What Yoga Teacher Certification Means
What are the different certifications needed to teach a yoga class? Why does that “RYT” suffix matter? Is it worth pursuing both a 200hour and 300hour program? Who is making sure the school I have chosen is excellent?
These are all good questions, but before we delve into the answers, let’s examine the different yoga certifications to understand what they mean.
Yoga Teacher Certification
Just as a medical doctor earns an “MD” to show the world that he or she has graduated from an intensive program designed to prepare the doctor to practice medicine, a yoga teacher must graduate from an intensive program to teach yoga to the general public. The governing body for Yoga is the Yoga Alliance, a nonprofit entity. They maintain the minimum standards required for yoga teachers (RYT) and schools (RYS).
To earn an RYT certificate, you have to study five areas:
- Yoga techniques and postures (the practice)
- Yoga philosophy, history, and lifestyle
- Human anatomy, physiology, and psychology
- Methods of teaching yoga
- Practical teaching training (in front of a class)
A yoga instructor with an RYT certificate has been trained sufficiently to lead a class. Just as you wouldn’t see a doctor without an MD, you shouldn’t take classes from a teacher without an RYT.
200 vs. 300 vs. 500
There are three primary designations awarded by Yoga Alliance: RYT-200, RYT-300 and RYT-500. The differences have to do with the number of hours of training. The first, and more popular option, is to first earn the RYT-200 certification by a recognized YA school. You will then be an RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance). This recognizes and allows you to teach yoga anywhere, for anyone. After you complete the 200-hour certification, you can move on to a 300-Hour RYT program, which is a further level of instruction that enables you to explore more complex techniques and mastery. This 300-Hour school does not need to be the same as the 200-Hour school. To earn a 500-hour certification, you would enroll in a RYS-500 school and complete all of the training there. These schools are less common than 200-Hour and 300-Hour programs, due to the longer time commitment all at once. Also, you do not need a 300-Hour or 500-Hour to be a yoga teacher. You do, however, need these more advanced degrees to become a Yoga teacher training instructor.
To become a certified school with Yoga Alliance, the schools Director must go through a rigorous application process which is then “on hold” for the first year while YA receives feedback from the graduates that the school indeed delivered curriculum as promised. YA also gets continuous feedback from graduates about the programs because to finish your registration process with YA, you have to also complete a school evaluation which also validates that you’re expectations were met. So definitely seek out a Yoga Alliance registered school. There are no other governing Yoga bodies so highly respected in the world. For more information about Yoga Alliance, visit their website.