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Difference between a 50- 100- and 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Certification

June 20, 2019

Last updated : January 19, 2024

If you're dreaming of becoming a qualified yoga teacher, the first step is choosing a yoga certification course to enroll in. But with 50-, 100-, 200-, and 500-hour options available, it's very normal to feel a bit lost and confused. Some yoga courses are spread over months while others offer an intensive experience in only a few days. Each one suits different levels, lifestyles, schedules, and budgets, so you’ll need to dive into the nitty-gritty of these options before you can get started. 

In this simple guide, we'll explain the different types of yoga certifications typically offered for beginners, making it easier for you to figure out which course aligns best with your level of yoga and goals. Whether you’re looking for a course you can squeeze in between a hectic schedule or something more immersive, we’ll clear up any yoga certification confusions and help you take the best path for your yoga teaching journey.

What Is the Minimum Qualification to Become a Yoga Teacher?

Due to the growing popularity and influence of yoga, institutions like Yoga Alliance USA have established standards to maintain a certain structure and quality of yoga teacher training programs offered around the world. 

These standards specify the number of training hours required and the essential topics that should be covered. As a result, the 200-hour yoga teacher training course (YTT) is a widely recognized international benchmark for aspiring yoga instructors

This comprehensive course is designed to provide students with a strong foundation in both the practical and theoretical aspects of yoga. You'll be immersed in daily yoga and meditation practices, delving deeply into yoga philosophy and anatomy. Arhanta’s intensive 26-Day YTT is also structured to enhance your skills and confidence as an instructor. Every day, you'll dedicate three hours to hands-on teaching practice, allowing you to refine and develop your teaching style in a supportive environment.

See: How Much Yoga Experience Do You Need to Become a Yoga Teacher?

Once you complete this foundational yoga certification course, you are then eligible to register with international or local yoga associations as an RYT-200 (Registered Yoga Teacher). It's important to note that legally, holding a 200-Hour RYT certificate isn't necessary to teach yoga, but many yoga studios prefer or even require their instructors to have this level of certification in yoga.

Completing a 200-hr YTT also sets the stage for your continuous growth as a teacher. As you will find out, becoming a yoga teacher isn’t just about receiving a yoga certification. It’s an empowering and lifelong journey of learning and developing as a teacher and student.

Also Read: Yoga Teacher Training Survival Guide for Students

How Long Does It Take to Become a Certified Yoga Teacher?

As explained above, yoga teacher training programs typically require 200 hours of study before they can start teaching yoga professionally. While some schools spread these hours over 2-3 years or several months, others like Arhanta offer a more intensive, 4-week yoga teacher training course. 

Our 200-Hour YTT in India and the Netherlands is a 4-week program that can be completed in just 26 days. This makes it a popular option for working professionals who can’t afford to take months off at a time. Some students who enroll aren’t always convinced it’s possible to complete a YTT in 26 days, but the fast pace and full days of yoga practice, anatomy study, and philosophy classes creates a concentrated and transformative learning environment. By the end, they all agree the immersive training was not only possible, but life-changing.

Nowadays, there are also online yoga teacher training courses available, offering many benefits for busy practitioners, and of course a few drawbacks.

200-Hour Yoga Certification vs. 50- & 100-Hour Courses

If you have a tight schedule and are considering a shorter yoga teacher training course like a 50- or 100-hour program, it's important to know what to expect. These brief courses simply can't pack in all the essential information that an extensive 200-hour yoga course offers. This means you'll likely miss out on some key skills and confidence-building that are crucial for teaching yoga effectively.

50- or 100-hour courses are great for diving deeper into specific areas that a 200-hour course might not cover in detail, like Fascia Yoga or Restorative Yoga. But, they do not cover the basics extensively. These shorter courses assume you already have the fundamentals in yoga, and are therefore designed to add extra tools to your kit, rather than build your foundation from scratch.

So, if you want to teach yoga professionally at a studio or perhaps open your own studio, then no, a 50- or 100 is likely not enough. We strongly advise that you first obtain a 200-hour yoga certification before looking into a 50- or 100-hour yoga course. 

Discover: The Differences Between a 200- 300- and 500-Hour YTT Training

When Should You Consider a 50- or 100-Hour YTT?

According to international standards, RYT-200 yoga teachers are required to log a minimum of 30 hours of related training every three years. At least 10 hours must be contact hours, the rest may be non-contact hours. It's important to note that training hours prior to registration do not count towards Continuing Education requirements.

Therefore, many yoga teachers typically enroll in 50-hour courses to fulfill these requirements and continue their education. But they are not just about ticking boxes for professional development, these programs also offer an opportunity to deepen your understanding of yoga, broadening your skills, experience, and teaching vocabulary as a teacher.

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In What Situation Is a 50-Hour Yoga Certification Sufficient?

If you're a coach, therapist, or personal trainer looking to enhance your work with yoga, a specialized 50-hour course like Yin Yoga or Yoga Nidra might be just what you need. In this case, diving into a full 200-hour yoga teacher training might be more than necessary. However, it's not uncommon for people to start with a shorter course and then find themselves drawn to complete the more comprehensive 200-hour training later on.

What if your goal isn't to teach but to deepen your personal knowledge in a specific yoga style or area? In this scenario, you don't need a 200-hour certification. Enrolling in a 50-hour continued education course such as 50-Hour Vinyasa Yoga or Advanced Hatha Yoga Course can provide you with the deeper knowledge you’re searching for. 

Read: The Essential Guide to Continuing Education for Yoga Teachers

Can You Combine 50- & 100-Hour YTTs to Make a 200-Hour Yoga Certification?

No, combining multiple shorter trainings to qualify for a 200-hour yoga teacher certification isn't possible. To be registered as a 200-hour yoga teacher, the training must be completed as a single, cohesive program.

However, some schools do offer 200-hour or 300-hour yoga teacher training programs in shorter modules. In these programs, you complete a series of modules that collectively add up to the required hours. Once you've completed all the necessary modules, you'll receive your RYT-200 or -300 yoga certificate.

Final Thought 

As we’ve seen, diving into the world of yoga teaching is a journey filled with learning and growth. But the satisfaction of sharing your passion for yoga with others is truly special. If you're considering a full-time yoga career or even thinking about starting your own yoga business, your adventure has just begun.

Along the way, you'll encounter many different types of yoga certifications and confusing questions, but remember, the most important thing is to follow a path that feels right for you. It's your journey, and making sure it aligns with what you love and believe in is the key to a rewarding and successful career in yoga.

About the author

Ram Jain

Born into a Jain family where yoga has been the way of life for five generations, my formal yoga journey began at age of eight at a Vedic school in India. There I received a solid foundation in ancient scriptures, including Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and Yoga Sutras (to name a few).

In 2009, I founded Arhanta Yoga Ashrams. I see yoga as a way to master the five senses, so I named our ashrams 'Arhanta Yoga,' the yoga to master the five senses!

In 2017, I also founded Arhanta Yoga Online Academy so that people who can not visit our ashrams can follow our courses remotely.

At Arhanta, we don't just teach yoga. We teach you how to reach your potential, deepen your knowledge, build your confidence, and take charge of your life.

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