If you want to become a certified yoga instructor or a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with the Yoga Alliance, you will need to complete a comprehensive yoga teacher training program. Yoga instructor training programs typically range in length from two weeks to two years or more, depending on whether you are preparing for yoga certification, taking courses towards a degree program, or completing continuing education courses. These programs focus on the core yoga philosophy and way of life, as well as correct postures, breathing techniques and meditation. Successful completion of a formal yoga instructor training program can lead to certification or even a yoga therapy degree.

What to Expect with Yoga Teacher Training Programs

Teaching yoga is about inner transformation and enlightenment. Unlike regular yoga classes, yoga teacher training programs push the student to explore the field of yoga in depth and to participate in more intensive exercise and research sessions. Yoga teachers must learn how to develop self-awareness, knowledge and creative skills in their yoga practice, and also learn how to encourage this type of development in their students.

Experienced yoga teachers learn how to incorporate yoga practice into their daily life and adopt many lifestyle habits based on yoga philosophies. This may include practicing yoga throughout the day, participating in yoga retreats throughout the year, eating certain types of foods, practicing meditation and learning deep relaxation skills. Those who want to deepen their knowledge and experience with yoga can work towards becoming a certified yoga teacher or yoga instructor.

Some schools and training centers offer weeklong yoga instructor training programs, while others offer weekend training sessions and workshops where students earn a certain number of credit hours. Students who want to receive yoga certification and become a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with the national Yoga Alliance need to complete at least 200 hours of training.

Sample Yoga Instructor Training Program Curriculum

Yoga instructor training programs cover the history of yoga, general teaching methodology, practicum anatomy and physiology, and breathing technique.

The curriculum of a standard yoga instructor training program typically includes the following courses and lectures:

  • Prana and breathing techniques
  • Sequencing
  • Relaxation and meditation
  • Styles of Hatha-Yoga
  • Karma and Dharma
  • Chakra balancing
  • Raja-Yoga
  • Jnana-Yoga
  • Nutrition

Some schools that offer yoga teacher training programs are registered with the Yoga Alliance. The Yoga Alliance provides support services and yoga teacher certification throughout the United States, and has partnered with select schools around the country to offer both certification and continuing education courses.

Students who wish to become a teacher must decide what style of yoga they want to study, what types of students they want to work with as a teacher, and what kind of class schedule they can manage with their current work schedule or other commitments. Answering these questions can help to narrow down the search of available yoga teacher training programs in their area. Some schools and training organizations also offer yoga teacher training online.

Online Yoga Instructor Training Programs

Students who prefer to complete a home study or distance education program can complete an online yoga instructor training program. These programs typically cover similar topics as an offline program, including yoga technique, methodology, anatomy and kinesiology, yoga philosophy, independent research study and electives. Some also include basic guidelines for chakra balancing, meditation and relaxation techniques, and education on growing a successful business as a yoga instructor.

After completing this type of program, students may be better prepared to take a Yoga Fitness Instructor Certification exam.