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How to Become a Yoga Instructor: The Definitive Guide (2019)

How to become a yoga instructor: header image showing yoga instructor

Wondering how to become a yoga instructor? We don’t blame you; yoga careers can be just as exciting as they sound!

From how to choose a course provider to the average yoga instructor salary, we cover everything you need to know in this in-depth article. We even have some exclusive tips from top yoga instructors across the UK...

Demand for yoga instructors

Before we jump straight into how to become a yoga instructor, let’s take a quick look at how yoga popularity and the demand for yoga instructors comes in.

After all, if you’re heading into a new career you certainly want to make sure that there are enough jobs going around!

How to become a yoga instructor: taking clients

Yoga popularity has been on the rise is recent years, especially due to it being such a low-intensity and relaxing workout.

It’s proven to be good for increasing muscle tone and strength as well as general wellbeing, and can work wonders for high blood pressure.

Here’s some quick-fire points to give you an idea of how yoga popularity has increased:

  • There are supposedly around 300 million people in the world practicing yoga
  • The Pilates and yoga industry makes around £800m per year
  • In the UK alone, there are currently over 10,000 active yoga teachers
  • Every week in the UK about 30,000 yoga classes take place
  • ‘Yoga’ was one of Google’s most commonly searched words in the UK during 2016

It’s clear here that the demand for yoga instructors is pretty high. With yoga popularity expanding far and wide across the globe, the demand for yoga instructors to coach the 300 million yogis grows along with it!

How to become a yoga instructor: yoga popularity around the world

After reading this you’re bound to be on the edge of your seat. It’s good that you’re excited and eager to know more!

Stick with us to find out the ins and outs of how to become a yoga instructor, and you’ll be joining the yogi teacher tribe in a flash…

Why become a Yoga Instructor?

Apart from the fact that the demand for yoga instructors is pretty huge, what are some less obvious reasons to become a yoga instructor?

How to become a yoga instructor: yoga meditation

That’s exactly what we’re here to find out on your behalf.

Considering a change in your career path can be a big deal, especially when you’ve chosen to pursue a career that is somewhat of a niche in comparison to other roles on the job market.

The main trick behind dodging pitfalls when learning how to become a yoga instructor is simple. Make sure that it’s the right career for you!

To do this, follow our quick evaluation below and you’ll soon know if the role suits you.

Top traits you need to become a yoga instructor:

#1 - Yoga skills

How to become a yoga instructor: doing a backwards yoga pose

Like we said before, you don’t have to be a yoga guru to learn how to become a yoga instructor. However, you should sharpen up on your yoga skills before you consider it. Yoga should be your passion in life!

Think about it; would you join a band if you couldn’t play guitar very well, or if it wasn’t your favourite hobby? Becoming a yoga instructor is similar to this.

It’s as niche as joining a band, so make sure it’s definitely something you can see yourself doing day in day out!

#2 - Creative

How to become a yoga instructor: creative trait

We’re not saying you need to Pablo Picasso it every day, but introducing your own spin on yoga will definitely help you to thrive when you become a yoga instructor.

It doesn’t have to be some new intricate routine that’s never been done before, it could just be a fun combination or unique phrase that you coin up!

Being creative with your teaching will help you to connect with your class and have a greater presence, meaning you’ll stand out and they’ll start spreading the word about how great your classes are.

#3 - Attentive

How to become a yoga instructor: attentive trait

You should always learn to be attentive when becoming a yoga instructor. If your students feel a real connection to you, then they’ll feel involved with and passionate about yoga, and turn up to all of your classes.

If they don’t click with you, they’ll be a lot less likely to re-attend. The way to gel with them is to be passionate about sharing what you do with others.

Make them feel involved and accommodated and you’ve already won half the battle!

TIP: Check for any injuries amongst students so that you can adjust movements for them as needed. This will make anyone who is nervous about exercising with an injury warm to you immediately.

#4 - Confident

How to become a yoga instructor: confident trait

Being extremely outgoing isn’t a must, as becoming a yoga instructor isn’t just for one personality type. However, you should be confident in what you do.

Some singers are quiet and reserved in everyday life, but because of their passion for singing they have the ability to perform and create a strong stage presence. This is how you should be with yoga.

Ask yourself: will you be comfortable with being the centre of attention during classes? Will you be able to direct classes with confidence and actually enjoy doing so?

Let your personality shine through and have fun!

#5 - Knowledgeable

How to become a yoga instructor: knowledgeable trait

Know your stuff. Obviously a yoga instructor course is going to teach you a lot of this, but when you become a yoga instructor you have to take that knowledge and apply it to your career!

If you have a burning desire to become knowledgeable about yoga and share what you learn with masses of people, then you’re definitely chasing the right dream.

The fact that you’re reading this article in the first place is a great sign… why would you be here if you weren’t seriously considering this career?

If these traits not only resonate with you but inspire you to learn how to become a yoga instructor, then carry on reading!

You can enquire to become a yoga instructor here:

 

Enquire to Become a Yoga Instructor

Request information about becoming a yoga instructor or personal trainer

How long does it take to become a Yoga instructor?

Many yogis ask the questions ‘how long does it take to become a Yoga Instructor?’. They’ve found something they’re passionate about and either want to make into a full-time career or a side hustle.

The only problem is they’re pushed for time, probably because most of them are in full-time work or already working in another fitness profession. They want to know how many hours they’ll have to commit to per week, and how long for.

The answer to ‘how long does it take to become a Yoga instructor?’ could actually be the deciding factor for them.

How to become a yoga instructor: how long does it take to become a yoga instructor?

If this is you, then it’s a great job you’ve landed on this page! We scoured many sources in search of the answer, and here’s what we found out.

On average it takes between 200-500 hours to become a certified yoga teacher in the UK. 200 hours is the average amount, whereas more advanced courses are longer and cover more areas.

Some courses actually offer 60 hour foundation courses for yogis to trial, to see if the course is for them and in case they decide that they no longer want to learn how to become a yoga instructor.

It does depend on the course provider and how advanced you wish to be in the type of yoga that you have chosen to master. It also depends on whether or not you wish to specialise in other areas of yoga, e.g. pre and postnatal.

How to become a yoga instructor: pre and psot natal yoga

Course lengths and how spread out the hours are will vary with providers and their own personal standards. A course may be around 300 hours long and spread over 18 months, while another is taught over the course of a few weeks.

As long as your course provider is reputable, endorsed by the appropriate bodies, and suitable for you and your needs, then it’s up to you to decide what’s best for you.

How to Become a Yoga Instructor: Prerequisites

As far as prerequisites go for a yoga instructor course, there is usually no need for prior qualifications. However, most course providers will expect you to have around 2 years of yoga experience.

How to become a yoga instructor: checklist

This doesn’t mean that you have to be a diehard yogi who can morph themselves into any given shape, but it’s great if you’ve got a good understanding of what yoga is and how it is taught. 

If you’ve been a regular attendee of yoga classes for at least 2 years, which you probably already are if you’re wanting to learn how to become a yoga instructor, then you’re off to a great start.

Wondering if you need a great body to become a yoga instructor? The answer is no, there isn’t a specific body type that fits the role.

However, it’s a bonus if you have a good level of fitness as this will make you a good example to your students, and ensure that you’re able to teach multiple classes per day.

How to choose a course provider

You could do a quick Google search and sign up with the first course provider that you saw… but this could cost you a lot more than you think, and not just in terms of money.

How to become a yoga instructor: top tips when becoming a yoga instructor

Yoga courses aren’t cheap. Even the ones that claim to be the best but are anything but this aren’t cheap, which is why it’s important to choose the right course provider and course for you.

  • Are they endorsed by BWY?
  • Do they have an impressive pass rate?
  • Do they provide free resits?
  • Are they in a good location?
  • Do they have flexible methods of study? E.g.Part-time, Full-time, or Online?
  • What study resources do they provide for you?
  • What will you learn? (check out their prospectus)
  • Do they have a good employment rate after graduation?
  • Do they offer post-course support?

Don’t be afraid to ask the course provider these questions up front when enquiring about their courses! It’s your right as a customer to know whether the service you’re receiving is the best option for you or not.

It’s a good idea to be savvy about it as well. If they’re helpful and can back up their claims with proof (e.g. show you that they are a member of a review website such as TrustPilot), then this is a good sign.

It’s your duty to ask these questions!

What you will learn

Once you’ve enrolled onto a yoga instructor course, you’re onto one of the most important parts when researching how to become a yoga instructor; the learning!

How to become a yoga instructor: finding a course provider

So, what will you actually learn when studying to become a yoga instructor?

We researched a range of different courses and their prospectus’, and here’s what we found was being taught the most:

  • Anatomy and Physiology (important part of training)
  • History and background of yoga
  • Class structure training
  • Development of teaching techniques and skills
  • Meditation study
  • A lot of practical work (asanas/yoga moves)

Teaching methods in yoga can vary, but these are the most prevalent topics across yoga instructor courses in the uk.  

Most courses will require you to teach at least 15 classes during your studies, and to have observed the same amount. This makes a lot of sense, as how could you possibly go out into the world and teach a class without having done this during training?

When looking up how to become a yoga instructor, it’s a good idea to note that practising and gaining as much experience as you possibly can is vital.

Before and during your training, it’s a good idea to reach out to existing yoga instructors and ask to shadow them in their classes.

If you’re feeling ambitious and a little creative, you should also consider starting a yoga blog or YouTube channel.

How to become a yoga instructor: youtube

You can document what you learn in a way that allows you to network with others interested in yoga, and you can also earn extra money from fitness blogging. See our How to Start a Fitness Blog article for more info!

What does becoming a yoga Instructor involve?

When you become a Yoga instructor, what your career will involve can depend on whether you choose to work for gyms and health clubs, or for yourself. Whether you wish to make it a part-time or full-time job also has an effect on this.  

If you go down the gym and health club route, then you can expect to see roles advertised as paying per hour instead of being salaried.

This is because most yoga instructors work on a freelance basis alongside existing careers, or full-time at multiple gyms.

We’ll talk about yoga instructor salary more in a later section of this article, but for now let’s focus on what the job itself entails. After all, this is what’s going to matter the most when it comes to it!

How to become a yoga instructor: confused graphic

If you decide to become a yoga instructor, your typical day-to-day responsibilities can be related directly to what you will learn on your course (covered in the section above).

Apart from the basics put down on paper, a yoga career naturally involves more than what is shown on the surface.

This is why we spoke to a selection of qualified yoga instructors to get their take on things, and to show you exactly what becoming a yoga instructor involves!

What do you enjoy most about being a yoga instructor?

‘The accountability. It’s certainly what I gain most from being a yoga instructor. There is no denying that if you are to show up and guide fellow yoga practitioners through a practice with integrity, you have to practice what you preach.

It’s imperative to keep studying (svadhyaya), to say dedicated to your self-practice (sadhana), and to leave behind your own personal issues (aparigraha) to be able to share this practice responsibly.

So I always thank my students sincerely because even if they don’t know it, they are the ones that keep me accountable to my personal practice.’ - Adell Bridges, who travels the world to teach yoga.

How to become a yoga instructor: yoga pose on a mat

What do you enjoy most about being a yoga instructor?

`It changes constantly - I have been teaching so long that what I enjoyed when I started and what I enjoy now is different. I started teaching yoga over 20 years ago, and then I was just happy to manage to get through the class in one piece!

It was always a wonderful feeling when someone felt moved by the class; when you said just the right thing that resonated with something in someone.

Now I get so many wonderful emails from people that move me! On how the practice has changed them or steadied them and helped them in some way through something major in their lives.

I guess that’s what I enjoy the most, being able to touch or move someone and help to guide them through a particular point in their lives, the way my teacher did for me.

I still can’t believe I get paid to teach yoga! It’s such a huge honour and gift.’ - Nadia Narain, an original triyoga teacher who has been teaching since 1996.

How to become a yoga instructor: instructor with student

What do you enjoy most about being a yoga instructor?

‘Just providing a safe, fun, and non-judgemental space for people to connect with their breath and take some time for themselves out of this crazy hectic fast-paced world we live in.

It’s so good to be able to help people to slow down and breathe!’ - Sophie Hellyer, former champion British surfer and yoga teacher.

What do you enjoy most about being a yoga instructor?

‘The part I enjoy the most about being a yoga instructor is watching the joy when people realize they can do it. They can bring a practice like yoga into their lives and make the healing changes they dream about!

Yoga is medicine, and in essence it is about moving energy. Moving the toxins out, boosting the circulation and releasing the stress and tension. When our energy is moving we thrive, and when it stagnates we get ill.

Being a yoga teacher allows me to share a very sacred healing practice, and that gives me so much inner peace and joy. I have always wanted to make a difference in the world, even if it’s in the smallest way… so this is it!’ - Sonia Doubell, a yoga teacher based in London who runs workshops, talks, retreats, and life coaching sessions.

How to become a yoga instructor: thinking of ideas

Hopefully this has given you a good insight into what yoga careers involve beyond the generalised information that you find in job descriptions and other articles.

We’ve also got some exclusive tips from each of the yoga instructors, which you can read later on in this post!

How to become a Yoga Instructor: Yoga Careers

There’s no use in learning how to become a yoga instructor without researching what yoga careers lie ahead of you. The good news is, you can leave all of the hard work to us!

As we mentioned earlier, a lot of yoga instructors tend to work freelance or for themselves. This is because full-time yoga careers are quite rare, and because a yoga instructor salary can tend to start off low.

However, if pursuing full-time yoga careers is something you wish to do, most opportunities lie with the following:

  • Gyms
  • Leisure centres and health clubs
  • Yoga studios
  • Holiday/yoga retreats
  • Cruise ships
  • Exercise referral schemes

As you can see from this list, there are some exciting opportunities out there for those wondering how to become a yoga instructor. Surely working aboard a cruise ship has its benefits... imagine using your days off for travel!

Now you know who you’ll be applying to in the search for full-time yoga careers, it’s time to take a look at how many jobs there are.

We performed searches on several job websites using the keyword ‘yoga teacher’, and this is what we found:

How to become a yoga instructor: yoga careers websites

It’s clear here that yoga careers do exist in the UK and are certainly attainable.

However, they are fairly sparse in comparison to jobs in other industries, which is the main reason why many aspiring instructors set up their own yoga business.

For those interested in pursuing a more independent career in yoga, you’ll definitely find our How to Start a Fitness Instagram article helpful. It will give you a great insight into how you can get your yoga business off the ground with social media marketing!

Marketing is a big one to nail when it comes to setting up a yoga business, as it will be your main route to targeting new leads.

Get clued up on social media marketing, particularly with Instagram and Facebook and you’ll have everything you need to successfully market your yoga business to the local community.

Yoga Instructor Salary

As much as we all hate to admit it, this is always something that we need to look into when pursuing our dream job.

The fact you’re already doing some research and measuring up whether this is a realistic venture for you is a great sign. It shows that you’re passionate about seeking yoga careers, but don’t wish to run into one blindly.

How to become a yoga instructor: yoga instructor salary

This rational approach will benefit you in the long run, and means that you have the right mindset to learn how to become a yoga instructor.

Put simply, the average yoga instructor salary is:

  • £15 per hour outside of London
  • £26 per hour inside London

This should be taken with a pinch of salt, as it does depend heavily on which yoga careers path you take. If you set up your own yoga business, you could potentially earn more than this with the right marketing!

If you work part-time for a gym, you’ll earn significantly less than those teaching classes daily. It’s all about planning, and what you choose as the best option for you.

Out of 179 UK users reporting their yoga instructor salary to indeed, £21.85 per hour was the calculated average.

This isn’t too bad as far as salaries go! As long as you do your research and follow all of the advice in our definitive guide, there’s no reason why you won’t be able to earn this kind of wage once you become a yoga instructor.

Yoga Insurance

As much as you hope you’ll never need to use it, having yoga insurance is crucial when it comes to becoming a yoga instructor (particularly if you want to set up your own yoga business or studio).

With yoga insurance, you’re usually covered for the following:

  • Damage to equipment
  • Loss of earnings
  • Client injuries (on your premises or during classes)
  • Lawsuits or claims

Generally there are more options for cover with different yoga insurance companies, so shop around to get a better idea of your options!

For your benefit, here’s a list of some trustworthy yoga insurance companies within the industry:

How to become a yoga instructor: yoga insurance

REMEMBER: when you’re choosing a yoga insurance provider, be sure to check out their reviews. A reputable company will usually be found on review sites such as Feefo or TrustPilot, and this is a great aid to making your decision.

Top Tips for Aspiring Yoga Instructors

Don’t worry if you’re suffering from a bit of information overload. It is a lot to take in, which is why we’re leaving you with some nice, easy-reading advice from each of the yoga instructors that we interviewed for this article.

Feel free to refer back to this article at any point, and send your questions over to our social channels.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring yoga instructor, what would it be?

‘The best two pieces of advice I ever got were from two of my first yoga teachers.

One time was when one of the teachers had me teach at his studio. It was my first class, and no one showed up…

I packed my stuff and he came in and asked where I thought I was going. I explained that no one came, and that I was going to head home.

He said, “no way. You sit in this room until the class is over. Do what you like, but you are not leaving. You sit, and the students will come,”

I did exactly that, and then the next week came around.

My boyfriend at the time came, and the week after he brought a friend.

A couple of weeks in and the class was full.’ - Nadia Narain

How to become a yoga instructor: advice

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring yoga instructor, what would it be?

‘Be yourself. It’s such a cliche saying, but teaching yoga isn’t an act or a performance. It’s not about fitting in or making people like you. It’s simply sharing the practice and what it means to you.

Dig deep and ask yourself honestly, what is yoga to you? What has the practice brought to you? What have you learned from it, and how has it helped you?

And from those things, what would you like to share with others? Once you’ve got your answer, go share that in a way that makes the most sense to you, being unapologetically you.’ - Adell Bridges

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring yoga instructor, what would it be?

‘Lean in. My teacher training was one of the most amazing experiences of my life to date. It requires me to be fully present and show up everyday, to be vulnerable, open-minded, curious.

Just commit, leave your fears at the door, and fully immerse yourself in the experience.’ - Sophie Hellyer

How to become a yoga instructor: leave your fears at the door

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring yoga instructor, what would it be?

‘Teach from your heart, it will guide you. Make self-study your adventure, and as you learn to love yourself you will grow to love and understand others even more.

Being a teacher requires not only knowledge, but compassion and empathy.’ - Sonia Doubell

FAQs

#1 Why was there such a spike in yoga popularity?

Yoga popularity is no doubt down to the fact that there has been no other low-intensity workout that targets physical health, mental health, and wellbeing all at once.

#2 How long does it take to become a yoga instructor?

It takes between 200-500 hours to become a yoga instructor, and some course providers run 60 hour foundation courses for you to trial.

#3 What is an average yoga instructor salary?

A yoga instructor salary can vary depending on a few factors, but typically it’s £15 per hour outside of London, and £26 per hour inside of London.

#4 Do you need yoga instructor insurance?

Yes, it’s always the best idea to get insurance when you’re working in the fitness industry. You never know when you might need it!

#5 What qualifications do you need to be a yoga instructor?

You will need to complete a BWY (British Wheel of Yoga) endorsed course to ensure that you are fully qualified to become a yoga instructor in the UK.

Before you go!

Congratulations. You should know exactly how to become a yoga instructor after reading our definitive guide. We hope you’re feeling fully equipped to step into the world of yoga. 

Interested in becoming a Personal Trainer? Give our range of Personal Training courses a look over, our download our free prospectus here for more info! 

 

Enquire to Become a Yoga Instructor

Request information about becoming a yoga instructor or personal trainer

Written by Chloe Twist

Fitness Expert & Blogger

Chloe is a qualified Personal Trainer with a passion for blogging, gaming, and playing the guitar. She can be found in her room either swinging kettlebells or binging on Netflix.