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How to Become a Certified Yoga Teacher

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A woman lays on her yoga mat as she takes notes during her yoga teacher certification course.

Are you wanting to make a career out of teaching yoga? You’ll want to consider getting certified first.

Becoming a certified yoga teacher is not a requirement to teach—it’s a requirement to be employed.

Getting certified shows you have a deep understanding of the practice, you know how to safely lead a class, and you’ve put the dedication and effort into perfecting your teaching style.

If you’ve been wondering how to become a certified yoga teacher, you’re in the right place! Today Insurance Canopy is going to explain the process so you can be one step closer to sharing the gift of yoga with others.

A group of yoga teachers are attending a certification class at a local studio.

What’s the difference between CYT & RYT?

When it comes to getting certified, you’ll often see the acronyms CYT and RYT used.

  • CYT means Certified Yoga Teacher. It shows you have completed the necessary training required to teach yoga.
  • RYT means Registered Yoga Teacher. This term is specific to Yoga Alliance and shows a yoga teacher is registered with them.

If you complete a yoga teacher program through a school registered with Yoga Alliance (an RSY, or Registered Yoga School), you can then also register yourself as a teacher with Yoga Alliance and become an RYT.

A yoga teacher smiles at her laptop as she completes her yoga teacher certification program and is getting ready to start teaching once she buys yoga teacher insurance.

Do Your Research And Choose Your Style

There are dozens of different yoga styles out there, but that doesn’t mean you have to learn them all. You are likely already familiar with some of the techniques out there and have a passion for one (or more). Start by looking into programs that can help you get certified in your preferred yoga style.

As you advance in your yoga teaching career, you can expand your certifications to include other styles or go into a more niche teaching method. After all, yoga is all about growth and connection. The more you grow your knowledge, the more connected with the practice and your students you can become.

You will also want to look at the:

  • Costs: Some CYT programs are going to cost more than others, so take into account how much it will cost you. Typically, CYT programs range from $1,500–$5,000 depending on the location, teacher, length, and curriculum.
  • Location: There are three ways you can be certified—at a retreat, in a studio, or online. Not everyone can take time away from work or family for a month to attend a retreat in another city, state, or country, so local or online programs are a great alternative.
  • Instructor: Sometimes there are influential figures in the yoga world who lead classes, or maybe you have a favorite teacher who’s teaching an upcoming course at a local studio. This can make the certification process much more enjoyable for you.
  • Curriculum: Look into the styles and types of yoga you will be learning during the program to see if it is something you are interested in learning to teach. You may also want to see if there are additional benefits, like memberships, that come with it.
  • Timeframe: Getting certified is a huge effort on your part. You’ll want to pick a CYT program with a schedule that fits yours. Some can be completed in a month, but require you to attend a full time retreat. Others can be done over time online or on weekends.
A yoga instructor leads a class of yoga teacher students through their certification at a remote retreat.

Complete 200+ Hours At A Yoga School In Line With Yoga Alliance Requirements

We’ve talked a little bit about Yoga Alliance, so what exactly is it? Yoga Alliance started in 1999 as a way to help regulate the yoga world. As the practice was starting to gain popularity, so was misinformation and poor teaching habits. Yoga Alliance stepped in to set standards for teachers and schools, and to build a community where yogis could share connection and knowledge.

When a school is registered with Yoga Alliance, they are following the highest standards for yoga teachers. You can feel confident in your certification from an RYS! Many employers require your certification to be done through an RYS, or for you to be an RYT, before you can start working.

The standard for getting a basic yoga teacher certification is to complete a 200 hour training program. There are additional certifications beyond this to signify more speciality or advanced training.

It’s also recommended to receive your CPR certification and get yoga insurance in addition to your yoga teacher certification. Many studios will require you to show proof of CPR certification and yoga teacher insurance to be hired. It also shows you care about your student’s health and safety while learning from you.

A yoga teacher practices outside on her yoga mat next to her laptop as she works on a virtual yoga teacher certification program.

Apply For A Registered Yoga Teacher Certification

Oftentimes, yoga teacher training is broken out into three groups. These are categorized by the amount of hours it takes to complete the course. They can also vary based on the style or type of yoga you are learning.

Basic or CYT-200

The basic certification is known as a CYT-200. This 200-hour course is the standard for yoga teacher certification, and is a requirement to teach classes at most gyms and yoga studios.

These courses typically include a mentor or guidance from a trained and registered yoga instructor as you are first starting out. The course will help you learn how to safely run a class, make teaching plans, and avoid injuries. These classes are either completed in a month-long retreat or in workshops and classes set during the courses of a few months.

You may find some CYT-200 programs require you to teach classes that are watched and evaluated by an experienced instructor before you can be certified.

Specialty or CYT-300

The speciality certification is known as a CYT-300. This 300-hour course covers what you would learn in the basic program, but takes more time for you to learn more specialized skills.

Enrolling in this program would allow you to learn how to teach yoga classes in more unique locations, such as schools, offices, or medical centers. The certification will also teach you how to teach more niche groups of students, like children, pregnant women, or someone with a medical ailment.

This program is best for someone who wants to be a freelance yoga teacher or for an individual who wants to add yoga classes onto their list of offerings.

Advanced or CYT-500

The advanced certification is known as CYT-500. This 500-hour course covers what you would learn in the basic or standard program, but allows you to show your mastery in a style or train other teachers.

This program is considered by many to be the equivalent of a master’s degree in yoga. These programs take around two to three years to complete. Some require you to show a certain hours of yoga taught before you can enroll.

Some styles of yoga come with a tiered certification level, such as beginner, intermediate, and master teacher levels. Getting an advanced level certification allows you to progress in your skills and even jump certification levels.

E-RYT 200 & E-RYT 500

This is a newer certification level established by Yoga Alliance. The “E” signifies “Experienced.”

An E-RTY 200 certification shows you have completed a minimum of 1,000 hours of teaching experience since completing your initial certification. It also shows you’ve taught for a minimum of two years since your first training.

An E-RTY 500 certification shows you have completed a minimum of 2,000 hours of teaching experience since completing your initial certification. It also shows you’ve taught for a minimum of four years since your first training.

A group of yoga teachers stretch in a local studio before their yoga teacher certification class.

Can I Complete Yoga Teacher Training Online?

Yes, you can complete yoga teacher training online through a variety of different programs. This is a great option for someone who has other priorities or responsibilities in life and cannot take time away to attend a full time training class or retreat.

Some of the most popular online yoga certification programs are:

Getting certified online might not be for everyone. Yoga is a very personal practice and can be better understood by learning how to teach it through an in-person class. Many local yoga studios will host yoga teacher classes periodically. It may be worthwhile to see if any studios or schools near you are hosting yoga teacher training.

A yoga teacher poses on a beach after finishing certification and getting yoga teacher insurance.

Launch Your Business!

Once you’re certified as a yoga teacher, it’s time to start teaching. Whether you choose to join a club as a teacher, open your own studio, or start a business online, you’ll want to be sure you have yoga insurance.

There can be a lot of risks that come with teaching yoga and operating your own shala, so it’s best practice to be insured. You can easily buy yoga teacher insurance online in minutes with Insurance Canopy. Policies start at $12.50 a month, making it more affordable than ever to get the quality protection you deserve.

There’s no better time than now to start your journey to becoming a certified yoga teacher. We wish you the best!

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