5 Steps to Become a Yoga Instructor Online
ue to the pandemic, all gyms and workout studios had to close, leading to a new era of at-home workouts. Thousands of new classes are now available online and more people are able to access their fitness classes remotely. And now, yoga enthusiasts are even able to obtain their yoga instructor certification online.
When earning a yoga teaching credential online, all yoga students must complete the minimum 200 hour training course, as required by the Yoga Alliance. Once the training course has been completed, the trainees are able to apply for a RYT Credential to qualify for all teaching positions.
While obtaining certification may be straightforward, there are many avenues for yoga trainees to explore. A yoga instructor career begins with the different styles of yoga, whether you will teach in-person or online, and the type of instructor you want to be. Read on to learn about the five steps to becoming an aspiring yoga instructor.
How Do You Become a Yoga Instructor Online?
The process of becoming a yoga instructor online is straightforward. Provided that you have a solid foundation for yoga already, there are many online teacher training courses available to choose from, with a minimum 200 hour requirement, during which you will learn all poses and sequences and learn how to design your own class.
After completing your training course, you will be able to register with the Yoga Alliance and become a Registered Yoga Teacher. From there, the next step is to find an outlet from which to teach. Many yoga instructors use social media to build a name and portfolio to establish their reputation in the community.
If you are looking to go directly into teaching at a studio, it is important to learn from mentors from your teaching program. Your mentors who will serve as a reference for you and you can build a relationship with the studio and other instructors who work at the studio you would like to join.
Choosing a Program
There are four main yoga teaching associations available and each association can help you find a program to suit your needs. The most commonly utilized in the U.S. is the Yoga Alliance, but the other associations include the Independent Yoga Network, the British Wheel of Yoga, and Yoga Alliance UK.
Some of the best online yoga teacher training courses include:
- My Vinyasa Practice
- Uplifted Yoga
- Online Yoga School
- Among many others…
If you are serious about becoming a yoga instructor, then make sure to check out these affordable online yoga teacher training courses.
Does Accreditation Matter?
Even though accreditation is a more fluid process in the world of yoga, this is a general requirement for anyone looking to work at an established yoga studio or facility, such as Yogaworks or Corepower Yoga.
However, all this registration is just the baseline that confirms that you have completed your training course, and more established yoga studios will most likely be looking to hire by reference or individuals they know have frequented their establishment for previous classes.
5 Steps to Becoming A Yoga Instructor Online
Each teaching journey will look different for each aspiring instructor, but that may be amplified with the new increase in online options, whether it be teacher or learning. Luckily, there is a plethora of resources available online to help trainees pick the right program for them or even for moral support.
Even with slight variances, there are general stages each instructor-in-training will go through that will shape them as a teacher, challenge their own physical limits and help them grow physically, mentally, and spiritually along the way.
1. Get to Know Your Personal Style
Before signing up for a program, it would be beneficial to try out the different types of yoga to see which style appeals to you the most. Even though the courses go through all types of yoga, most instructors will eventually specialize in a certain style or rhythm of yoga, whether it be more meditative or fast-paced.
Different Types of Yoga
For example, one of the most classic types of yoga is ashtanga yoga, which has a strict set of poses that will always be taught in the same order regardless of the class. It is significantly more strenuous than most other forms of yoga and is touted as exercise in the form of yoga.
One of the most popular styles of yoga is Vinyasa flow, which moves through the poses in a steady rhythm and focuses on the flexibility and individuality of the subject and can be personalized to different levels of comfort. Each class is different and while the moves and order may vary, the overall flow is universal.
Bikram yoga, or the original “hot yoga,” became popularized in the U.S. in the 1970s and is performed in a room with elevated temperatures ranging from 85 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also a more structured type of yoga and the heat can help participants achieve a deeper stretch.
Restorative yoga is probably the most different from other types of yoga, as it focuses on achieving deep relaxation by stretching and holding the poses for five minutes or more with the assistance of props such as yoga blocks and bolsters. It has a more meditative atmosphere and there is much less variation of movement.
2. Get Certified
Before signing up to become certified, many yoga training courses require their applicants to have 6 to 12 months of prior yoga experience. Those who attempt to go straight into the training without having a fundamental understanding of the practice will most likely struggle to keep up with the curriculum.
Each certification course to become a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) will generally cover all the same subjects but will vary slightly in focus and style depending on the instructor. It is important to choose a course with an instructor you are modeling your future teaching style after. (Make sure to check out these yoga instructor training courses!)
What You Will Learn
Even though the instructor may tweak the curriculum slightly according to their own preferences, the basics are the same for each program. In the basic 200 hour program, each trainee will learn the basics of yoga such as
- Asana poses and sequencing
- Yoga anatomy and Physiology
- Meditation techniques
In an online certification course, there will be certain required milestones that each participant will have to pass. That includes periodic quizzes, completing a practice log at home, creating lesson plans for a potential class and completing a final teaching project
Above all, it is a comprehensive course that goes over not only the physical, but spiritual, emotional and philosophical aspects and practices that make up the exercise of yoga.
3. Enjoy the Benefits
For many yoga instructors, the most rewarding aspect of teaching will be hearing how daily yoga practices have changed the lives of their students. Because it is a holistic exercise, individuals often experience marked physical, emotional and mental changes once they start doing yoga regularly.
The most well-known benefits of yoga include improved balance and flexibility along with increased muscle strength. It is also recommended for those with chronic back pain or arthritis symptoms as the stretches help improve mobility and ease discomfort in swollen joints
For those who are able to incorporate yoga into their daily routine, these practices have been proven to address issues that are attributed to heart disease, such as high stress levels, high blood pressure, obesity and overall inflammation of the joints. The absence of these issues will also lead to increased energy levels and more restful sleep.
The first thing that yoga instructors attempt to teach their students are proper breathing exercises. Many individuals have experienced increased body and mind awareness, reduced stress levels, and clarity and peace of mind by utilizing the breathing and relaxation techniques taught in yoga.
The meditation practices combined with the ease of chronic physical pain has been shown in various studies to improve the mental states of all participants, regardless of any preexisting conditions.
Yoga exercises are also recommended as a way for individuals to ease certain mental health conditions, such as
Yoga is therapeutic and can greatly help people dealing with mental health conditions. Helping people struggling with mental illness and high stress levels is one of the major reasons why people consider becoming a yoga instructor.
Spiritual and Emotional Benefits
Yoga was originally created as a spiritual practice to join mind and body consciousness. Although it has been modernized as low-intensity exercise in certain parts of the world, it strives to encourage freedom or nirvana through self-realization and working to live in balance with all walks of life.
The asana poses were named after the posture of living beings such as the lotus flower, child’s pose, tree pose, and corpse pose to learn from each other and to emphasize the connection between all organisms.
Once the entire teacher training course has been completed, the next step is to become a Registered Yoga Teacher, or RYT. For those residing in the United States, you can register with the Yoga Alliance. Once accepted, each member is required to pay a fee and complete the continuing education courses every three years.
After becoming an official member of the Yoga Alliance, there are several other credentials that instructors can earn as they build their experience. These credentials will depend on the number of hours taught and what they chose to specialize in.
Some examples of additional credentials include:
- Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 200)
- Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 500)
- Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher (RPYT)
- Registered Children’s Yoga Teachers (RCYT) who have received a Children’s Yoga Certification
Depending on the type of yoga instructor you want to be, you may want one or more of these additional credentials.
The average cost to complete online yoga teacher training course is around $400 to over $1,000. This is relatively affordable compared to the cost of on-site teacher training, which can go up to $2,500, including the cost of additional supplies, such as yoga blocks or straps, and assuming that you already own a mat.
Some on-site training courses can even go up to $20,000 if they are being offered in an exotic location, such as Bali, India, or Thailand. This hefty price tag includes a more intensive, immersive experience and is the estimated cost of lodging and travel.
5. Find Your Team
Yoga is not only a form of exercise but a lifestyle and often works for mental and spiritual growth along with the physical. The world of yoga has evolved in recent years, spawning new yoga-infused workouts such as
- Pilates Yoga
- HIIT Yoga
- Power Yoga
After completing your training and registering as an official member of the Yoga Alliance or some equivalent, the next step is to determine what kind of yoga variation you would like to specialize in. Aside from the yoga variation, you will also need to consider what kind of setting you would like to practice yoga in.
How to Get Hired
The most important aspect of finding and staying in a position as a yoga instructor is to be consistent with your own practices as a yoga. Teaching is a stressful occupation in any environment and if teaching takes priority of your own self-care, it can begin to interfere with other aspects of your life
It is also important to stay in touch with any mentors or senior teachers you may have met during your teaching program or in the classes you’ve taken in the past. They will be able to give you some tips on how to build a solid client base, what your rates should be and serve as a reference for you in the future.
As mentioned in the earlier sections, many yoga studios will gravitate towards hiring familiar faces. If there is a studio that you love and think would be a good fit for, start by signing up for a class and use it as an opportunity to get to know the instructors and office staff.
Virtual or In Person?
Due to the changes in the pandemic, there are a myriad of fitness classes available online. However, because yoga is an exercise that relies heavily on atmosphere and spiritual connection, there can be doubts as to whether a virtual class would be as beneficial as an in-person class.
Studies show that even without the ambient encouragement, a virtual yoga class can produce the same sense of connection and that is the most important aspect of whether yoga is mentally and emotionally effective, regardless of physical location.
Why Virtual Works
This is possible because of the existence of mirror neurons in our brains, which are the receptors that allow us to emphasize and actually feel emotions another person may be exhibiting. An example of this phenomenon is wincing or grimacing when we see someone stub their toe or get their finger caught in a door.
Even by maintaining eye contact with your instructor, or having the instructor compliment you on your form can stimulate the parasympathetic state while going through the exercises, which brings the sense of peace and well-being associated with a yoga class.
A Key Thing to Remember When Becoming a Yoga Instructor Online
The minimum number of required hours for an accredited yoga teacher training course is 200 hours, with 300 and 500 hour options available as well, depending on the preferences of the applicant. It is important to stay disciplined and complete the course in a regular, timely manner to reap the full benefits.
Because the program is conducted from the comfort of your home, it can be more difficult to keep up with your courses regularly. As most trainees are also working a full-time job along with the program, it can be hard to stay disciplined with the lack of physical accountability.
Many programs recommend finding a buddy or asking a friend to complete the course together to stay motivated and to help stick to a schedule of completing a set number of hours per day and week and maintaining good study habits, as there is a significant amount of vocabulary and yoga anatomy to memorize.
The phrase, “It’s not just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle”, can be attributed to many exercises, but it is especially true for the art of yoga. And because just practicing yoga can cause a massive shift in a person’s life, signing up to become an instructor will most likely test your limits in ways you’ve never fathomed.
Fortunately, there are many resources available and a very active online and physical community always ready to offer encouragement and advice. With the array of online resources available in particular, it has never been easier to launch a career as a yoga instructor from the comfort of your own home.