"The good teacher is the one who suggests rather than imposes, and who gives his pupil the urge to teach too" Edward Bulwer-Lytton
This quote summarizes the principle cycle in the spiritual discipline that is yoga: to transmit, to move, to guide. But like any personal project (or professional retraining), becoming a yoga teacher is not for everyone.
In addition to the necessary training, the steps to be taken or the conditions of employability, this postural art does not offer the same trainings and certification from one country to another: Yoga is not recognized in the UK as an official discipline, however, it is India, its cultural birthplace.
If you are just curious or have a strong desire to become a yoga teacher, read the guide below!
Training to Become a Yoga Instructor
Yoga intensives, year-long training, workshops, recognized schools, yoga retreats abroad... there are thousands of yoga teacher training programs offered to become a yoga teacher, but all do not have the same professional value. How to choose which course is best for you? The question is becoming even more relevant, because every year hundreds of students begin a yoga teacher training course, and never end up finishing it.
Which yoga training is the most suitable for you? Know that there are two main types:
- Long courses, which consist of obtaining a diploma or certification in teaching yoga
- Short courses, which focus on learning a speciality or type of yoga.
A long yoga teacher training is highly recommended for those who wish to teach in a yoga centre: demanding and engaging, it is an intensive advanced training that requires 100hrs to 500hrs of training... Long training programmes are accessible from schools or from one of the many professional yoga associations, including the 4 main ones:
- British Wheel of Yoga (BWY)
- Yoga Alliance UK
- Yoga Alliance (International)
- Independent Yoga Network (IYN)
The courses offered last from 2 to 5 years, give you professional certification from a recognized school and allows you access to the professional network of the association to help you find your first job. The course of studies is done over the years, in several stages, for example:
- A first year dedicated to the acquisition of theoretical and practical knowledge
- A second year focused on yoga practice
- Then another two to three years to train with practitioners in a yoga school, in parallel with writing a memoir.
Note: it is not a full-time course, your group classes are organized on weekends and your individual classes take place on weekdays. Yoga instruction is spread over the entire schooling year, depending on the goal. Tuition fees can range from £1,000 to £6000 a year, depending on the type, of course, offered amd the school's reputation.
Did you know ? There are now about fifty long training courses to be a yoga teacher in the UK, compared to more than 1,500 short courses ...
For those who already have a degree, or who would not want to return to school, short courses or à la carte are ideal. They aim to deepen your knowledge or to perfect a technique, such as:
- Yoga therapy training
- Yoga training for children
- Prenatal yoga training or postnatal yoga
- Integral yoga training
The training can take different forms, from the yoga retreat to the summer internship. It can also help you discover other types of yoga. Let yourself be guided and inspired!
To find the ideal training, visit Yoga Alliance, a training organization that brings together all training and employment opportunities related to yoga.
Teaching Yoga Without a Diploma?
Since this is an unregulated profession, everyone is free to set the rules for teacher training: for example, some schools will not require you to take training, while for others other, academic courses are just as important as the yoga experiences you will get along the way.
You might have wondered if it is possible to give yoga classes without a diploma? This is indeed possible, provided you can submit an inpeccable resume, benefitting from several experiences:
- Practical internship with a confirmed yogi
- Yoga class in India, during a trip
- Regular practice of several types of yoga (green yoga, raja yoga)
Put yourself in the place of the practitioners: between a young graduate yoga teacher with serious experiences in school, and a yoga teacher without a degree but with experiences from around the world- which will they be more likely to choose? The one that makes it enjoyable to learn!
Independent and complementary training can be followed. The training cycle can focus on a discipline in general, or on specific techniques:
- Alternative medicine (including acupuncture)
- Breathing exercises mastery
You may decide to be a specialized yoga teacher only part-time, and dedicate the rest of the time to personal development activities to help your students in the best possible way. For this, it is necessary to define your motivations for becoming a yoga teacher, which is one of the key steps to help create your dream.
My yoga teacher guided me along the way. It was only after a few weeks that I learned that he did not graduate from any school, but that he had received specific training in my field of interest. My practice would not have evolved so much without this teaching learned in the field, and I thank him for that!
The Steps to Take Before Being a Yoga Teacher
This is a question that will surely be asked to you: why do you want to become a yoga teacher? Because it's fashionable? Because it's trendy? Because you want to become a spiritual and emotional guide as a yoga teacher? If your answer is more along the latter, then every chance of fufilling tht dream and teaching yoga, having passed by a few important steps first.
The first of these is to take stock of your motivations, to determine your strengths and weaknesses. You are about to embark upon a long and difficult path, where you will have to continually deepen your mantra, acquire new knowledge, make each of your students feel the spirituality of this ancestral art, and help them to reach their full potential.
Know that you will need to show knowledge, listening and passion throughout your career: the steps to become a yoga teacher (it must be said) are difficult! In addition, it will be necessary to choose a specialty, and there are many choices to choose from:
- Kundalini yoga
- Hatha yoga
- Mantra yoga
- Vinyasa yoga
- Yoga sutra
- Yoga Iyengar
- Yoga nidra
- Yoga shiva
- Laughter Yoga and more
In addition to defining a training which suits you, it is necessary to determine a style of teaching adapted to and in relation with your personality. For this, sign up for other courses where you can practice yoga in other ways, try other asanas, listen to other teachers and feel for yourself your preferences in types and styles.
Other short courses can also introduce you to the Indian tradition as a whole, for a better understanding of the benefits of yoga.
After different rewarding professional experiences and courses, your certificate of training in your pocket (or your resume) and your motivation flowing, all you have to do now is to make yourself known! Platforms like Superprof make it possible to put teachers and yoga students in contact, on the basis of a geographical research, if you want to practice as an independent instructor. But how can you make yourself known if you want to give classes in a yoga school in paralell or instead?
What Qualities Are Needed to Give Classes in a Yoga Studio?
First, there are specific conditions for teaching yoga in schools, including:
- Being over 18 years old
- Having at least two years of yoga practice
- Be motivated to teach your yoga classes holistically all day long
While the qualification of a yoga teacher training is not always mandatory, you will have a period of probation (or test) if you are recruited in a yoga school. This will determine if you can give yoga classes with concentration, professionalism and philosophical awareness.
Most important, too, will be your yoga teacher status within the school, although they all have disadvantages:
- As an employee, you will be subject to a defined training program without the freedom to choose
- As a volunteer, you will not receive any compensation
- As a freelancer, you will not always have regular classes and will only be called upon occasionally
If the teaching conditions in schools do not suit you, you can always decide to set up your own yoga center, and build your reputation! You can also establish a yoga association, if the demand in your area is high. Create opportunities to feel the joy of teaching your passion!
A thousand-year-old discipline, yoga combines the mind and the body. That's why it can take time to prepare and ready yourself to teach, because the question is not so much how to become a yoga teacher, but rather to know if you are ready to embark on this wonderful spiritual adventure. I hope this guide might have been helpful and perhaps enlightening!
Now consider tutor jobs as a yoga instructor; a situation wherein you may set your own hours and teach the type of yoga you prefer!