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What to Consider When Choosing a Yoga Certification Program

What to Consider When Choosing a Yoga Certification Program

Reading Time: 5 minutes 15 seconds


DATE: 2024-03-04

Taking a yoga teacher training program can be a rewarding experience. It can be fun and enlightening and help you pursue a new career path or side hustle. Before you dive in, do your homework. Not all certification programs are the same. Take some time to research the options and make an informed choice that’s best for your needs. 

Are You Ready for Yoga Teacher Training? 

Before you get started, be sure a yoga instructor training program is the right next step for you. Do you have time in your life right now to devote to an instructor course? Can you afford the course? Are you interested in yoga enough to pursue this, or could it be a passing interest? Consider these questions before selecting a program. 

Here are some important signs you’re ready to begin a yoga teacher training course

Clarify Your Goals

Many people are surprised to hear that not everyone who goes through these programs intends to become a teacher. If you have a passion for yoga and want to deepen your personal practice, an instructor program is a great option. 

This is because teacher training programs dive deeper into what yoga is, including the philosophy and history. It teaches you the mechanics of poses and how to create useful sequences. You can apply this as a teacher or to your own practice. 

On the other hand, a training and certification program is the necessary next step if you want to teach classes or private sessions. Find your motivation now and determine your goals to make it easier to choose and successfully complete a program. 

Many people assume you need a certain body type or years of experience to be a good yoga instructor. This post corrects this damaging yoga myth about flexibility and teaching yoga to others. 

Yes, Yoga Certification Is Necessary

When you’re ready to start looking at programs, keep this in mind. If plan to work as an instructor, certification is not a legal requirement. There is no government regulation of yoga and fitness. But, employers and clients overwhelmingly choose yoga instructors with recognized credentials. 

Certification is not necessary if your goal is to develop your own practice. However, no reputable or quality program would offer training without also providing a certification. 

Who Created and Is Teaching the Course? 

Consider it a red flag if you can’t easily find out the organization or people behind a yoga training program. The program should be created and backed by a known organization with reputable standing in the yoga or fitness industries. 

The yoga teachers should be experienced practitioners and instructors. Just as there are certifications for yoga instructors, there are certifications for the instructors of the instructors. You should be able to see that the people leading your training have the appropriate credentials. 

Consider What Past Students Thought of the Course

Talk to yoga teachers you know about which programs they completed and if they recommend them. If you have narrowed your search down to a few options, look for student testimonials. You should be able to find positive reviews. Read them carefully to find out what students liked and maybe didn’t like about the programs to help inform your decision. 

What Topics Are Taught and What Is Included in the Course?

Reputable programs should make it clear what is taught and all that is included in the complete course. At a minimum, topics covered should include: 

  • History and philosophy of yoga

  • Asanas

  • Anatomy and physiology

  • Teaching and cueing poses

  • Developing sequences

  • Meditation and breathing exercise

  • Ethics and professionalism

Look for all the extras and materials included in the course, too. Programs might offer training manuals, in-person or live online teaching sessions, video lectures or lessons, CPR/AED certification, and more. Others might offer only limited materials. 

An important extra to look for in a good yoga teacher training program is ongoing support. Do they offer some kind of follow-up guidance for looking for a job or marketing your business? Or do you never hear from them again? An existing network and ongoing support are valuable tools once you complete a certification program. 

Part of ongoing support might include continuing education. If you want to keep your certification valid over several years, you will need to renew it. This means taking additional classes. It’s not necessary but can be useful if the program you begin with also offers the ongoing courses that will serve you throughout your career. 

Do You Have the Time and Flexibility for a Yoga Retreat? 

Another important factor to consider is the style of program. Many yoga schools have a retreat format. This means you travel to the yoga school and spend a week or more completing an intensive program. It can be a great experience to get certified this way, to travel, and to learn alongside like-minded people. 

On the other hand, a yoga retreat isn’t practical for everyone. You might not have the money to be able to travel and pay for a retreat, which is often more expensive than other programs. Taking time off work can also be an issue for many people. 

Will Other In-Person Programs Fit Your Schedule? 

If you want to learn in person but a retreat doesn’t work for you, a local program might be an option. Check with local studios to find out if they host courses for instructor training. This is a more flexible option, but it still requires that you set aside time for scheduled classes, often several times a week for a few months. Determine if this makes sense for your current lifestyle and other obligations. 

Online Yoga Teacher Training Might Be Right for You

The most flexible approach and an increasingly popular option is to learn to become a yoga instructor through an online program. An online course allows you to study and learn at your own pace. You can watch lessons and do the homework and training on your timeline and in a way that fits with your existing schedule. 

Check out YouAligned’s list of Best Yoga Teacher Training (Online) programs.

The Program Must Be Accredited

This is an absolute must in any program you choose. There is no legal oversight of the yoga industry, which means the industry has to regulate itself. Accreditation is essential to this process. 

Any program or school you choose should be accredited to show that it has been reviewed by a reputable agency. The accrediting agency ensures that a program actually offers what it claims to. You can trust that the courses are as described and that the instructors have the promised qualifications and experience. 

The school you choose might be accredited by any number of agencies that review fitness or higher education programs. The particular yoga program you’re looking at should also be reviewed and approved by the Yoga Alliance. This is the leading and most widely recognized professional organization in the industry. It ensures that teacher training programs include all the fundamental elements. 

Is it Affordable? 

Finally, and importantly, consider the cost of any yoga training program you choose. While you might consider a teacher certification course a wise investment, you still need to be able to afford it. The pricing shouldn’t be dirt cheap, but it should be something reasonable and that you can afford. 

Completing a yoga instructor course should be a great experience, whether you become a teacher in the future or not. A bad program is a waste of money and can make you reconsider your relationship with yoga. Take some time to seek out an accredited program built and taught be experienced yoga instructors. Don’t settle for less. 

Become a Registered Yoga Teacher with ISSA

Look no further for your certification than the ISSA’s Yoga Alliance-approved 200-hour teacher training program. It is a widely recognized credential and approved by the Yoga Alliance, the leader in yoga instruction.    


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