In this day and age, finding a yoga instructor is easy. There is no scarcity of yoga instructors in the market. Yoga Alliance found that in 2016, there are 250,000 to 650,000 yoga teachers in the US. But just because you can easily find one doesn’t mean you can easily hire one.
If you’re hiring for your studio, you need to consider many things. In this article, I’ll make it easy for you to hire a yoga instructor who knows what he or she is doing and is warm and friendly.
What People Want In a Yoga Instructor
Before hiring a yoga instructor for a studio or gym, know what your studio members are looking for in a yoga teacher first. The most important part of marketing is understanding what your customer wants.
- 99% wants a yoga instructor to have additional training other than the basic 200-hour yoga teacher training certificate
- 99% wants a yoga instructor to know the postures he or she is teaching
- 66% wants a yoga instructor to be warm and friendly
- 64% wants a yoga instructor to give clear instructions
- 59% wants a yoga instructor to be helpful
- 58% wants a yoga instructor to be approachable
With all these in mind, look at considerations that you need to take to find the yoga instructor that your audience or students would love.
Back in the day, yoga instructors didn’t need expensive and shiny certifications to teach. You only need to have experience. Most of them become instructors because their yoga instructors encouraged and trained them after practicing yoga for many years.
Yoga teacher certifications only started in the late ’90s. Moreover, it is not legally required to have a yoga teaching certificate to become a yoga instructor. This fact may sound good because you can be sure that the yoga teacher has experience.
These teachers most likely know postures like the back of their hands. But it’s necessary to note that knowing is different from teaching. Many people can become an expert in a specific subject but not good at teaching it. So, a teaching certificate is essential.
Most yoga studios require yoga instructors to have at least a 200-hour yoga teacher training certificate. In this training, the yoga instructor will learn anatomy and proper alignment of the poses, teaching methodology, cueing yoga philosophy, and more. This certificate is just the minimum requirement to teach yoga.
More than the minimum 200-hour training, some studios also require that yoga instructors are part of Yoga Alliance as an RYT or Registered Yoga Teacher. You will know when yoga instructors are RYTs because they will use “RYT” at the end of their names. Those who did not register with Yoga Alliance cannot call themselves RYT because Yoga Alliance trademarks it.
If the yoga instructor has taken more than 200 hours of training, you will know this in their designation. Instructors with 200 hours of training will indicate 200-Hour Certified Yoga Teacher or RYT-200, while instructors with 300 hours will use Certified Yoga Teacher or RYT-300.
Style of Yoga
Yoga has different styles. That is why when hiring a yoga instructor, you also know what style of yoga you want to offer in your studio. If you are teaching Hatha, most yoga instructors can teach this style. Hatha is an umbrella term for all forms of yoga asana practice.
If you are looking for a yoga instructor to teach Hot Yoga, find a yoga instructor who has taken continuing education in this yoga style aside from their 200-hour training. The same goes for other styles of yoga that you want to offer in your studio or gym.
While most yoga studios require at least a year of experience from the yoga instructor candidates, I’m an advocate of giving people a chance. Sure, it is great to have someone who has been teaching for a while. But these experienced yoga instructors have also been inexperienced and beginners in this field.
Moreover, yoga schools that offer training certification require students to have a regular yoga personal practice. So, new and inexperienced yoga instructors have been practicing yoga before they start teaching.
Where to Find Yoga Instructors to Hire
Yoga Studios or Gyms
Most yoga instructors do not work full time. So, if you go to yoga studios or gyms that offer yoga classes, you will find yoga instructors who are still available to teach for you.
Yoga Alliance Directory
The Yoga Alliance has a directory of Registered Yoga Teachers. In this directory, you will find yoga instructors from different cities and states in the United States. You will also find the certificate and continuing education they have. Moreover, you will discover how many teaching hours they have under their belt.
Facebook groups are a treasure box of people you can hire for almost any role. Many Facebook groups are specifically for yoga teachers only. You can also find groups of yoga instructors for different styles of yoga.
Interview Questions to Ask Yoga Instructor Applicants
Now that you know where to find yoga instructors and the qualifications to look for, it’s time to schedule interviews. The success of interviews depends on the questions that you ask the applicants.
Here are questions you can ask during the interview to learn more about the yoga instructor applicants.
How long have you been practicing yoga?
You want to know how long the applicant has been practicing yoga. Asking this question will let you know how solid their yoga practice is. This question also gives you an idea if the applicant is genuinely interested in learning about yoga to stick with it for years and teach it.
You can also make follow-up questions about their yoga practice.
What style of yoga do you practice?
Asking this question will give you an idea of the style of yoga that they practice and what they are good at teaching. Many yoga instructors can teach styles of yoga they are not certified of but have been practicing regularly. If they show vast knowledge of that particular style of yoga, I will consider this yoga instructor applicant.
How many times a week do you practice yoga?
This question will give you a glimpse if they have a strong and solid personal practice. Often, when yoga instructors start teaching (and other instructors of any subjects for that matter), they become too occupied to nurture their personal practice. Keeping their yoga practice will help them become better instructors to learn from different teachers and yoga styles.
Why do you want to work in our studio?
Asking this question will further show the communications skill of the yoga instructor applicant. It will also give you an idea if they have researched your studio or gym and if they will be a good fit for your company culture.
Can you describe what a 60-minute yoga session with you looks like?
This question will give you an idea about their teaching method. This question will also show if the yoga instructor applicant knows the different stages of a yoga session. You can also ask follow-up questions related to how they teach, including how they give cues, how they offer adjustments, etc.
How do you build a relationship with your students as their yoga instructors?
Building a relationship with your students is necessary. It builds trust. When the student trusts you, they feel supported. Building a relationship also makes you approachable to students.
Do you think yoga is beneficial to anyone? How?
Of course, you want someone who is an advocate of yoga. Asking this question will let you know if the yoga instructor applicant is.
Why did you decide to become a yoga instructor?
Asking this question will let you know their motivation for becoming a yoga instructor. Applicants will have the chance to explain to you why they decided to become yoga instructors. Asking this question is also a good chance to know what they are like as a person.
How to Test Yoga Instructor Applicants
The best way to test a yoga instructor applicant’s skills and capabilities is to let them lead a class. The yoga class doesn’t have to be an entire class with your paying studio members. You may ask the applicants to guide you or your studio staff through a few cycles of Sun Salutations or a Pranayama.
It is also at your discretion if you will pay them or not. By doing this, you will know how they plan their class, cue the breath and postures, if they give adjustments or not, and communicate with the students.
It takes time to hire for any kind of role, whether it’s a yoga instructor for a studio or a CEO of a billion-dollar company. It is no easy feat. Hopefully, this guide will help you find the yoga instructor who is right for your studio or gym and the yoga students.