How to Become a Yoga Instructor
Yoga Instructor Careers & Degrees

When you become a yoga instructor, you will be responsible for providing your clients with better physical and mental health through the practice of yoga.

If you enjoy fitness and natural health, and want to work with people, then you might like to pursue this career.

The practice of yoga has its origins in India.

This ancient art is a series of postures, which feel a bit like stretching.

By practicing the postures, participants experience a range of benefits.

Yoga has been shown to increase strength and flexibility, while also having great benefits for mental health, and reducing the levels of stress felt as well as incidence of depression.

Brining the gifts of yoga to your clients can be very rewarding.

While the training required to become a yoga instructor is small compared to other professions, it often takes far longer to complete them.

This is because before you can teach yoga, you must be proficient at it yourself.

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Education Requirements to Become a Yoga Instructor

In every state you must be certified to become a yoga instructor.

While the requirements vary between places, the Yoga Alliance states that a course of 200 hours is an adequate amount of training.

However, before you start teaching, you must learn yourself.

You may already be an experienced yogi, but if you are not, it’s time to learn.

Enroll in a local class and learn the basics.

Investing in books and videos can help you increase your knowledge of yoga.

Practice both in class and at home.

You will need to complete a yoga instructor’s training course.

These take place all across the country, usually at yoga schools.

Many take place in the evenings or on weekends.

The best way to become a yoga instructor is to find a mentor.

Perhaps it will be your own yoga instructor.

Many start this way, then fill in on classes before building their own client base of students.

To become a yoga instructor you should be in excellent fitness and good health.

Yoga Instructor Job Description

A yoga instructor guides a class through a range of yoga postures.

They may work with a large class of as many as forty people, or provide private tuition.

Yoga instructors work within yoga schools, gyms, community centers, or from private studios.

When a instructor takes a class, they will start by finding out if anyone in the class is injured, or pregnant.

If they are they will make modifications throughout the class.

They will explain the way the class works to any newcomers.

Then a warm-up will follow, and the class.

Afterwards, there is often a period of relocation of guided meditation to complete the session.

Yoga instructors who work with individual clients will discuss their goals with them, then create a tailored program to help them reach their requirements.

Yoga classes are often held after hours or on weekends, so instructors should expect to work odd hours.

Yoga instructors often specialize in a particular kind of yoga.

Styles include:

  • Ashtanga yoga
  • Bikram Yoga
  • Iyengar Yoga
  • Prenatal Yoga

Yoga Instructor Salary and Career Path

Most yoga instructors start out working under the supervision of a qualified instructor.

They will usually complete a class under with assistance or simply fill in as a substitute while they gain experience.

After a while they will be given independence to go out on their own.

Most will start working for a gym or yoga studio, but after a while, they may start their own yoga school, or teach private clients in their own home or studio.

Some yoga instructors go on to work in other areas of fitness, and may become personal trainers, or pilates instructors for example.

Some go on to work in other fields of natural health.

The median salary for fitness instructors, including yoga instructors, is $29,000 a year.

The top 10% earn over $61,000 a year.

Many in this profession work part-time or on a casual basis.

Some work as yoga instructors alongside another job they may have.

Some similar jobs to that of yoga instructor include:

  • Personal trainer
  • Pilates instructor
  • Dietician
  • Nutritionist
  • Recreational therapist
  • Physical therapist

If you are looking for a career that encompasses fitness and natural health then you might like to become a yoga instructor.

The benefits of doing a job you love can be very rewarding for people who follow this tranquil career path.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$45,110
$21K
$26K
$45K
$57K
$75K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$35,780
Alaska$39,820
Arizona$44,130
Arkansas$37,450
California$51,180
Colorado$45,480
Connecticut$56,240
Delaware$37,470
District of Columbia$56,130
Florida$39,630
Georgia$43,030
Hawaii$46,320
Idaho$36,390
Illinois$47,890
Indiana$33,600
Iowa$33,000
Kansas$37,840
Kentucky$34,350
Louisiana$39,350
Maine$52,050
Maryland$48,810
Massachusetts$54,260
Michigan$39,320
Minnesota$45,260
Mississippi$35,210
Missouri$33,580
Montana$36,390
Nebraska$34,410
Nevada$46,170
New Hampshire$46,030
New Jersey$53,900
New Mexico$38,940
New York$58,680
North Carolina$38,610
North Dakota$33,240
Ohio$34,490
Oklahoma$38,980
Oregon$45,710
Pennsylvania$36,590
Rhode Island$43,670
South Carolina$37,600
South Dakota$32,040
Tennessee$42,620
Texas$39,560
Utah$43,370
Vermont$53,740
Virginia$43,030
Washington$55,750
West Virginia$32,740
Wisconsin$34,100
Wyoming$38,070
Puerto Rico$22,050

The top earning state in the field is New York, where the average salary is $58,680.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

New York - $58,680
Connecticut - $56,240
District of Columbia - $56,130
Washington - $55,750
Massachusetts - $54,260
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Exercise Trainers and Group Fitness Instructors, OCC Code 39-9031, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat is a yoga instructor?

Yoga instructors are fitness professionals who teach their clients how to use controlled postures and breathing techniques in order to relax and improve flexibility and strength.

They may also provide advice in areas complementary to yoga, such as nutrition or meditation.

Instructors may teach group classes, workshops or provide one-on-one instruction at yoga studios, fitness centers or similar facilities.

Yoga instructors may work nights, weekends or holidays to accommodate their client’s schedules.

Some have other full-time jobs and teach yoga classes part-time.

Yoga instructors need physical fitness, customer-services skills, problem-solving skills and the ability to motivate their clients.

As a yoga instructor, you will also need good people skills and marketing abilities.

QuestionHow much does a yoga instructor make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for fitness trainers and instructors, in general, was $39,820 in May 2018.

Salaries in this field vary based on a wide range of factors.

Some make more than $75,000 a year, while others earn less than $25,000.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a yoga instructor?

If you want to become a yoga instructor, most employers will require that you complete at least a 200-hour certification.

The cost of a Yoga Alliance certification varies between $1,000 and $3,000, depending on the region.

If you want to specialize in a certain yoga style, this will cost you between $200-$900, depending on the specialization you are seeking.

As a certified yoga instructor, you may need a yoga instructor liability insurance and this can cost you around $30-$40 per month.

QuestionWhat is the demand for yoga instructors?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for fitness instructors, in general, is projected to grow 13 percent.

The demand for yoga instructors is expected to grow, as more people start practicing yoga.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a yoga instructor?

If you want to become a yoga instructor, the first step is to practice yoga yourself for several years.

The duration of training programs for yoga instructors depends on the level of certification you are seeking.

If you want to seek certification from the Yoga Alliance you will need between 200 and 500 hours of training.

A 200-hour certification is required for all prospective instructors and can be obtained in 3 to 5 months.

A 500-hour certification is also available for those want to continue their studies and can be completed in more than 6 months.

After completing the programs you can apply for certification from Yoga Alliance and become a Registered Yoga Teacher.

Registration is voluntary but will improve your credibility in the yoga community and may help you find an employer.

Yoga Alliance also requires certified yoga instructors to complete continuing education classes.

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