Training to be a yoga instructor

January 16, 2024

In a world marked by the daily grind, more people than ever are turning to yoga to find solace and balance. In fact, around 460,000 people in Britain do yoga every week. Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or new to the mat, the idea of making a living by sharing the benefits of yoga might be on your radar.

If you want to know how to become a yoga teacher in the UK, there are certain practical steps you’ll need to take before entering the field. It requires a combination of education and practical experience, with some initial investment involved.

It’s about more than fulfilling official requirements though, as becoming a yoga teacher is not just a career choice. It’s also a personal journey towards self-discovery, mindfulness, and a commitment to improving the wellbeing of others. It’s essential to have a personal dedication to the practice and full belief in it, so that you can be a champion of yoga and passionately communicate its transformative effects to your clients.

In this guide, we explore how to become a yoga teacher, detailing the essential steps, required qualifications and potential earnings.

How to become a yoga teacher with no experience in the UK

Here’s a step-by-step overview of how to become a yoga teacher. We’ll explore these points in more depth within this article:

 Start practising yoga – Develop a regular yoga practice to build your understanding of poses, alignment, and the overall practice.

  • Take beginner classes – Attend beginner-level classes to understand teaching styles and gain insights into class structure.

  • Research teacher training programmes – Look for accredited teacher training programmes. Choose one that fits your schedule and budget.

  • Network and volunteer – Connect with local yoga studios, offer to volunteer, and network with instructors to gain experience and real-world insights.

  • Complete a yoga teacher training programme – Once you’ve found the right course for you, gain your foundational certification in a minimum of 200-hour yoga teacher training.

  • Build experience gradually – Start teaching classes at community centres, gyms or wellness studios, or offer private sessions to gain experience.

  • Join yoga communities – Regularly participating in the yoga community is highly supportive. Building connections and collaborating with other instructors can be beneficial for your career.

Qualifications needed to become a yoga instructor

Here’s how to become a certified yoga teacher, from initial training to further skills development.

Yoga teacher training (YTT)

Completion of Yoga Alliance-accredited yoga teacher training is the first thing you’ll need. Courses can range between 200 and 500 hours, depending on how far along you are in your yoga journey and how much you’re ready to develop your knowledge. 200 hours is the minimum standard for basic certification, so this is a great place to start.

These programmes cover anatomy, philosophy, teaching methodology, and practical experience. You’ll discover and develop a range of diverse yoga styles, refining their teaching techniques and deepening your personal practice.

Upon completion of the yoga teacher training, you will receive a yoga teacher certification. The Yoga Alliance is a globally recognised organisation that sets international industry standards for yoga teacher training and certification. Once you’ve completed this, it opens doors to instructing various communities and a bigger pool of people.

Complete a college diploma

You also have the option of completing a Level 3 yoga teacher training course at a UK college. As many of these are up to 400 hours long, you could be studying for twice as long as a 200-hour Yoga Alliance course.

So it’s up to you which you complete – just make sure it’s regulated by an official UK regulatory body, such as Ofqual (The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) or CIMSPA (Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity).

Specific yoga types

Some instructors choose to specialise in specific types of yoga or groups of people. These post-YTT specialisations cater to specific interests and areas of health, enabling you to tailor your teaching approach and target particular clients.

One popular specialisation is in yoga therapy, which equips teachers to address specific physical or mental health concerns through personalised yoga practices. Prenatal yoga focuses on guiding expectant mothers safely through their yoga journey, adapting poses to suit the unique needs of pregnancy. Yoga for children is another specialised area, emphasising playful and age-appropriate practices to introduce children to the benefits of yoga.

Advanced vinyasa or ashtanga certifications look at more intricate sequencing and advanced poses, catering to people who like a dynamic and challenging practice. Specialising in restorative yoga is more about relaxation and stress relief, for a slower-paced, rejuvenating experience.

Yin yoga is another gentler-paced meditative practice, involving long-held, passive poses targeting connective tissues. Emphasising stillness and breath, it enhances flexibility and cultivates mindfulness. Ideal for balancing dynamic lifestyles, yin yoga encourages a deep release, for both physical and mental calm and ease.

Hatha Yoga is a traditional practice combining physical postures (asanas) and breath control (pranayama). Focused on achieving balance, flexibility, and relaxation, Hatha classes vary from gentle to challenging. Rooted in ancient Indian philosophy, it unites body and mind, promoting overall wellbeing by harmonising the dualities of strength and flexibility.

Continuing education

Continuing education for yoga teachers is vital for refining teaching skills and staying abreast of industry developments. Workshops, seminars, and advanced training programmes offer in-depth explorations of specialised topics such as anatomy, meditation, or specific yoga styles. Attending conferences lets you network and engage with the community. Online courses provide flexibility, allowing you to deepen your knowledge at your own pace.

These endeavours not only maintain Yoga Alliance accreditation but also enhance your ability to guide students effectively. They ensure a dynamic and evolving teaching practice that enriches both your personal growth and the experiences of your students.

How much do yoga teachers get paid in the UK?

Yoga teacher salaries in the UK vary based on factors like location, experience, class size, and specialisation. On average, new instructors might earn between £20 to £30 per hour, while experienced teachers or those with specialised skills may earn £50 or more per hour.

The average yoga teacher salary is £37,389 at entry level, rising to £45,650 with experience, or £61,425 at a more senior level. Private sessions or workshops can offer additional income opportunities. Some instructors supplement their earnings by teaching at multiple studios or offering online classes.

How long does it take to become a yoga instructor?

The time it takes to become a yoga instructor can vary based on several factors, including the type of training you choose, your prior experience with yoga, and the schedule you follow to pursue your training.

Here are some general guidelines.

Part-time programmes

Many people opt for part-time training, which can take place over weekends or evenings. In this case, it might take approximately three to six months to complete a 200-hour YTT program.

Intensive programmes

Some training is designed to be completed in a shorter amount of time, such as in a month-long immersion. These programmes are more intensive and require full commitment during that concentrated period.

Online programmes

With the availability of online yoga teacher training, you have the flexibility to study at your own pace. Online training may take a similar amount of time as traditional in-person training, but the flexibility allows you to tailor the schedule to your needs.

Advanced training

If you choose to pursue a 500-hour training or higher levels of certification, it will naturally take longer. A 500-hour programme may take a year or longer.

Practical experience

After completing the formal training, you’ll need to make time for gaining practical teaching experience by leading classes, workshops, or private sessions. This is an ongoing process that contributes to your development as an instructor. The more time you can put in, the more you’ll develop your experience, confidence and client base.

Get yoga instructor insurance with Protectivity

Yoga instructor insurance is crucial for protecting instructors and their livelihoods. It provides coverage for potential liabilities such as student injuries, property damage, or allegations of negligence. It instils confidence in clients and studios, contributing to a professional reputation. Whether teaching independently or within a studio, yoga instructor insurance is a proactive measure, ensuring peace of mind and allowing you to focus on sharing the benefits of yoga without the burden of potential legal or financial setbacks.

Even with the emphasis on mindfulness and safety in yoga, accidents can happen. Protectivity’s yoga teacher insurance offers financial security, covering legal fees and potential settlements, and preventing your personal assets from being at risk. Choose from up to £10 million of public liability, professional indemnity to protect you from third-party claims, or equipment cover with up to £30,000 of cover. You can also opt for an optional personal accident cover.

Read more and get a quote online. If you need any support, our team are on hand to help.

This blog has been created as general information and should not be taken as advice. Make sure you have the correct level of insurance for your requirements and always review policy documentation.