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How to Know If Teaching Yoga Is Right for You

How to Know If Teaching Yoga Is Right for You

Reading Time: 5 minutes 20 seconds


DATE: 2024-05-06

If you enjoy yoga, there are many ways to turn your passion into a career. Jobs for yoga enthusiasts include being a spokesperson for a yoga business, selling yoga products, and working as a freelance health writer who specializes in yoga content. Another option is to become a yoga teacher, where you can pass your passion on to others interested in their own yoga journey.

What a Yoga Instructor Does

The basic function of a yoga teacher is to lead others through a yoga practice. This requires knowing how to safely execute the various yoga poses and their proper sequence. A yoga instructor must also know how to modify a pose for students with injuries or physical limitations. But what they do is so much more. 

Yoga teachers help students reach their desired goals. This begins by creating an environment consistent with their yoga style. If they teach Hatha yoga, for instance, the environment should help participants relax. If they lead a Vinyasa yoga class, the setting should invigorate students. 

Yoga teachers also help students live in accordance with yoga philosophy. This enables them to receive the numerous benefits this practice has to offer. Research connects yoga with improved strength and flexibility, better bodily functions, greater mental health, and better sleep. (1) This means that as a yoga teacher, you can help others develop a regular personal practice with the power to improve their quality of life. 

How to Know If Teaching Yoga Is Right for You

Even if you have a passion for yoga, this doesn’t mean that becoming a teacher is a good fit for you. Just like someone with a passion for fitness doesn’t automatically make a good personal trainer. Instead, it helps to consider a few other factors, such as these:

  • You enjoy helping others. It’s hard to do well in any teaching role if you don’t enjoy helping others. Teaching yoga is no exception. As a yoga teacher, your students must feel comfortable coming to you. When you have a desire to help them succeed with their yoga practice, it will shine through. They’ll know they can reach out to you with their questions or concerns. 

  • You have a respect for yoga’s history and traditions. Yoga is a practice with a rich history that began thousands of years ago. Research indicates that one of the earliest depictions was found in an archaeological site from the 3rd millennium B.C.E. (2) The image was of a yogi in a cross-legged yoga posture. Respecting yoga’s long-held traditions is important for individuals in a teaching role. Your respect will carry over to your students, helping them appreciate this practice and how it has evolved as well.

  • You have a basic understanding of yoga postures and principles. You don’t have to be an expert to pursue a yoga teaching role. If you have a basic understanding of yoga and what it entails, that’s enough to create a foundation. You can learn the rest in a yoga teacher training program. (Even if you don’t know much about yoga, that’s okay too. As long as you’re willing to learn and commit to yoga training, you can pick up everything you need to know as a yoga teacher.)

  • You’re endlessly curious about yoga and want to learn more. The best yoga teachers are also lifelong students. They never stop learning about this practice. Some learn by reading books and blogs, or by keeping up with current research. Others listen to yoga podcasts or seek to learn from other people’s yoga journeys. What we know about yoga is constantly evolving. Being curious drives you to stay current with the latest information and trends.

  • You want a career you can do from anywhere. Yes, many teachers work in a yoga studio. But you don’t have to. You can also become an online yoga instructor. This enables you to work from anywhere. Want to go on a month-long vacation and still be able to work? You can. Do you like to travel but still want to earn an income? You can do that as an online teacher too. As long as you have an internet connection, you can lead a yoga class.

Qualities of a Successful Yoga Teacher

A good yoga teacher also has certain qualities or skills. If you have these same qualities, teaching yoga may be a good fit for you. They include:

  • Being able to communicate clearly, which is important when providing yoga instruction

  • Having good listening skills, such as to determine a student's goals, concerns, or needs

  • The ability to motivate others, encouraging students to continue their yoga practice

  • Knowing how to problem solve and help students overcome obstacles

  • Being professional, both inside and outside a class setting

If you could stand to improve in any of these areas, don’t let that stop you from becoming a yoga teacher if that’s what you’d like to do. Instead, work to build the skills you need. This will help you be the best yoga teacher you can be once you’re ready to lead a class.

Next Step: Yoga Teacher Training

If becoming a yoga teacher feels like a good fit, the next step is to find a yoga certification program. Teacher training provides the information you need to help others develop a safe, effective yoga practice. 

Yoga teacher training increases your understanding of yoga, how it was developed, and why it is such a popular practice. You also learn about the different styles of yoga and the value each provides. 

For instance, restorative yoga can help promote healing in the nervous system. Yin yoga helps release tension in the connective tissues. Understanding these differences makes it easier to decide which style you want to teach. It also enables you to recommend a certain yoga style to students based on their desired outcomes.

Yoga teacher training also helps you develop the skills needed for this role. Teaching yoga requires that you know how to break down a pose to get students into proper form. You must also know how to modify the posture based on a student's limitations. A teacher training program provides instruction in each of these areas.

Finding the Right Yoga Teacher Training for You

Just as it’s important to make sure a yoga teacher role is a good fit, you also want to select the right training program for you. This increases the likelihood that you’ll be satisfied with your training. It also raises the odds that you’ll obtain the yoga education needed to pursue a teaching role.

To determine if the teacher training program may be a good fit, consider:

  • Its method of delivery. Is it in-person or online? In-person instruction is good for someone who prefers face-to-face interaction when learning. Online yoga teacher training may be preferred if you like to study in your own time and at your own pace.

  • Its cost. Does the teacher training program fit your budget? If money is tight, look for a course that offers flexible payment arrangements. This enables you to get the training you need without sacrificing your other bills.

  • If it’s offered by a Registered Yoga School (RYS). This type of yoga school has met the Yoga Alliance’s standard for yoga teaching programs. This means that you can expect to get a solid education that fully prepares you for a yoga teacher role. It also qualifies you to apply for the Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) designation. This designation is accepted by most yoga studios and fitness facilities, making it easier to secure a yoga instructor role once you’ve completed training.

If you’re ready to get started, ISSA Yoga & Wellness Academy offers a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Course. This online course is approved by the Yoga Alliance and is a good first step in starting your yoga career.

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  1. Dr. Surendra Prasad Rayal; Bijendra Singh and Priyanka Jain. Exploring the Therapeutic Effects of Yoga and its Ability to Increase Quality of Life. International Journal for Modern Trends in Science and Technology 2021, 7, 0708020, pp. 90-96. https://doi.org/10.46501/IJMTST0708017

Pandurangi, A. K., Keshavan, M. S., Ganapathy, V., & Gangadhar, B. N. (2017). Yoga: past and present. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 174(1), 16–17. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.16080853

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