How to Become a Certified Yoga Instructor

How to Become a Certified Yoga Instructor

Matt Crawford
By Matt Crawford
Apr 25, 2020
8 min read

Whether you want to become a certified yoga instructor in Florida or California, there are steps you will need to take no matter where you want to start your practice.

Most studios will require that you have certification, and you might be asked to provide proof of yoga instructor insurance, which would cover expenses if there is an injury during a class.

Once you have both, you'll have the flexibility and security to take you practice to new heights. That means you'll be setting your own schedule and working to conquer your goals.

For some people, it might be unusual to think of your yoga practice as a small business — but that's exactly what it is. Keep that in mind as you create new classes and bring on more students.

In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about becoming a certified yoga instructor, including:

• Yoga certification basics
• Different types of yoga teacher certification
• Continuing education for yoga instructors
• How to protect your yoga practice

Yoga certification basics

Many studios require basic yoga certification before they'll hire you as a yoga teacher.

Certification also assures your students that you understand the principles of yoga, you’ve learned how to run a class and prevent injury, and you take your yoga instruction seriously enough to invest the time in a yoga teacher training certification.

There are also specialty courses that will allow you to teach unique populations, such as the elderly, pregnant women, postpartum women, children, and students with injuries or ailments.

Yoga Alliance certification

The Yoga Alliance is a nonprofit membership trade and professional organization that sets minimum standards for yoga teacher certification programs.

Some studios may require you to be certified with a Yoga Alliance approved program, while others may require you to be registered with the Alliance. Their baseline for becoming a certified yoga instructor is a 200-hour hands-on program.

While you may be able to find shorter courses, these will not be recognized by the Yoga Alliance and may not be accepted by employers.

There are many different schools that offer yoga certification programs, and each one will vary in their requirements. It's important to consider your goals and motivation for becoming a yoga teacher before you invest time and money into a certification course.

Types of yoga teacher certification

There are generally three types of yoga certifications, although the variations of yoga styles are almost limitless. Certification is just a step in a lifelong journey of growth and education. Are you ready?

Basic yoga teacher certification

A 200-hour course is the standard for yoga instructor certification, and most yoga studios require it before you can schedule a class.

Basic certification can be set up in several different ways, including an intensive month-long retreat or a series of weekend workshops spread over several months to accommodate trainees who may have other responsibilities.

Some programs may require your yoga practice or classes to be watched and evaluated, while others may require mentoring with experienced teachers.

Specialty yoga instructor certification

Specialty yoga teacher training classes or workshops may run over a single weekend or cover several months of intensive training.

These training programs allow you to offer specialized yoga classes, such as in schools or hospitals, or they could allow you to instruct specialty groups, such as children’s classes, prenatal classes, elderly classes, classes for stress relief or back pain, and more.

If you're a teacher or a daycare provider looking to offer yoga as an add-on to classes you already teach or considering moving into a freelance teacher role, these types of certification could be relevant to you.

Advanced yoga instructor certification

If you've already received basic yoga instructor certification and are looking to take your practice to the next level, there are options for more advanced yoga instructor certifications.

These are typically 500-hour programs that run over two or three years and can be considered the equivalent of a master’s degree for yoga teachers. They often require you to show a certain number of hours spent teaching.

Since some styles of yoga have multiple certification levels, including junior instructor, senior instructor, or master teacher (to train yoga teachers), courses like these may let you jump a level of certification.

How to choose a yoga course for certification

Yoga certification courses typically include history and philosophy, anatomy and physiology, exercise and relaxation, and teaching skills. But they may vary in other ways, including:

  • Focus - The focus of the program will vary from course to course. Find one that best suits your style as a yoga instructor. For example, you may be looking for a focus on traditional yoga concepts, such as Ayurvedic principles.
  • Cost - The cost of becoming a certified yoga instructor varies greatly, and may be a factor in your decision. A yoga certification course cost can range from $1,500 to over $5,000.
  • Location - You may be looking for a yoga course that is close to home that you can conveniently attend after hours or on the weekend. Perhaps you’re looking for an intensive retreat experience out of the city.
  • Teacher - You might like to attend a class where a yoga teacher you particularly respect was certified or you may be able to learn from a teacher you admire.
  • Timeframe - There are many different ways that yoga training certification courses can be organized. The 200 hours can be spread out over a year or two with weekend workshops or night time classes, or you can join an intensive month-long retreat or join several long seminars.
  • Online vs. Offline - Many courses provide yoga instructor certification online. These offer the advantage of allowing you to learn on your own schedule, typically at a lower cost.

yoga certification course

Continuing education for yoga instructors

200-hour courses will earn you a basic certification, but that's just scratching the surface in a practice that is thousands of years old. The key to becoming a successful yoga teacher is to practice and continue to learn and grow.

It’s important to find a mentor and peers who can help you improve your practice. After becoming certified instructors, many yogis find a studio where they can work under a master yoga instructor and continue to improve.

Eventually, if you are ready to go out on your own, you can explore options for opening your own yoga studio. Learn more about how to open your yoga studio.

How to protect your yoga practice

Once you’re certified and before you begin teaching students, it's important to consider your risks and business insurance needs.

Having yoga teacher insurance will be a requirement for many studios, and it's an important way for you to protect your personal finances.

For example, general liability insurance would cover legal costs if a student gets injured during a class and claims that it was your fault. If you are held responsible for the injury, your policy will pay for the medical costs up to your policy limit.

Next Insurance specializes in coverage that protects yoga instructors from the risks they face every day.

Once you have a policy, you'll have access to free, unlimited certificates of insurance that can be shared with your clients to provide proof of insurance.

Start an instant quote online to get coverage.

How to Become a Certified Yoga Instructor


matt crawford
About the author

Matt Crawford leads NEXT's content team. He's a small business insurance specialist and has worked with business owners throughout his career as a community journalist and content marketer.

You can find him at one of his many favorite local restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area when he's not at work.

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