Yoga teacher training is an immersive experience that guides yogis through the principles of yoga training to prepare them to become knowledgeable teachers. In the United States, teacher training programs that meet certain minimum accreditation standards are recognized by the Yoga Alliance, a national organization that includes many different styles of yoga, including hatha and vinyasa. More specialized forms of yoga, such as Baptiste Power Yoga, Iyengar or Bikram, have their own specific training program.
In general, yoga training includes physical poses (asanas), the philosophy and history of yoga, breath work (pranayama), and meditation. While a typical training day varies based on the practice style, most programs include multiple daily asana practices, advanced poses, alignment principles and asana sequencing. Philosophy of yoga, along with practical teaching tips, is incorporated throughout. Assisting is an important part of training; assisting techniques are taught to help safely bring students into the “perfect” expression of a pose for their body and wellness needs.
The USA-based Yoga Alliance offers two levels of certification. The registry lists teachers that are RYT-200 (completed a 200 hour training program from a registered yoga school) and RYT-500 (completed a 500 hour training program from a registered yoga school). The E-RYT designation (Experience Registered Yoga Teacher) distinguishes teachers with significant teaching experience. Individuals with the EYRT-200 designation have taught for at least two years and accrued more than 1,000 hours of teaching experience. EYRT-500 teachers have taught for at least 4 years with more than 2,000 hours of teaching experience.
Most teacher training programs require individuals to complete a short application prior to admittance. In general, two years of regular yoga practice (or more) is preferred; applicants may also need one or more recommendations from current yoga instructors. The cost for most teacher training programs begins at $3,000, although individuals may pay more for books and registration fees. Shorter programs are usually more intensive; participants may meet every day for several weeks or months. Other programs may last for up to six months, but only meet bi-weekly.
Even for experienced practitioners, yoga teacher training programs can be very intense, demanding and transformative experiences. Yoga teacher training helps individuals deepen their practice and provides space for empowerment and self-actualization. Through compulsory coursework and exams, daily practice, and intensive training, individuals immerse themselves in a powerful environment of yoga education and personal development. This facilitates the personal awakening necessary to become a truly effective yoga teacher.