"Give to others by understanding the effects of your present experience" Taittiriya Upanishad
Teaching yoga is becoming more and more trendy: in just 5 years, the number of students taking yoga classes has increased by 110%! This certainly shows there is a craze for this discipline advocating well-being and self-control.
While many choose to go abroad to train (most notably for yoga classes in India), this is not a prerequisite for teaching. There are a large number of courses available in the UK, sometimes even online, for everyone to find what suits them best.
We're about to give you some tips to find the yoga teacher training best adapted to your needs, and the yoga instruction to suit you!
Why Become a Yoga Teacher?
The practice of yoga is not only for the privilege of perfect yogi: pregnant women, children or the elderly can also partake! It can be difficult to describe in a few words the role that a yoga teacher plays in teaching the methods to his fellow yogists:
- He is a spiritual guide
- a physical and postural guide
- an emotional guide
- a reference for self-development and the attainment of mindfulness
Yoga teaching can occur at different levels, not just through the practice itself:
- Knowledge of asanas, bandhas, mudra and pranayamas
- Control of breathing, emotions or stress
For this, you must know the body's anatomy, which muscles work and which allow relaxation or inner meditation. This is why a yoga teacher must have certain essential qualities, which will also help during your training:
- Patience, with oneself and others
- Perseverance, never giving up
- The sense of listening, of the heart, of the body, of the spirit
- A form of serenity, since yoga is based on gentle techniques
- A lot of knowledge, for tailor-made teaching
On the other hand, in order to teach proper yoga postures and get the asanas to perform correctly, a yoga teacher must have theoretical and practical knowledge: this is why training is often necessary before becoming a full-time teacher. A yoga class is not just a sequence of positions, it's part of a whole logic to help instil in your future students.
Before you start training in the UK, know that many yoga teacher training courses are run through either the British Wheel of Yoga or Yoga Alliance. The British Wheel of Yoga is yoga’s governing body in the UK but you don’t have to train through them. Yoga Alliance is an American organisation with registered schools all over the world. Yoga in the UK is not a recognized discipline. That's why you have to make sure that they respect at least the Yoga Alliance certificate.
But you can have several goals by following a yoga teacher training:
- Deepen your spiritual and philosophical formation
- Practice daily traditional yoga
- Give lessons to confirmed neophytes or yogis
- Open your own yoga school
This is where you probably wonder: how to become a yoga teacher?
Long Training to Teach Yoga
Choosing your training is sometimes a challenge: there are so many formulas, picking between intensive training, specific training and diploma training, you can get lost quickly.
Unlike the usual courses of teachers, the yoga teacher must follow a suitable independent training. Yoga teacher training is essential to learn to convey all the benefits of yoga, both mentally and physically.
A complete and profound training for teachers lasts between 200hrs and 500hrs, spread over several weeks, months, even years. The training can indeed last between 4 and 5 years (yes, it is a sacred personal investment), but it can be done in parallel with another activity. The training program is as follows:
- Some weekly classes of theoretical knowledge
- Some practical classes
- Speakers explain gentle and innovative methods
- Indian philosophy courses
- A system of examinations and writing of a thesis
- A practical internship (usually the last year)
And the price for all this? This will depend on the duration of your training, and the reputation of your school: but you can count on about £1000 for basic training!
A training cycle at 200hrs is enough to prove your ability to teach yoga. That being said, the more you explore, the more you can distinguish yourself in the relatively competitive job market. Here are some examples of complementary activities you could partake in during your training:
- See the demonstration of many postures, between 85 and 150
- Breathing exercises, relaxation, meditation
- Study of Sanskrit texts (translated) on the theory of yoga and its benefits
- Learning the Hindi language
Most yoga teacher training programs will offer you the ability to teach mainstream yoga, some of them will be focused on yoga specialities. You can choose from a wide variety of yoga classes, such as yoga nidra, vinyasa flow, hatha yoga, yoga therapy, and even Bikram yoga.
Many of the teacher training programs will be run a lot like a yoga retreat, where you can meet like-minded people from all over the world. Many students not only end up teaching yoga but also drastically improving their health and well-being.
Wondering if there is an age to become a yoga teacher? Not really, but at least two years of practice behind you are needed if you want to be taken seriously as a teacher.
Not to mention that you have to be passionate, willing and determined ... The journey is still long before reaching your pinnacle! The only requirement for schools is that you are at least 18 years old when you enter the training.
Here is a platform to find online teaching jobs.
Other Ways to Teach Yoga
The only way to validate your knowledge of yoga is to get training recognized by Yoga Alliance, the body responsible for training in the field.
This training needs to be in line with Yoga Alliance's theory, format, philosophy and practice requirements. Be careful to check the relevance of your training!
First of all, ask yourself: what kind of yoga teacher do I want to be?
After an initial training giving you the title of "yoga teacher", you may feel the urge to continue your learning. This is also sometimes called "post-training" yoga: it consists of choosing a specialization, which may require 2 to 3 years of additional training.
Among the yoga specialities, we find:
- Yoga therapy training
- Child yoga training
- Prenatal yoga training
- Integral yoga training
You can also choose to focus on methods:
- Green yoga
- Kundalini Yoga
- Yoga Nidra
- Yoga Tantra
- Karma yoga
This additional training is well worth checking out if you want to distinguish yourself from other teachers. In general, these recognized formations represent an hourly volume from 50hrs to 200hrs, divided in different ways:
- Night classes
- Weekend classes
- Group lessons
- Individual lessons
- Distance courses (via Skype for example)
- Intensive courses
Complementary classes can be taken at a yoga centre or yoga school.
Another way to become a yoga teacher is to take intensive training abroad. It calls to many followers and gives envy to many yogis wanting to take the steps to become a teacher... But watch out for scams! You must differentiate between:
- Training for students who want to improve
- Training for students wishing to become a teacher
The recognition of these immersion courses is not automatic and in the UK, it is only seen as experience. Count between £450 and £2000 for these courses (make sure you get informed before spending such a sum!).
I had a relatively young yoga teacher, but so dynamic and serene at the same time. She had trained to become a yoga teacher for 4 years while giving classes in a yoga school here and there. Her spirituality, path and methodology of yoga exercises have been a huge plus for my practice.
Complete Your Learning as a Future Yoga Teacher
Practising yoga every day is essential to progress as a teacher, and this includes a regular practicum during a yoga session. Diversify your horizons, take inspiration from other techniques, enrich your method.
In addition, taking additional classes with experienced yoga teachers can help you find your own way of working: compare the approaches at the beginning of the lesson, during the first class, during the session, and find a balance. Platforms like Superprof put students and teachers in touch: don't hesitate to tell them about your teaching project, they will be more than happy to help you!
How much does a particular course cost with an experienced yoga teacher? Between £15 and £40 per hour in the London region!
Also know that yoga requires life-long training: like any profession, the world of yoga evolves and expectations do too. You must know how to stay up to date, especially since students are generally very demanding, especially when it comes to yoga classes at home.
In the UK alone, there are almost one million yoga practitioners: this is a pool of future students to search from upon graduation or yoga certification!
Definitions: "Yoga Teacher"
What is the difference between Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa?
These are all three of the traditional forms of yoga. While Hatha is softer, the other two versions are more dynamic. If you want to teach beginners, it is best to opt for teaching Hatha yoga.