How To Become A Yoga Instructor: Read this Before Starting Your Teacher Training

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You found Yoga and now you are hooked! You practice daily, recommend it to absolutely everyone and feel in many ways it has made a positive impact on your life.

You now want to turn your passion into a career and teach yoga to others, but where do you start?

Is It For Me?

The first thing to ask yourself is ‘is teaching yoga really for me?  You may think that by teaching yoga you will be practicing yoga all day everyday and getting paid to do so.

Actually, in a lot of cases, when students become teachers their personal practice goes on the back burner. Stepping into the world of teaching takes a lot of hard work and preparation, but it is a truly rewarding career if this is what you want to do.

An important step in making this decision is taking a look at your own yoga practice. The most successful teachers are those that have had a dedicated practice for over a year and found a style of yoga they feel a connection with.

To get the most out of your training you want to have developed your own practice and experience in Yoga.

The good news though is that you don’t need to be able to stand on your head for 20 minutes to become a brilliant teacher. An advanced level of practicing asanas is not a requirement. But dedication, passion and an ability to clearly guide a class of students is.

If you still feel passionate about sharing yoga with others and want to teach then read on for the next step on your new exciting journey.

Do Your Research

Before looking into teacher training courses you need to find a style that resonates with you. Go to as many Yoga classes as possible with different teachers and begin to assess what’s important to you in a teacher.

You may enjoy a more spiritual approach to the practice, or are you someone that loves the new dynamic styles of yoga created for the Western market?

Speak with yoga teachers that inspire you and find out where they trained. When you know exactly what you are looking for in your teacher training you will find it much easier to pick the right course for you.

There are so many courses out there so don’t just pick the first one that pops up on Google. Take into consideration the length of the course, the syllabus, price and most importantly the accreditation you will come away with.

One Month Intensive VS Long Term Training

So you have narrowed down your choices and can’t decide between taking an intensive one month course or spreading your training out over the year. Both courses will give you the initial 200 hours of training needed to teach, they just offer different approaches to training.

One Month Intensive

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A one month intensive course is exactly that, intense. It is 200 hours of yoga practice and study crammed into a month, so be prepared to work hard.

The benefits of a one month intensive:

  • Gaining your certification in the quickest time possible
  • Immersing yourself in yoga for a whole month
  • Having the option to take the course in an exotic location
  • Leaving the real world behind for a month to focus entirely on your studies
  • Having a life changing experience and seeing fast progression in your practice

During an intensive yoga training be prepared to go on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. This complete immersion will allow you to connect deeply with your body and mind, and encourage spiritual and physical growth. 

An intensive training is a great option if you want to teach as soon as possible and are ready to make a big transformational leap in your yoga journey.

Long Term Training

If it’s not possible for you to take a whole month out of work or routine to train then this long term route to becoming certified is a great option for you.

The benefits of long term training:

  • These courses are usually spread out over weekends so you are able to continue working while you train
  • You have the option to spread the cost of the course
  • You can continue your personal practice and have more free time to study
  • More time to allow the knowledge and practice to integrate into your life
  • A more gradual and classic transition to becoming a teacher

With the course being spread out over the year you have so much more time to delve deeper into your studies and integrate it into your life gradually. Traditionally yogis would train at length with their Guru until being granted the honour to teach yoga.

​There are thousands of yoga courses to choose from so take your time in choosing the one for you. Make sure it is an accredited course that is linked with one of the main Yoga teacher associations.

Check the training modules you will be going through so you know exactly what to expect from the course and most importantly what you are going to come away with as a teacher of Yoga.

I’m Certified, Now What?

You’ve completed your yoga teacher training, congratulations! Now it’s time to embark on your new career, but where do you start?

Firstly, don’t quit your day job. Hopefully becoming a Yoga teacher wasn’t about earning the big bucks because realistically that isn’t going to happen straight away. Your day job will be your financial crutch as you begin to market and teach your classes.

When you have just completed your course you will be buzzing with all you have learned, this is a great time to get everything in place and get yourself out in the real world sharing your passion.

Here is a checklist to help you get started:

1. Get Insured

 This may seem obvious but you would be surprised at the number of new teachers that don’t do this vital step. Insurance not only covers you for any liability but it presents you as a professional and credible teacher.

Also if you want to teach in a gym or yoga studio you will be required to have public liability insurance. (1)

2. Marketing  

We live in such a high tech and fast paced social environment that marketing yourself is key to getting known as a yoga teacher. Create a website for yourself and classes. If you don’t have any classes yet then offer private tuition.

Get yourself a facebook page and start interacting with local yoga practitioners. Leaflet any classes you have and put up posters in local newsagents. Make some noise so people know you and your classes exist.

3. Cover Teach

As a new teacher it is so important to take as many teaching opportunities that come your way. If you don’t have the means to run your own classes yet then cover teaching is a great way to get teaching experience and classes on your CV. Contact local gyms and yoga studios and ask to join their cover teacher list. Make yourself known to local teachers and let them know you are available to cover classes. You never know you may even get hired by a gym you cover teach at.

4. Keep Up Your Own Practice

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You must prioritise your personal practice, this is key to having a successful career teaching. Having a daily yoga practice will keep your passion for yoga alive, and remind you time and time again of the wonderful benefits gained through regular yoga practice. And this doesn’t just mean the asanas.

Yoga is a way of life and becoming familiar with the eight limbs of yoga is essential for your own personal growth and that of a yoga teacher.

Teach In A Gym Or Run Your Own Class?

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There are benefits to both of these options so it depends on what your priorities are as a new teacher.

Teaching in a gym

This is a great place to start if you are a new teacher as a lot of the hard work is done for you. Having a class in a gym means that there is no hassle of looking for a space to teach, and equipment will be there for you ready for your students.

The marketing of your class will also be done for you through the gym and you will be paid whether students turn up or not.

Payment is usually a set amount for your class, usually between $25 - $35, which you will invoice for at the end of the month.

Working in a gym has its good points but it may not be the appropriate place for your style of teaching if you enjoy a more serene and spiritual approach. Gyms tend to attract those looking to improve physical fitness, so you will need to adapt your class to suit this environment.

Running your own class

This option comes with a lot of hard work and planning to begin with but can be so much more lucrative in the long run.

With running your own class you need to firstly find a suitable venue to hire that is available at a time suited to your target students. You will then need to pick a start date and begin marketing your new class.

The great thing about having your own class is the freedom that comes with it. You can teach and promote your class in anyway you wish and choose how much you will charge per person.You get to keep 100% of the profit from your class and will build amazing relationships with your students.

This option does come with a lot of preparation though and you will have to take into account the expenses required to get started.

There are pros and cons for both options so you just need to decide what will work best for you.

Be Prepared

There are many things to take into consideration when beginning your quest to become a yoga teacher. This video, presented by popular Yoga teacher Celest Pereira (2), goes over the pros and cons of becoming a yoga teacher.

In Conclusion

I hope you now have a clearer idea of what it takes to become a yoga teacher. There is a lot of hard work involved but it is through hard work and determination that creates a successful teacher of yoga.

If you are passionate about teaching and sharing yoga with others then start making the steps now on this new inspiring journey because, as Thomas Jefferson (3) said:

“If you want something you’ve never had, you have got to do something you’ve never done.”

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