"There is an art of knowing and an art of teaching" Cicero
While 53% of women under 35 have a yoga certificate (compared to 15% of men of the same age), one might ask if this is really necessary in order to become a teacher...
Besides, teaching yoga at a school involves much more than just a diploma, no? What are the conditions needed in order to teach? What requirements are unavoidable in order to give yoga classes? We've got all the answers you need below!
The Basic Requirements to Become a Yoga Teacher
Practising in school as a yoga teacher requires a minimum amount of knowledge: they are not going to ask a budding yogi to teach you the most difficult yoga postures, such as Shavasana. On the other hand, some essential conditions need to be respected:
- Have at least two years of yoga practice
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have the motivation to teach and learn throughout your yoga career
Why are these three criteria essential? Because the yoga teacher profession is particularly demanding, intense and engaging. In the first few months, you might not see the time passing, but you'll often feel sore and aching. Knowing your body, your anatomy, having both theoretical and practical knowledge, allows you to practice yoga safely, around several focal points:
- Pranayama, which focuses on breath, breathing, and one's capacity to project
- Asana (which means "posture" in Sanskrit), a bodily exercise
- Techniques, for meditation, relaxation, learning to control your stress or emotions and achieving awareness
Practising yoga regularly helps you better understand the asanas, and makes you better able to teach yoga afterwards. Teaching yoga involves knowing how to find the balance between your spiritual passion and the "business" side of teaching, that is to say, you'll need to have returning students.
Do you know the total number of postures that exist in yoga? 84 000! ... Do you think you could learn them all?
Another basic requirement for being a yoga instructor is to have a speciality. It is both a unique qualification (for experienced yogis looking for new sensations) but also a way to quickly find a teaching job (thanks to the most widespread and in-demand specialities). Notably:
- Ashram yoga
- Yoga sutra
- Iyengar yoga
- Ayurveda yoga
- Hatha yoga
- Kundalini yoga
- Restorative yoga
Oscillating between traditional yoga and specialized yoga, a class can, therefore, include many facets: mental work and spirituality, but also flexibility. These basic conditions will be studied during your trial period within the school, before being definitively hired.
Yoga training helped me to experience all the benefits of yoga. Physically, I was exhausted, but also very satisfied with this therapy which, through breathing exercises and other postures, can involve a real emotional release! It is not a big surprise that taking yoga teacher training isn't for everyone.
Teach in a Yoga School With or Without a Degree
Teaching yoga in the UK does not have the same requirements as in other countries, even European ones. Yoga teacher training is only recognized by yoga organizations (including Yoga Alliance), but not by the country. As a result, each school has different degree or certification requirements.
If it's better to have a certificate, but it is far from obligatory! Especially since there are different types of yoga training:
- Initial training or continuing education, as part of a long-term training
- Specific training, as part of a short training
- Field training or intensive training, through internships or retreats
The long yoga teacher training has the advantage of giving future teachers all the means necessary to deepen both their theoretical and practical knowledge. The training cycle is centred around group courses and individual courses to progress continuously, in the following way:
- The first year involves learning the basics of Indian culture (as seen from the West)
- The second year is dedicated to the regular practice of yoga
- The following years allow for a deep reflection on the philosophy of yoga, until the writing of a dissertation, witnessed before a review board
Long courses are expensive, both in terms of time and money: it takes about £ 1000 per year of schooling, excluding travel, shopping for yoga equipment etc...
Yoga teacher training can be long, sometimes taking between 3 and 5 years, for 200 hrs to 500 hrs of learning: you'll have to stay motivated! Only 65% of students complete their long training.
But if you don't follow this route, is it possible to be hired by a yoga studio without certification? Yes!, as long as you already have a serious resume of experience, or are ready to do some punctual training from time to time to improve yourself. Among the yoga training courses offered, we find:
- Yoga retreats in India or other countries abroad
- The small group yoga course
- Post-training, which aims to specialize a few more years (raja yoga, niera yoga, energy yoga)
It is also possible to choose other formations, emphasizing yoga techniques and meditation, or by specializing in the field of personal development and well-being.
To teach in a school or studio, what will count is (of course) your wealth of knowledge, but also your ability to pass on your knowledge to your students in a positive, serene but enthusiastic way. However, which kind of yoga studio job should you choose?
If you're looking for yoga tutor jobs, Superprof is the only answer you need!
Employment as a Yoga Teacher: Which Kind to Choose?
Employee, volunteer or freelancer: whatever your position, your connection with your students is the most important.
Your certification is not the only determining factor for teaching in a studio: the type of position is also important! You can teach a yoga class under several types of statuses:
- Employee: you are hired full-time or part-time by a yoga school
- Volunteer: you pass on your knowledge to a certain group in a school (as part of a yoga initiation or a first trial class for example)
- Independent or freelancer: You have the status of entrepreneur and can give private lessons
Whether you have decided to take a training course or not, and whatever your status, the doors of yoga schools are open to you... But the competition is tough and the selection process is intensive. The school will base their decision on a few other criteria, without it always being objective:
- Your knowledge of classic yoga exercises
- The training to become a teacher that you followed
- Your motivation and willingness to become a teacher
- Your availability to come and teach according to the needs and specialities requested
- Your philosophical mastery of the Indian tradition
It's hard to know which status is best to opt for. There are pros and cons with each:
- As an employee, you benefit from job security but are subject to constraints (training program, theoretical courses)
- As a volunteer, you can do yoga as you please, on projects that fascinate you, but without receiving any payment
- As a self-employed person, you can choose your training school (or schools), work in a holistic or specialized way, or provide individualized supervision. In return, you do not have job security, your income will often be variable and your scheduling can sometimes be gruelling
If teaching in a school is an obstacle for you, why not consider starting your own?
Here is a platform to find online teaching jobs.
Set Up Your Own Yoga School
This is the case when you are a private teacher, that is, a self-employed entrepreneur. You can practice and teach on your own rhythm and timing, and decide for yourself amongst the proposed training courses. For this, several steps must be respected:
- Define a concept and a place: preferably through renting, you must be able to welcome enough students during your yoga classes
- Gain an official legal status: training organization, association or yoga school, it's up to you
- Make yourself known: by fully advertising and talking about your yoga centre to all those around you
It is also very important to have your own identity: children's yoga, prenatal yoga, Greek yoga, Pilates yoga; diversify your practice. Laughter yoga has also been on the rise for a few months, returning smiles to people!
Yoga is a postural and mental discipline, which requires complete training as well as daily practice. Know how to put humility into your yoga club. The goal? To help your students to deepen their inner awareness, noticing even the subtlest body vibrations and energy!
Do you feel ready to take on this challenge? To find your path to yoga teacher training?