500 hour yoga teacher certification courseBy Amruta Kulkarni, CYT 500

Perhaps you love taking yoga and have felt a calling to teach it. Your best course of action, then, begins with a period of reflection on the subject. If you decide to pursue this plan, you’ll need to enroll in an excellent yoga teacher training program.

Qualities of an Outstanding Yoga Teacher

High-quality yoga teachers are not a uniform group; they come from all kinds of backgrounds. They do share certain characteristics, however. They’re effective communicators and motivators; they’re able to form bonds with students. They enjoy confidence and inner peace, and they’re humble. Moreover, great yoga instructors are consistently well-prepared and patient, and they often employ gentle humor during their classes. If they make mistakes, they freely admit them and move on. Further, they’re capable of giving instructions in clear, succinct ways.

Training

If you determine that you possess the qualities outlined above, your next step is to find a reputable training program for yoga teachers. You might ask your own yoga instructor for recommendations.

Be aware that the program you select may have prerequisites. For example, it might insist that trainees take a certain number of yoga classes before they sign up. Additionally, look for one with a schedule that you find convenient.

There are distance learning options that give you more flexibility with time, but some training programs involve daily sessions for about a month; others hold less frequent classes and are stretched out over the course of a year or so. And make sure that a nonprofit industry association, endorses the school that you choose.

Expect to first complete a basic program that lasts 200 hours. For maximum employment opportunities, you might follow it up with an intensive 500-hour program. If you wish to specialize in a subset of yoga such as Bikram, you may need to take a third set of classes. However, as soon as you finish those initial 200 hours, you’ll officially be a certified yoga teacher, and you can legally use the abbreviation CYT on all of your business-related documents and correspondence.

A Final Word of Advice

Remember that many teaching positions provide minimum benefits, and some teaching jobs do not always pay well, unless someone teaches you about the marketing and business aspects of teaching yoga. Plus, yoga instructor certification programs can cost upwards of a few thousand dollars. Thus, before making the final decision to enter this field, you might consult family and friends and take the time to truly explore your feelings on this matter. Soon enough, you’ll surely arrive at the right decision.

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