Yoga Teacher Training 101

What is Yoga Teacher Training?

Yoga Alliance Standard designations for teachers include:

  • RYT 200 (200 hours of training)
  • RYT 500 (made up of 200 hour and 300 hour program)

During a typical 200 hour yoga teacher training you will have the opportunity to experience the incredible breadth of yoga, and develop your skills to present and instruct inspiring classes. You will be given the information needed to teach group classes, private sessions, and the skills that you need to expand your mind, your own personal practice, and to find opportunities within the business of yoga. [wp_ad_camp_1]

Yogis first complete a 200-hour program, which most yoga studios require as the minimum training for their teachers. Some teachers then choose to continue their studies by undertaking a 300-hour training (taking them to the level of a 500 hour teacher). Teachers can then register as an RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance. Once registered, a RYT 500 is able to provide continuing education classes and workshops to other teachers.


More about Yoga Alliance

Teacher-training programs that meet certain standards are registered by the Yoga Alliance, a nationally recognized organization.

Upon completion of a Yoga Alliance registered teacher-training program, teachers are then allowed to use the acronym RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) after their name.


Who is it for?

The YTT programs are designed for the yoga practitioner who is ready to take the next step and dive into the life changing experience of becoming a yoga teacher. For people who are super excited and committed to the idea of taking their love of yoga and embarking on a journey from student to teacher. It is also open to those who may not wish to become a teacher but have a deep interest and love for yoga and the desire to deepen their own personal knowledge and practice.


Do I need to have a strong yoga practice already?

No formal experience is required to enroll in the YTT programs. However, it is often recommended that you have had at least one year of regular practice prior to the start of the course to help to get your started on your journey.

Contrary to belief, a flexible body free of injuries is not a requirement for this training! Yoga is a practice of meeting the body where it is, and then working with the body to slowly and respectfully move deeper. The struggles and challenges you will face through the course of your training will only make you a better teacher. If you are waiting for the day when you can finally get your foot behind your head, to become a teacher or commit to take your practice to the next level, you may be denying yourself the opportunity of a lifetime!

Structure of a 200 hour YTT

A 200-hour YTT must incorporate training hours in the following educational categories:

  • Techniques, Training & Practice – 100 hours
  • Teaching Methodology – 25 hours
  • Anatomy & Physiology – 20 hours
  • Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle & Ethics for Yoga Teachers – 30 hours
  • Practicum – 10 hours

The remaining contact hours (55 hours) and elective hours (15 hours) are to be distributed among the five educational categories above, but the hours may be allocated at the discretion of each Registered Yoga School based on their program’s focus. You will find that each school has a different educational focus, some may include pre-natal, yin yoga, nidra yoga, or yoga for children for example. So it is important to check the details of each program to make sure that it is what you are looking for, or if you want to find a specialty area in which to learn more.


Structure of a 300 hour YTT

 A 300-hour advanced training is designed to build upon and deepen the trainee’s understanding of the fundamental concepts of teaching yoga that are generally taught at the 200-hour level. A 300-hour advanced training prepares its trainees to teach principles and techniques of yoga that are more advanced, more detailed, and/or more subtle, and the training enables them to teach with greater skill than could reasonably be expected of a RYT 200.

A 300-hour YTT must incorporate training hours in the same educational categories, but with a slightly different focus on distribution of hours:

  • Techniques, Training & Practice – 50 hours
  • Teaching Methodology – 5 hours
  • Anatomy & Physiology – 15 hours
  • Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle & Ethics for Yoga Teachers – 30 hours
  • Practicum – 10 hours

The remaining contact hours (190 hours) and elective hours (170 hours) are to be distributed among the five educational categories, as above.


 Topics Typically Covered Through Study

  • Asana - physical practice of yoga
  • Pranayama (yogic breathing) – its application to postures and meditation
  • Meditation - developing skills as a meditation teacher is an important part of filling your classes with meaningful content
  • Yoga Philosophy and History - an exploration of the many traditions and their philosophies.
  • The 8 Limbs of Yoga
  • The Chakras – developing an understanding of the energetic body
  • Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras – learning about the lineage and history of yoga
  • Yoga Anatomy and Physiology - in-depth study of postures, alignment, energetic and health benefits, adjustments, and modifications. Along with an anatomical dissection of poses
  • Sequencing - learning how to use the tools of asana, pranayama and meditation to create your own meaningful sequences
  • Assisting and Adjusting – learning how to help your students to receive the most that they can from each posture
  • The Art of Teaching Yoga – mastering the tools that allow you to take your students on a journey of self-discovery, through both the physical body or inner exploration
  • Practice Teaching – opportunity to teach and refine your ability to deliver a meaningful class, while learning more about your responsibilities in the classroom,
  • The Business of Yoga - creating exciting and meaningful workshops/ private sessions
  • Develop a Yogic Lifestyle - understanding how to incorporate the tools and philosophies of yoga to map out a life of purpose and fulfillment


 In the western world you can expect to pay anything upwards of $2,000 with an average price being $2,500 for a 200 hour YTT program and $3,000 for a 300 hour YTT program.

This will, of course, change according to how well known the teacher is. Teachers with both a strong reputation and following within the yoga community, will charge a higher price for their teacher training programs given their experience and brand.

The prices are significantly lower if you choose to study in India. For example a typical teacher training in Rishikesh, in the North of India, will cost you approximately $1350 for a 200 hour teacher training and $1800 for a 300 hour training program. Both prices normally include both food and accommodation (normally a private room with attached bathroom).

It is important to remember to check whether the price you are quoted includes training materials, manuals, exams and training. Another consideration is whether accommodation and meals are included.



There are so many ways in which to study for the YTT programs.

Below is a sprinkling of the ways:

  • Part time modules over 6 months (weekends and/or evenings);
  • One month full time;
  • 6 weeks full time;

My personal favorite is the complete immersion approach! There really is no better way than to go deeper, faster into the vast sea of yogic tradition, especially in terms of fast tracking your personal practice and progress. Being separated from normal everyday concerns and responsibilities allows you the freedom and space for a rewarding inward journey.

Join us in Mexico

 Yoga Alliance accredited

Check that the school you want to study at is a member of the Yoga Alliance, so that your certificate will be recognized over the world.


Other Things to Consider

  • Personality – Make sure you like and respect the head teachers; you will be spending a lot of time with them.
  • Check what style of yoga is taught - vinyasa, iyengar, ashtanga, hatha.
  • Is there a specialty on the course - Yin yoga, pregnant yogis etc., child yoga, acro yoga, and aryeveda.
  •  Check how many students are accepted - No more than 16 is ideal.
  • Most schools allow you to attend classes for free - To help you deepen your practice Yoga Tree offers unlimited free yoga classes in select classes during your 200 Hour Yoga Tree Teacher Training. This provides a great way to deepen your own practice while at the same time refining the skills you are learning in your training.


You will never regret signing up for your yoga teacher training program, and Yoga Travel Tree offers a 200 hour Teacher Training in Mexico that will rock your yoga socks right off! Remember that fabulous quote from the Bhagavad Gita - "Yoga is the journey of the self, through yourself, to yourself".


Image via : @ponchocottier