Yoga instructor
These Standards describe Yoga Alliance’s requirements for a Registered Yoga School that offers a 200-hour program. Topics for a RYS teacher training must be relevant to Yoga Alliance’s five Educational Categories as defined below. RYSs must provide a minimum number of hours of study in each educational category, and to make up the total 200 required hours, must also provide additional hours of study relevant to these categories, which may be distributed according to the school’s chosen emphasis.
A RYS with a 200-hour program (RYS 200) should adequately prepare trainees to teach a general adult population and must incorporate training hours in the following Educational Categories:
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  1. Techniques, Training and Practice: 100 Hours

Minimum Contact Hours: 75 hours
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 50 hours
 
Topics in this category could include, but are not limited to: asanas, pranayamas, kriyas, chanting, mantra, meditation and other traditional yoga techniques. These hours must be a mix between: 1) analytical training in how to teach and practice the techniques, and 2) guided practice of the techniques themselves. Both areas must receive substantial emphasis.
  1. Teaching Methodology: 25 Hours

Minimum Contact Hours: 15 hours*
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 10 hours
Topics in this category could include, but are not limited to:
  • Communication skills such as group dynamics, time management, and the establishment of priorities and boundaries
  • How to address the specific needs of individuals and special populations, to the degree possible in a group setting
  • Principles of demonstration, observation, assisting and correcting
  • Teaching styles
  • Qualities of a teacher
  • The student learning process 
  • Business aspects of teaching yoga* (including marketing and legal)
*Special Requirement: A maximum of five hours related to the business aspects of teaching yoga may be counted towards the Yoga Alliance Contact Hours requirements for this category.
The Teaching Methodology category covers a broad overview and analysis of teaching methods, rather than how to practice or teach specific techniques. See the example topics below to help clarify the differences between the Techniques, Training and Practice category and the Teaching Methodology category:
  1. Anatomy and Physiology: 20 Hours*

Minimum Contact Hours: 10 hours
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 0 hours
 
Topics in this category could include, but are not limited to: human physical anatomy and physiology (bodily systems, organs, etc.) and may also include energy anatomy and physiology (chakras, nadis, etc.). Includes both the study of anatomy and physiology along with its application to yoga practice (benefits, contraindications, healthy movement patterns, etc.).
*Special Requirements: A minimum of five of the above hours must be spent applying anatomy and physiology principles to yoga
 
  1. Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle and Ethics for Yoga Teachers: 30 hours

Minimum Contact Hours: 20 hours*
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 0 hours
 
Topics in this category could include, but are not limited to:
  • The study of yoga philosophies and traditional texts (such as the Yoga Sutras, Hatha Yoga Pradipika or Bhagavad Gita)
  • Yoga lifestyle, such as the precept of non-violence (ahimsa), and the concepts of dharma and karma
  • Ethics for yoga teachers, such as those involving teacher – student relationships and community
  • Understanding the value of teaching yoga as a service and being of service to others (seva)
*Special Requirements: A minimum of 2 of the above Contact Hours must be spent on ethics for yoga teachers
 
  1. Practicum: 10 Hours

Minimum Contact Hours: 5 hours*
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 5 hours
 
Topics in this category include:
  • Practice teaching as the lead instructor (does not include assisting, observing or giving feedback)*
  • Receiving and giving feedback
  • Observing others teaching**
  • Assisting students while someone else is teaching
*Special Requirement: Each trainee must spend a minimum of 5 Contact Hours actively practice teaching as the lead instructor. Time spent assisting, observing others teaching, or giving feedback to others is excluded from these hours.
**Evaluation or observation of yoga classes outside of the RYS Teacher Training Program constitutes Non-Contact Hours.
 
  1. Remaining Contact Hours and Elective Hours:

The Standards detailed above ensure that all trainees of a RYS 200 receive training and instruction in five Educational Categories for at least 185 hours with 125 hours of those being Contact Hours. Any remaining required curriculum contact and Non-Contact Hours (totaling 200 hours in all) are to be distributed among the five Educational Categories, but the hours may be allocated at the discretion of each RYS based on their program’s focus.
 
  1. Total Hours: 200 Hours

Total minimum Contact Hours: 180 hours
Total minimum Contact Hours with Lead Trainer(s): 65 hours
 
 

500-Hour Standards

Following are Yoga Alliance’s Standards for a Registered Yoga School 500-hour program. Topics for a RYS teacher training program must be relevant to Yoga Alliance’s five Educational Categories as defined below. A RYS 500 must provide a minimum number of hours of study in each educational category, and to make up the required 500 hours, must also provide additional hours of study relevant to these Educational Categories, which may be distributed according to the school’s chosen emphasis.
A RYS 500 program (RYS 500) must incorporate training hours in the following Educational Categories:
  1. Techniques, Training and Practice: 150 Hours

Minimum Contact Hours: 100 hours
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 100 hours
 
Topics in this category could include, but are not limited to: asanas, pranayamas, kriyas, chanting, mantra, meditation and other traditional yoga techniques. These hours must be a mix between: 1) analytical training in how to teach and practice the techniques, and 2) guided practice of the techniques themselves. Both areas must receive substantial emphasis.
 
  1. Teaching Methodology: 30 Hours

Minimum Contact Hours: 20 hours*
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 20 hours
 
Topics in this category could include, but are not limited to:
  • Communication skills such as group dynamics, time management, and the establishment of priorities and boundaries
  • How to address the specific needs of individuals and special populations, to the degree possible in a group setting
  • Principles of demonstration, observation, assisting and correcting
  • Teaching styles
  • Qualities of a teacher
  • The student learning process 
  • Business aspects of teaching yoga (including marketing and legal)
*Special Requirement: A maximum of five hours related to the business aspects of teaching yoga may be counted towards the Yoga Alliance Contact Hours requirements for this category.
 
The Teaching Methodology category covers a broad overview and analysis of teaching methods, rather than how to practice or teach specific techniques. See the example topics below to help clarify the differences between the Techniques, Training and Practice category and the Teaching Methodology category:
 
Example Techniques, Training and Practice Topics
Example Teaching Methodology Topics
The Five Categories of Asana: The trainee will practice and learn the key poses in each category of asana (standing poses, forward bends, backbends, twists, and inversions) and will begin to develop a relationship to both the form and the function of these different categories.
Maps of Alignment: Trainees will achieve comprehension of the alignment maps for each of the five categories of asanas through observation and experience of how the poses in each category share a common foundation, and how to build upon this foundation
Principles of Demonstrating Asanas: Discuss how effective demonstrations in class can help emphasize an alignment or other focus for the specific pose or sequence of poses.
Learning Modalities: identifying your dominant style, and learning how to teach based on others’ learning styles
Use of Language and Voice: Lecture and discussion on active vs. passive language and the effective use of each; positive and conscious communications and habitual speech and communication patterns

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  1. Anatomy and Physiology: 35 Hours*

Minimum Contact Hours: 20 hours
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 0 hours
 
Topics in this category could include, but are not limited to: human physical anatomy and physiology (bodily systems, organs, etc.) and may also include energy anatomy and physiology (chakras, nadis, etc.). Includes both the study of anatomy and physiology along with its application to yoga practice (benefits, contraindications, healthy movement patterns, etc.).
*Special Requirement: A minimum of fifteen of the above hours must be spent applying anatomy and physiology principles to yoga
 
  1. Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle and Ethics for Yoga Teachers: 60 Hours

Minimum Contact Hours: 45 hours*
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 0 hours
 
Topics in this category could include, but are not limited to:
  • The study of yoga philosophies and traditional texts (such as the Yoga Sutras, Hatha Yoga Pradipika or Bhagavad Gita)
  • Yoga lifestyle, such as the precept of non-violence (ahimsa), and the concepts of dharma and karma
  • Ethics for yoga teachers, such as those involving teacher – student relationships and community
  • Understanding the value of teaching yoga as a service and being of service to others through yoga (seva)
*Special Requirement: A minimum of 4 of the above Contact Hours must be spent on ethics for yoga teachers
 
  1. Practicum: 40 Hours

Minimum Contact Hours: 20 hours*
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 10 hours
 
Topics in this category include:
  • Practice teaching as the lead instructor (does not include assisting, observing or giving feedback)
  • Receiving and giving feedback
  • Observing others teaching**
  • Assisting students while someone else is teaching
*Special Requirement: Each trainee must spend a minimum of 10 Contact Hours actively practice teaching as the lead instructor. Time spent assisting, observing others teaching, or giving feedback to others is excluded from these hours.
 
**Evaluation or observation of yoga classes outside of the RYS Teacher Training Program constitutes Non-Contact Hours.
  1. Remaining Contact Hours and Elective Hours 

The Standards detailed above ensure that all trainees of a RYS 500 receive training and instruction in five Educational Categories for a minimum of 205 Contact Hours. The remaining curriculum Contact Hours (245 hours) and any remaining Non-Contact Hours are to be distributed among the five Educational Categories, but the hours may be allocated at the discretion of each RYS based on their program’s focus.
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  1. Total Hours: 500 Hours

Total minimum Contact Hours: 450 hours
Total minimum Contact Hours with Lead Trainer(s): 200 hours

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