"It's never too late to become what we could have been," George Eliot

In the US, according to information from 2016, there are up to 36.7 million yoga practitioners, a discipline which symbolizes a different way of life. Each year, hundreds of practitioners take the steps to becoming a yoga teacher. But did they all take yoga certification courses before they got there?

The answer is yes and no.

For example, some US states, such as New York, have introduced legislation to regulate yoga teaching. This forces all yogis in the state to get certified training, or else they may be fined for not complying.

Other states such as Colorado and Missouri have managed to avoid haggling with the state in this regard.

What are the options for teaching yoga without a diploma? We try to explore every angle in this article.

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When Can You Teach Yoga? What Kind Of Training Is Needed?

Perform yoga in a unique way to find students
Teaching yoga has no limits! However, it's important to make your fellow yogis want to come to your class... (Source: Pixabay)

"Unite" and "connect": this is what yoga means in the literal sense. Becoming an instructor or taking training to teach yoga cannot be improvised. In general, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have at least two years of yoga practice behind you
  • Demonstrate the desire to continue life-long improvement and learning

Yoga does not meet any governmental requirements: each school or association is free to set their own admission rules for teachers. Moreover, there are some places in which no certification in yoga instruction is required:

  • Some regional associations or neighborhood associations
  • In some yoga schools, especially in areas where it is difficult to find teachers

It also depends on your employment status:

  • If you are employed, this must be included in your employment contract
  • If you volunteer, no contractual obligation is needed
  • If you are self-employed, this does not have to be included in your service contract

Practicing, or being taught yoga, can happen at any time and at any age. All you need to do is be passionate, love challenges, and delve into learning the various yoga postures!

Did you know? In the US, yoga teachers are as young as 18 years of age, and the oldest are well in their 80s. So there is no limit on becoming a yoga teacher even at an older age. Also interesting to note: the oldest yoga teacher in the world is Tao Porchon-Lynch, and still gives lessons... at 99 years old!

Important to know: to be a good yoga teacher, it is essential to combine theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge. In general, experience makes it possible to acquire both, but academic training can help speed up the process or give you a certificate enabling you to teach in more stimulating places.

Training To Become A Yoga Instructor

Taking yoga classes or workshops in India can give you valuable teaching experience.
Training, even without obtaining a degree, begins with the transmission of knowledge, in many different locations! (Source: Pixabay)

While this may seem obvious, giving a yoga class requires mixing theory and practice. You are not going to practice the different asanas without knowing the spiritual theory, nor offer a sequence of postures without knowing your own anatomy and physiology.

Your training can vary depending on where you live in the US. In states like New York, you are required to have the proper education and qualification to teach yoga.

In states where it isn't required, people may not get training. However, yoga training is always beneficial, both for your teaching resume and your personal experience. There are two types of training:

  • Courses recognized in specialized schools
  • Unrecognized formations in associations or other organizations or by taking a yoga workshop abroad.

You may also obtain a certificate or training through different subjects or areas of study. It all depends on the training organization. Training in a yoga center or yoga school can allow you to:

  • Deepen your cultural and linguistic knowledge by reading Sanskrit or by expanding your knowledge of the Indian tradition
  • Master the breath, breathing, and concentration, through practical training
  • Guide your students to deepen their awareness, teaching them the benefits of yoga
  • Develop techniques to know how to teach to your differing types of students and classes
  • Enrich yourself personally by comparing techniques from the West and those from the East

It is also important to distinguish between long training courses in specialized schools (which last between 2 and 5 years) and short courses, which consist of intensive training in specialized subjects. Long courses allow you to obtain a diploma recognized by the Yoga Alliance, a worldwide organization responsible for training. Short courses allow you to receive a certificate of aptitude, especially for specialized yoga courses such as postnatal yoga, senior yoga, Pilates yoga, etc.

But let's be realistic: becoming a yoga teacher is not just about getting a theoretical degree, right?

Find some yoga tutors in the US here.

Teaching Yoga Without A Diploma

All types of yoga classes from a yoga studio will increase your knowledge
Transmitting your passion for yoga can be done in many ways, starting with yoga classes (Source: Pixabay)

As we mentioned before, teaching yoga without a diploma is quite possible: in this case, it's all about your experience in the field. Indeed, a future yogi will be more impressed by your knowledge, enthusiasm, and past experiences (such as a summer internship with a grandmaster) than by graduating from certain training. That would be more the icing on the cake.

Good to know: In principle, the salary of an un-certified teacher does not change significantly compared to one who is certified. On Superprof, the average cost of a yoga class is $42.

It can be possible provided you can showcase impressive experience, whichever the format:

  • Practical internship with confirmed yoga masters
  • Internship abroad, including yoga classes in India
  • Regular practice of many aspects of yoga (yoga and meditation, breathing)
  • Experience with private tutoring to differing students (children's yoga, prenatal yoga...)

In effect, to teach, it is better to have a certain level of yoga, which can be achieved through certification. However, if you want to practice as a freelance teacher, no degree is required. The main advantage? Freedom in your schedule, which can alternate between:

  • Iyengar yoga group classes
  • A kundalini yoga session
  • Private traditional yoga classes
  • A tailor-made Skype or online course, with students across the country
  • Introduction to meditation and personal development

On platforms like Superprof, you can be put in touch with other teachers or students, offer adapted courses, or even receive them! Because discovering the methodology of others or doing additional training can only be advantageous for your credibility as a yoga teacher.

My yoga teacher had no diploma, and we started our training program (or rather initiation) with him over several weeks. It was very therapeutic for me, both for the mind and physically. It was only after 3 weeks that I thought to ask him the question: "Where have you been trained?" and he replied, "by the school of life". A perfect answer in fitting with the philosophy of the discipline!

Superprof excels in creating jobs for ex-teachers! Find out how you can join the wave...

Independent And Complementary Yoga Formations

What can distinguish you from other competitors (because you are not the only one wanting to teach yoga) is to have a specialty or even several. This is usually called post-training or continuing education. The more you know about yoga techniques, the more students will be encouraged to take your yoga classes!

You can choose a specialty (or several) among the most common:

  • Prenatal or postnatal yoga
  • Ayurvedic Yoga
  • Kids yoga
  • Adult yoga
  • Yoga for seniors

Or rather choose a method or specific techniques:

  • Yoga Iyengar
  • Yoga Sutra
  • Hatha Yoga
  • Ashtanga yoga
  • Karma yoga
  • Vinyasa yoga
  • Natha yoga

A yoga teacher is not only a spiritual guide but also a therapist who accompanies you within the framework of your everyday life. If you want to teach yoga, even without a diploma, it is important to consider this guiding aspect.

Additionally, concerning internships abroad: if they do not give you a specific certificate, they will give you experience, which is often a valuable part of your teaching resume.

A trip to India, birthplace of the yogic culture, or to other countries with millions of practitioners (such as the United Kingdom or Australia) is a good way to improve as a teacher, despite not returning with a certificate.

My spiritual and emotional practice is based on several techniques, from breathing exercises to postures which help me gain in flexibility. I am very happy that teacher training is not limited to only one aspect of yoga or that only one teacher could be my guide towards achieving wellness.

Since yoga promotes self-awareness and positive thinking, you need to feel ready to live a yogic life, especially without a degree. After all, professional training is still a personal matter. Feeling ready to jump in?

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Definitions: "Yoga Without Certification"

Can we teach yoga and be a student at another school?

This is possible because yoga teacher training is continuous throughout your life. You could, for example, teach yoga nidra but seek to specialize in yoga pranayama, thereby deepening your relaxation techniques. There are many amazing yoga teachers out there to learn from!

What Are The Benefits Of Teaching Yoga?

It's understood that the people who learn yoga reap its benefits, but what does it do for the person who teaches it?

Practice Makes Perfect

The one way to get better at something is to be persistent. Like a math problem, you need to keep practicing, or else everything you know will fade away.

Yoga is the same. When you continuously teach other people how to find stuff like inner peace and their purpose, you are also polishing your skills.

The more yoga you teach, the better that you get at it. The better you get at it, the better you teach it to others. It is the gift that keeps on giving.

You Live Healthier

As opposed to sitting in front of a screen all day, crunching numbers, and dealing with an unpleasant boss, yogis live a charmed life.

By moving, stretching, and exercising different parts of your body for a living, you are only doing yourself all the good in the world.

Moreover, yoga isn't a fitness regimen to lose weight or get in shape, but it still works different parts of your body to make it healthier.

It is often taught in open places like parks or at a beach, bringing people away from the mundane lives inside the office or home.

Hence, it is a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle we have integrated deeply into our lives.

Being A Teacher Is Always Rewarding

Few joys in life come close to being able to spread knowledge. To be able to teach others something that you know is not only incredibly fulfilling but also rewarding.

Teachers don't expect every student to succeed, but even a few can espouse your teachings; the feeling is quite fulfilling.

As a yoga instructor, you will be tasked with teaching your students how to be self-assured souls who spread harmony and Zen wherever they go.

If your students feel like you are making a positive change in their lives, your job is complete. As a result, they will learn to appreciate you even more and come to you for help.

Who Knows, You Might Even Make A Living

Naturally, if people are satisfied with the quality of service you provide, they will return. And when they do, there is a chance that they will bring others with them.

The more people that come in, the more money you could be making!

Based on how well your practice is going, you might even be able to expand your business. In addition, you will learn:

  • How different things work in an industry
  • The dos and don'ts
  • How to manage your day-to-day tasks

You will be able to market your services better, build more relationships, and also perfect your craft all at the same time. One bit of advice? Try to add a unique service that sets you apart from the crowd

Revitalize Yourself And Others

By practicing yoga, you are revitalizing not only your student but also yourself. Therefore, by helping them, you are also helping yourself to be better.

Moreover, knowing that you're doing your best will make it more fulfilling when you see your students doing better. This will recharge your batteries and make it easier to keep your grind going.

Everyone is on the same wavelength in the yoga class
Practicing yoga with a group can help promote a sense of community and give you the social interaction that might be missing. Learn how to become a yoga instructor today and start your road to enlightenment (Source: Unsplash)

There is more to yoga than simply stretching in different ways. You unlock parts of your body you didn't know needed unlocking, giving it much-needed relief.

Also, when you practice with people, you can be comfortable knowing that you're around like-minded individuals who are all there for the same purpose.

How Much Does An Instructor Actually Make?

There is no single figure that we can state. Different sources show different statistics, e.g., Glassdoor puts this number at $47,000 a year while CNN puts it at $62,000.

Several different factors come into contention when talking about how much you can make as an instructor.

It depends on how many classes you take, what kind of services you offer, and how much non-yoga value you're adding to your business.

If you were to charge $25 a session and there were five classes a week, you'd make around $6,500 a year. This is hardly enough for a month's rent and salaries, so naturally, you'd have to diversify.

You can start by charging different rates for different classes and have more sessions. For example, if you set $35 a session and 15 classes a week, you'd make around $27,000 a year.

As is the case with any business, you can earn more money if you do more work. The more ways you make the customers pay, the more money you have coming into your business.

The best way to do this is to offer more than just your standard yoga class. You can provide:

  • Couples classes
  • One-on-one sessions
  • Retreats
  • Workshops
  • Merchandising

All of these come in due time, but if you plan out your business right, you can teach yoga and make a decent living out of it.

A yoga class taking place in a scenic location
Yoga is all about finding peace and serenity. What better place to do it than by a riverbank, with the sound of flowing water in the background. This is arguably much better than working in a yoga studio (Source: Pixabay)

How You Earn By Teaching Yoga

As the age-old saying goes, if you're good at something, don't do it for free.

This might sound a bit selfish but think of it this way; everyone has bills to pay. So even if you do what you love, there does come a time when you hope that it can start making you some money.

Teaching yoga is often something that people do as an interest. Ask yourself if that is how you want to do it too.

And if you decide to profit off it, understand that you need to start making a structure for your business.

Sell A Class

Some people might want to take one or two yoga classes to get a taste of how it feels. They might have read about it or heard about it from someone and now want to try it.

A class where you are given the basics of yoga along with a few basic poses is the safest way to go. It isn't too intense, but it also gives them a peek into this world.

Sell A Recurring Plan

For a more devoted individual, you can offer them the chance to subscribe to your services.

In return, they can be given a plan which follows through on different procedures to deal with a host of issues that they might be dealing with.

Compared to a single class, membership is always better value for money.

Selling Yoga Training

"If you have the knowledge, let others light their candles in it." - Margaret Fuller

By showing other people how to teach yoga, you take the precious knowledge you have and spread it for the greater good.

You may even inspire others like you to start doing the same. Hence, begin teaching people to conduct their own yoga classes. Make your certification worth something.

This can prove to be a cash cow because you need to take your knowledge and deliver it to others who can go on and do the same. So you will make your own money, and once your students learn, they can as well.

Selling Merchandise

Once your yoga studio is up and running, the next step is to get them also to buy some of your merchandise. This includes:

  • T-shirts
  • Sweatpants
  • Yoga mats
  • Weights
  • Water bottles
  • Towels

They must have the yoga studio's logo on them so people can remember that they have a part of the studio with them.

This helps with marketing and advertising. Your students will essentially be paying you to advertise your name.

Most people often overlook just how profitable this can be. For example, the world-renowned Gold's Gym sells merchandise that is a hot commodity amongst all gym-goers.

Try To Get Brand Deals For Your Favorite Products

Try to partner up with different brands so that they can have their products sold at your store. Thus, they get publicity and sales.

Also, you can take a cut from all sales or charge them for using your space.

This is one of the best ways for businesses to make money because the partnership brings in more customers.

Hence, when customers see that a big name is affiliated, it gives them the confidence that this place is no joke.

The beach is often synonymous with tranquility and calmness
Learning yoga and then teaching it to other people empowers them to control their lifestyle. This empowerment may come at a monetary cost; however, it will soon translate into years of mental and physical tranquility (Source: Unsplash)

Become A Yoga Instructor With The Help Of An Expert

Health and fitness are in vogue these days; why not join in on the trend and capitalize? There is a lot to gain from it; for instance, money, mental and physical stability, and maybe even Instagram fame!

However, if you're confused about where to start, hire an instructor from Superprof. They will show you the ropes in a convenient, budget-friendly, and safe way.

Most even offer the first class for free. Hence, sign up today, sift through your options, and find one in your area!

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