Everything You Need To Know About Yoga Teacher Training

Everything You Need to Know About yoga teacher training

So, you’re practicing yoga and feeling the amazing changes that it brings.  You’re part of an great community of people and feeling stronger, more flexible and centered.  When you’re in class you start to think “I could teach this practice”. As you start to explore the thousands of options, it can be difficult to decide what training is right for you.

Feel Better Yoga Teacher Training

Feel Better Yoga Teacher Training

Here are some important basics to keep in mind as you begin your journey.

Yoga Alliance is the only registry of yoga teachers in the U.S.  This is an association of teachers who have joined together to agree on standards of training.  Yoga Alliance, the US based non-profit governing body of yoga has set standards for training program content and many training courses follow these standards and guidelines. Getting a teacher training certificate through a school that is affiliated with the Yoga Alliance can give you confidence in knowing that their course content has been registered. The Yoga Alliance recognizes courses at the 200-, 300-, 500-level, and beyond. 500-hour training may also be achieved by combining 200-hour and 300-hour training.

More information about these basic levels can be found here: RYT 200 RYT 500

Due to the sheer number of programs, searching for a suitable one may seem overwhelming. Timing, location, and cost are factors to consider. Also consider what type of learner you are, if you do better with an immersion style of learning, or if you would need to break up the learning shorter sessions over a longer period of time. Think about your lifestyle and if going away on an immersion learning experience or staying in your hometown would make the most sense.  . While Immersion learning can be time efficient, it’s often difficult to absorb and assimilate the abundance of information needed to teach in a short period of time.

Students often seek teacher training programs in the same yoga style that they practice. Different styles of yoga offer different teacher trainings. Bikram Yoga training and CorePower Yoga training are standardized and corporately-owned. These differ from Ayurvedic Yoga training or Therapeutic Yoga training in their offerings as well as their overall approach to the practice of yoga.

Many online courses are available, but is online yoga teacher training the best way to become an effective yoga teacher?  Without feedback from a master teacher it’s difficult to assess our strengths and weaknesses.

When considering teacher training, 200-hour level courses are a good starting place. Divided into modules, these courses contain different aspects of teaching. After completing 200-hour training, many students continue with 300-hour training to broaden their knowledge.

Most studios and gyms that hire new yoga teachers require a minimum 200 hour training certificate.  Yoga Alliance, the US based non-profit governing body of yoga has set standards for training program content and many training courses follow these standards and guidelines. Getting a teacher training certificate through a school that is affiliated with the Yoga Alliance can give you the confidence in knowing that their course content has been regulated. The Yoga Alliance recognizes courses at the 200-, 300-, 500-level, and beyond. 500-hour training may also be achieved by combining 200-hour and 300-hour training.

If you’d like more information on 200 and 500 hour yoga teacher training please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

What Makes a Good Yoga Teacher?

If you've studied yoga and have favorite teachers, consider what makes them appealing. Good yoga teachers connect with students. Some teachers focus on a set agenda, regardless of who attends class. Good teachers, however, understand their students and provide access to everyone in attendance, while giving clear instruction. Good teachers also practice Ahimsa, or non-harming, a key yoga principle. By providing safe classes and avoiding potential injuries by not exceeding students' abilities, they provide an environment to explore and find comfort and ease in practicing yoga.

Choosing the Right Yoga Teacher Training Course


With so many possible choices, program costs should be affordable and worth the investment. Courses registered with the Yoga Alliance may cost a few thousand dollars, totalling payment to instructors, course material, location, etc.


Research teachers involved in the training course, and ensure a program has qualified teachers that you would feel comfortable with for the course duration. Know about their background in teaching and make sure you have confidence in their abilities to teach the type of course that you have chosen.


Courses can run for several months, depending on content. Some take place on weekends, offered one or two weekends monthly. Others run as an immersion style, meaning instruction runs an entire month, or is split into blocks, such as two 10-day increments or something similar. You should anticipate time for homework assignments and outside of classroom work, such as practice teaching.  Ensure practice time is included, where students teach each other, or the opportunity to teach an actual class is provided. Homework is essential, whether reading or written assignments, as this broadens your studies and allows you to explore beyond class time.

What to Avoid

Becoming a good yoga teacher takes time, usually with a certified teacher to help develop effective skills. Avoiding short programs or instant certifications without much work is wise.

Why You Should Avoid Online Yoga Teacher Training

Online training, while potentially appealing, lacks depth in many aspects. Working with a certified teacher over a longer time helps develop teaching skills. Asking questions and interacting with fellow students helps broaden knowledge of the many aspects related to teaching. Teachers may highlight important aspects, such as safety in specific yoga poses, that online course might miss.  Online students also tend to miss out on the community that is created in a hands-on course.

Most importantly, it’s harder to learn teaching subtleties from an online option. While possibly convenient in the short term, one should avoid this option if serious about becoming a good yoga teacher.

200 Hour vs 500 Hour yoga teacher training

An excellent starting point, the 200-hour level gives a solid foundation. The length of courses offers the opportunity to construct a program divided into several units covering minimum required knowledge, including anatomy, yoga history, yoga poses, etc. Many teachers may feel that this level of teaching certification is sufficient and feel comfortable teaching with this level of training.  It’s a good starting point to see if teaching is for you. As with any profession, more study is required to create a vibrant teaching practice that combines knowledge and wisdom.

The 500-hour level teacher teacher training provides an opportunity to broaden your studies. Additional units are added to the curriculum and goes deeper into the different aspects of yoga, allowing for more time to develop your skills of teaching.  Spreading out training by beginning to teach after your 200 hour training and then adding an additional 300 hours of training can enrich your knowledge and help develop your understanding of the practice.

Bikram yoga teacher training Vs. CorePower yoga teacher training

These two types of training are very physical in nature and focus primarily on one branch of yoga, the asana, or yoga poses. These are corporate-brand styles of yoga and are the same wherever a studio offers them. These trainings are very specific and will not allow broader training in aspects of yoga that other training programs might offer. Bikram Yoga, also known as Hot Yoga, focuses on 26 primary poses, without variation, that are taught in extreme heat. All Bikram studios offer the same class, without exception. Specific and non varied classes often times do not suit all types of students attending a class. Doing repetitive poses without variation over a long period of time often leads to injury or strain in the body, and can be more detrimental than beneficial.  CorePower yoga is also a brand of yoga, focusing on the intense physical practice of yoga. CorePower studios are company owned, therefore they are all similar in layout and what they offer, without much variation from location to location.

Yoga Therapy vs. Yoga Teacher Training

While many yoga classes are therapeutic  there are specific differences between Yoga Therapy Training and Yoga Teacher Training.  Some teachers focus their classes using the asana as exercise while others will include a pranayama and meditation practices in their classes.  There are classes that are geared towards students with specific conditions that might require modifications and attention to areas that can’t be covered in other classes.  As you grow and expand your teaching practice and training, you might specialize in one area of teaching.

Yoga Therapy, on the other hand tends to focus primarily on the needs of individual clients.  Using the many tools of asana, pranayama and mindfulness, the yoga therapist assists clients with specific symptoms to discover and manage imbalances that create pain, sleeplessness and discomfort in their lives.

Why We Recommend Ayurvedic Teacher Training

Ayurveda, an ancient healing and preventative health system, is yoga’s sister science. It’s therefore natural to teach yoga alongside ayurveda. Yoga, meditation, and pranayama are taught to address body imbalances. Ayurvedic practices such as learning to choose foods based on the season, learning what type of yoga practice is suitable for the time of year, and various pranayama practices are explored.You will learn different techniques to design yoga classes to account for time of day, annual seasons, and season of life. This comprehensive training aims to balance all aspects of body, mind, and spirit, while honoring natural life-cycles. Finding balance in the body comes not only from physical aspects of yoga poses, but also from marrying breath with movement, stillness of mind during meditation, and learning how to nourish body and soul with foods and natural body products. This is especially important in today's fast-paced world. Ayurveda teaches slowing down, to notice subtitles in the body, to address imbalances, and to aim to live a full life of balance and ease.

Karen Quinn