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How to Maintain Your RYT Status for Teaching Yoga

How to Maintain Your RYT Status for Teaching Yoga

Reading Time: 5 minutes


DATE: 2024-06-17

Working as a yoga instructor can be both rewarding and fun. If you have a passion for yoga, you’ve probably considered it and looked into certification and requirements. The best way to get started is with certification through a Yoga Alliance-approved program followed by registration as an RYT. 

Once you are an RYT, you can teach students and build your yoga practice. But, keep in mind that RYT status is not permanent. You must commit to continuing to learn and grow in the profession to maintain your credential. Here’s what you need to know. 

What Is RYT and Yoga Alliance Certification? 

The Yoga Alliance (YA) is the largest professional organization that represents yoga instructors and the yoga community overall. It is a nonprofit group made up of thousands of approved schools and registered instructors. 

YA sets standards for training yoga instructors and approves yoga certification courses. Yoga instruction is a self-regulated industry, so most professionals rely on the YA to ensure training courses adequately prepare teachers to work with students and clients. RYT stands for Registered Yoga Teacher and is a credential conferred by the YA. 

While having RYT status is not strictly required for leading a yoga class and working as a yoga teacher, it is strongly recommended. Many employers will only hire RYT instructors and clients will likely choose an RYT teacher over one who is not certified. The only way to become RYT certified is to complete a YA-approved course and then register.  

Learn more about the Yoga Alliance and why it matters if you’re thinking of becoming a yoga teacher. 

How to Become RYT Certified

If you’re serious about teaching yoga, you need to start with a Yoga Alliance-approved program that makes you eligible to register for RYT certification. 

Getting this important credential doesn't have to take long. YA-approved RYT programs take many different forms. You can do an in-person retreat style course, which requires you to travel somewhere for a week or two. There are also in-person options that might meet once a week for a few months. 

The most convenient option is to complete an online registered yoga teacher course. Most of these are self-paced, so you can take your time or finish it as quickly as possible, often in about ten to twelve weeks. 

Once you have successfully completed a YA-approved course, you can register for your RYT credential. To register, you must have proof of your certification and, if registering for RYT-500 or Experienced RYT credentials, proof of teaching hours. 

Learn how to land your first job as an RYT yoga instructor. 

How to Maintain Your RYT Status Once You’re Certified

Getting your yoga certification and then registering with the YA to become an RYT is the first step in becoming a professional yoga instructor. Once you have the credential, you can begin working as a teacher. 

However, it’s important to know that your RYT status doesn’t last forever. You must also take steps to maintain the credential by renewing it every three years. These are the steps you must take according to the YA: 

Abide By YA Ethics

You can only maintain your RYT designation if you continue to abide by the ethical commitment outlined by the YA. It includes a code of conduct, scope of practice, and equity in yoga statement. The YA expects all its members to adhere to these policies to uphold the highest standards of the profession. Make sure you read and understand all of these policies. 

This also includes adhering to the agreed-upon use of certain yoga terms. Primarily, the YA does not want you to claim you provide “yoga therapy” or are a “yoga therapist”. These terms imply you have medical training and are diagnosing and treating patients, which would be unethical if you are not actually a medical professional. 

Give Your Registered Yoga School Feedback

Abiding by the ethical commitment is a continuous requirement and obligation of being an RYT. This next step is a one-time requirement. You must submit an online, non-anonymous review of your teacher training program. 

This form of social credentialing allows members of the yoga community to help Registered Yoga Schools improve their services and continue to uphold high standards. At a minimum, you must give your school a rating based on whether you would recommend it to a friend. You can also leave a more detailed review if you like, which is encouraged. 

Complete and Submit Continuing Education Hours

You must complete 75 hours of continuing education credits every three years to be eligible to renew your RYT credential. These are some specific rules regarding these CE credits: 

  • The 75 hours must include 45 hours of teaching yoga. 

  • It must also include 30 hours of yoga training related to one of the four outlined categories: techniques, training, and practice; teaching methodology; anatomy and physiology; yoga philosophy, lifestyle, and ethics. 

  • The 30 training hours can be in-person or online. 

  • Training hours acquired before becoming an RYT do not count. 

  • Any hours you accumulate over the required 75 do not roll over into the next renewal period. 

  • Training hours do not have to come from YA courses or workshops, but they must be from approved yoga schools. 

Check with your approved yoga school for CE opportunities. You can also use YA online workshops as credit hours. Update your CE hours through your online Yoga Alliance account. They will be displayed on your directory profile. 

Pay YA Annual Membership Dues

Finally, to renew your credential, you must continue to pay your annual membership fees. The fees support member benefits, advocacy, online workshops, and the maintenance of standards within the yoga community.

What Happens if I Miss the Deadline for Renewing My RYT Credential? 

If you miss the deadline for renewal, your RYT credential will no longer be valid, and your name will be removed from the YA teacher directory. You will no longer be able to show your credential to potential clients. You will also lose access to all RYT benefits through the YA. 

Even if you miss the deadline, you can still renew. You’ll need to meet all the requirements, including the continuing education hours, but you can still submit your renewal fee and application. There will be a lapse in your credential, but you can still get it back.  

Should I Renew My RYT Even if I’m Not Teaching? 

Part of the renewal process includes 40 hours of teaching, but if you have since stopped teaching, whether or not you renew is a personal choice. If you think you might start working as an instructor, you should definitely renew. 

Even if you don’t teach, you can enjoy the benefits of RYT status, including the YA’s comprehensive wellness support program, discounts, and access to digital events.

RYT status is valuable, especially for instructors but also for yoga practitioners who never become teachers. If you have this credential, make sure you stay up to date and keep it valid. 

If you aren’t yet a certified yoga teacher, the ISSA offers Yoga Alliance-approved 200-hour yoga teacher training program to help you get certified as an instructor. Upon completion, you are eligible to become an RYT-200. 

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