Nobody wants to pay out more than they need to, so if you’re here looking for cheap or even free yoga teacher training courses, we don’t blame you!
Teaching yoga is a really exciting and rewarding career so it’s no wonder that hundreds of people are searching for a course that will allow them to make a career out of their passion.
But how far can you actually get with a free online yoga teacher training certification?
If you want to learn more about cheap yoga teacher training, and what you need to look for in a course, we’ve answered all of your burning questions just below.
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Is There Such Thing As Free Yoga Teacher Training?
If you’ve ever come across free yoga teacher training online and been a little sceptical as to whether it’s a legitimate course, you aren’t alone!
Numerous studies have found that working as a yoga teacher is a really rewarding career. For example, a 2015 review by Marino highlighted significant benefits of such career, including personal growth and enhanced spiritual connection.
However, the review did highlight some issues around the cost of yoga qualifications, stating:
"Participants noted financial barriers to training"
In a perfect world, you’d be able to become a yoga teacher for free and you could get started with your new career right away.
But is it really possible to find a free, or at least a relatively cheap, way of becoming a yoga instructor that will actually get you to where you want to be in your career?
Although the answer is technically yes, if we’re being realistic, we have to say that a free yoga teacher training course alone won’t get you very far.
There are a couple of things you need to consider before you sign up for the first free yoga teacher training course that you find online - all of which we’re about to explain.
Keep reading to find out everything that you could possibly need to know about how to find a cheap yoga teacher training course that will really be worth your while.
Yoga Teacher Training: Are Cheap Courses Worth It?
The kinds of cheap or sometimes even free courses that you find online on the likes of reed.co.uk can be really tempting.
Just look at the example below! Who wouldn’t want to kick-start their dream career with a course that costs no more than a mere £20?
The way these courses are presented makes them seem like the real deal, and because a lot of them are advertised at a heavily discounted price, it can be easy to rush into buying the course because you think that you’re getting a great deal.
But how great of a deal are you really getting?
You might think that a course this cheap that can be completed in a matter of hours is too good to be true. Unfortunately, you’d be right to think this!
If you look into the details of this course, you’ll see that although it is advertised as a ‘yoga teaching course’, this course doesn’t really qualify you to teach yoga.
Just look at this screenshot we took of the Q&A section for this ‘teaching course’:
The description of this online yoga teaching course and the answer to this question are both really vague.
This answer explains that the course provides ‘knowledge-based training’ but it carefully avoids explaining what you will be qualified to do on completion of this course.
There is talk of a ‘course completion certificate’, but if we’re being perfectly honest, this would be about as valuable as writing up your own certificate on a word document.
The more we researched the details of this course, the more we realised why this online yoga teacher training is so cheap.
If you’ve already looked into becoming a pilates instructor or a yoga teacher, you’ll know that having yoga teacher insurance is absolutely essential.
As we’ll discuss in a little more detail later on, there are certain requirements that a yoga teacher needs to meet before an insurance provider will offer you a policy.
One of those requirements is that you must have sufficient knowledge, which is best demonstrated by holding a qualification from a reputable course provider.
To us, the fact that the reply in the screenshot above doesn’t answer the question about whether the user can get yoga teacher insurance with this course, suggests that the answer is quite clearly a no.
So, what do you get from this kind of course?
If you’re a yoga lover just wanting to learn a little more about the practice, then by all means dive straight into an online course.
Free online courses can be a great way to get some more knowledge around a subject that you love, and if the current UK lockdown is to go on much longer, this can be a productive way to pass the time.
Research has even showed that yoga teacher training can have a postive impact on human flourishing.
A study by Conboy (2010) concluded:
"Optimism, a positive psychology research measure, improved from baseline to follow-up."
"The mindfulness subscales of observation, awareness, and nonreactivity all improved following the training, suggesting that one benefit of yoga practice is a more refined ability to attend to one's inner experience."
But, if you’re here because you want to make a career out of teaching yoga, these really cheap or even free online yoga teacher training courses simply won’t make the cut.
Resources such as our full list of yoga pros and cons can be just as useful, plus, they're complelty free to access!
You might be confused about how they can even sell this as a yoga teacher qualification, seeing as it doesn't really qualify you to teach yoga.
One thing to know is that unlike a title like a ‘dietician’, the title ‘yoga instructor’ is not governed or regulated by law. So technically, anybody can claim that they’re a yoga teacher.
But just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should!
If you want to be a good yoga teacher working as a freelancer, at your very own studio, or even running your own yoga retreat, one piece of advice that we can’t stress enough, is that you need to find a proper qualification.
What To Look For In A Good Yoga Teacher Course
There are a number of reasons why a free online course won’t provide you with the level of knowledge and the type of qualification that will get you a job as a yoga teacher, but all of these reasons stem from 2 key factors - course regulation and accreditation.
Below we’ve broken down exactly what a good course should include so that you can fully understand the difference between a free course and the kind of course that will actually get you on track to your new career.
If you’re on a budget and you want to find yoga teacher training for fairly cheap, all hope isn’t lost. There are tons of affordable options out there.
After we explain what to look for in a good yoga teacher qualification, we’ve included a quick guide to finding the best value course - which is definitely worth sticking around for.
#1 Course Regulation Explained
If you want to complete a course that will get you on your way to a career teaching yoga, you’ll need to study a regulated course.
Teaching yoga without a regulated qualification is technically possible, but if you choose to take this route and still want to demonstrate yourself as a reputable and knowledgeable teacher, you’ll need to have a pretty extensive background in practicing yoga yourself.
Even so, without a regulated qualification you might struggle to get the right insurance.
Plus, if you choose to take the employment route, employers might have set criteria when it comes to the qualifications they expect candidates to hold - but more on that shortly.
What Exactly Is A Regulated Course?
Regulated courses are those that are approved by Ofqual, the sister organisation of Ofsted.
Ofqual is a Government-run body that sets the frameworks for all vocational qualifications, examinations, and assessments in England.
It’s often called the ‘exam watchdog’ as its main purpose is to ensure that qualifications meet a certain standard of criteria.
Ofqual put in place clear qualifications frameworks that all awarding bodies must adhere to. Those awarding bodies include NCFE, Active IQ, YMCA Awards, and Focus Awards.
So look out for these logos on your course providers website:
Ofqual regulation exists so that the Level 3 course that we offer here at OriGym will give you exactly the same level of knowledge and qualification as a Level 3 course that you might study elsewhere.
Plus, it allows a clear distinction between a Level 2 course, a Level 3 course, and a Level 4 course.
If you’re confused about what each level equates to in terms of academic qualifications, you can see how this ‘Level’ framework compares to other qualification frameworks here.
But as a rough guide, a Level 2 fitness instructor course is about as difficult as a GCSE, whilst a Level 3 qualification is the vocational equivalent of an A-Level.
Anyway, back to course regulation…
Having a qualification that is regulated by an awarding body like NCFE gives employers, insurance providers, and even investors, a clear idea of what level of training you have.
Plus it allows you (as the student) to understand what qualification and level of knowledge you will get out of the course.
Become a sports nutritionist! Enquire for our Level 4 sports nutrition course and kick-start an exciting new career
Become a sports nutritionist!
Enquire for our Level 4 sports nutrition course and kick-start an exciting new career
Are Free Courses Regulated?
Course regulation is definitely the most significant factor that really makes all the difference when comparing free yoga teacher training and those courses that will actually get you qualified.
We can say pretty confidently that any course that is free or as cheap as the one in our example above, won’t be regulated.
That’s mainly because the course provider has to pay a registration fee to the awarding body for every student that they enrol onto their course.
That fee is typically around £50-£70 per student, per level. So, if you’re signed up to a course that covers a Level 3 and a Level 4 yoga qualification, that can cost the course provider in excess of £140 just to get you enrolled onto their course.
When you think about this cost to the provider, you can hopefully see why it’s extremely unlikely that a free yoga teacher training course, or even one that costs under £50, is not going to be regulated by an awarding body.
If the course provider charges anything less than that £50, they’d instantly be at a loss after paying these registration fees.
And that’s before you consider the other costs to the provider, such as hiring experienced staff, hiring a venue to teach face-to-face, and the expenses that come with running a business in general.
#2 Course Accreditation
Another reason that the cheap yoga teacher training courses you can find online aren’t worth your time, is that these free and really cheap courses aren’t accredited.
Any reputable course provider will seek out course accreditation by an external company. In the fitness industry, this is usually the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) or the Chartered Institute of Sport & Physical Activity (CIMSPA).
Some providers (ourselves included) even offer courses that are endorsed by both of these companies.
These accreditations are used as an indication of quality control, and having a REPs or CIMSPA logo on your qualification certificate shows that you've completed a course that meets a certain industry standard of training set out by these well-recognised institutions.
This provides your potential employer with the reassurance that you are qualified to nationally recognised standards.
Plus, having an accredited course also opens up your opportunity to become a member of an institution such as REPs, which comes with plenty of benefits.
Those benefits include discounts with tons of health and fitness brands and the opportunity to get an insurance policy with REPs themselves.
When it comes to course accreditation, you should be looking for at least one of these logos on the course page:
Having one of these logos on your qualification certificate (alongside the logo of an Ofqual approved awarding body) is the best way to authenticate your certificate.
This is what sets the certificate you receive from a regulated and accredited course apart from the certificate that you receive when you complete ‘yoga teacher training’ for free.
Why You Need A Regulated & Accredited Qualification
Now what makes reputable courses different to really cheap or free yoga teacher training courses, let us explain why this is so important.
If you want to know why having a regulated qualification is so important for a career as a yoga teacher, allow us to explain!
#1 Employer Requirements
One of the main reasons that both course regulation and accreditation are important aspects of any good yoga teacher course is that the vast majority of employers will set at least one of these course qualities as an entry requirement.
You might be thinking that this doesn’t apply to you, as you’ve got your sights set on writing your very own yoga business plan and becoming your own boss.
If that is your plan, brilliant! That’s a really exciting career path, but that doesn’t mean that you can get away with going for the cheapest yoga teacher training in the world.
You’ll still need to get insurance (which we’ll talk about very soon), plus having a good track record of qualifications will come in handy when it comes to marketing your business.
Handing out business cards showing off your qualifications from reputable providers is a brilliant way to impress your clients!
Check out the OriGym guide to business cards for yoga teachers to learn how and why business cards are so important.
Why Employers Won’t Accept A Free Online Yoga Teacher Training Certification
This is especially true for course regulation, as job offers will often include ‘Level 3 qualified’ as an entry requirement.
It’s unlikely that a job description will ever specify that you need a Level 4 qualification, as an advanced yoga qualification isn’t currently offered by a lot of providers.
But, if they ask for a Level 3 qualification, and you’ve completed a Level 4 course, you can really stand out among the other candidates.
As you can see below, this post advertising for a yoga instructor explains that a recognised Yoga Certificate is essential when applying for this position.
That means if you wanted to apply for this job, you’d at least need either an Ofqual regulated qualification, or one that is recognised by the likes of REPs.
Looking at our example above, you’ll see that the job ad also states that candidates need either a Massage qualification or a Personal Training certificate.
So it might be worth looking into one of our personal training course packages instead of getting your yoga course and personal training qualification from separate providers.
Getting back to the subject of free yoga teacher training and whether they meet the entry requirements for yoga teacher roles, our honest answer is still a firm no.
Some major employers, like national health clubs and big chain companies, work closely with the accrediting companies, and in some cases they will only employ staff with a qualification that is endorsed by that particular company.
Whether that’s REPs, CIMSPA, or a Yoga specific company like Yoga Alliance, the last thing you want is to spend your time and money on a qualification, to then be rejected by an employer because your qualification doesn’t meet their entry requirements.
One word of advice is to look up some current job adverts and check out the role requirements as a little bit of research before you sign up for a course.
If you do this, you’ll most likely come to the conclusion that the online yoga teacher training courses that are extremely cheap are actually a massive waste of money
#2 Getting Insurance
The topic of insurance has come up a little throughout this article, mainly because getting insured is really important.
In fact, this is the very first thing that you need to do before you can teach any students.
Even as somebody employed by a health club or a studio, it’s still possible that you’ll need to take out an insurance policy for yourself.
If you’re running your own business, whether that’s as a freelancer, or as the owner of your own studio, there are multiple kinds of yoga teacher insurance that you’ll need to take out.
When it comes to taking out those policies, if your qualification isn’t regulated by a governing body or accredited, then it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll get insured.
This will leave you unable to work as a yoga teacher, or if you do choose to take a chance and teach a class without the right insurance, it will leave you in a really risky position financially.
#3 Course Quality
Not only does course regulation and accreditation benefit you in the long term through the award of an authentic qualification certificate, but choosing this kind of course over cheap online yoga teacher training also pays off with course quality.
If having a qualification that is accepted by insurance providers and puts you in the best possible position to get your dream job isn’t enough to convince you to invest in a regulated qualification - think about course quality!
One of the purposes of course regulation is to ensure course quality.
By signing up to a course that is regulated by the likes of Active IQ, you are guaranteeing that you will receive a service that meets a standard set by Ofqual.
This is one of the reasons why regulated courses aren’t the cheapest method of yoga teacher training in the world, but it’s also exactly why paying a little more is absolutely worth it.
If you’re going to spend the bare minimum on a course, then you can’t be surprised when the course quality matches that cost.
The kinds of cheap yoga teacher training courses advertised on REED are vague when explaining the kinds of services they offer.
But if the fact that they claim their courses can be completed in as little as 6 hours is anything to go by, it’s safe to assume that their service isn’t going to include anywhere near the level of course content or range of learning resources that reputable course providers offer.
By spending a little more on a regulated qualification you are investing in your career.
This will help you when it comes to marketing your yoga business, as any claims you make about being a qualified or professional yoga instructor will all be backed up by your qualifications.
If you study with a reputable course provider, you will benefit from access to an online platform that is easy to navigate and filled with learning resources and you’ll have access to advice and support from experienced industry professionals, over the phone or via email.
Depending on your preferred method of studying, you can even have the benefits of face to face tuition - something that definitely isn’t offered from yoga teacher training that you can access for free.
Some course providers will even go one step beyond the standards set out by Ofqual, offering additional services like post-course support.
For example here at OriGym, we offer extensive career support to all of our students.
- Free CV help
- Interview preparation
- Help with business & marketing skills
- Access to our exclusive jobs boards
- Guaranteed post-course interviews
So although these courses aren’t quite as cheap as the unregulated courses you can find online, when you think about the quality of the course, you are actually getting great value for your money.
Want to know how to find a happy medium between cost and quality?
Assuming that the most expensive course is automatically the best is the second biggest mistake that you can make when becoming a yoga teacher (right behind buying an unregulated course!).
If you want to know how to find a brilliant course that won’t break the bank, check out our step-by-step guide below.
Step-by-Step: Finding An Affordable Course
By now it should be pretty clear that free yoga teacher training courses are a complete waste of time, but that yoga teacher training can’t be affordable.
The cheapest yoga teacher training out there is by no means the best, but that doesn’t mean that you should go for the most expensive option.
Finding the right balance between cost and quality isn’t always easy, but fortunately for you, we’re here to help!
Here are a couple of things to think about when looking for affordable yoga teacher training.
Price and Marketing
A high price doesn’t always mean that the course is the highest quality.
But, because people automatically associate a big price tag with a high-quality product, companies purposely set their prices high so that their consumers assume that their service is better than their cheaper competitors.
It’s all about marketing!
Some course providers will set their prices high so that you think that their course is the best quality.
But all too often, this isn’t the case.
Instead, you need to do some further research into the course and learn a little more about the provider.
A brilliant way to do this is to check out some company reviews - Trustpilot is probably the best option.
Trustpilot only allows for authentic reviews from genuine customers, so you can see what past and current students have to say about the course rather than taking the company's word for it.
Choose The Right Study Method
One factor that understandably influences the cost of a qualification, is the study method you choose.
Typically, the cost of the course reflects the cost to the provider.
If you want to study a face to face qualification, then you should expect to pay a little more.
That’s because the provider then has to pay to rent a teaching space and hire a tutor to hold the class - just to name a few of the additional expenses.
On the other hand, online courses are a lot cheaper to run. Therefore, the cost to the student should be lower to reflect that!
If you find a course provider that offers a flat rate for their qualifications, regardless of whether you opt to study online or physically attend classes, then they are almost definitely overcharging you for the online course.
Look Out For Hidden Fees
If you want to keep the cost of yoga teacher training cheap, the last thing you want is to be hit with a hidden fee.
Some course providers will charge you extra to resit exams, or even ask you to pay to have your certificates printed and posted to you.
What seemed like an affordable yoga teacher training course at first could actually end up being up there with the most expensive options after you’ve paid out for all of their hidden fees.
You might think the chances of you needing a resit are fairly slim, but it’s better to have the security of free resits than to fail an exam and have to pay an additional fee.
For that reason, you should always ask about what is and is not included with the original course price before singing up!
Pricing VS Payment Plans
Finally, one way to avoid overpaying for what seemed like affordable online yoga teacher training initially, is to check out what payment plans the provider offers.
If you have the funds to pay for the course in full, this won’t be a problem for you.
But, if you will need to apply for a finance plan to pay in installments, then you’ll have to factor interest rates into the cost of the course.
We can definitely see the appeal of going for the cheapest yoga teacher training course, if a course is regulated, has accreditation, and it’s fairly cheap, you might think it ticks all of your boxes.
But if that course provider then charges interest on every monthly payment you make, you could end up paying a lot more than you first expected.
You might even find that the slightly more expensive course provider with an interest-free payment plan works out cheaper, which saves you money and means you get a better quality service!
Before You Go!
We hope that we have helped you to better understand free yoga teacher training, as well as the importance of having regulated qualifications when it comes to starting a new career!
Alternatively, you can download our course prospectus for free and learn about the range of regulated courses that we offer.
Conboy, L., Wilson, A. and Braun, T. 2010. Moving beyond health to flourishing: The effects of yoga teacher training. The Scientific World Journal.
Marino, C. 2015. Motivations of yoga teachers and the impact of training and teaching. Available online: pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/2015/10/