How Many Hours to Choose for Your Yoga Teacher Training (200, 300, 500 or something else?)
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You’ve fallen in love with yoga, you’ve spent some time on the mat and now you really want to become a yoga teacher. But how to choose between 200, 300 or 500 hours of training? What’s the difference between all these courses? Which one is right for you?
Hang in there, all these questions have an answer and everything you need to know about your yoga teacher training is explained here.
The Yoga Alliance has various standards for their certifications. In short, the two most popular ones are RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) 200 and 500. The number basically means how many hours you’ve dedicated to your yoga teacher training. Once you become a RYT 200, you can do a 300-hour course and complete the RYT 500. Alternatively, you can also do all 500 hours at once.
A 200-hour course can be considered the first step to become a yoga instructor. You may think of it as a broad introduction to yoga where you’ll learn all the basics any teacher should know; from proper alignment to the teaching methodology and yoga philosophy.
Half of the 200 hours are dedicated to polishing your technique through guided repetition and analytical training. This will help you improve and nurture your own practice while understanding the purpose and benefits of each pose. You’ll add Pranayama and meditation sessions, and structure your own class.
For 30 hours, you’ll study the philosophy behind the practice. You’ll read about its history in traditional texts like the Sutras and hear lectures on all aspects of the yogic lifestyle. You’ll immerse in the ethical part of being a yoga teacher and the responsibility for your students and the community.
At least 25 hours should be allocated to the methodology to actually teach yoga. You’ll work on your communication skills, finding your own style, guiding a group and even learning the business aspects of being a yoga instructor.
The study of anatomy and physiology takes about 20 hours. During this time, you’ll comprehend the functioning of the body systems, the mechanics of the asanas and apply this information to avoid health risks and maximize the benefits of the practice. You may also acquire some information about energy anatomy to work on the chakras and nadis.
The rest of the time you’ll be assisting other teachers and carefully observing how they do it. You’ll also have a minimum of 5 hours practicing as the lead instructor of a class.
A 500-hour teacher training is for truly committed practitioners. This course is a life-changer that requires lots of effort, plenty of time dedicated to the practice and a genuine love for yoga.
The most common path to becoming a RYT 500 is to first register as a RYT 200 and then join a 300-hour yoga teacher training. However, there are ways to do all 500 hours at once. A retreat is the fastest way to achieve this; such retreat will normally take about 50-60 days, but there are some intensive options that are just one month long.
A 500-hour course develops the same aspects of the 200-hour training (technique, philosophy, anatomy and teaching methodology). The difference is that all concepts are studied more in-depth and you can develop your own teaching style by choosing whichever category you want to focus on. There’s a holistic approach to yoga in which you’re encouraged to experience and transmit the yogic lifestyle on and off the mat.
The Yoga Alliance offers other certifications such as children’s yoga teacher (RCYT) or prenatal yoga teacher (RPYT). They take 95 and 85 hours respectively and are good options for instructors who want to expand their knowledge in these specific areas.
After a while, you could also get certified as an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT). For this, you have to accumulate 1000 hours of yoga teaching experience for a E-RYT 200 certification or 2000 hours for a E-RYT 500 certification. This would not only give you better credentials but you could also train new yoga teachers.
In addition, there are many options that focus on a determined yoga style. You may want to specialize, for example, in Yin Yoga or Kundalini. They won’t be as lengthy and will help you give another dimension to your classes. These certifications aren’t registered by the Yoga Alliance, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t valid, it’s just not their area.
You might find some 100-hour yoga teacher training programs. These are either courses that will teach you a specific style or shorter introductions by a school that isn’t registered at the Yoga Alliance. They’re still valid but you won’t be able to get a RYT certification.
Which one should I choose?
It really depends on what you want out of your yoga teacher training. If you’re just curious to see if you could become an occasional instructor or maybe just deepen your own practice, then a 200-hour course is what you need. If you’re already a seasoned practitioner who wants to finally get certified, you could opt for the 500-hour. Or if you’re already a RYT 200, you could either sign up for a 300-hour training that will give you the RYT 500 certification or look for a specialized course that focuses on a certain style.
FAQ’s About Yoga Teacher Training
Can I start teaching right after a 200-hour yoga teacher training?
Yes, you can. During your teacher training, you’ll be prepared to have your own class right away. Find your students and make the best out of your new career!
Can I do a yoga teacher training if I don’t want to become a yoga instructor?
Sure, you can! A 200-hour YTT is perfect for those who want to deepen their practice even if they don’t want to start teaching. You can keep your current job and just be a better yogi all around.
Can I teach yoga if I do my training in a school that isn’t registered at the Yoga Alliance?
If you aren’t able to get the RYT 200, you could still teach at a school that doesn’t require this certification. You’ll be a bit more limited, but there are many studios that would let you teach. Keep in mind that the Yoga Alliance is just an organization that supports yoga schools, it doesn’t mean that it’s mandatory to be registered to be able to teach yoga.
Will I be able to register as a RYT 500 if I do my 200-hr and 300-hr courses in different schools?
As long as both schools are registered at the Yoga Alliance, you shouldn’t have a problem getting your RYT 500 certification.
Can I be a trainer with my certification?
To be a lead trainer, you would first have to get the E-RYT certification. You would be able to assist an experienced yoga teacher, but not organize your own program yet.
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