Whether you are just starting out on your yoga journey, or are already a teacher and want to expand your skill set, undertaking a yoga certification will enrich your practice and guide you on your path to becoming a world-class instructor.
Through learning, you will have the chance to deepen your knowledge of the different yoga lineages and the types of yoga derived from each of them.
Choosing the best yoga certification for you will depend on the style and area of specialty that interests you as each will shape your journey to attaining the certification in different ways.
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Yoga Certification Designations
We will begin by taking a look at the different designations an instructor can train towards. Though there is a countless number of yoga teacher training (YTT) courses, not all of them result in an accredited certification upon completion.
Check to see whether the yoga teacher training certification you wish to undertake will designate you as a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) or figure in toward upgrading your credentialing as an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) at the end of the course. These designations are industry standards set by the Yoga Alliance and are recognized worldwide.
RYT and E-RYT certification training are offered by a Registered Yoga School (RYS).
Both the RYT and E-RYT training courses are graded at either 200 or 500 hours of training. A stipulated number of class teaching hours need to be fulfilled in addition to teacher training in order to attain the E-RYT certification. As a result, the E-RYT designation is what most yoga instructors aspire to complete.
There is also the RCYT (Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher) certification as well as the RPYT (Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher) certification.
Course Hours And Costs Involved
The amount of time you have available to spend working toward a yoga certification will no doubt influence the length of the course you choose to sign up for.
The RYT-200 is a two hundred hour course and is the foundational training course that will land you with a recognized yoga certification. When taken on a full-time basis, the course is often structured as a fully inclusive three-week retreat-style training course and can cost anything from $650 upwards.
The RYT-500 is a five hundred hour course and offers a more in-depth and focused training. It can be done either by completing an RYT-200 plus an additional 300 hours training with an RYS-300, or alternatively by completing an RYT-500 training course. Time wise the full-time course runs for about two months and can cost upwards of $2,000 for a destination training retreat.
Your yoga training does not need to be undertaken full-time in a retreat style, it can also be done full-time at a studio, or part-time at a studio. Depending on your budget and schedule, you can choose which is most suitable.
We have highlighted the destination training duration and prices as many people find the destination to be an important part of their learning journey.
Focus On Yoga Style Certifications
Depending on which type of yoga you chose to become certified in teaching, you will study different aspects of the practice, including asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), meditation, philosophy, anatomy, and physiology.
If you opt to attain an accreditation in one of the most common types of yoga, you will be employable at a wide range of studios as well as in gyms, corporate wellness programs, community centers, and other settings.
Hatha yoga simply refers to the practice of asana, or physical postures, so hatha certifications may actually encompass a broad variety of practice styles. In common usage, “hatha” is sometimes used to refer to gentler or slower-paced styles, so maybe an appropriate certification if this is the type of class you envision yourself teaching.
Vinyasa yoga emphasizes the linking of breath and movement in flowing sequences of postures. “Vinyasa” certifications are also fairly broadly defined, as vinyasa teachers may gravitate toward mild, moderate, or quick pacing in their classes and teach beginners through to advanced practitioners.
Like vinyasa yoga, Ashtanga (meaning “eight-limbed”) yoga is characterized by the coordination of breath and movement. However, it is typically practiced as a fixed sequence of postures executed in swift succession. There are six series in the Ashtanga tradition: the primary series, intermediate series, and four advanced series.
Specialty Training Programs
It is noteworthy to point out that the different styles of yoga mentioned above are not entirely separate from each other and so are sometimes taught together where suited. If you have a very clear picture of the style in which you which to teach or population you would like to serve, you might prefer a specialty training.
These may be undertaken as full 200, 300, or 500-hour programs, but more commonly as shorter intensives after the completion of a foundational course. Though we have listed a few ideas below, this is not by any means comprehensive. Investigate offerings at your local Registered Yoga School or search the Yoga Alliance Directory to find the right program for you.
Yoga For Athletes
Programs such as yoga for athletes will highlight how athletes train and the effect training has on their bodies. You will learn how to use yoga to help students build strong muscles as well as focus their minds, refine their alignment, and generally be more mindful of their movements.
A prenatal yoga course will explore the physical and emotional changes that a woman goes through during pregnancy. You will learn how to guide your students through gentle flow classes that link classic asanas, as well as breathing and pelvic floor exercises to teach and prepare them for the process of labor and childbirth.
Meditation and Mindfulness
People are continually searching for balance in this day and age, and this is why a certification in meditation and mindfulness may enhance your teaching.
You will learn how to use meditation to deepen your physical, emotional, and spiritual self-awareness as well disrupt patterns in your life that no longer serve you.
You will be able to teach your students the many physiological and psychological benefits of having a daily meditation practice incorporated into their routines.
A kids yoga certification will equip you with the knowledge of how to guide kids and teens through age-appropriate sequences that are fun and build the foundation for a lifelong practice. You will also learn how to help them deal with the daily stress in their lives through breathing, listening, and calming the mind.
Business of Yoga
Making money and managing the business of yoga are not most teachers’ primary areas of focus, but to build a sustainable career, these are skills you need to develop as well. A few of the best yoga certification courses offer modules on, for example, how to set up and manage a yoga business.
Our article on effective yoga marketing ideas provides some information on how you can market yourself and your business once you have the necessary training and skills to gain a foothold in the industry.
As you have seen from the information in this article, the best yoga certification for you will be the one that provides the proper foundation to get you started or provides your teaching with greater depth or broader range.
If you choose the one that truly resonates with you as a person it will guide you to craft meaningful experiences for your students and your journey to becoming a world-class instructor will be a rewarding one.
How quickly and where you undertake your training is entirely up to you; whatever you decide, be prepared for it to be a life-changing experience.