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Yoga Teacher Training Requirements

July 4, 2019

Last updated : February 6, 2023

You have decided to become a yoga teacher and you wonder what the requirements are for following a yoga teacher training. One of the most common question questions we get about requirements for yoga teacher training participation is how much yoga experience is necessary to embark on this journey. This sounds like a very obvious question to ask and yet it's quite a new question. The first yoga teacher training was given in the 80s by seasoned teachers to loyal yoga students. These yoga students would share their practice with their yoga teacher for a long time, before being initiated into teaching. These days the yoga teacher training is open to anyone who is physically and mentally healthy and ready to take the responsibility of following a training. This created opportunities for many different people to enter yoga teacher training. Besides future yoga teachers, any level of yoga student can now join a yoga teacher training to deepen their practice. This means you don’t need much experience to enter a yoga teacher training.

On a Side Note - Becoming a Yoga Asana Teacher

We have not mentioned it yet, but you need to keep in mind that we are talking about becoming a yoga asana teacher. In this article, we discuss the requirements for yoga teacher training participants with the goal of becoming a yoga asana teacher. The term ‘yoga’ is most of the time loosely used to describe the ‘practice of yoga asanas’. When we talk about becoming a qualified and skilled yoga teacher, what is meant is becoming a qualified and skilled yoga asana teacher. This distinction is an important one to keep in mind.  It doesn’t mean that as a yoga asana teacher you will merely teach the physical aspects as if yoga is just another form of exercise. If you feel ready for it, you can convey some of the underlying concepts of yoga during your classes (if your yoga students are ready for it, too!).

Read more: 4 Reasons Why It Is Possible to Become a Certified Yoga Teacher in Four Weeks

Requirements for Following a Yoga Teacher Training: Are You Experienced Enough?

If your goal is to become a yoga teacher, it can be quite intimidating in the on- and offline world of yoga. You might think of the endless stream of pictures on Instagram of perfect yogi’s or the amazing yoga  students you meet in yoga studios. Often social media shows you the yoga teacher as someone with an impeccable body and stamina that yoga students can look up to. This is a misconception on what being a yoga teacher means. Teaching yoga and  your personal practice of yoga are two different activities. Someone who practices yoga in an advanced stage doesn’t necessarily have the skills to be a yoga teacher. Most of your yoga students will never look like the famous yogis on Instagram, why should you be any different? Every person has their own limitations and every yoga teacher has difficulty with certain poses. By showing your own challenges, your yoga students will relate more to your teaching and they will be more open to explore their own challenges.

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Learn 200 asana variations in detail & find a complete guide for sequencing.

The Desire to Learn Yoga and Teach Yoga Outweighs Experience

So what does it take to become a yoga teacher? What are the requirements for you to possess before signing up for a yoga teacher training?

First of all, you need to have a strong desire to learn. With this important ingredient, you can overcome any obstacles in becoming a yoga teacher. There have been many cases to show this. For example, yoga students who hardly speak English and complete their training with high marks. Another example is a yoga student arriving at her training on crutches and finishing her training as an excellent yoga teacher. You can do anything as long as you set your mind to it. This desire is also closely linked to your attitude. Often the less experienced yogis are the disciplined ones. They achieve the most growth and show the best results in their yoga teacher training. Even a seasoned yogi is usually a beginner in teaching yoga. This makes yoga teacher training challenging for anyone.

Daily Teaching Practice
Yoga Theory & Practice

Yoga Teacher VS Yoga Instructor

Being a yoga teacher means that you are irreplaceable. Instructions and demonstrations can be found anywhere, but a good yoga teacher can eventually motivate students to aspire more. You will know how to give your students the right answers at the end of a class. This is the moment that you can pass on knowledge and advice in a personal way even about your personal practice. Being a yoga teacher means knowing how to help others to acquire knowledge, competence and virtue. It’s more than demonstrating and instructing yoga students into poses. It’s providing yoga students with a challenge, giving the right information to increase body awareness and be there to prevent any injuries. These are the tools that are handed through yoga teacher training and they do not require the yoga teacher to perform the outcome.

Read on: How to Choose the Best Yoga Teacher Training for You

Yoga Acknowledges that Every Body is Different

An online yoga instructor will not be able to correct anyone. This is where you can excel as a yoga teacher. Looking at your yoga student bodies, you will know what stops them from going further. To gain this knowledge, it’s important to find a yoga teacher training that is offering anatomy alongside the asanas and corrections. You will learn that not everyone will be able to do all the asanas. As a yoga teacher, you have to motivate your students. At the same time, you will discover what stops your yoga student from going further. Learning the difference between a challenge and a limit is something that will take you time to understand. You will have to teach and observe your yoga students, focusing on their practice instead of your personal practice. By gaining this ability as a yoga teacher, you will have an invaluable role in the practice of your yoga students.

The Next Step to Become a Yoga Teacher - Selecting a Yoga Teacher Training 

In the end, the goal is to become a person that can lead a class with confidence. This confidence comes not just from your practice, but from the knowledge and hands-on skills, you take home from your yoga teacher training. A well-rounded yoga teacher training will give you knowledge in yoga philosophy, teaching methodologies and functional anatomy. This will form the basis on which you can build your teaching career. Ask yourself, how do you study best? Do you work well under pressure? Intensive training for a month could be your thing. Would you like to have more time to digest and reflect? Then there are many yoga teacher trainings spread out over weekends.

Read on: 4 Reasons Why It Is Possible to Become a Certified Yoga Teacher in 4 Weeks

We advise our yoga students to start teaching as soon as possible to preserve the confidence they will get after receiving their certificate. Another part of this confidence will come through self-exploration and development through your practice as well as the classes you will give. Being a yoga teacher means a constant gain of experience. No matter in what stage you enter the world of teaching, with consistent effort and professional awareness, your knowledge and skills will keep improving.

Get a free online copy of Hatha Yoga for Teachers & Practitioners directly into your inbox!

Learn 200 asana variations in detail & find a complete guide for sequencing.

About the author

Omkar Jain

Omkar Jain is a lead teacher trainer with teaching experience of over 5,000 hours. He has been teaching at Arhanta Yoga since 2011 and has become an essential member of the teacher training team.

Omkar was born and raised in India, and grew up with traditional values. He has studied with various reputed teachers like Saraswathi Rangaswamy (daughter of Sri. Pattabhi Jois). His classes are fun and challenging for students of all levels. He teaches with focus, discipline and humor at the same time. His ability to comprehensively transmit knowledge helps students to mature into confident teachers.

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