Become a Yoga Teacher2nd October 2017
The term 'yoga' comes from the ancient Sanskrit word 'yuj' and translates to merge, join or unite. Achieving a union of mind, body and spirit is often a primary goal of those practicing yoga. The benefits however extend far beyond physical realm, and poses, or asanas as they are in yoga, focus on strengthening and developing the musculoskeletal system.
Although yoga is steeped in ancient Indian tradition, it is an incredible inclusive form of exercise. Regardless of a person’s spiritual or religious beliefs, yoga is suitable for all ages and abilities. Due to the low impact nature of a typical class or session, almost any exercise participant can benefit from yoga. It is especially popular with older adults and pre/postnatal women because of the functional benefits that it affords.
Unlike most other disciplines of exercise, those who lead yoga classes are typically called teachers, rather than instructors. Participants in a yoga class or session are also referred to as students, because they are following their teacher along a journey towards enlightenment.
Who can become a Yoga Teacher?
To be a successful yoga teacher it’s not enough to simply master the postures and repeat the instructions to a class. Yoga teachers need to embody the 8 principles of yoga, which are technically referred to as ‘limbs’. In ancient times, yoga teachers were in fact spiritual leaders, known as ‘gurus’, who people turned to for wisdom and guidance because they were deemed to be enlightened. While yoga in the West has little religious meaning, teachers must demonstrate to their students that they are leaders and an authority in their field. At the very least they must be a role model.
How to become a Qualified Yoga Instuctor
If you possess the personal qualities needed to become a yoga teacher and are able to accept the responsibility of teaching, the next step is to become qualified. There are a wide-range of yoga courses and qualifications available and for fledging teachers and it is important to take the time to pick the right programme for you.
Not all courses lead to nationally recognised qualifications and many training providers deliver their own style of yoga and issue their graduates with a self-generated certificate. With a yoga qualification however, the programme is backed by an independent awarding body and will have been developed by leading industry experts. Without doubt the most popular yoga qualification is the Level 3 Diploma in Teaching Yoga. There are no formal prerequisites for this course, although you will ideally already have a passion for yoga, an appetite to learn, and an experience of attending yoga classes.
Some of the popular independent yoga course providers include the British Wheel of Yoga, Yoga Alliance and the Independent Yoga Network – the cost of these courses and the length of time required to become qualified will naturally vary from one organisation to the next.
Employment Opportunities for Qualified Instructors
Once qualified there are a number of employment opportunities to pursue and these range from local authority leisure centres, private health clubs and gyms, private yoga studios and retreats. In recent years, the benefits of yoga for treating mental health conditions like depression and anxiety are also becoming better understood which is why many GP referral schemes also now prescribe yoga to patients suffering from these conditions instead of, or as well as, medication.
Many yoga teachers are self-employed and this does afford a great deal of freedom. For starters, it in theory allows you to work wherever you want and not be tied to a specific location or gym. It also opens the door for you to hire out your own facilities, run your own yoga retreats and even create your own brand of yoga; there really is that much freedom.
Another avenue that has exploded in popularity in recent years is delivering online sessions. It’s not for everyone as it perhaps lacks the personality of leading a yoga class in person and the hands-on element is obviously missing. It would provide an opportunity for extra revenue however and allow you to reach people in parts of the country and even the world that you wouldn’t normally be able to interact with. One platform that is really popular with students and teachers alike is Ekhart yoga.
Once you have qualified, list your classes on the Yoga Class Near You website!
Or, if teaching isn't for you, use our website or App to find a yoga class near you today.