Teaching yoga is simultaneously a noble calling and a challenging career change. Yet if you are already an avid practitioner, making the leap is not necessarily as tough as you might imagine. It requires a dedicated commitment to your own practice, a love for other people, and a true sense of purpose. Here are 5 concrete steps you can take to reach your goal of becoming a yoga teacher.
- Flesh Out Your Own Practice
There are eight limbs of yoga, and teachers must be well-versed in all eight. If your current yoga practice focuses primarily on Asana, or the physical expression of yoga, it is time for you to branch out. The other seven limbs are:
- Yama, or individual virtues
- Niyama, or personal observances
- Pranayama, or breath control
- Pratyahara, or control of the senses
- Dharana, or perceptual awareness and concentration
- Dhyana, or devotion
- Samadhi, or union with the Divine
Each yoga practitioner and teacher is encouraged to develop his or her own approach and pathway. However, as Patanjali notes in Yoga Sutra 1.14, the three keys to success in any endeavor are to do it for a long time, without interruption, and with full sincerity. Commit yourself to deepening your own yoga practice, including work in all eight limbs.
- Meditate on Your Calling
Yoga teaching is a vocation, not just a job. Spend some time in meditation, reflecting on why you want to become a yoga teacher and what you hope to achieve. Be aware that this is not a 9 to 5 position, and you may not have weekends and holidays off. Seek clarity for your own motivations, and make sure that you are moving toward something to which you feel called, rather than trying to run away from a current career that does not make you happy.
- Surrender to Your Vocation
If, after a period of study and meditation, you feel that now is the right time to become a yoga teacher, surrender to this new awareness. Don’t second guess yourself, even when the going gets tough. Honor your own inner strength, trust the process, and maintain focus on the career that you want to achieve.
- Enroll in Yoga Teacher Training
The Yoga Alliance is the accrediting body for yoga teachers. To become an accredited teacher, you must complete a 200 hour teacher training course. Choose a balanced training program that explores both the classical, philosophical side of yoga and the science of human anatomy. Look for a program that provides a strong grounding in everything from chants to sacred texts, giving you a complete backdrop from which to create your own personal teaching curriculum.
- Join the Yoga Alliance and Commit to Continued Training and Practice
After completing your 200 hour training course, you are eligible to join the Yoga Alliance as a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). This shows potential students and employers that you have the necessary commitment and background to be a competent, qualified teacher. However, it is only the beginning.
The Yoga Alliance also offers a variety of higher-level designations. After two years and 1,000 hours of teaching experience, you can become an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT), while advanced training opens up further designations. Each level has certain restrictions on the types of teaching jobs you can take.
Whether or not you choose to go on to advanced training, you must become recertified every three years, documenting at least 30 hours of continuing education and 45 hours of teaching. This ensures that your knowledge and skills remain both strong and current.
Teaching yoga is a major undertaking, but for those who feel called to this career, it can also be highly rewarding. Take the time to look deeply inward and determine that yoga teaching is right for you, and then make a commitment to performing the hard work that is required. Trust in the process, and visualize the career of your dreams.
Established in 1999 by Paul Dallaghan, Centered Yoga is fully affiliated with the prestigious Kaivalyadhama, a research institute in India dedicated to studying yoga from both classical and scientific viewpoints. Paul is one of the three senior students of Sri O.P. Tiwari, key disciple of Swami Kuvalayananda, who founded the institute and taught both Ghandi and Nehru.
We invite you to start your journey to becoming part of this distinguished legacy by submitting an application. Note that the application process begins approximately six months before the next scheduled course, and assignments are sent to chosen students five months before the course begins. When you feel ready, you can submit an online application request.