Learn Core Principles of Teaching Yoga
To become an effective yoga instructor, you need a solid foundation in the core principles of teaching yoga. These essential skills include:
One of the most important skills is knowing how to sequence yoga poses into a cohesive flow or practice. Sequencing refers to organizing the postures in a purposeful order that transitions students safely between poses. A well-sequenced class should have a beginning, middle and end. It should warm up the body, progress to more challenging poses, then cool down and relax at the end. Consider sun salutations to start, standing poses next, forward bends after that, backbends, twists, then finishing with seated or supine poses.
Cueing means providing verbal instructions during class to help students get into and out of poses safely and effectively. Effective cueing uses concise, descriptive language to explain proper alignment. Cue students on where to place their hands and feet, when to inhale or exhale, and how to engage certain muscles. Offer modifications for beginners. Weave in imagery, metaphor, or intention to help students feel the inner experience of each pose.
Being able to offer safe, appropriate hands-on assists is an important teaching skill. Always ask permission first before touching a student. Use gentle, non-invasive assists to help students deepen their alignment or feel supported in challenging poses. Common assists include lightly pressing on the lower back in forward folds or lifting the back ribs in backbends. Avoid overly aggressive assists that force students into positions.
Teaching meditation is often part of yoga classes. Offer clear guidance on posture and technique during seated meditations. Use soothing tones and evocative themes when leading meditations. Create an ambiance of calm by keeping verbal cues minimal. If new to meditation, provide beginner instructions on how to work with thoughts and return to the breath. Encourage students to find meditations that resonate with them.
Learning these core principles deeply will allow you to teach yoga classes skillfully, safely and effectively. Mastering sequencing, cueing, hands-on assists and meditation guidance are fundamental to becoming a great yoga instructor.
Study Yoga History, Philosophy and Lifestyle
Yoga has a long and rich history and tradition behind it. Studying the origins, evolution, key figures, and philosophies of yoga provides important context and enhances your ability to teach yoga effectively. Here are some key areas to study:
Important Texts: The most influential and fundamental yoga texts include the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which outline the eight-limbed path of yoga, and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, which describes key yogic practices. Other texts like the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads also contain teachings relevant to yoga. Studying these texts gives you a solid base in the theory and mental aspects of yoga.
Branches: There are several branches of yoga that have developed over history, including Hatha, Ashtanga, Iyengar, and others. Each branch approaches yoga in a unique way. Learn about their origins, similarities and differences, and postures and techniques associated with them.
Key Figures: Some key historical yogic figures include Patanjali, who compiled the Yoga Sutras; Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who helped revive yoga in the 20th century; B.K.S. Iyengar, who created Iyengar yoga; and Indra Devi, who helped spread yoga to the West. Studying their contributions and teachings provides perspective.
Ethical Principles: Yoga philosophy emphasizes living an ethical, purposeful life. Principles like ahimsa (non-harming), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), and aparigraha (non-possessiveness) form a code of conduct for life. Understanding these principles allows you to embody and impart yoga’s teachings.
Lifestyle: Yoga espouses following a lifestyle conducive to inner growth and wellbeing. This includes practices like vegetarianism, meditation, living modestly, and being mindful in everyday life. Learning about the yogic lifestyle helps you guide students towards fulfillment.
Immersing yourself in yoga’s history, seminal texts, influential figures, philosophies, and recommended lifestyle gives you a well-rounded education to share with students. It enables you to provide context and meaning to the practices you teach. Studying these aspects demonstrates your depth of knowledge and commitment to yoga.
Becoming a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with Yoga Alliance is a significant milestone for aspiring yoga instructors. Yoga Alliance, a globally recognized organization, sets industry standards and provides a platform for certified yoga teachers. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps to achieve RYT status and establish your credentials in the yoga community.
1. Understand Yoga Alliance and RYT Designations: Yoga Alliance is a non-profit organization that maintains a registry of yoga teachers and schools worldwide. The RYT designation signifies that a yoga teacher has completed a Yoga Alliance-approved teacher training program and adheres to their standards of teaching.
2. Choose Your Teacher Training Program Wisely: Select a Yoga Alliance-approved teacher training program. Ensure that the program is accredited by Yoga Alliance and meets their minimum requirements, typically 200 hours of training. Explore different programs to find one that aligns with your goals and preferred style of yoga.
3. Complete a Yoga Teacher Training Program: Enroll in and successfully complete a Yoga Alliance-approved teacher training program. This program will cover essential elements such as yoga philosophy, anatomy, teaching methodology, and practical teaching experience. Ensure that you meet all the requirements of the program, including attending classes, completing assignments, and passing assessments.
4. Keep Track of Teaching Hours: After completing your teacher training, start accumulating teaching hours. Yoga Alliance requires a minimum of 100 teaching hours to qualify for RYT 200 designation. Document your teaching experiences, including class duration, location, and the number of students.
5. Submit Your Application: Visit the Yoga Alliance website and create an account. Prepare the necessary documents, including your teacher training certificate, a copy of your CPR/First Aid certification, and proof of your teaching hours. Submit your application and pay the required fee.
6. Await Application Review: Yoga Alliance will review your application to ensure it meets their standards. This process may take a few weeks, during which they will verify your training, teaching hours, and documentation.
7. Receive RYT Certification: Upon successful review, you will receive your RYT certification from Yoga Alliance. This certification not only validates your training but also signifies your commitment to upholding professional and ethical standards in your yoga practice and teaching.
8. Maintain Your Certification: To maintain your RYT status, Yoga Alliance requires you to complete continuing education hours. These can be in the form of workshops, classes, or additional training. Stay informed about any updates or changes in Yoga Alliance policies to ensure ongoing compliance.
9. Connect with the Yoga Community: Being a part of the yoga community is not just about certification; it’s also about building connections. Attend workshops, join local events, and engage with fellow yoga teachers to enrich your teaching practice and stay inspired.
10. Consider Advanced Certifications: As you continue your journey, explore advanced certifications or specialized training programs. This not only enhances your skills but also allows you to offer more to your students and diversify your teaching expertise.
Becoming a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance is a significant achievement that opens doors to opportunities and credibility in the yoga community. By selecting the right training program, accumulating teaching hours, and staying engaged with the yoga community, you’ll not only achieve RYT status but also contribute to the growth and development of your own practice and the broader world of yoga. May your journey as a Registered Yoga Teacher be filled with continuous learning, inspiration, and the joy of sharing the transformative power of yoga with others.