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Dream Job: Yoga Instructor

Are you in great shape? Do you enjoy motivating others to stay fit? If so, consider becoming a yoga instructor. After all, employment of yoga instructors is expected to increase much faster than the average for all occupations through 2014, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

First things first: You'll need to participate in yoga classes to improve your form and to learn the dynamics of a yoga class session. Other ways to improve your technique include taking training courses, attending fitness conventions, and team-teaching a yoga class.

To become a yoga instructor, it would be wise to pursue formal teacher training. Inexperienced yoga instructors have contributed to student injuries, which has motivated the yoga community to create more standardized, rigorous requirements for yoga instructor training.

There are many yoga training programs throughout the yoga community and the fitness industry. The Yoga Alliance has established education standards at the 200-hour and 500-hour levels, with training in techniques, anatomy, physiology, philosophy, and teaching methodologies. The Yoga Alliance also registers schools that train students to these standards.

To select the yoga training program that's right for you, attend a yoga class, workshop, or intensive taught by each of the primary teachers prior to making a commitment. You want to be sure you're comfortable in the learning environment, and that the yoga training program will support your individual education process, professional training, and personal practice. Also, decide what kind of training schedule will work for you, whether it be a residential program, a weekly intensive, or evening/weekend courses.

Most importantly, determine what yoga style you would like to study and teach. All yoga styles seek to balance body, mind, and spirit, but they achieve this balance in different ways. Ananda yoga emphasizes meditation through breath awareness and affirmations. Ashtanga yoga builds strength, flexibility, and stamina. The Bikram school of yoga, a celebrity favorite, raises room temperatures to 85-100 degrees in order to cleanse the body from the inside out. The Integral school of yoga invokes the healing power of relaxation, emphasizing breath control and meditation. The Iyengar yoga style focuses on symmetry and alignment to understand the body and how it works. Kripalu yoga emphasizes coordination of breath and movement to produce meditation in motion. Sivananda yoga incorporates chanting, meditation, and deep relaxation to encourage a healthy lifestyle. The Viniyoga style, which is often practiced in therapeutic environments, places great emphasis on breathing and coordinating breath with movement.

Why wait? Become a yoga instructor, and watch your dream job take shape.