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How to Become a Certified Yoga Teacher

WHAT THE 200-HOUR TEACHER TRAINING INVOLVES

Article by Hayley Hyer

Photography by Stock Images

If you have ever been interested in going through a yoga teacher training, here is everything you need to know about the process! Becoming certified as a yoga instructor doesn't necessarily mean you have to teach yoga. Many people do it to deepen their own yoga practices and for the personal growth that comes along with it.

Where to Get Certified

The Yoga Alliance works to make sure that no matter where you choose to pursue your certification, you learn all of the basic fundamentals and are set up for success. Check out Yoga Alliance and to learn more about what it means to become a RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher), 

While there is consistency among training fundamentals, there are so many different teaching styles. I recommend taking several classes at the studios you are considering and choose the program at the place you most enjoy. The way their instructors teach will be how you learn to teach as well.

You will also need to consider the time commitment and what works best for your schedule. Some places spread out the 200 hours of training over several months so you only go to training once or twice a week. Other places condense the process into just a couple of months with longer training sessions multiple times a week.

For me, I knew I didn't have much going on during the fall, so I took the months of October and November to knock it all out. It was definitely the only thing I could think about during those two months, but I liked it that way because everything I learned was always fresh in my mind, and I felt fully immersed in the training. You may be different. If have more things you juggle throughout the week, you might opt to spread out your process so you don't have to put your life on hold. It's totally up to you!

How Your Time is Spent

The 200 hours of training are a culmination of the time spent in the actual training facility along with outside classes and homework assignments. Here is everything I had to do in my training:

  • Attend all training sessions and make up for any missed.
  • Take classes at the studio and at other studios to get a feel for different teaching styles.
  • Read two books and write book reports on each.
  • Write reflections throughout the training on various topics.
  • Complete a service project with a group of fellow trainees.
  • Craft yoga sequences, playlists and themes.
  • Take two written exams.

What You Learn

We covered so much more in training than I ever expected. While a huge chunk of our time was spent on posture breakdowns, anatomy and physiology lessons, memorizing a basic sequence, breath work, meditation and practice teaching, we also spent a lot of time working on our personal development.

​A big part of studying yoga is finding your why. Yoga is a challenging exercise that takes mental focus and patience alongside the physical work. You have to be ready to look deep inside and find the things that are holding you back and let them go. We talked a lot about our inner critics and the lies we tell ourselves on a daily basis. Each of us came up with a phrase to combat the lie, and we repeated it often.

For me, the lie I told myself was that I was stuck and couldn't get better. My biggest challenge was giving myself credit for the work I was doing and being proud of myself. By the end of the training, I was able to confidently say, "I am proud." And to this day, I really mean it.

Through teacher training, I learned to view myself differently. I started valuing myself more. I became more in-tune with my strong suits and how to use them effectively. I pondered my deeper purpose and what unique message I have to share with the world. I slowly became kinder to myself and also to others.

If You're Having Doubts

I know a lot of people feel like they have to be really, really good at yoga to be certified as an instructor. I worried about that too and often struggled with comparing myself to the other people in my training. The truth is that your physical ability matters very little.

You learn the proper alignment during the training, and you'll go through the sequence so much while other trainees are practice teaching that you will be saying posture cues in your sleep.

You don't need to be able to touch your toes or balance on your hands to teach yoga. You just need to know how to keep your students safe and get them in the right positions. 

I had no idea how to do a chaturanga correctly when training started, and I found out that nobody really does until they are told! Everyone in my training group was all over the place, and one day it clicked for all of us, and we never went back to our old habits. You'll gain the muscle memory throughout the process and see so much growth.

The only thing you need prior to the training is a positive attitude and willingness to put yourself out there. You'll also need to be coachable and let yourself make mistakes. You'll get tons of feedback, but your training leaders just want you to thrive and be the best you can be. You will have to talk in front of a group, and you'll have to get comfortable with touching people you don't know very well. But by the end of the training, you will have a new circle of friends and some major respect for yourself and everything you did.

I'd love to answer any specific questions you have about going through teacher training! I was certified at Power Life and now teach Power 1 there Tuesdays at 7:45 p.m. and Sundays at 9:45 a.m. If you are in Kansas City, come start your free week and take my class! You can always reach out to me via Instagram or my blog.

Follow Hayley Hyer @hayhyer

How to Become a Certified Yoga Instructor was originally published in HAYHYER

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