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Yoga Teacher Levels: Everything You Need To Know

yoga teacher levels

If you’re thinking about becoming a yoga teacher, chances are you will have come across lots of different yoga teacher levels. But what do they all mean? Which level of yoga teacher training do you really need? 

Don’t worry, we’re here to take you through exactly all of the different yoga instructor levels and which one is best. We’ll cover:

As we will explain in this article, OriGym’s Level 3 yoga teacher training course is Ofqual-regulated and guaranteed to qualify you with all the knowledge, skills and experience you need to become a yoga teacher! 

Enquire today to start your yoga teaching journey, or download our free yoga course prospectus here for more information.

Which yoga teacher level do you need to become a yoga teacher?

levels of yoga teacher training

If you want to become a yoga instructor, you may have come across two main different ways of labelling yoga teacher training courses. 

Some courses are labelled according to the amount of hours they take to complete, for example:

  • 200 hour 
  • 300 hour
  • 500 hour 

Others are named according to the level of qualification, such as:

So, which type of yoga teacher level is best if you want to become a yoga instructor?

In short, courses labelled according to their level, such as Level 3 and 4, are the best types of yoga teacher training levels.

So, why are these level-based courses better than hours-based courses? 

In this article, we’ll break down each type of yoga teacher training course level, and explain exactly why you should choose this level of yoga certification if you want to become a successful yoga teacher!  

200, 300 and 500 hour yoga teacher training levels explained

First, let’s break down exactly what is meant by 200, 300 and 500 hour yoga teacher training levels, and whether they are worth it. 

What are 200, 300 and 500 hour yoga teacher training levels?

As we have said, you may have come across yoga instructor levels that are labelled by hours, but what exactly does this mean?

In short, these kinds of courses are qualifications that are awarded by Yoga Alliance. Yoga Alliance is a U.S.-based nonprofit membership trade and professional organisation for yoga teachers.

levels of yoga teacher training 2

As the course names suggest, their courses are labelled according to the amount of hours that it takes to complete them.

There are 3 main levels of yoga teacher training awarded by Yoga Alliance:

200-hour yoga teacher training level explained 

levels of yoga certification

This is the most common level of yoga certification awarded by Yoga Alliance. It is an entry-level course, as there are typically no entry requirements to enrol on a 200 hour yoga teacher training course. 

This is simply a yoga teacher training course that involves 200 hours of learning. Depending on the course provider, these 200 hours could be spread out over the course of several months, or you can choose to do an intensive, full-time course over a few weeks. 

In terms of course content, a 200-hour yoga teacher training course should give you a foundation of knowledge and skills to become a yoga teacher, covering topics such as:

  • Yoga asanas 
  • Pranayama
  • Teaching methodology
  • Yoga anatomy and physiology
  • Yoga philosophy
  • History of yoga

However, as we will explain later in this article, the exact course content will vary between different 200-hour courses!

Once you have completed a 200-hour course, you can then register with the Yoga Alliance as a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher, or 200 RYT. 

yoga teacher levels 5

As you can see from the Yoga Alliance website, registering as a 200 RYT costs $50 (about £37), plus an annual fee of $65 (roughly £49). 

You are also required to keep your membership active by taking part in workshops and additional training throughout the year- all of which have an extra cost to consider. 

It is a common myth in the yoga industry that you need to register with the Yoga Alliance in order to become a yoga teacher. But in fact, this is not true!

Whilst you may think that being able to write ‘200 RYT’ on your yoga teacher website for Instagram bio sounds impressive, in reality, it does not carry any weight or significance when it comes to applying for jobs as a yoga teacher.

It is extremely rare that you will find a job specification that requires you to be registered with Yoga Alliance. Instead, employers are more interested in your skills, experience and character! 

So before spending the money on registering as a 200-hour RYT, it is worth considering whether it is really worth it. 

Instead of spending the money registering with Yoga Alliance, there are arguably far more beneficial things for your yoga teacher career that you could invest in, such as:

  • Yoga equipment
  • Marketing and branding 
  • Personal development through further qualifications like CPD courses to enhance your fitness knowledge and skills 

 

Become a yoga teacher with OriGym

Enquire today to find out more about our Level 3 Ofqual-regulated yoga teacher training course! 

300-hour yoga teacher training level explained

levels of yoga certification 2

Once you have completed a 200-hour course, you can then go on to take this course. 

You may also see it called an ‘Advanced Yoga Teacher Training Course’, as it is said to build on what you have learnt in your 200-hour course and deepen your understanding of yoga and teaching skills.

Once you have done both a 200 and 300 hour course, you will have completed 500 hours total of yoga teacher training. You are then eligible to register as a ‘500 hour registered yoga teacher’, or ‘500 RYT’ with Yoga Alliance.

Again, the same costs apply as registering as a 200 hour yoga teacher, so it is worth considering whether the extra cost is worth it. 

Many people take a 300-hour yoga teacher training course because they want to specialise in a particular type of yoga. 

For example, if you want to become a hatha yoga teacher, you may be tempted to take a 300-hour course in order to specialise in hatha. 

Whilst some 300-hour yoga courses may indeed go into particular types of yoga in more depth, it will vary from course to course. So you cannot guarantee that a 300-hour yoga instructor level will qualify you to become a hatha yoga teacher. 

Instead, if you want to specialise in a particular type of yoga, you are far better taking a Level 4 yoga teacher training course. We will discuss exactly what this yoga teacher level means later in this article!

500-hour yoga teacher training level explained

levels of yoga teacher training 3

This is the highest yoga instructor level offered by Yoga Alliance. This can be achieved either by:

  • Taking one 500-hour course. This can be done over a long period of time, 50-60 days. Or, it can be done through a more intensive, retreat-style course over just one month. 
  • Taking a 200-hour then 300-hour course, to make up the 500 hours. 

Like the other two hours-based levels of yoga certification, you can register with Yoga Alliance as a ‘500 hour registered yoga teacher’, or ‘500 RYT’. 

But again, it is extremely rare that an employer will ask to specify that you need to be a registered 500-hour yoga teacher. 

Instead, if you want to become a high-level, advanced yoga teacher, it is more beneficial to focus on gaining as much teaching experience as possible!

Are all 200, 300 and 500 courses the same?

yoga teacher levels 2

Although we have provided a summary here of what is included in each yoga teacher level, it is important to note that no two courses will be exactly the same in terms of content. 

For example, a 200-hour course from one course provider will not necessarily cover the same syllabus as a 200-hour course from another course provider. 

Similarly, you may choose to take a 300-hour course because you want to specialise in a particular area of yoga, such as Iyengar. But your course provider may not even cover that particular type of yoga!

This lack of consistency amongst hour-based courses is because Yoga Alliance courses are not regulated by Ofqual. 

Let’s explore what exactly this means and why it is a problem.  

Are 200, 300 and 500 hour yoga teacher training levels worth it?

yoga teacher training levels 2

Many yoga course providers will boast that their yoga teacher training courses are awarded by Yoga Alliance. This sounds impressive, which is why many yogis will opt for these courses. 

But in reality, they are not as impressive as they sound! 

This is firstly because as an international organisation, the Yoga Alliance has a huge marketing budget behind it. 

This has allowed them to create a big presence and influence in the yoga industry, which is what has led many yogis, yoga schools and yoga teachers to believe that being associated with Yoga Alliance is absolutely necessary. 

One of the most common myths in the fitness industry is that you need a yoga teaching certificate from Yoga Alliance to become a yoga teacher. But in fact, this is not the case!

To become a yoga teacher, you do not need to have a qualification from Yoga Alliance. 

With this in mind, instead of looking for a Yoga Alliance course, it is better to look for a course that is regulated by Ofqual. We will explain the significance of this, next! 

Enjoying this article so far? Here’s 3 more that we think you’ll love: 

Everything you need to know about Ofqual-regulated yoga teacher training levels

We have established that hours-based yoga teacher levels are not regulated by Ofqual. But what does Ofqual-regulated mean? 

Ofqual is the government body responsible for setting the frameworks for vocational course levels and for ensuring that all awarding bodies adhere to those frameworks.

If a course is Ofqual-regulated, it will be labelled according to its level, such as ‘Level 3’ or ‘Level 4’.

You should look out for the following logos on a course provider’s website:

yoga teacher levels 4

These logos are all the names of awarding bodies that are regulated by Ofqual. 

Having this Ofqual regulation means that a Level 3 yoga course from one course provider will cover the same content as a Level 3 yoga course from another provider. 

So if a course is not named by its ‘level’, then you can be sure that it is not Ofqual regulated. Think of a ‘level’ as a stamp of approval that indicates that a course is worthwhile! 

So, why is Ofqual regulation so important? There are 3 main reasons why you should choose an Ofqual-regulated yoga teacher level over one from the Yoga Alliance:

  1. Ofqual regulation indicates that your course has met the highest industry standards. This means that you can be sure you will be provided with all the knowledge, skills and practical experience needed to make a good yoga teacher
  2. It provides regulation across courses. Unlike Yoga Alliance courses, all Ofqual-regulated courses are guaranteed to cover the same content. This means that whether you choose to do your yoga teacher training at a college, studio or dedicated yoga school, if it is a Level 3 course, you will receive the same standard of teaching. 
  3. It improves your employability. Having an Ofqual-regulated course not only benefits students, but employers too. 

If an employer sees on your yoga teacher CV that you have an Ofqual-regulated qualification, it shows them that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to be a good yoga teacher. 

This will therefore place you above other applicants who don’t have this ‘stamp of approval’! 

With these points in mind, it is clear that taking a course that is not regulated by Ofqual- such as those awarded by Yoga Alliance, is simply not worth it! They may sound impressive, but in reality, they are not guaranteed to be of a high enough standard to become a good, reputable yoga teacher. 

This is why we highly recommend taking a yoga teacher course that is labelled by its level instead, such as Level 3 and 4. 

For example, courses to become a personal trainer are also described according to their level, such as a Level 2 Gym Instructor Course and a Level 3 Personal Trainer course

In terms of yoga, you should be looking at yoga teacher training courses that are labelled as Level 3 and Level 4. Let’s break down exactly what these two levels mean! 

What is a Level 3 yoga teacher training course? 

yoga teacher training levels 3

Like the 200-hour course, a Level 3 yoga teacher training course is an entry-level course, so you don’t need any previous qualifications or experience to take it.

You may also see this course called:

  • Level 3 Yoga Teacher Training course
  • Level 3 Yoga Teaching Diploma
  • Level 3 Diploma in Teaching Yoga

But essentially, as long as it has a ‘Level 3’ in the title, you can be sure that it is Ofqual regulated. 

Here at OriGym, our Level 3 Yoga Teaching Diploma is indeed Ofqual-regulated, so you can guarantee that you will qualify with a well-rounded foundation of knowledge, skills and experience to become a yoga teacher.  

All Level 3 yoga teacher training courses, since they are regulated by Ofqual, should have the same syllabus. 

Modules on a Level 3 teacher training syllabus include:

  • Anatomy & Physiology for Yoga. You’ll learn about the human body, how yoga affects it both psychologically and physically, and how the different asanas (poses) connect together to create flows and movements.

  • Health & Safety During Yoga. This will teach you your duty of care as a yoga teacher and how this contributes to safe practice. You’ll learn how to maintain equality and diversity, recognise and handle complaints, and how to keep records.

  • Planning a Level 3 Yoga Session. You will learn the underpinning principles of yoga teaching and how to plan sessions with those principles, as well as plan yoga sessions for individuals and groups.

  • Delivering a Yoga Session. In this module, you will learn how to plan and deliver both group and 1-on-1 yoga sessions. It will help you understand the importance of communication and rapport to promote wellness and exercise through yoga.

As well as classroom-based lessons, you will also complete 50 hours of practical experience teaching on a Level 3 yoga course. 

These 50 hours can be made up of the practical weekend workshops, or your own yoga recorded yoga practice.

If you prefer thinking of yoga teacher levels in terms of their hours, OriGym’s Level 3 yoga teacher training course is a 400-hour course. This simply means that it involves 400 hours of guided learning, in addition to the 50 hours of practical workshops. 

yoga teacher levels 3

Both qualifications are entry-level, but since it is 400 hours long, a Level 3 course is actually double the length of a 200-hour Yoga Alliance course! 

This means that you will technically gain double the knowledge, skills and experience, all better preparing you for a career as a yoga teacher.

In terms of how these 400 hours are taught, here at OriGym, our Level 3 yoga course is taught via blended learning. This means that you will complete the theory work in your own time at home, as well as attending practical workshops at weekends. 

Because of this self-study element, students will complete the course at different times, depending on several factors such as:

  • How fast you study 
  • Whether you pass your assessments
  • What yoga knowledge or experience you have to begin with

We discuss these factors in more detail in our guide to how long it takes to become a yoga teacher here.

Choosing to take a Level 3 yoga teacher training level is also beneficial when it comes to finding a job as a yoga instructor. Most yoga teacher job adverts will specify that you need a Level 3 qualification, such as the examples below:

yoga instructor levels

yoga instructor levels 3

Whilst this yoga teacher level is a great entry point into the industry for getting a holistic yoga teacher job, if you want to specialise in a particular area of yoga, we recommend that you go on to take a Level 4 specialist yoga course- which we will discuss next!

 

Become a yoga teacher with OriGym

Enquire today to find out more about our Level 3 Ofqual-regulated yoga teacher training course! 

What is a Level 4 yoga teacher training course? 

yoga teacher training levels 4

The next Ofqual-regulated level of yoga teacher training you can take to become a yoga instructor is a Level 4 yoga teaching course.

You can only take this course once you have completed a Level 3 yoga teacher training course. 

This course follows a similar structure to the Level 3 course, as you will complete 400 hours of guided learning, as well as 50 hours of in-class learning time. 

Like the Level 3 course, since it is regulated by Ofqual, all Level 4 yoga teacher training courses should cover the same content. 

Modules on OriGym’s Level 4 teacher training syllabus include:

  • Teaching Yoga as a Profession. You will learn about the legalities of teaching yoga and setting up a business, the implications and your duty of care, and understand the process of risk assessment and relevant health and safety legislation.

  • Understanding and Applying the Philosophy and Spiritual Principles of Yoga. This module covers the history of yoga, the different styles and paths that have derived and their benefits, the principles of meditation, and the 8 limbs of yoga.

  • Yogic Breathing Styles. Learn how to execute and teach the various yogic breathing styles. 

  • Teaching Asana to Meet the Needs of Mixed Ability Students. You will learn a variety of yoga movements and techniques and how to advance learners, perform individual risk assessments and how yoga can be harnessed for physical rehabilitation. You will also learn a range of asanas, and understand the benefits of yoga for pregnant women, inversions and contradictions.

  • Planning & Delivering Yoga Sessions. This module allows you to further your knowledge on planning effective lessons for groups and individuals. You will learn how to tailor classes to the population and ability level you’re delivering to. 

Once you have completed these core modules, you can then hone your course on one of four specific types of yoga:

  • Ashtanga
  • Hatha
  • Hot
  • Iyengar

Specialising in an area of yoga will allow you to expand your employment prospects and client base as you can offer both holistic yoga services and advanced classes for serious yogis.

Becoming a master yoga teacher by specialising in particular areas increases your employment prospects in certain disciplines where there may be fewer qualified teachers. For example: 

levels of yoga certification 3

By specialising in ashtanga yoga, this means you could apply for positions like this one as you would be more suited and desirable than someone without a specialised qualification.

Some jobs will also specifically require a Level 4 yoga teaching qualification, such as this one:

yoga instructor levels 2

Even if a job advert does not specifically ask for a Level 4 qualification like this, it will undoubtedly make your yoga teacher CV stand out amongst other applicants when it comes to applying for more specialised roles. 

For example, if you are wanting to become a hot yoga teacher, having a Level 4 qualification allows you to specialise in hot yoga. This in turn will make you an ideal candidate for roles within specialised hot yoga studios and locations such as this one:

yoga instructor levels 5

yoga instructor levels 4

As you can see, this website has a section where you can apply to be a yoga teacher. 

Since it is a specialist hot yoga studio, mentioning in the ‘cover note’ section that you have a Level 4 qualification in which you have specialised in hot yoga, will of course help your application- it demonstrates that you have the specific skills and expertise for the role. 

A Level 4 yoga teacher training level also increases your earning potential. Well, according to Talent, the average general yoga instructor salary in the UK is £46,118 a year. 

However, there is potential to earn even more if you teach a niche form of yoga. This is because clients will pay more for a specialist service! 

Check out our guide to yoga teacher salary for more ways that you can increase your income.

How much do different levels of yoga teacher training cost?

As well as whether they are Ofqual-regulated or not, another important factor when considering the different yoga teacher levels is cost.

200, 300 and 400 hour yoga teacher level costs

yoga teacher levels

When it comes to Yoga Alliance courses (i.e. those labelled by the amount of hours), there is no set cost for each course.

The cost of 200, 300 and 400 hour yoga teacher levels can range from as little as £100 to as much as £3,000. 

So, why is there such a range of costs for these types of yoga teacher levels? 

The main explanation for this price range is that these 200, 300 and 400 hours courses are not regulated by Ofqual. 

As we have said, this means that there is a lack of consistency across the different courses in terms of what you get for your money, and therefore a lack of consistency with pricing. 

Plus, you can be certain that a free yoga teacher training course will not be Ofqual regulated! 

Without regulation, there are several varying factors that can determine the price of these courses: 

  • Style of teaching (i.e. in-person, online or blended)
  • Syllabus content 
  • Amount of contact time 
  • Amount of tutor support during and post-course
  • Resources provided
  • Location (i.e. UK or abroad)
  • Whether accommodation is included or not 

Check out our complete guide to yoga teaching training costs here for more information about how these factors can affect the price of a yoga teacher training course. 

Another factor to consider if you go down the route of hours-based yoga instructor levels, is the cost of registering with Yoga Alliance, which we explained earlier in this article. 

 

Become a yoga teacher with OriGym

Enquire today to find out more about our Level 3 Ofqual-regulated yoga teacher training course! 

Ofqual-regulated yoga teacher training levels costs

yoga teacher training levels

Unlike unregulated courses, Level 3 and Level 4 yoga teacher training courses are a lot more consistent in terms of cost.  

Again, this reflects the fact they are more consistent in terms of what the course includes and the standard of teaching. 

For example, here at OriGym, both our Level 3 and Level 4 courses cost just £999 each. 

Whilst this is around the average cost of a Level 3 yoga teacher training course, what sets OriGym’s course apart from others is that there are no hidden fees for:

  • Registration 
  • Exams
  • Certificates
  • Resitting exams

So, even though all Level 3 and 4 yoga teacher training courses should be regulated in terms of things like the course content, they can differ in terms of the amount of hidden costs they include.

Again, this is another reason why choosing an Ofqual-regulated level of yoga certification is much more beneficial! 

Before you go!

So, we hope that you now have a clearer understanding of the different yoga teacher levels, and the importance of Ofqual regulation. 

With this in mind, OriGym’s Level 3 Diploma in Yoga Teaching is Ofqual-regulated and guaranteed to help you kickstart your career as a yoga teacher! 

Enquire today, or check out our free yoga course prospectus here to browse our full range of courses.  

Written by Alice Williams

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Alice is a content writer at OriGym. With a first-class degree in French and Linguistics, she loves all things language, fitness and culture. As part of her degree, she spent a year living in France where she worked for a lifestyle blog, gaining professional experience in both translation and content writing. 

When she’s not writing, you can usually find Alice practicing yoga and she hopes to one day become a yoga instructor herself. She also loves running, tennis and cooking up a vegan storm in the kitchen! It was this passion for health and fitness, combined with her love for writing, that brought Alice to OriGym.

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