How to Become a Yoga Instructor

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Yoga is becoming an increasingly popular form of exercise in the fitness industry. Yoga instructors are specially trained fitness workers that focus on breathing exercises, meditation, and physical exercises and postures to achieve physical fitness and spiritual well being.


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What does a yoga instructor do?

Yoga instructors lead, instruct, and motivate a variety of yoga activities. They focus on the mind and body to reduce the effects caused by stress and other health conditions. They demonstrate many different positions and techniques and carefully observe students to make sure they are doing the exercises correctly to avoid injury. Some emphasize the overall physical well being in their classes and others concentrate on improving specific health problems such as heart disease, back problems, asthma, and muscle aches.

Some yoga instructors focus on a specific method of yoga such as anusara, bhakti, bikram, integral, jivmauki, power, and vinyasa. Some instructors use complete silence to aid in concentration and others coordinate exercises to smooth or fast music. Some focus on specific populations of people such as the elderly, cancer patients, pregnant women, and people with special needs.

What kind of training does a yoga instructor need?

Yoga instructors need at least a high school diploma and specialized training in their specific exercise method. Training programs range in length from just a few days to over 2 years. Many yoga instructors start by taking yoga and moving up to teaching positions when their teachers feel they are ready. The Yoga Alliance has established training standards that include at least 200 hours of training with a certain amount of hours in anatomy and physiology, teaching methodology, teaching techniques, and philosophy. New yoga instructors receive some on the job training to learn the operations and procedures of their employer.

What are the prospects for a career as a yoga instructor?

Employment of yoga instructors is projected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 27% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increased awareness of the benefits of yoga will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be food because of the rapid increase in fitness facilities and health clubs. Many job openings will stem from the need to replace yoga instructors that retire, transfer, or leave the occupation for other reasons.

How much do yoga instructors make?

As of October 2009, yoga instructors with 1 to 4 years experience earn average hourly rates between $13.07 and $29.92. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average hourly rates between $14.87 and $40.00 (2).

A career as a yoga instructor is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong passion for yoga and teaching others. Yoga instructors must be outgoing and good at motivating and encouraging people. They must have good health and physical fitness and be able to demonstrate a variety of yoga techniques. They must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills because they deal with many different people.

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