How to Become a Yoga Teacher: Your Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide (+ FREE PDF)

by Leah Sugerman (Nomad Yoga Founder + Lead Trainer)

If you’ve ever dreamed of leading a yoga class or hosting a retreat in a paradise location, then you’ve probably googled the phrase “how to become a yoga teacher.”

When students take yoga teacher trainings with me, I’m always surprised by how little they typically know about how the full process actually works.

There are a few steps involved to become a yoga teacher, but the process is pretty straightforward and linear.

However, of course, each step along the way takes a fair amount of research and hard work so that you can make the most out of the journey and become the best yoga teacher possible.

How to Become a Yoga Teacher: Your Step-by-Step Guide

Starting the journey to becoming a yoga teacher is not merely a career choice; it's a profound experience of self-discovery, growth, and the desire to share the beauty of yoga with the world.

If you've felt the pull toward teaching yoga, you're likely already aware of its profound impact on your life. But how do you transition from passionate practitioner to inspiring teacher?

Hopefully, this comprehensive guide on how to become a yoga teacher will steer you in the right direction.

First, you'll want to start with some simple steps:

Listen to Your Inner Voice

Becoming a yoga teacher often starts with a whisper, a subtle nudge from within, urging you to share your love for yoga.

This call to teach can manifest in various ways—a deep sense of fulfillment during practice, a desire to help others, or simply a curiosity about the deeper aspects of yoga.

Acknowledge this calling and let it guide you. It's your inner voice aligning with your purpose.

Deepen Your Practice

A yoga class full of students practicing a high lunge in a 200 hour yoga teacher training

Your own practice is the foundation of your teaching. So before you can teach yoga, it's crucial to deepen your own personal practice.

This doesn't necessarily mean mastering complex asanas; it involves immersing yourself in the subtler aspects of yoga (like the philosophy, history, breathwork, and meditation practices).

Regular practice cultivates discipline, mindfulness, and a deeper understanding of yoga’s transformative power. Attend workshops, retreats, and classes with various teachers to broaden your perspective.

Choose the Right Yoga Teacher Training Program

Selecting a yoga teacher training (YTT) program is one of the most significant steps on this journey. And there are definitely some key factors to consider when you go about choosing your school.

How to Choose Your Yoga Teacher Training School

This step is of crucial importance because your training will shape you into a yoga teacher. So of course you want to choose your school wisely so that you can become the incredible teacher that you want to be.

When you look for the perfect school, keep your eyes peeled for:

Accreditation and Certification

Orange and red logo of Yoga Alliance

Ensure the program is accredited by a recognized organization like Yoga Alliance. This accreditation ensures the training meets specific standards and that your certification will be recognized globally.

What Is Yoga Alliance and Does My Yoga Teacher Training Need to Be Yoga Alliance Certified?

Curriculum and Style

Different YTT programs offer various styles of yoga, from hatha to vinyasa to Ashtanga to yin. Choose a program that resonates with your own practice and teaching aspirations.

Review the curriculum to ensure it covers anatomy, philosophy, teaching methodology, and practical teaching experience.

Make Sure That Your YTT Covers These 8 Essential Topics

Experienced Instructor(s)

Research the lead trainer. Their experience, teaching style, and approach to yoga will significantly impact your training. Look for a lead teacher who inspires you and whose philosophy aligns with yours.

Look for These 8 Crucial Things When You Choose a YTT

Location and Schedule

Female yoga instructor teaching alignment of warrior 3 to a group of 200 hour yoga teacher training students in an open air yoga shala overlooking the ocean

Consider the training's location and schedule. Some programs are immersive, taking place over a few weeks, while others are extended over several months.

Some are taught in your local city while others offer a retreat-style escape to faraway locations. Choose what fits best with your lifestyle and commitments.

Here's How to Choose the Best Costa Rica Yoga Teacher Training for You

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What Are the Requirements to Actually Teach Yoga?

Believe it or not, there are no governing bodies or laws that dictate who can and cannot teach yoga or what sort of qualifications are necessary to be able to lead classes.

So since there are no official rules about who can and cannot teach, most yoga studios take it upon themselves to define who can.

Most studios, gyms, and wellness centers won’t hire you unless you hold an accredited certification.

The back of a yoga teacher trainer instructing students how to assist warrior 3 pose against a walls

Students also want to practice in the hands of a properly certified teacher, so they’ll often want to know that you trained with a certified school.

The only real “governing” body that oversees the yoga teaching industry is Yoga Alliance. Yoga Alliance is a non-profit organization that sets standards for yoga schools to teach and yoga teachers to adhere to.

Because this is the only globally recognized yoga organization, you’ll likely want to become a yoga teacher with a school that is certified by Yoga Alliance.

Should I Take a 200 Hour or 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training?

There are a few different types of yoga teacher trainings that are recognized by Yoga Alliance so it’s important to clarify the difference between these trainings of varying hours to be certain you look for the right course when you set off to become a yoga teacher.

A 200 hour yoga teacher training is the foundational training for all yoga teachers. This is a prerequisite for all future trainings.

A 300 hour yoga teacher training is considered to be an advanced yoga training and can only be completed after graduating from a 200 hour course.

I often recommend that you start with a 200 hour yoga teacher training and then go off to teach for some time before continuing on with a 300 hour training.

I find this best because you can determine a few things. It’s good to teach for some time before investing further into your education to first determine if you even like teaching yoga!

A group of yoga teacher training graduates dressed in all white and holding their yoga teacher training certificates in front of a wall that says "namaste"

Then if you do, it’s also helpful to have a base understanding of teaching and to have some experience doing so.

This way you can go to your advanced training armed with the knowledge of what struggles you have teaching yoga (so you can come to your advanced YTT prepared with questions!) and a clear idea of what you’d like to learn more about or gain inspiration from.

Select schools offer 500 hour trainings, which is a combination of a 200 and 300 hour training at the same time.

What Are the Prerequisites for Becoming a Yoga Teacher?

There are no specific qualifications or prerequisites that are essential to becoming a yoga teacher, but it is often recommended that you have a dedicated yoga practice for some time before taking a yoga teacher training.

You certainly don’t need to have been practicing for 20 years or anything like that, but it is helpful to have a background in the practice to come in with a solid knowledge base already.

I also always say that the only other prerequisites are a genuine interest in yoga, coming with an open mind, and being prepared to learn!

How Do I Know If I’m Good Enough to Be Able to Teach Yoga?

This is a question I get all the time! And my answer is always the same.

Yoga is a practice, not something to be perfected. Wherever you are in your yoga journey, you are good enough.

You do not need to be an asana master to teach effectively or to impact your students in a positive way. You do not need to be able to hold a headstand free-floating to offer meaningful classes to your community.

The back of a yoga teacher sitting in a seat of meditation as a room full of yoga students aligned in a circle are lying on their backs in savasana

Perfectly practicing asana does not create a good teacher. Teaching is a completely separate skill that you should extensively study and practice in your training. You should learn the art of communication and how to empower your students.

So if you love yoga and want to share its teachings, then you are undoubtedly "good enough" and ready to teach yoga!

What Should I Expect from My Yoga Teacher Training?

Yoga teacher training is an intense and transformative experience. It challenges you physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Once you’ve made the right choice about which school to study with, here's what you can expect from the training itself:

Physical Intensity

A yoga studio full of yoga students and a yoga teacher all practicing one-legged downward facing dog pose

Be prepared for long hours of practice and study. Your body will be pushed to new limits, but this physical intensity is part of the growth process. Listen to your body, honor its limits, and embrace the journey.

Mental and Emotional Growth

YTT delves deep into yoga philosophy, history, and ethics. You'll explore concepts like the yamas and niyamas and the Eight Limbs of yoga. You’ll discuss sacred texts like the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

What Are the Yamas and Niyamas? Here's Your In-Depth Guide to This Yogic Code of Conduct

These teachings often spark introspection and deep personal growth, leading to profound emotional breakthroughs.

You’ll also spend countless hours practicing meditation and mindfulness. These practices will help you shed light unto yourself in ways you might never have expected.

Community Building

A group of yoga students seated in a sharing circle with a floral mandala in the middle of the circle

One of the most rewarding aspects of YTT is the sense of community, especially when you train in an intensive retreat-style format. You'll bond with fellow trainees, sharing the highs and lows of the journey.

These connections often become lifelong friendships and a support network as you transition to your teaching career. You’ll often create a global network of friends and fellow practitioners that you can lean on and call on whenever you travel or need inspiration.

Finding Your Voice as a Teacher

Throughout the duration of your yoga training, you’ll explore your voice as a teacher. You’ll ideally be encouraged to find the language, style, and tone that you want to embody as a yoga teacher.

When you really think about how to become a yoga teacher, the biggest thing that needs to happen is a shift within yourself as you transition from student to teacher.

What Happens After You Officially Become a Yoga Teacher? How Do I Become a Good Yoga Teacher?

After completing your training, it's time to step into your role as a teacher. This transition can be daunting, but remember that every teacher started as a beginner.

Here are some simple tips to help you find your voice:

Start Small

Begin by teaching friends and family or offering community classes. This provides a safe space for you to practice your skills and gain confidence. Volunteer at local studios or community centers to gain experience.

Continue Learning

A yoga teacher touching her knees in front of a skeleton and projector screen, teaching anatomy to a group of yoga teacher trainees

Your journey doesn't end with certification. Attend workshops, advanced trainings, and continue your personal practice. The best teachers are perpetual students, always eager to learn and grow.

Develop Your Unique Style

Every teacher has a unique voice. Reflect on what makes your approach special. Maybe it's your soothing voice, your ability to create dynamic sequences, or your deep knowledge of yoga philosophy. Embrace your strengths and let them shine in your teaching.

Seek Feedback

Constructive feedback is invaluable for growth. Ask your students for feedback and be open to receiving it. Use it to refine your teaching methods and become a better instructor.

How to Become a Yoga Teacher Is Truly a Lifelong Commitment, So Embrace the Journey

It’s not the destination, but the journey that truly matters. And becoming a yoga teacher is truly a lifelong journey. It's a commitment to personal growth, continuous learning, and the desire to share the transformative power of yoga with others.

Embrace every moment of this journey—the challenges, the triumphs, the moments of doubt, and the profound realizations. Each step brings you closer to becoming the teacher you aspire to be.

Ultimately, the path to becoming a yoga teacher is as rewarding as it is challenging. Listen to your inner calling, deepen your practice, choose the right training program, embrace the transformation, find your voice, and continue to grow.

The world desperately needs more compassionate, open-minded, generous, loving, and dedicated yoga teachers. And, you never know—your journey could inspire and transform countless lives.

Ready to Begin Your Journey? Become a Yoga Teacher With Nomad Yoga

Aerial view of a white sand beach with turquoise waters surrounded by cliffs covered with green plants

Are you ready to start this transformative journey? Trust in your calling, embrace the process, and take the first step toward becoming a yoga teacher. Your future students are waiting for you.

Join Nomad Yoga for a transformational journey into the world of yoga! Our Yoga Alliance accredited 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Trainings are designed to move you deeper into your personal practice while simultaneously preparing you to offer your teachings to the world.

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