Is a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Enough?

Image Credit:  Dejathoris

You just finished an intense Vinyasa Flow class.  Sweat is dripping from your face, your muscles feel rejuvenated, and your mind is clear.  You think to yourself, how in the world can you begin sharing and helping others experience this surreal feeling one experiences after a yoga class?  The rest of the students leave the room, and you consider taking a moment to speak with your instructor.

Finally, the two of you are the only ones that remain and you ask your teacher:  Where did you get certified to teach?  Do you have your 200 hour or 500 hour certification?  How did you know when you were ready to be in front of a class?

This experience happens to many yogis, young and old.  They become blindsided by the idea that yes, you can indeed turn your teaching into a full time career.  Some people up and quit their day job to pursue teaching yoga, while others consider teaching yoga on the side of another fulfilling yet demanding career.  Unlike many corporate or other teaching jobs that require a 2 or 4 year college degree and send you on your way, the world of teaching yoga is very, very different.  Rather than going to a 2 or 4 year school, yoga certifications are broken down into the number of hours you've studied (200, 300 or even 500 hour certification programs).  So the question is, can you begin teaching right after you've done your first 200 hour course?

The short answer, yes.

Heres your plan:  Just.  Get.  Certified.   That's it.

Many studios around the nation simply require you to have your 200 hour Yoga Alliance Certification.  In addition to this, to promote furthering your education in yoga, some studios might even hire you while expecting you to simultaneously teach and go on towards your 500 hour certification within a certain number of years. 500 hour programs aren't required to teach yoga to the public, but they do allow you deepen your own understanding of yoga, and after you've received a 500 hour certification, you'll be certified to teach teachers and award 200 hour certifications yourself.

Depending on what studio you see yourself teaching at, it helps to check with them first about what type of certification you should get.  For example, Baptiste-Inspired yoga studios require a Baptiste certification in order to teach with them.  The style of yoga taught at these studios is consistent, challenging and helps to assure practitioners that they'll know what to expect before walking in.  The same goes for studios such as CorePower Yoga, which offer their own teacher trainings in order for you to teach within their studios.

Nowadays, competition is growing fiercer by the day.  More and more people are becoming interested in teaching yoga.  Do you need to be worried?  The fact that more teachers out there means that more people might start practicing and begin to reap the benefits yoga has to offer, but for us as teachers, it can seem a little scary. Putting all of your time and money into a certification that doesn't always guarantee you a steady job is a risk.  If teaching and sharing your practice with others is truly a passion of yours, getting certified is a no brainer.  Even if you don't end up teaching consistently, having the knowledge of a certified yoga teacher is an incredible attribute, something you will carry with you throughout this life long practice.

In closing, know this:  Once you get certified, the world is yours.  Instead of thinking of your yoga certification as a "one and done" notch on your belt, treat it as if it were a life long education.  When you finish your first certification, teach.  Teach often.  Get as much experience teaching, and you will begin to find out what style of yoga you are most comfortable with teaching.  There will always be more certifications you may be interested in achieving, and when you are ready you should go for them!  Teaching is a life long journey, just like the practice of yoga.  You are always learning, adjusting, and seasoning yourself as a teacher.  When the time is right, go ahead and get your aerial yoga certification, or restorative certification, or even prenatal yoga certification!  This only adds to your repertoire of what you can teach, and helps to build your resume.  Stay humble, seek experience, and try to view your teaching as a life long journey just as you would your own personal practice.