2 September 2021
You find yourself inside a yoga studio more often than out. In fact, what used to feel like an awkward exercise class is starting to feel as habitual and regular as brushing your teeth.
What started out as a stressful rush to make a class after a long day at your 9-to-5 job has become a refreshing end cap to your day.
If you feel you're ready to live in yoga pants and workout clothes while sharing your practice with others, you may be ready to become a yoga instructor.
Of course, just because you like something, doesn't automatically mean you want to take a big career-based step toward it. But it might! Below are some signs that you may be ready to learn how to become a yoga instructor.
You may love your time in the studio, but yoga doesn't only happen in that space. Your mat can fit most anywhere, and you have your own yoga practice outside the studio or gym.
Maybe this means you do 10 minutes of yoga when you wake up and another 10 minutes before bedtime; maybe you meditate every day on your lunch break.
However you practice, if yoga is bleeding into your life outside the studio and you're reaping the mental and physical benefits of the practice in your personal life, you may be ready to explore instructing yoga.
You may have started practicing yoga as a form of physical fitness. I know I did! I thought it would give me a great variety of movement between other activities I enjoyed, like running and weightlifting.
But yoga isn't just about the physical movement aspect, or asana. In fact, there are eight limbs of yoga that make up the entire practice. We'll dive deeper into those later on, but the point is that yoga is much bigger than just what happens on your mat.
If you've started to explore yoga off-the-mat and find yourself using what you learn in class in your daily life, then it may be time to look into how to become a yoga teacher.
Maybe it started with a referral promotion at your home studio, but you've managed to get a lot of your friends interested in yoga too. Now along with the other studio members you've become close with, your other friend groups join you for class too.
And that's not all — they start asking you questions. One friend wants to know what you'd suggest as a modification for a pose they're working on; another asks what teacher may be best to practice with if they have a specific goal. Whatever the yoga-related questions are, your friends begin depending on you to answer them.
If it were anything else, you may get frustrated with your friends. After all, you can't be the only person who knows about and practices yoga, right?
But in this case, you're more than happy to answer questions. You want to share yoga with anyone you can and help make it accessible to anyone who wants to learn. It's added so much to your life, and you want others to benefit from it too. You may find yourself wondering how to become a yoga teacher and what the process looks like.
When you become a yoga teacher, you get the building blocks you need to share your yoga practice with others and help them develop their own practice. If that's something that excites you, you may be ready to become an instructor.
There are many different styles of yoga that originate from various areas and world cultures. Before you dive into your journey of learning how to become a yoga instructor, it's a good idea to narrow down your focus to one style.
What style you choose will help steer you in the direction of which training program may be best for you. For example, if you enjoy practicing vinyasa yoga, you may train with different instructors than if you focused on the ashtanga or yin styles.
It's true that many programs will teach a general overview including many different styles, but a lot of programs will focus on teaching you how to instruct in one specific style. For example, I took a yoga teacher training program that taught me how to teach vinyasa yoga; during the training, though, I also learned about ashtanga, yin, and restorative yoga.
When considering how to become a yoga teacher, think about which classes are your favorite to attend and what style they're taught in; this may help with your decision.
Speaking of programs — you've got to pick one! It's hard to decide which to go with because there are so many to choose from. When considering programs for how to become a yoga teacher, there are some components you may want to consider:
While many yoga instructor training programs happen in-person, some studios and teachers also may offer virtual or hybrid curriculums. It's up to you to choose which will be best for your learning style.
Still, keep in mind that choosing a program with an in-person curriculum will likely give you better access to learning what you need to from an anatomical standpoint. It's not as easy to learn about adjusting students' poses if you can't see and feel the muscles you're adjusting.
If you haven't already taken a yoga teacher training program, you'll most likely want to look for programs for a 200-hour certification, which is the standard you'll need to be certified with the Yoga Alliance (an organization we'll discuss later on).
The standard training may be 200 hours, but each certification program will space those hours out differently. For example, some intensive programs may be one-month long and schedule a full 8-to-10 hours of studying and learning each day. Others may meet only on weekends for a period of time.
When I did my yoga teacher training, we met every Friday night and every other full weekend, all day Saturday and Sunday. I often ate two of three daily meals at the studio. During the weekends when we were in session full time, I wasn't able to participate in other social activities. The program spanned over the course of 6 months.
When considering it, I assumed that 6 months was a long amount of time. But time flew and I was wrong! Yoga teacher training funnels a ton of content into your brain, so having that time to process and learn it is a good thing. It'll help you be a more informed teacher to your future students.
If you find a program with a rigorous schedule that conflicts with your daily responsibilities, like your 9-to-5 job, be honest with yourself about what schedule may or may not work for you.
If you're like me and choose to do your training while having a full-time job, know that you may have to compromise on what you have time for. I knew that for the next six months, most of my free time would go to yoga and studying.
Finally, each program trains its students differently, with the intention of sending a specific type of teacher into the world. If you can, talk to teachers who did their training with the programs you're considering. Are they the kind of teacher you want to be? If so, that may be the yoga instructor program for you.
When you think of how to become a yoga instructor, you may not immediately think about money. After all, it's not an academic degree you're looking into.
But actually, even though it isn't a college degree, yoga teacher training programs cover a large span of information and take a lot of effort to coordinate and run. When I was in the thick of my yoga teacher training, it felt like I was in school.
Similar to other certification programs, the resources that go into designing a yoga teacher certification program cost money.
On average, yoga teacher training programs that are accredited by the Yoga Alliance (which you'll likely want — and we'll get into that further on), cost $2,000-$5,000. Those prices can range, depending on the program. Some programs offer scholarships and payment plans; those with a higher cost may include additional modules or experiences that the average training doesn't include.
Oftentimes, teachers who lead training programs will consider arranging a payment plan and schedule, despite it not being advertised. When you're looking into how to become a certified yoga instructor and you don't see the option available, consider asking if it's a possibility.
Once you choose a program, it's time to enroll. This can be scary, because it means you're officially on your way to becoming a certified yoga instructor. But it's exciting too.
All programs are different, but on average, you can expect to learn a lot during your training. Following, we'll cover just some of the areas that a comprehensive program may cover.
As I mentioned earlier, there are several different styles of yoga. The training program you choose will likely focus on one, but you'll usually be taught some general information about other styles. This can be helpful to understand what other practices are available to your students, what they may be used to, and the basics they'd expect in your classes.
You're experiencing yoga this century — so what's the point in knowing its history? Speaking from personal experience, learning about yoga's history was fascinating. Not only did it give me a deeper appreciation for the practice, but I felt more authoritative teaching my classes.
Many yoga teacher training programs will give an overview of yogic history. You'll learn about the teachers who were responsible for bringing yoga to the Western world and how their styles influenced the classes you likely take today.
In many programs, you'll be taught some of the basic principles of yogic philosophy. Common texts studied are the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Pantajali was a well-known teacher and sage of yoga. His sutras are a collection of texts. In Sanskrit, "sutra" roughly translates to "thread." All of the sutras come together to weave the true meaning of yoga.
The sutras include the 8 limbs of yoga, and asana (the physical practice) is just one. You'll learn about the physical component, and the 7 other limbs, which include: meditation, breathwork, moral discipline, and more. Here's a quick breakdown of what they are:
The yamas and the niyamas each have five components that you'll typically learn how to bring into your life and yoga practice.
The yamas are:
The niyamas are:
The philosophy aspect of your yoga instructor training will differ greatly, depending on the studio and teachers who organize your curriculum.
You may notice that some of these aspects lean toward spirituality. Keep in mind that it doesn't mean that you have to believe any of them or move forward to teach them to your students.
That said, many yoga teaching programs will include lessons on the philosophies of yoga because they're tied into its overall history. Understanding these underlying principles can help inform your teaching.
When considering how to become a certified yoga instructor, finding a program that includes yogic philosophy will help ensure that your training is thorough and that it encompasses some of the most important aspects of yoga.
In order to teach a yoga class, you'll need a basic understanding of anatomy. Many yoga teacher training programs will include a section on anatomy so that budding teachers know how the muscles in the body work.
Still, this isn't medical school. Most training programs will review this, but if a student asks for physical help or advice, refer them to a medical professional. Many programs will likely give guidelines for what constitutes when it's safe to answer questions and when it isn't.
Have you ever thought about what goes into designing a yoga class? How does your teacher decide to move from one pose to the next and why? In your instructor training, you'll learn about sequencing. You'll likely get an understanding of popular sequence formats and understand how to build a sequence for your class.
Expect to learn what major touchpoints each sequence should have and how to arrange poses within the timeframe of your class.
You'll learn how to carefully describe the movement and actions you want your students to take. This is called cuing, and there's a reason it needs to be taught — it isn't easy. It may take time for you to get comfortable with how you prefer to cue your students and that's OK, because the more you practice, the easier it will be.
Expect to spend time on cuing within your program's sessions, as well as in your spare time at home.
Throughout your teacher training program, it's a smart idea to study consistently as you learn new things. At the end of your training, it's likely that you'll have to take a written exam, as well as a practicum. For some, a practicum means teaching a class. For other programs, it may be a group-teaching experience.
Any way it's done, there will be a part of your exam where you actively show how you're able to put all that you've learned together into teaching a class.
It's a different process for each teaching program. Unlike other professions that take certification exams directly through an accredited organization, you will typically take your yoga teacher exams with the program you're enrolled in.
Your program leaders will most likely have a partnership and relationship with the Yoga Alliance, and they will certify that you've completed the 200-hour course and passed your exams.
Once you've completed your training and passed your exams, you'll register your certification with the Yoga Alliance. The Yoga Alliance sets the standard for what yoga teaching programs need to teach their future teachers so that they're as informed as possible. There are typically application and registration costs, which can be found here.
You don't need to be registered with the Yoga Alliance to become a yoga instructor. But being a member has many perks. Beyond some studios and gyms wanting to know that you've passed a Yoga Alliance accredited program, you'll receive content for continuing education, discounts, access to their network, and more.
Because Yoga Alliance is so widely known internationally, being a member gives you access to updates on industry standards and regulations. Having updates on how to keep your students safe in your classes is a great way to establish trust with studios, gyms, and students.
Speaking of keeping students safe — you learn a good amount during yoga teacher training on how to prevent injuries to students so you can protect their well-being.
But who is protecting you?
That's where business insurance comes in. While having a membership to Yoga Alliance or a similar organization can be great at keeping you updated on current trends and regulations, it isn't the same as insurance.
You may be familiar with getting insurance to protect your home or car, but it may not be something you thought of when looking into how to become a yoga instructor.
Think of it like this: Yoga teacher insurance is a type of business insurance coverage that bundles different policies to protect your business.
It's similar to a hospital's emergency room. You don't always think of it being there, but if something happens, you're glad it is.
As a yoga teacher, you can try your very best to take precautions, but the human body is complex, and you can't predict whether or not a student may sue you. Even if something happens and you believe you're not at fault, you could still potentially be involved in a lawsuit.
Studios or gyms that hire you may or may not require you to have your own yoga teacher insurance coverage, but it's still a good idea to consider it. That's because you may end up teaching in an environment where you're responsible for protecting yourself against liabilities.
There are two types of policies that could benefit you as a yoga instructor: general liability insurance and professional liability insurance.
General liability insurance, also called commercial liability insurance, typically covers third party damage such as:
You may think that this type of coverage may not apply to you, but it's more common than you'd imagine. A report estimated that between 36%-53% of businesses are involved in a lawsuit in a given year. Sure, you're just now learning how to become a yoga teacher, so you may not think of yourself as a business.
But if you're teaching classes as a certified professional and getting paid, then you have a yoga teaching business.
How would general liability insurance benefit you? Let's look at an example.
Say you're teaching an outdoor yoga class for your town at a local park. Twenty students sign up and you've instructed people to bring their own mat and props (such as blocks or straps) if they would like.
In the middle of a sequence, you give your students options for a pose and its modifications with props. A student pushes themself and rolls their ankle. After class, they tell you they're fine and limp off to their car.
Later, you hear from the student — they needed a brace after visiting the emergency room and will need physical therapy. They’re suing you for medical bills and for the cost of the physical therapy sessions.
Without yoga teacher insurance that has general liability coverage, you may need to pay your student's requested fees out-of-pocket. And if you're like me when I was starting out as a yoga teacher, you don't have a ton of money in the bank to dedicate to lawsuit settlements.
Which brings me to my next point — you could have to pay for a lawyer out-of-pocket too!
With general liability insurance, you could be covered for the cost of your student's medical bills and your legal fees, up to your policy's limit. That would take a lot of pressure off an already stressful situation, so you can focus on your teaching responsibilities.
Professional liability insurance typically covers:
If you're a new instructor, then you may be wondering how this kind of yoga teacher insurance could apply to you. You can never predict how a studio, another teacher, or a student could feel about the work you do. Let's look at an example.
Say you're having a website built to help promote your yoga teaching services. You work with an experienced designer and are very happy with the results. Weeks later, though, you get a call from another local yoga instructor. They say that your site’s design and branding are way too similar to theirs and you're selling similar services. They wind up suing you for copyright infringement.
Phew. Another stressful situation. But aside from breathwork, what will you do about it?
Without yoga teacher business insurance, you'll likely have to settle the lawsuit out-of-pocket. And the requested fees from the other teacher, combined with the costs from hiring a lawyer could put you into debt before you even have a chance to make much money as a teacher.
If you had professional liability insurance, you'd likely be covered for the cost of the requested fees and legal costs, up to your policy's limit.
Now that you have a better idea of how these policies could benefit you, let's dive a bit deeper into how to find one that's right for your business.
Finding the right business insurance policy for you is like finding the perfect mat to practice on. Sure, many mats could technically do the trick, but some may be too thin or not have enough grip. You need to spend some time figuring out what will work best for you, based on your needs.
Take some time to talk to other yoga teachers in your community and in professional organizations. Learn what their experience was like when shopping for yoga teacher insurance for their business; if they're comfortable telling you, you also can ask about their experience dealing with any claims.
Finally, look at the available options. With Simply Business you can compare quotes for free. Typically, prices are affordable, too, with general liability insurance starting as low as *$22.50**.
That means for the cost of a typical drop-in yoga class, you could protect your yoga teaching business against the “what-ifs.”
Get an affordable & customized policy in just minutes. So you can get back to what matters: Your business.Start Here >
We've gone over how to become a certified yoga instructor, but what does it take to keep your certification?
If you decide to study with a yoga training program that's accredited by the Yoga Alliance, then you'll likely need to maintain its continuing education requirements. The Yoga Alliance requires that within three years of your initial training, you complete 45 hours of teaching and 30 hours of training.
If you want to maintain your Yoga Alliance membership and accreditation, then continuing your education is likely necessary. But it's also helpful for you as a teacher in general.
We learn so much information in a yoga teacher training program, but it's just the tip of the iceberg when we think of the knowledge available. The more time passes, the more you'll likely see the need to deepen your practice and knowledge. The more you know, the better you're able to serve your students.
Not all continuing education credits are found through the Yoga Alliance. You can take courses and seminars with your local studio and still receive credit. Check with the Yoga Alliance's continuing education flowchart here to see if a course you're considering qualifies for continuing education.
Once you've completed your program and yoga certification exam, it's time to start looking for jobs. After all your studying and practice, you'll have the opportunity to teach students and start making money!
It's standard in the yoga industry to audition with a studio or gym during the teaching interview process.
I know what you may be thinking — "I signed up to be a yoga teacher, not a performer." I had the same thought. But think again: Each class you've taken has been different, in part, because of the person teaching it. Each instructor brings something different to their classes, and this is your chance to highlight what you bring to yours.
Maybe you focus on anatomy and strength-building, or perhaps you focus more on the mental benefits that come from yoga while leading your students into deep meditation. You still may be getting a feel for your teaching style, and that's OK — auditions are a perfect time to practice.
Be prepared to teach a portion of a sequence or an entire sequence. Some auditions are one-on-one between you and the studio manager, while other auditions may happen in a group setting. In that case, you'll likely be asked to teach part of a class together with other potential teachers.
Make sure you're ready to stand out in your audition by feeling confident in how you use your cues for students and understand how to properly adjust a student if they need it. You may not always need to adjust a student's pose in class, but if you see an opportunity during your audition to adjust someone's form, then take it.
Adjusting students can be one of the more nerve-racking parts of teaching to someone new to the front of the classroom.
As time moves on and you get more practice during your training, these nerves will begin to ease. Many yoga training programs will address physical adjustments thoroughly so that you feel prepared.
But that's also a great reason to consider yoga teacher insurance. Having general liability coverage could help to cover you if a student were to make a claim against you; in the meantime, it could help take some stress off your plate.
Now that we've covered the steps for how to become a yoga instructor, you likely have the information you need to begin your journey and get certified.
Remember that just as yoga itself is a practice, so is teaching. As time goes on and you get more experience, you'll learn more about how to best teach your students and create classes they love!
Monthly payment calculations (i) do not include initial premium down payment and (ii) may vary by state, insurance provider, and nature of your business. Averages based on January-December 2020 data of 10% of our total policies sold. *
I’ve told stories since I learned to talk and written since I could hold a pen. As a small business owner myself - I'm a freelance writer and yoga teacher - I love contributing to the entrepreneurship community in different ways (including writing for Simply Business!). When I’m not drafting articles for SB, I can be found on my yoga mat, perusing an indie bookstore, and writing (with my cat nearby of course).
This content is for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. Please obtain expert advice from industry specific professionals who may better understand your business’s needs. Read our full disclaimer
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