How Long It Takes (and How) to Become a Yoga Instructor

Published May 2, 2018
Group of women with yoga instructor

How long it takes to become a yoga instructor depends on your circumstances. Before you begin, you need to make sure that you can lead a class with skill and confidence. It can take as little as two weeks or as long as a year to complete a 200 hour certification program, which is the basic level you need to begin teaching.

Time Spent in Training

There are hundreds of yoga teacher training programs around the world to choose from. They take place in the form of total immersions, which last from 14 to 30 consecutive days, and yoga school or college programs, which take from three months to a year to complete. While they each offer different benefits, to meet the standards of the yoga alliance, the breakdown of training is the same.

  • 20 hours of Anatomy and Physiology - to prepare future instructors to teach proper alignment to their students, a key component of in preventing injury and promoting progress toward strength and flexibility.
  • 30 hours of Philosophy, Lifestyle, and Ethics - including a discussion of history, as well as spiritual principles surrounding the practice of yoga in religious as well as secular communities.
  • 100 hours of Training and Practice - which involves some combination of practice in asana, meditation, and rituals, along with teaching techniques.
  • 25 hours or Teaching Methodology - going over practical aspects of yoga instruction, such as how to cue movements, the importance of proper vocal tones, personal teaching style, and the aspects of running a yoga business.
  • 10 hours of Practicum - where you get hands-on practice leading groups or individuals through asana practice.
  • Other - consisting of any remaining hours (for a total of 200) divided between the categories. Each Registered Yoga School (RYS) chooses the division depending on it's focus and priorities.

While most of these hours are included during contact time with the lead instructor, some are assigned as non-contact hours, which are to be completed on your own through at-home assignments, such as reading, watching instructional videos, preparing for evaluations, and the like. For a more comprehensive breakdown, you can check out the Yoga Alliance website.

Finding Work

When it comes to landing a job in yoga, you need to be proactive.

Gain Experience Teaching

Look for opportunities to practice teaching while you are completing your certification.

  • Offer to assist current instructors during their classes.
  • Enroll in an internship program or yoga mentorship.
  • Start a yoga video channel or blog in which you teach what you are learning.

Having one or two of these types of experience will position you as an authority and allow you to gain referrals.

Consider Getting Fitness Certified

Most gyms offer yoga classes as part of their group fitness schedule. This makes them an ideal option during a job search. Most require a primary certification as a personal fitness trainer or aerobics (group fitness) instructor. Getting one will more than double your likelihood of being offered a position.

Become a Yoga Instructor on Your Time

The amount of time it takes for you to become a yoga instructor will depend on your current commitments and lifestyle. If you are able to commit to two to four weeks of daily training, an immersion program may be the best fit for you. In that case, you will be certified and ready to look for your first job within a month. For those who need to balance their work or home life with training, a longer period of study may be a better option. Just make sure to do your research. Programs vary in the depth of material they cover, as well as teaching style and philosophy. Find the one that works for you.

How Long It Takes (and How) to Become a Yoga Instructor