Yoga is not simply a practice. It is the key to unlocking the ability to have a balanced approach to life. The ancient Indian practice enjoys tremendous popularity across the globe. The Western world has accepted it with open arms and it’s no longer a mere trend. The benefits of yoga are manifold. With more and more people aspiring to experience them and make the practice an integral part of their lives, the need for yoga teachers is also on the rise.
If you are contemplating starting your career as a yoga teacher, let nothing hold you back. With physical fitness and mental well-being becoming a top priority in present times, capable instructors are in demand. "Can I become a yoga teacher without training?" is a question that is often asked. The answer is yes! In this article, we will explore ways to make this possible.
Best Practices to Become a Successful Yoga Teacher
In order to become a yoga teacher in India, the most important thing is to know the subject well. It is not mandatory to pursue a teacher training course to become eligible to teach yoga. If you have a serious resume that can establish that you have the relevant experience in this field, you can easily qualify for teaching jobs.
That said, the market trend is showing an increasing demand for certified teachers who have completed a teacher training course to fill full-time teaching positions at yoga studios and fitness centers. A lot of yoga institutes and ashrams in India offer yoga instructor courses that meet the standardized educational requirements set by regulatory bodies like Yoga Alliance. If you have not pursued such a training course, you can compensate for the lack of it, by delivering on other parameters. Let us explore these in detail.
Intensive Personal Training
To become a yoga instructor, you have to take classes in a traditional or a modern form of yoga and practice for at least 2 to 3 years. Discipline and dedication are extremely important to master the subject. Through this, you will gain in-depth knowledge of the practice and also become sufficiently capable of training students.
Enroll for Short-Term Courses
While you may have taken personal training in Vinyasa yoga, to make your resume a loaded one, you can take short term courses in other specialized forms like Kundalini yoga or Ashtanga yoga. This will lend variety to your experience and show that you are interested in upgrading yourself.
Practice Under a Mentor
While you are expected to teach other students, it is important to continue devoting time to self-practice. Staying in touch with a mentor who has been part of your learning experience, practicing with him or her from time to time can be helpful. You can receive feedback on your techniques, have engaging discussions on relevant topics-all of which are bound to influence you in a positive way.
Attend Yoga Retreats
Visits to yoga retreats are a great way to amp up your motivation. These are generally two weeks long and offer different kinds of training depending on your level of expertise. You can opt for the intensive type where you will get to practice with fellow participants who are into advanced level yoga.
The group size of the classes at such retreats typically range between 5 to 10 students so that you can receive personal attention. Under expert instructors here, you can explore challenging Asanas and Pranayama, and deepen your knowledge of yoga philosophy.
Invest in Lateral Learning
It can be difficult to get a full-time job in a yoga studio if you do not have a teacher training certificate. So, if you really want to impress a prospective employer, ensure that your knowledge is not merely restricted to yoga techniques on Asana and Pranayama.
To give students a holistic learning experience, it is important that you help them gain knowledge in related subjects as well. For that, you need to develop your interest in lateral learning. Delve into subjects like Indian philosophy, diet and nutrition, cultural traditions, and linguistic practices in Sanskrit. This will enrich your knowledge of the subject and also improve your own teaching techniques.
Work on Lesson Planning
The advantage of a yoga teacher training course from a school registered Yoga Alliance or Indian Yoga Association is that apart from practical and theoretical classes in Yoga and related subjects, students are given training on instructional methodology.
So, if you have not taken a training course, you can compensate by devoting time to research on the same. Look up matter on teaching methods to understand the best ways to impart training. You can also seek help from your mentor on this or find inspiration from his/her way of teaching.
Scope for Yoga Teacher Without Training
If you are not registered as a teacher with Yoga Alliance or have not taken a teacher training course in yoga, getting recruited as an instructor in a yoga studio might not be very easy. But you can always be self-employed. This will give you a lot of flexibility and you will get to be your own boss! Some of the roles that you can explore are:
Freelance Yoga Instructor
As a freelance teacher, your choices are many. The world is your oyster. With a little planning, you can build a thriving career for yourself. Here are some options that you can explore:
Offering Private Training
You can offer private yoga classes two to three days a week. There is demand in the market for yoga teachers offering private lessons. People seeking such instructors usually face some kind of challenge in stepping out and learning in a yoga center. These could be elderly people suffering from physical ailments or busy professionals with time constraints. While some will seek therapy through yoga for health issues, others will simply want to improve their physical fitness.
Teaching Yoga Online
Online classes have gained huge momentum with COVID-19 restricting the usual way of life. You can offer classes to students across the country through this mode. Set clear timelines and detail out the deliverables of your training. Having an online presence helps to attract students to this kind of training. Create profiles on social media platforms and post interesting content on yoga to impress your target group.
If you become a yoga teacher in India without training, working as a freelance teacher will be both easy and rewarding. Becoming a freelance teacher will have its own advantages:
- Your class timing can be tailored to suit your convenience
- You can choose to teach a batch size of your choice
- You can enjoy flexible work-hours which will help you strike a work-life balance
- You can pursue another job to add a second source of income
As a self-employed yoga teacher, you will get the freedom to use your own training methodology. You can have a signature training style to stand out from other teachers. Try to make the sessions interesting for your students by introducing them to a new core or related concept right at the end of each class.
Full-time Job as a Yoga Instructor
If your credentials do not include a yoga teacher training certification, you might face stiff competition while applying for a full-time teaching position in a yoga center. But if your resume is backed by relevant experience and qualifications, you have the opportunity to land a full-time job. Employers primarily look for :
- Experience - Varied work experience in the field is preferred. Part-time teaching jobs, volunteering work, experience as workshop facilitator - all count
- Continuing Education - Short-term courses undertaken for training in specialized yoga forms and to stay updated is valued
- Recommendation - If you are recommended by an expert instructor or someone well-known in your peer group, this can improve your chances of being selected for a full-time position at a yoga studio
Useful Tips for a Yoga Teacher
There's stiff competition in this industry. Here are some helpful pointers to help you gain an edge over your competitors:
- Networking skill: This is extremely important if you want information on employment opportunities to come your way. Stay in touch with your teachers and peer group to
- Methodical approach: Your primary task is to make learning yoga easy for students. Make a proper routine and detail out what you are going to teach in each class. At every step, you must ensure that they are being able to properly grasp what you are teaching.
- Specialization in niche areas: You can choose to give yoga classes to learners with very specific needs. For example, you can give classes on prenatal yoga for would-be mothers. You can research and identify such niche areas and accordingly plan your classes.
A yoga teacher has a very important role to play. It goes beyond teaching yoga postures and meditation techniques. You must also help the student understand the philosophy behind the practice. A balanced approach to life is what yoga a student must aim for. And, as a yoga teacher, it's your guidance that they will count on to achieve that goal.