8 steps on how to become a professional yoga instructor

There’s a world of difference between practicing yoga and teaching it professionally.

This difference comes down to expertise.

Teaching yoga isn’t just about mastering the poses, it’s about guiding others to find their rhythm while concealing your own challenges.

Becoming a professional yoga instructor allows you to turn your passion into a career, guiding others through their wellness journey.

Becoming a yoga teacher is about convincing others that you have the skills and knowledge needed for their transformation.

And savvy yogis know that there are certain steps that can guide you in becoming a professional without feeling overwhelmed.

Here are some steps to incorporate into your journey to help you transition from yoga enthusiast to professional instructor.

1) Embrace your practice

Yoga isn’t just a workout, it’s a lifestyle.

And every yogi knows the importance of consistent practice.

You might find yourself in a situation where you have to decide between different yoga styles or paths.

This choice can be daunting, but it’s an essential step.

Enter the concept of self-discovery.

Self-discovery is a fundamental principle in yoga, encouraging us to explore our inner selves and find our unique path.

Consider this.

It’s the reason behind every yoga journey and the countless stories of transformation shared within the community.

When faced with multiple choices, many aspiring yoga teachers find solace in the experiences and paths of others before them.

So if you want to embark on your journey to become a professional yoga instructor, start by establishing a regular personal practice.

But remember to stay true to your own path if you wish to teach authentically.

2) Seek out a mentor

In the world of yoga, having a mentor can be a game-changer.

And I can certainly vouch for that from personal experience.

When I first started my journey to become a yoga instructor, I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information out there.

It was tough to navigate through the different styles, philosophies, and teaching methods.

This is where finding a mentor made all the difference.

Having someone with years of experience to guide you, to share their knowledge and wisdom, can help shape your own teaching style.

My mentor not only guided me through my training but also helped me find my unique voice as a teacher.

So if you’re serious about becoming a professional yoga instructor, consider finding a mentor.

Their guidance can provide invaluable insights and support on your journey.

3) Complete a yoga teacher training

Now that you’re committed to your practice and have a mentor to guide you, the next step is to complete a yoga teacher training program.

These programs are intense, often lasting for several weeks or months.

They immerse you into the world of yoga, teaching you everything from anatomy to philosophy, from asanas to pranayama.

Did you know that the globally recognized standard for a yoga teacher training program is 200 hours?

It’s established by Yoga Alliance, the largest international association representing the yoga community.

Completing such a program not only equips you with the necessary skills but also provides certification, enhancing your credibility as a yoga instructor.

Just ensure the program you choose is accredited and aligns with your goals and values to help you become the best yoga instructor you can be.

4) Start teaching

Once you’ve completed your training, it’s time to put your skills into practice – literally!

The best way to improve as a yoga instructor is by teaching.

Start small, maybe with friends or family, and gradually build up your confidence.

It’s okay to make mistakes.

Every great yoga teacher has been in your shoes at some point.

It’s through teaching and making those mistakes that you’ll learn, grow, and truly start to find your voice as an instructor.

So don’t wait until you feel 100% ready (trust me, no one ever does).

Take the leap and start teaching as soon as you can.

The experience will be invaluable on your journey to becoming a professional yoga instructor.

5) Continue your education

The journey of a yoga instructor doesn’t end with a certification.

Yoga is a lifelong learning process, and as a teacher, it’s your responsibility to keep expanding your knowledge.

There are many advanced training programs out there that can help you delve deeper into specific areas of yoga.

Whether it’s therapeutic yoga, prenatal yoga or even yoga for seniors, there’s always more to learn.

Staying updated with the latest research and trends in yoga also helps you keep your classes fresh and engaging, which is key in maintaining your students’ interest.

So, always stay curious and keep learning. It’s one of the best ways to grow as a professional yoga instructor.

6) Cultivate patience and compassion

Becoming a professional yoga instructor is not just about mastering the physical postures or understanding the philosophies.

It’s about cultivating certain qualities within yourself, chiefly patience and compassion.

Your students will come from diverse backgrounds – different ages, fitness levels, and life experiences.

Some may struggle with poses that others find easy.

It’s in these moments that your patience and compassion will shine through.

Seeing every challenge as an opportunity for growth, being patient with your students’ progress (and your own), and showing compassion in every interaction – these are the heartbeats of a great yoga teacher.

Your students don’t just look up to you for guidance in their yoga practice; they look up to you as a beacon of kindness and understanding.

So nurture these qualities within yourself, and let them guide you on your journey to becoming a professional yoga instructor.

7) Embrace vulnerability

In my journey to becoming a professional yoga instructor, one of the most transformative lessons I learned was to embrace vulnerability.

As teachers, we often feel the pressure to be perfect, to have all the answers.

But yoga is about authenticity, not perfection.

It’s about showing up as you are, with your strengths and weaknesses, your successes and struggles.

There were times when I felt inadequate, when I doubted whether I was good enough to be a yoga teacher.

But it was in those moments of vulnerability that I found my true strength.

By embracing my vulnerabilities, I was able to connect with my students on a deeper level.

It’s not about being an unattainable ideal; it’s about being human, just like them.

So don’t shy away from showing your authentic self in your teaching.

It’s what makes you relatable and will ultimately make you a better yoga instructor.

8) Build your network

Finally, becoming a professional yoga instructor isn’t a solitary journey.

It’s about being part of a community, a network of likeminded individuals who share your passion.

Networking can open up numerous opportunities – from finding potential job openings to learning from other experienced teachers.

It also allows you to share your knowledge, insights, and experiences with others.

There are many ways to build your network.

Attend yoga workshops and retreats, join yoga associations, participate in online forums or local meetups.

Every connection you make is a chance to learn something new and grow as a professional yoga instructor.

Stay committed and passionate

At the heart of becoming a professional yoga instructor is your commitment and passion for yoga.

It’s what fuels your journey, through the challenges and triumphs, the doubts and the victories.

Teaching yoga is more than a career, it’s a vocation.

It’s about sharing the transformative power of yoga with others, guiding them on their own journey towards wellness and self-discovery.

Don’t let the hurdles deter you.

Stay committed, stay passionate.

Because it’s this unwavering love for yoga that will make you not just a good, but a great yoga instructor.

Clifton Kopp

Clifton Kopp

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