Getting certified as a yoga instructor takes time, effort, and money. This article will teach you how long it takes to get certified as a yoga instructor, what certification you should get, and how to prepare for your Yoga Teacher Training (YTT).
How Long It Takes to Become a Yoga Instructor
The time it takes to finish a YTT course and get certified as a yoga instructor depends on two things:
- The level of certificate you want to get
- The format of the course you choose
The Levels of Yoga Teacher Training Certification
100-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification
Do you want to deepen your knowledge about yoga but not ready to teach yet? I suggest you get this level of YTT certification.
As the name suggests, it only takes 100 hours to finish this course. Most schools offer it to certified yoga instructors who already have 200- or 300-hour certificates as part of their continuing education. You’ll find it difficult to land a job as a yoga instructor if this is your first YTT certificate since most yoga studios require at least a 200-hour certificate.
Some schools also offer this as a stand-alone course that even non-certified yoga teachers can take. If you want to teach yoga, take a 200-hour course first before aiming for a 100-hour YTT certificate. But if you don’t plan on teaching yoga and you just want to deepen your knowledge about yoga, this course is a good start.
200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Certificate
Suppose you want to get a YTT certificate to teach yoga. In this case, this is the level of certificate you should get. It’s the essential requirement of yoga studios when hiring a yoga Instructor. You can still get this certificate even if you don’t want to teach. However, it takes double the time to finish it than taking a 100-hour YTT certificate.
In a 200-hour YTT course, trainees must finish 100 hours of yoga practice, training, and learning techniques. They must also complete 25 hours of learning about teaching methodologies, 20 hours of anatomy and physiology, 30 hours of yoga philosophy, ethics, the lifestyle of yoga teachers, and 10 hours of practicum.
The length of time it takes to finish the course would depend on the format of the course you are taking.
300-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Certificate
A 300-hour YTT certificate is an advanced training certificate for yoga teachers. To get this certificate, you need to have a 200-hour YTT certificate. In this program, teachers will learn more advanced and detailed yoga poses, as well as how to teach them. As the name suggests, you need 300 hours to finish this course and get certified.
Yoga Teacher Training Formats
The levels of YTT certificates are based on the number of hours you need to finish them. How long each level will take in terms of weeks or months depends on the course format. Here are three standard formats of YTT courses.
Intensive Yoga Teacher Training Certificate
An intensive YTT certificate is the most serious type of YTT format. It is the most immersive, and you will be studying from sunup to sundown. Typically, trainees will be staying in the venue where the training will be. Venues of YTTs are usually in a wellness center with a yoga studio or at a resort. Some programs will also be just in a studio, but you will be staying in a hotel close to it.
Intensive 200-hour YTT courses usually last 28–30 days. You will be training from Monday to Friday and sometimes including Saturdays. Small YTT classes may finish earlier than 28 days. But YTT classes with more students tend to end in 30 days, if not longer.
On the other hand, intensive 300-hour YTT courses typically take 30–45 days to finish since they are more advanced and cover more topics.
The cost of an intensive YTTT is higher since it includes the fee for the accommodation and food. It also varies depending on the location of the school or studio. A 100-hour YTT in the US can cost $1000 to $1500, while a 200-hour one can cost $1500 to $4000.
On the other hand, a 300-hour course can cost $2000 to $5000. If you are going to take your YTT certificate overseas, say in India, it can be cheaper. But then you will have to pay for the overseas travel expenses.
Should You Take an Intensive Yoga Teacher Training Certificate?
Taking intensive YTT, no matter what level, means you have to leave work or home for several weeks. If you can do that, I suggest getting the intensive format. The advantage of taking intensive YTT is you have more focus. You will be spending the whole 28 to 30 days just learning how to teach yoga.
Another advantage is you get to experience the real lifestyle of a yogi. Most intensive YTTs will serve you vegan or vegetarian food only. You will also wake up early and sleep early to practice yoga, which is how ancient yogis did it.
Compared to non-intensive and online YTT courses, you will develop a bond with your classmates during the program.
Non-Intensive Yoga Teacher Teacher Training Certificate
Non-intensive YTT courses are usually non-residential. This training format requires you to attend classes a couple of times a week or months spread throughout the year. The classes are generally every weekend, so it will take you at least three months to finish and get certified.
The cost of a non-intensive and weekend-only YTT course is generally the same as the intensive format. A 100-hour YTT in the US can cost $1000 to $1500. A 200-hour one can cost $1500 to $4000.
A 300-hour course can cost $2000 to $5000. You may also find some cheaper programs. But since it is held on the weekends and you will be traveling to and from the studio location, the travel expenses can add up, and the cost can end up just the same with the intensive format.
Should You Take a Non-intensive Yoga Teacher Training Certificate?
One advantage of taking a non-intensive YTT certificate, whether it is weekend-only or mini-intensives, is that you don’t have to take a few weeks off work or home. If you can’t take a leave from work and travel to school every weekend, this format of YTT is for you.
If you need to have time between classes to study more or practice what you have learned, this format is good for you, and you should take it. Another advantage of a non-intensive YTT is that you will meet a community of people who love yoga just as you do.
However, you must know that weekend-only formats typically have more homework compared to intensives.
Online/Self-Paced Yoga Teacher Training Certificate
For some people, taking the month or a few weekends off their schedule is not possible. There are bills to pay, children to take care of, and other responsibilities. If you are one of these people, you can still become a certified yoga instructor through online and self-paced YTT programs.
Distance learning is nothing new. But many yoga teacher trainers and schools are just starting to embrace it. Some online YTT courses are pre-recorded, while some are held live through streaming services such as Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, and even Facebook.
Not all online YTT courses are regulated by the Yoga Alliance, but it is better if you enroll in one that’s regulated. Yoga Alliance checks the curriculum and ensures it covers all the necessary topics about yoga. Furthermore, yoga studios and employers look for teachers who are trained by Yoga Alliance-certified schools.
Should You Take an Online Yoga Teacher Training Certificate?
There are so many reasons why you should take an online YTT certificate. First, it is convenient. You don’t have to travel to get to the school or the venue to learn. As long as you have access to the Internet, you can take it. Second, you can do most of it on your own time.
Most of the classes are pre-recorded. There will be parts of the class when you have to be online and live with the trainer. But for most of the course, you will be watching a pre-recorded video of the trainer discussing the subjects. Third, it’s cheaper than intensive and non-intensive. The cost of online YTT courses ranges from $200 to $2500.
While there are many advantages to taking an online and self-paced YTT course, there are also disadvantages. The first disadvantage is that you will feel disconnected from your trainer emotionally and tech-wise. Because you don’t see your trainer in the flesh, it isn’t easy to connect with them.
Also, tech-wise, you may have connectivity problems because of your Internet and other technical issues that may arise. It’s also challenging to discipline yourself to learn when no one is close to you to hold you accountable. The trainers and your classmates can’t see you.
You can just quickly forget about the classes. But if you can get over all these disadvantages, taking an online YTT course is an efficient way to learn.
Preparation to Become a Yoga Instructor
As you can see, it doesn’t take many years to get certified as a yoga instructor. You can get certified in two weeks if you get 100 hours of YTT. In contrast, it takes four to twelve weeks if you sign up for a 200-hour YTT program. Once you decide which type of certificate and format of training you want, it’s time to prepare for YTT and finish it successfully.
Focus on the Beginner Yoga Asanas
You don’t have to do a Handstand or a Crow Pose to become a yoga Instructor. In 100- and 200-Hour YTT courses, you will be focusing on teaching beginner practitioners. So, familiarize yourself with beginner asanas.
Be Consistent with Your Yoga Practice
You don’t have to have years of yoga experience to take a YTT course. But in this course, you will have to practice yoga daily. In most programs, they practice once in the morning and once in the afternoon or evening.
Before the training starts, build a consistent yoga practice. This way, your body will get used to the physical stress. You will avoid muscle tightness and soreness during the training.
Read the Course Materials
Typically, the lead trainer or school will send you a list of books you will use during the YTT program. As much as possible, read them before the training starts. This way, learning will be smoother during the training.
Have a Support System
Getting a YTT certificate is not only physically challenging but also emotionally and mentally taxing. It’s not a walk in the park. Therefore, prepare for days when you feel down. Have a support system before your training starts. They will help you successfully finish it even when some days it is hard.
Get Some Rest
Sleep well and take plenty of rest before your YTT. You will be practicing yoga every day (usually twice a day) during your training, so it is physically daunting. Make sure your body is ready for it by resting before the training starts. Sleep well, too, because you will be spending a few sleepless nights studying for your exams.
Becoming certified as a yoga instructor is not easy. You may only need two weeks to get certified, but you will need to continue learning for a lifetime. Yogis will only consider you a great teacher when you continue learning and improving. That’s why you need to prepare yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially before getting a YTT certificate.