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Yoga School: No Posers Need Apply

Yoga School
Yoga is about breathing, stretching, healing, and a host of other healthy practices. So how is it possible that there were 4,459 yoga-related injuries in the U.S. in 2006, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission? A likely culprit is inadequate yoga teacher training.

Though it’s possible to become a yoga teacher after two days of training, the Yoga Alliance, a nonprofit, Maryland-based organization that registers yoga schools and yoga teachers who have complied with minimum educational standards established by the organization, doesn’t recommend that route. Here’s the kind of yoga teacher training you can expected from a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga School (RYS).

Yoga teacher training hours
In order to become a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT), you’ll need to complete at least 200 hours of training at a yoga school. The majority of your training hours must be contact hours, which are classroom hours in a dedicated yoga teacher training environment in the physical presence of a faculty member.

Formal yoga teacher training consists of classes in five educational categories: yoga techniques; yoga teaching methodology; anatomy and physiology; yoga philosophy, ethics, and lifestyle; and yoga student teaching/ practicum.

Yoga techniques training and practice includes asanas, pranayamas, kriyas, chanting, mantra, meditation, and other traditional yoga techniques. Yoga teaching methodology includes principles of demonstration, observation, assisting/correcting, instruction, teaching styles, qualities of a teacher, the student’s process of learning, and business aspects of teaching yoga. Anatomy and physiology is taught from both the Western tradition (physical: body systems and organs) and the Eastern tradition (energy: chakras and nadis), including the application of anatomy and physiology principles to yoga practice (benefits, contraindications, healthy movement patterns). The yoga practicum consists of practice teaching, giving and receiving feedback, observation, and assisting students while someone else is teaching.

Yoga school and teacher designations
Registered Yoga Schools are designated as either RYS 200 or RYS 500 – yoga schools that provide a minimum of 200 or 500 hours of yoga teacher training. A 500-hour program includes the same education categories as a 200-hour program, with an additional 300 hours of advanced, nonrepetitive training.

When you graduate from a Registered Yoga School, you are eligible to become a Registered Yoga Teacher at the RYT 200 or RYT 500 level, depending on the training and teaching hours you completed. The next level up is  Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT), either at the E-RYT 200 level, which requires a minimum of two years and 1,000 hours of yoga teaching experience since becoming an RYT 200, or the E-RYT 500 level, which requires a minimum of four years and 2,000 hours of yoga teaching experience after becoming an RYT 500.

Formal yoga teacher training isn’t a walk in the park, but it’s worth it. Enroll in a Registered Yoga School, and your body (and your students’ bodies) will thank you for it.