What's The Best Way To Become A Yoga Teacher?

Are you passionate about yoga? Have you been thinking about getting a yoga teacher certification, but are hesitant because of all the time and money it takes? 

Many teacher training programs require several years of study, and others cost in excess of $6,000, so for many people it’s hard to justify turning your passion into a career. 

The following maps out a few different paths you can take, plus lists the pros and cons of each path to help you make an informed choice as to the best way to proceed with your dream. 

Enroll in a 200-hr Yoga Alliance approved curriculum

Pros

If you choose a yoga school that is registered with Yoga Alliance, the global governing body of yoga teacher certifications, you will be able to join an international registry that recognizes your completion of the minimum standards to becoming a certified yoga teacher. 

Having these standards gives you the ability to insure yourself, express your credibility, and allow your students to trust that you know how to avoid the many risks involved in practicing yoga. 

Cons

While Yoga Alliance has defined some standards for modern-day yoga teachers, they are only minimum standards. Unless you sign up with a program that promotes additional study beyond these basic requirements, you'll likely fall behind the fast-moving trends and progressions in the current yoga industry. 

Follow a guru

Traditionally, aspiring yoga teachers worked one-on-one with their teacher, until he or she deemed them ready to begin teaching. This was often a long and arduous process.

Pros

If you are lucky enough to train exclusively with a revered yoga master, such as B.K.S. Iyengar, seize the opportunity and forget about your 200-hr minimum. If you get the OK from Iyengar himself that you're ready to become a yoga teacher, you've just won yourself a title higher than any minimum standard can give you.

Cons

This is not only extremely unlikely, it will also be extremely expensive, and may take many years to gain the approval to begin teaching. Gurus are not just looking for your ability to name the muscles used in yoga poses, they want to believe in your spiritual authenticity. This requires taking your commitment to yoga to an entirely new level, and making it your one and only priority. 

Take classes for umpteen years

Many people feel that because they’ve practiced yoga forever, they are automatically qualified to teach it. While in certain cases, this may be adequate, it's not acceptable in most circumstances. 

Pros

There is no extra cost. There is no preparation time. You don’t have to jump through hoops to hang a shingle on the door and open your yoga studio. 

Cons

Being a yoga teacher is a completely different ballgame than being a yoga student. As a student, we mainly just focus on ourselves. It takes a certain level of professional training to learn how to read people’s body language, respond appropriately to emotional needs, and act professionally when taking the role of a leader. While some people innately possess the qualities of a true teacher, others will not have these skills until they are learned and put into practice. 

Still not sure which direction to take?

Yoga is about evolving and striving to reach our full potential. Whether you decide to register with Yoga Alliance, or have the opportunity to be trained one-on-one by a master, or have practiced yoga since you were nine years old, the path you are on, or choose to go on, will at least be life enhancing and personally satisfying. 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com


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