A few decades ago, the mere idea of even doing yoga in a western country was for a select class of people who had traveled the world extensively or actually lived in India. Now, yoga is more accessible than ever with studios on every block and an extensive array of free online classes, making it easier than ever to make yoga apart of your daily life.
No matter your gender, race, or physical ability, there is a yoga class and instructor out there for you. The physical benefits of yoga help with flexibility and healthy aging, but the inner peace and acceptance yoga can bring is what really keeps people interested.
There has never been a better time to get certified as an instructor.
There is no right or wrong body or level of ability needed to become a great yoga teacher. All you need is the desire to share this transformative practice with your community.
So, here are the 6 steps you should take on your journey to becoming a yoga instructor:
Step 1: Take classes
Any good teacher must also be a student, so take as many classes as you can (and can afford). Take the yoga classes that make you sweat bullets, the ones that are packed, the ones filled with chaturanga dandasanas, the ones that make you sore and make you sweat.
Then also take the yoga classes filled with sound baths, the ones where you lay on the floor for 5 minutes at a time, the ones that focus on your mind and speak of chakras. Take classes from people older than you and younger than you. Take classes in fancy studios and classes that are free at the local community center.
You’re going to need to experience different styles of yoga as well as the varied styles of teaching yoga in order to make an informed decision about which yoga teacher training is going to be best suited for you. The more you experience and the more you try, the better you’ll be able to know what you like and don’t like in a class. This is going to be imperative to your life as a yoga instructor.
Step 2: Find your style
Now that you’ve gone out and experienced the many different styles of yoga, you probably have a good idea about which styles you’d like to learn more about and teach.
If you like feeling strong and powerful after a class, then Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is right up your alley. If you’re type A and are really interested in the precision and mechanics of yoga, then Iyengar might call to you. However, if you prefer to feel peaceful and have your body deeply stretched in class, then you might be more inclined to study yin yoga, restorative yoga, or yoga nidra.
Most yoga teacher trainings will focus on hatha yoga, which is kinda like the root of all other physical practices of yoga, but knowing the professional path you plan to take after you’re certified will help you throughout your training.
Step 3: Think about what you want out of your training
Some people go into teacher trainings to become yoga teachers (duh) but many others really just want to learn more about yoga. No matter the reason why you want to become a yoga teacher (whether you teach yoga or not), it’s important to get super clear about what kind of training you want.
If you want to teach yoga, become familiar with Yoga Alliance and their requirements. They’re not totally necessary, but many yoga studios will require an RYT status certificate before hiring. Also, consider who you would like to learn yoga from. It’s important to be familiar with the school or teacher you’ll be studying with because you’ll be adopting their knowledge and teaching style. So you want to make sure that you like it!
If you don’t want to teach, then think about what exactly you’d like to learn or gain from your experience. You can be as specific as you’d like because there are many different types of trainings out there equally specific. Some are in India, arguably the most authentic place to study yoga, while others are online, which allows you to go at your own pace. Consider what exactly you want from the experience before booking your YTT course.
Step 4: Research, research, research
Here is one of the most important steps because choosing the right teacher training is paramount to your success as a student. You’ve already got a bunch of experience in class, you know what styles you like best, and now it’s time to get serious about signing up for yoga teacher training.
There are places all over the world that offer yoga teacher training. Many people follow the heart of yoga to its roots in India, but others might be busy parents who can’t afford to be away from their homes for weeks at a time. There are online yoga teacher trainings to look into and there’s also probably a yoga studio or 2 in your community that offer trainings throughout the year.
The Internet is your friend, so do your research! Don’t forget to read the reviews for the trainings that are away from home so that you don’t want to mistakenly walk into shack when you expected an oasis. If you’re looking to take your training locally, most studios will have a Q&A a few weeks before sign-ups. This gives you an opportunity to not only ask pertinent questions, but also to sus out the vibe of the studio to see if it feels like the right place for you to learn.
Step 5: Talk about it
It’s a known fact that when you tell people about a goal you have, you are far more likely to achieve it. Of course, if you have some Debbie Downers in your life who aren’t going to support you, feel free to keep your visions of the future to yourself. But do tell the people who will be excited for you. Tell your mom, tell your partner, tell your dog, tell the people who will always support you!
Speak your dream into the universe and allow it to hold you accountable. Go out to lunch with your best friend and talk about going to a yoga retreat together in the spring. Take your favorite coworker to a lunch break yoga class with your favorite local instructor. Integrate your life and your dreams with yoga.
Step 6: Save up
I won’t lie to you, yoga teacher training isn’t cheap. Most courses are in the low thousands price-wise and some are upwards of five grand. So, you’re going to need to sit down and take a look at your finances before you’re finally able to take the leap.
If the training you want to sign up for isn’t being offered again in another year, then that gives you plenty of time to save! You can look at your income and see how much you need to be saving each paycheck in order to have enough when the course is offered again. If the class is starting in only a few short months, you may want to look at your spending habits and see if there’s anything you can cut back on. Take-out is delicious, but being a certified yoga teacher would be even more delicious.
Most every training will have a payment plan option, so if forking over $3,000 upfront isn’t reasonable for you, don’t worry. You should still aim to save up some extra cash before class starts, that way if any unexpected expenses occur during your training you won’t default on payments and risk losing your spot in the training.
Yoga has been around for centuries, but the world could always use more teachers. We are diverse humans who all have a brilliant light to shed on this world. If yoga is your calling, I hope you answer that call!
Author Bio –
Brett is the founder of Uplifted Yoga, an online yoga and meditation community empowering students to personalize their practice and ignite their best life – on and off the mat. She’s instructed at top studios, companies like Google and Pinterest, and leads the world’s most interactive Online Yoga Teacher Training program. She teaches to a social media following of over 350K people. Her content on Youtube is streamed for 3 million minutes each month. Learn more at BrettLarkin.com