post, we took an in-depth look into the world of yoga teacher training.

We answered all the top questions, such as how long it takes, how much it costs, and how much it pays. Then we put it all together so you know exactly how to get certified in yoga.

What style of yoga do you prefer?

One of the things yoga can help with significantly, is in helping manage back pain.

So if you suffer from lower back pain or sciatica, take a moment and check out this Amazing Video which shows you a fantastic yoga stretch that can really help!

About the co-author of this post:

how to get certified in yoga Middle Class Dad Bipin Baloni headshot Bipin Baloni is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveler in India. He provides Yoga Teacher Training In Rishikesh. He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, health, nature and the Himalayas.

Want to write for Middle Class Dad too? Check out everything you need to know on my Guest Blog Page.

how to get certified in yoga Middle Class Dad bio

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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