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Kate Compass Sequence Sheet

Compass Pose (Surya Yantrasana)

By Yoga Asana, Yoga TeachersNo Comments

Surya Yantrasana, or Compass Pose, is one of my favorite poses to teach because any sequence leading up to it will be full of sweet side body opening and juicy hip stretches, which leaves students feeling open and refreshed.

One warning though– this is a big peak pose– and I would say that there’s honestly less than a 50% success rate of students being able to “fully” (I use this word with caution, because any version of a pose is a complete version of a pose) practice this shape. This is no reason to steer clear of teaching it, but instead just means that you want to work extra hard to create an environment where students can focus more on being curious and practicing a pose versus feeling the need to perfect a pose.

I like to focus my dharma talk around being in the present moment and enjoying the journey, versus only focusing on the destination. I find this sets students up for being in the mindset of letting go of whether or not the do the full peak pose right from the start.

The other key thing is to teach the steps for entering the pose and giving students jumping off points where they can stay and work. A strap is hugely helpful for this when teaching Compass Pose.

The specific teaching focus for this sequence is on the rotation of the chest initiating from the bottom ribs, side body lengthening, and hamstring opening. This focus helps to inform the cues used when teaching your class.

Puttering/Warm-Up

  • Siddhasana with side body stretches
  • Lizard Lunge
  • Prasarita Padottanasana to Skandasana stretches
  • Wide Squat

Sun Salutations 

  • 3-4 Rounds

Standing Poses

  • Warrior 2
  • Extended Side Angle
  • Triangle Pose
  • Ardha Chandrasana
  • Warrior 1 with Reverse Namasakar

Balance Pose

  • Uttitha Hasta Padunghustasna A

Twist Pose

  • Ardha Matsyendrasana

Peak Pose

  • Compass Pose

Wind Down Poses

  • Baddha Konasana
  • Supine Twist
  • Supported Bridge

Savasana

Give it a try and let us know how it goes! To catch a few video clips of this sequence in action follow @kate.lombardo and @yogarenewteachertraining on Instagram.

If you want more in-depth vinyasa sequences like this along with teaching notes + tips on how to cue them, enter your email below to grab our FREE guide:

Vinyasa Yoga Class Downloadable Guides

60 Minute Yoga Sequence PDF

By Yoga AsanaNo Comments

I think awesome sequencing is the key to success as a vinyasa yoga teacher. There. I said it.

I’ve felt this way for a very long time but have mostly shied away from making bold statements like this in recent years because there has been so much (and very needed) conversation around making sure that as yoga teachers we’re honoring the entirety of the yoga practice and teaching more than just poses.

Somewhere along the way in these conversations things began to move into the extremes, as they always seem to do nowadays. Almost as if by teaching asana you’re not really teaching yoga, which isn’t true. Asana is, in fact, the third limb of yoga and by teaching it you’re teaching an element of this yoga practice.

In a world where things always seem to move into the black and white without leaving space for the gray, I’m going to say that I think BOTH things are true.

We need to teach the entirety of the yoga practice and honor it fully AND we can still teach asana classes.

The reality is that asana classes are often the thing that draws students into yoga in the first place. We are, as humans, physical creatures. Moving our bodies is something we can almost all relate to no matter where we come from or what language we speak. Stretching, twisting, breathing are things that feel good in the physical body which is why asana ends up being something that so many people can relate to.

As yoga teachers this gives us a wonderful opportunity to use asana classes – something relatable to most people – as a vehicle to introduce the other limbs and layers of the practice that aren’t always as easy for people to connect to.

Asana is the door that opens the way for us to share and honor the entirety of the practice, which brings me back to my original statement: I think awesome sequencing is the key to success as a yoga teacher.

If we can learn to sequence classes that our students love, they’ll keep coming back again and again, which gives us continued opportunities to help them understand the many layers of yoga.

The problem is that sequencing 60-minute yoga classes, or any length for that matter, is the number one thing that yoga teachers and teacher trainees tell me they feel overwhelmed and confused by.

The reason for this is that 200HR yoga teacher training programs, by nature, are comprehensive. They’re meant to provide a baseline level of understanding of all eight limbs of yoga. In order to honor that and ensure that all topics are covered, there’s simply not enough time to do a deep dive into sequencing.

But – if you’re a yoga teacher that is teaching mostly asana classes, sequencing safe, fun, creative classes is the best way for you to give your students a class experience that makes them want to keep coming back to classes over and over again.

That’s why we created a 60 Minute Vinyasa Yoga Sequence PDF. It’s totally free + is the perfect way to get started with learning our signature way of sequencing consistently great vinyasa yoga classes.

For the full deep dive into our method of sequencing, you can sign up for the Vinyasa Sequencing Lab (our signature step-by-step system for creating vinyasa classes that serve your students, boost your confidence, and build your following).

But, if you’re not ready for the deep-dive yet and you just want to get your feet wet, grab the guide and use the tips below to get started.

1. Steps of Yoga: Follow a Yoga Sequence Template

Before I committed to getting really good at sequencing I used to literally make up classes on a whim with no real plan of how to get there. Sometimes it would work and sometimes it wouldn’t. But, this created inconsistency for my students, which isn’t a good way to help them learn.

When it comes to yoga class sequencing you want to find a repeatable yoga class template that you can use as a framework for your classes. This way your students know what to expect when they show up to your classes.

Will every single student connect with the template you choose? No– and that’s ok. Over time you’ll begin attracting students who love your classes, and those are the students who will stick by you for the long-haul.

PS – if you’re looking for a template, make sure to grab our Vinyasa Yoga Sequencing Guide to help get you started.
Bonus: Yoga Sequence Books

2. Have a Warm Up for Your Traditional Yoga Sequence

One mistake I see yoga teachers make when they’re first starting out is getting to the challenging poses way too early in a class. Not only does this not make sense from an energetic perspective, but it can also be really unsafe as students can end up getting injured if they’re not properly warmed up.

In a 60-minute class, plan to spend at least 7-10 minutes in the puttering, or warm-up, section of class. Use this as a time to lay the foundation for where you’re going and ease your students into the practice.

3. Yoga Levels: Focus on Standing Poses

If you’re teaching vinyasa yoga then the majority of the poses in your class should be your standing poses. These are the poses that are most easily linked together which provides the yoga flow sequence that vinyasa yoga is known for.

Standing poses work best when they’re sequence from open hip poses (the most accessible) to closed hip poses (the most challenging). So start your classes with standing flow using warrior 2, triangle, and extended side angle. Then, as you progress through your sequence you can pull in warrior 1, warrior 3, and your big twist poses like Revolved Triangle and revolved extended side angle.

4. Teach to a Peak Pose

Having a peak pose gives your class a focus which is hugely important when it comes to sequencing. Which peak pose you choose depends on the level of class you’re teaching, the group of students that usually takes your classes, and the types of poses you feel most comfortable teaching.

When you teach to a peak it allows your students to work on something and truly learn from you. Plus, it helps to take the guesswork out of what other poses you put into your sequence because you can make choices that help support the peak pose you’re focusing on in your class.

If you want help learning how to teach to a peak pose, this is what the Vinyasa Sequencing Lab really focuses on in-depth. You can also grab our Vinyasa Yoga Sequencing Guide to help see where in your class sequence template you should focus on teaching your peak.

BONUS:

Yoga Sequence Books

We have several books we recommend when it comes to deciding which pose you’ll teach (we usually teach to a peak pose) but also other supporting poses that help you get into the peak posture. Check out our other full article on helpful yoga sequence books that will not only help you with poses, but also draw inspiration for the overall feel and vibe of the class (Dharma talk, Savasana, etc.)

While we don’t actually pull the sequencing from these books, they are great at offering more insight when it comes to alignment in the poses. Understanding the full alignment leads to better cueing and an overall better understanding of the way in which we want to move/prep the body for certain poses.

5. Have a True Wind Down

The true “peak” pose of any class is really savasana as that’s the time when all of the benefits of the work and effort we put in on the mat really settle into our systems.

Having an actual wind down in your class to help your students transition from the flowy movements of the vinyasa practice into the stillness of savasana ensures that you’re providing your students with a full class experience.

Plus, the wind down is the perfect time to share insights about the other layers of yoga that make it a full system and not just an exercise class.

If you’re looking for some examples of how to put these sequencing tips into practice, make sure to grab our Vinyasa Yoga Sequencing Guide. Not only will you get a template to follow for sequencing your classes, but you’ll also get 4 full-length 60-minute yoga sequences you can test out with a video of the class being taught by Patrick + Kate.

If you want to learn how to put classes like this together yourself, join us inside the Vinyasa Yoga Sequencing Lab.

3 Benefits of an Online YTT

By Yoga Online, Yoga Teacher TrainingNo Comments

Kate and Patrick have both taught online and in person yoga teacher trainings and in this video weigh some of the benefits that accompany an online training. While the climate for trainings in any capacity has drastically shifted since Covid, it’s important to stay in the know when it comes to expanding your offerings as a yoga teacher and weighing your options for certifications as a student.

1. An everlasting, virtual landscape

Since the internet is essentially permanent (at least in our lifetime), creating online courses and attending online courses gives you access to learning materials for pretty much the entirety of your life. There are also endless resources on the web — you can continuously refer to and look back on those materials but also have access to a limitless database online (blog articles, educational books, statistics).

2. Learn how you want to learn

Learning abilities differ from person to person. One of the drawbacks of an in person training could be that people digest information in different ways and at a different pace. Online yoga teacher trainings solve that issue by letting every student learn at their own pace within the comfort of their own home, office or co-working space.

Online yoga teacher trainings also allow students to dive deeper into teachings as they see fit. While the anatomy portion of a training can be cumbersome, printing notes out from a computer or being able to quickly pull up a slideshow allows them to learn more intricately. Technical terms and anatomical body parts can be listed out, downloaded and explored through the context of the world wide web — a luxury we once did not have.

3. A wider reach/larger support network

Doing a yoga teacher training in a studio only gives you access to those students and teachers in that particular community. What if you wanted a wider reach? To connect with people beyond the immediate vicinity you work and live in? Online yoga teacher training allows you to connect with people all over the world.

Also, online trainings often have teachers from around the world or are well-versed in teaching to multiple communities. Usually yoga teachers that teach virtually know the extent to which they need to be diversified, and this leads to more connections beyond the one teacher you’ve maybe grown to love at your studio. It’s helpful to be exposed to all different teaching styles and teaching methodologies.

Patrick Warrior 3 Sequence Sheet

Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana 3)

By Yoga Asana, Yoga TeachersNo Comments

Virabhadrasana 3, translated as Warrior 3, is a standing balance pose. As its “Warrior” name suggests, the pose is invigorating, uplifting, and physically challenging. Standing poses in general are an important category of poses because they teach the principles of correct movement. These simple actions apply not only to the postures but show up in the way we stand, walk, and sit in our daily lives.

For this sequence, we are focusing on the classic transition from Warrior 1 to Warrior 3. The idea is to carry and maintain the principles from Warrior 1 into Warrior 3, which happens to be an intensified version of Warrior 1. You can begin by laying the torso over the front leg with the arms fully extended. As you shift your weight from your back foot to the front foot, keep the arms and trunk extending forward as the back leg lifts and extends backward. Maintain the extension in both directions as you press your bottom heel down to straighten the standing leg fully. Stay for a few breaths before transitioning back to Warrior 1.

This pose combines balance, strength, and dynamic extension. It’s a great pose for all levels of students to continue to practice and refine. However, students of all levels struggle to maintain good alignment in the posture if it is held too long. Try working on this pose in small spurts, maintaining the integrity of the shape, exiting before its qualities are lost.

Puttering/Warm-Up

  • Tadasana with Urdhva Hastasana
  • Tadasana with Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana
  • Tadasana with Urdhva Namaskarasana

Sun Salutations

  • 3-4 Rounds

Standing Poses

  • Warrior 2
  • Extended Side Angle
  • Utkatasana
  • Warrior 1
  • Parsvottanasana

Balance Pose

  • Tree Pose

Peak Pose

  • Warrior 3

Wind Down Poses

  • Bharadvajasana 1
  • Bridge Pose

Savasana

Give it a try and let us know how it goes! To catch a few video clips of this sequence in action follow @patrickfrancojr and @yogarenewteachertraining on Instagram.

Also, check out this video on our YouTube page Vinyasa Flow to Warrior 3:

If you want more in-depth vinyasa sequences like this along with teaching notes + tips on how to cue them, enter your email below to grab our FREE guide:

Melanie, a YogaRenew yoga teacher, standing in the front of a yoga class, instructing a young male to get up into headstand while 3 other students watch

What is Yoga Alliance?

By Yoga TeachersNo Comments

If you are within the yoga community, especially as a teacher or an aspiring teacher, it’s very likely that you’ve heard of Yoga Alliance®. Yoga Alliance is the largest non-profit organization representing the yoga community. They provide tools and resources for professional development and work to “support the high quality, safe, accessible, and equitable teaching of yoga.” Essentially, Yoga Alliance is the main governing body for Yoga credentialing for both teachers and schools. So if you’re interested in becoming a Registered Yoga Teacher®, or if you’re looking to get a training or school registered, it’s important to know what the Yoga Alliance is and what you need to become credentialed and stay credentialed.

How to Become Credentialed Through Yoga Alliance®

Yoga Alliance logo

It’s important to become credentialed through Yoga Alliance so that you can be recognized as a Registered Yoga Teacher. Once you are registered, it will be confirmed that the education you have received is up to standard as set by the Yoga Alliance. This will also give you membership access to Yoga Alliance, which includes a community of professionals as well as opportunities for continuing education and resources to grow your career. Another important note: If you are interested in creating any trainings that you’d like to offer for Continuing Education Credits (CEUs), you must be credentialed through Yoga Alliance.

After finishing your specific training (200 Hour, 300 Hour, 500 Hour, etc.), you can be certified through Yoga Alliance by creating an account through the Yoga Alliance’s website and following the steps below:

  1. Designate what credential you are applying for (200 RYT, 300 RYT, 500 RYT, E-200 RYT, E-500 RYT, RCYT, RPYT). Anything with an “E” in front means “experienced. This means that you have completed a certain number of training hours in addition to completing a substantial amount of teaching hours. If you designate that you are experienced, you’ll be asked to input teaching hours.
  2. Search for the program you completed and submit your graduation certification.
  3. You must be CONFIRMED by the school you completed your training at.
  4. Submit payment. Payment will grant you membership to Yoga Alliance in addition to your credential!

How to Stay Credentialed Through Yoga Alliance

Yoga Alliance Accreditation Badges

Once you become credentialed through Yoga Alliance, you must complete continuing education in order to maintain your membership through Yoga Alliance. This is great for the yoga community as a whole because it means that as a teacher, you are staying up to date with new trends, new information, and overall continuing to grow as an instructor. Keeping up with training and continuing education is a necessary component of almost all industries and yoga is no different.

Continuing Education Requirements

RYTs and E-RYTs are required to complete 75 hours of continuing education (1 hour = 1 credit) within three years from the date of their initial registration.

This total number of hours must include:

Some things to remember are that these hours must be done within the timeframe of being part of Yoga Alliance (anything done before does not count), and any additional hours unfortunately do not rollover into the following three year period. Yoga Alliance essentially wants you to continue to learn new things, and consistently grow as a yoga practitioner and instructor to uphold the highest standards of yoga instruction.

What Are Yoga Alliance’s Educational Categories?

The educational categories under YA include:

  • Techniques, Training, Practice
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Yoga Humanities
  • Professional Essentials
Kate Shoulderstand Sequence Sheet

Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana)

By Yoga Asana, Yoga Teachers

Ahhh Sarvangasana – the “Queen” of all poses. For many years I had a love/hate relationship with Shoulderstand. I am happy to say that recently that relationship has evolved into much more love and way less hate, and all of that has come down with using the wall to get into the pose and teaching students to do the same. I love teaching this inversion because it’s one that students of all levels can work on and get its full benefits while staying in a place that feels comfortable for where their practice is that day.

For this sequence, the teaching actions focus on the external rotation of the arms to lift the upper back and the tailbone moving in to create a straight, stacked spine. And of course in any Shoulderstand class, the sequence includes lots of shoulder opening as well.

A key thing to remember when teaching this is to leave yourself enough time to really demo and set up your props at the wall with your students. Setting up Shoulderstand at the wall takes a good amount of time and if you rush it, it’s very easy for students to get confused. So – make sure to leave some wiggle room when planning.

Ooo… how lovely is that?!

Puttering/Warm-Up

  • Child’s Pose w/ Thread the Needle
  • Broken Wing Pose
  • Uttanasana with Clasped Hands
  • Tadasana with Gomukhasana arms

Sun Salutations

  • 3-4 Rounds

Standing Poses

  • Extended Side Angle
  • Triangle Pose w/ Half Bind
  • Half Devotional Warrior
  • Warrior 1
  • Parsvottanasana

Balance Pose

  • Warrior 3

Twist Pose

  • Revolved Triangle

Peak Pose

  • Shoulderstand

Wind Down Poses

  • Viparita Karani
  • Reclined Figure 4

Savasana

Give it a try and let us know how it goes! To catch a few video clips of this sequence in action follow @kate.lombardo and @yogarenewteachertraining on Instagram.

If you want more in-depth vinyasa sequences like this along with teaching notes + tips on how to cue them, enter your email below to grab our FREE guide:

A woman giving a shirodhara massage to another woman in a white towel with her eyes closed.

Shirodhara

By Lifestyle & Wellness

Shirodhara: A Mind-Balancing Treatment From Yoga’s Sister Science

You may be reading this and thinking “Shiro-what?” and that’s okay! I had a similar reaction when I was first introduced to this ancient, impactful practice. Shirodhara is made up of the two Sanskrit words “shiro” meaning “head” and “dhara” meaning “flow.” It’s a classical Ayurvedic treatment for the mind that involves pouring a warm liquid, usually oil or milk, over the third eye and allowing it to flow off the crown of the head.

My first experience with Shirodhara was when I went on a pilgrimage to India. I was staying at an Ayurvedic center and was receiving various treatments. Shirodhara was one of them. I remember being slightly agitated that my hair was getting oily, but after a few minutes, I was too blissed-out to really care.

During my studies with Boston Ayurveda School, I received a much longer treatment that also involved a full body oil massage. Although I knew what to expect, I was still shocked over how long the benefits lasted. For about two weeks, I was sleeping much more soundly, I felt way more focused, and I also had a lot more energy.

What is Ayurveda and how is it related to yoga?

Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old science that is often referred to as the science of life and also the sister science to yoga. It can be understood as the study of all of the qualities you see around you and how they interact with you. Ayurveda helps you find balance with the body you’re in and the qualities you were born with.

You are both with a specific blueprint that’s unique to you. Everything on earth is made up of the elements fire, water, earth, air, and ether. These elements come together to create the three Doshas. Pitta Dosha is made of fire and water. Vata Dosha is made of air and ether. Kapha Dosha is made of earth and water. Your dominant Doshas are set with you from the moment of conception and cannot be changed.

Traditionally, yoga is understood to be more than just the asanas, or poses. It’s a system that helps you connect to your soul and to recognize that you’re not your body or your mind. Ayurveda helps you find balance in your body and in the world around you. When you’re eating the food that helps you feel your best and engaging in work or relationships that fill your heart, the physical yoga practice is much more accessible.

What is Shirodhara and what are the benefits?

Shirodhara is a relaxation technique that nurtures the mind, body, and soul. This practice involves a gentle, continuous, stream of warm oil poured over the forehead, stimulating the senses and bringing harmony to your whole being. The gentle flow of warm oil over the third eye and forehead soothes the nervous system, clears mental clutter, promotes clarity, focus, and heightened awareness.

The benefits of Shirodhara:

  • Encourages deep sleep patterns
  • Improves overall sleep quality
  • Helps to create a well-rested mind
  • Can soothe headaches and/or migraines
  • Nourishes the scalp

Overall, the experience provides a reset for the nervous system which may help support recovery and treatment for chronic pain. The benefits of a Shirodhara massage may last up to two weeks and it’s a great treatment to receive regularly.

What does a Shirodhara training entail?

Like any other practice, you do need to take a training in order to administer this treatment. I had such a beautiful time in my training because I got to connect with like-minded people who are also absolutely in love with the teachings of Ayurveda and who want to share these practices with others.

The training was really informative, but also incredibly nourishing for me. I got to give a practice treatment to one of my friends, which involved a lot of spilled oil, a little bit of worrying, and a bunch of gratitude for this ancient system of healing. There is certainly a learning curve with working with the equipment, heating the oil, and being present throughout the treatment.

Finding a Shirodhara massage near you

If you’re interested in receiving a Shirodhara treatment, you should seek out a professional who is certified to give them. Once you find your person, you may have to fill out an intake form or provide some information about your past and current health. This information will be used to figure out what liquid to use, whether or not certain herbs should be used, and also how long the treatment should be.
One important question to ask is whether or not you’ll be getting oil on your whole body. Sometimes you will only have oil on your head and other times you may have a full body massage.

If you’re receiving a treatment from me, you will only have oil on your third eye, entire forehead, scalp, and possibly your hair. Expect your hair to get oily as there really isn’t any way to avoid this. However, the oil is incredibly nourishing for your scalp and hair, so try to embrace it. 😉

You should avoid eating anything about two hours before your treatment and arrive wearing a shirt that you don’t mind getting a little oily. I personally try my best to be as tidy as possible, but sometimes small spills happen. Bring warm socks, for your feet, an extra shirt, and a warm hat.

What to expect during your Shirodhara massage

During Shirodhara, you will be lying down on your back on a massage table. All massage tables are different, so make sure you are clear about your level of comfort and whether you need anything specific. You may be given an eye covering that’s been soaked in rose water to keep your eyes cool.

You’ll feel a constant stream of warm oil on your forehead. Sometimes, it’ll be stable and in one place and at other times, you’ll feel the stream moving up and down and side to side. It might tickle a bit at first, but as you get used to it, you’ll start to relax. You can let your practitioner know if the oil is too hot or if you’re too cold. There may be soothing music throughout the session or it may be silent. This all depends on what your practitioner thinks will help support you most. You may hear some sounds of oil dripping or pouring because the oil is constantly being heated. You may also see some plastic on the table or the floor. This is used to collect the oil and to keep things clean.

Shirodhara isn’t always a soothing experience. You may feel lots of emotions rising up or even begin to feel a bit uncomfortable in your body. This is usually because discomfort needs to be acknowledged and it needs to rise up in order for it to be released. Try to focus on the sensation of the oil and also focus on your breath. You’re there to receive and to be.

What to expect after your Shirodhara treatment

As your session comes to a close, you’ll notice that the flow of oil slows down and will eventually stop. You may be asked to focus on your breathing or to make some small movements with your fingers and toes. You will probably feel a towel come around your head to stop excess oil from spilling into your eyes.

Every session may end a bit differently, but expect to always be oily! Your head and hair will have absorbed some of the oil and you should try to leave the oil on for about two hours. You can sleep with the oil in if you choose to. Keep your head covered if you’re going out into direct sunlight or into the cold and avoid strenuous activities. This is your time to relax and to continue receiving the benefits of the treatment.

How to wash the oil out of your hair after treatment:

  • Use shampoo first and then add water.
  • Oil doesn’t wash out with water, so shampooing prior to washing may help remove the oil.
  • You might have to shampoo two or more times.
  • Be mindful that your shower floor may be oily, so take time to clean it or inform anyone who you share a bathroom with!

“Sneha” means both “oil” and “love”

In Sanskrit, the word for “oil” is “sneha” which also means “love.” During Shirodhara, you are literally being bathed in oil and in love, so keep this in mind as you move through the next few days. Notice when you feel love and notice how you can incorporate more love into your life. You may feel like you are immersed in love and support for days after, so take time to cultivate gratitude.

These Ayurvedic practices are important to help you come back to balance and remember who you are and why you’re here. When you feel love for yourself, you can bring that into the world around you and encourage your friends, family, students, and clients to do the same!

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda?

Click the button below to learn more about our online certification programs for the study of Ayurveda with expert, Lisa Bermudez.

Online Ayurveda Training

Business of Yoga Cover Photo of Kate & Patrick

Learning The Business of Yoga: Why’s it Important?

By Lifestyle & Wellness, Yoga Teachers

Fall deeper in love with the practice

Dissect the business aspect first, so you can concentrate on the elements of the practice you are passionate about. Even if the business aspect doesn’t initially ignite joy in your life, understanding it will help make room for the things you enjoy putting your energy into. Not only will you learn the ebbs and flows of running a business, but you’ll be better equipped to compartmentalize the aspects of your business you love and the aspects that maybe need a little bit of work; from there you can assess who you bring on the journey with you.

Enhance + control your own growth

Don’t let other people live out your dreams. They are your dreams and aspirations for a reason… stick to them. If making a living off teaching yoga is a lifelong dream/goal of yours – do it. There is no time like the present and the earlier you dive in and dedicate your time to your business, the faster it’ll grow. That’s not to say problems won’t arise, but knowing how to deal with those problems poses as a strong foundation to a sustainable business model. You get out what you put in!

Make a living doing what you love

Yoga is your life. Why not allow yourself to do what you love everyday? The business elements of a successful yoga career depend tremendously on your initial passion for the practice. Tons of people become yoga teachers and end up not making it into a full-time business venture. If yoga is what you love, your business in it should be a reflection of that.

Learn more in the video above and over at YogaRenew’s YouTube channel.

How to Become a Yoga Instructor (The Ultimate Guide + FREE PDF)

By Yoga Teachers

I’m always surprised at how many people enroll in one of our yoga teacher training programs because they were unsatisfied with another course they started or completed elsewhere.  If you’re looking to become a yoga instructor, do yourself a favor and take a look through this guide first.

I promise it will help clear up anything you might be confused about and will save you a ton of headaches so you’ll know exactly how to become a yoga instructor with minimal stress.  If you still have any questions by the end of this guide (and we doubt you will) you can reach out to us directly and we’ll get them answered for you. Clear and simple.

The secret on how to become a yoga instructor

There’s a TON of noise out there about becoming a yoga instructor and sometimes it seems like each piece of information conflicts with the rest. It might be poor information, or it might be poor communication but it sure seems like there’s a drought of clarity sometimes. For example, did you know that you actually DON’T need a certification to teach yoga? Probably not, but we’ll explain more on that later. We figured it was time to finally put together a guide on everything you need to know about becoming a yoga teacher. Let’s dive in!

Table of Contents:

  1. What are the requirements?
  2. What do studios look for?
  3. What is Yoga Alliance?
  4. How many hours are needed for accreditation?
  5. Can I become certified online?
  6. What should I look for in an online training?
  7. How long is a Yoga Teacher Training?
  8. Will my certification expire?
  9. Do I need insurance?
  10. What’s the cost of a YTT?

What are the requirements to teach yoga?

In the U.S. and most western countries, there is no ‘accreditation’ or governing body that you need to register with to teach yoga. This also means that you don’t need a specific certification to roll out a mat and lead a class, but don’t roll out that mat just yet.

There’s A LOT of reasons why you don’t see yoga teachers all over town without any training. First of all, most places won’t let you teach without a certificate. You’ll also need insurance for most studios. Even if you teach online or in a park, you are putting yourself in danger without insurance.

Students also want to know that their teacher has been trained properly. A yoga teacher training is more than simply learning a few postures. You learn important aspects of safety, anatomy, business and other areas important for any yoga instructor to have. Without proper training, trying to lead yoga classes isn’t just dangerous for you but it’s dangerous for the students as well.

What will a yoga studio look for in a yoga instructor?

Since the government doesn’t set the requirements for a yoga teacher, it’s really up to a studio to set those requirements. While each studio will have their own hiring criteria, generally speaking, they will want their students to have completed at least a 200 hour yoga teacher training. More frequently, studios are also looking for teachers with a 500 hour certificate.

One helpful tip is that studios will often run their own teacher training programs and look to hire students from within those programs. If there’s a specific studio you’d like to work with, stay late after class one day and ask them what they look for in their teachers. Oftentimes, you’ll hear a studio mention Yoga Alliance – but what is Yoga Alliance?

What is Yoga Alliance?

Yoga Alliance logo

It’s helpful to get certified through a yoga company that is registered with Yoga Alliance for added credibility.

Yoga Alliance is a registration body for yoga schools and yoga teachers. There are a number of other registration bodies all over the world, but Yoga Alliance is the largest and most common.

As mentioned on their site, Yoga Alliance does not certify schools and they are not an accreditation body like you’d see with universities or in other industries. While they don’t actually certify the schools, they do sort of behave like an accreditation body in some ways. In order to register with Yoga Alliance, you’ll need to attend a training by a school registered with Yoga Alliance and the training will need to be conducted by teachers who are registered with Yoga Alliance.

The way a training will work is that Yoga Alliance has a set of standards that each school needs to follow, and each school will submit their curriculum to Yoga Alliance in order to have their training approved. For example, they will ask for a certain number of hours to be completed for anatomy, practice, or technique, etc. Yoga Alliance has a few different types of registration credentials which are aligned with the way training is typically conducted and you can read more about becoming a yoga instructor on their website.

What is the difference between a 200, 300 and 500 hour yoga teacher training?

I’ve seen many people get confused with these trainings, so let’s clarify quickly: A 200 hour yoga teacher training needs to be completed before anything else. Many people think you can start with either a 200 hour training, or a 300 hour training, but a 300 hour yoga teacher training should only be completed AFTER a 200 hour yoga teacher training has been completed. A 500 hour certification is a combination of a 200 and 300 hour yoga teacher training.

Typically, students will finish a 200 hour course before anything else. The 200 hour program might be focused on a specific area such as Vinyasa, or Hatha yoga or it might be a multi-style yoga teacher training course. If the school is registered with Yoga Alliance, it doesn’t really matter whether there is a specific area of focus for the training. Yoga Alliance will only recognize a ‘200 hour’ training (they won’t differentiate between a Vinyasa training and a Hatha training). Let’s take a look at the credentials that Yoga Alliance uses because those draw up a lot of questions as well.

What’s a RYT 200, RYT 500? (or E-RYT 200, E-RYT 500)

RYT = Registered Yoga Teacher

It is a credential specific to Yoga Alliance and in order to list yourself as a RYT-200 you’ll need to complete a 200 hour yoga teacher training that’s been registered with Yoga Alliance. If somebody is an RYT-500, that means they’ve completed a 500 hour program. Or it could mean that they’ve completed a 200 hour course, and then afterwards they completed a 300 hour course. 200 + 300 = 500!

E-RYT is a newer credential by Yoga Alliance

There is an E-RYT 200 and E-RYT 500 and you become eligible for E-RYT 2 years after completing a training. In addition to completing a training, you will also need to complete 1,000 hours of teaching with a RYS-200 registration. Outside of RYT, you also might see the designation CYT. What does CYT mean? Funny you should ask…

What’s the difference between RYT and CYT?

RYT stands for Registered Yoga Teacher and is specific to Yoga Alliance, while CYT stands for ‘Certified Yoga Teacher’ and is a general designation. If somebody is listed as a CYT-200 then it would mean they have completed a 200 hr yoga teacher training, but they aren’t necessarily listed in Yoga Alliance’s directory.

In short, RYT and CYT are similar except that RYT is for people specifically registered in Yoga Alliance’s directory.

Are there any requirements or qualifications I need to complete before I enroll in a yoga teacher training?

No. A yoga teacher training is where you’ll gain a certification, so there aren’t really any qualifications that you’ll need to complete before enrolling. Students will typically come with quite a bit of experience though. A 200 hour training is not a walk in the park, so it’s good to have a sense of what you love about yoga and what you’re looking for out of a training before you commit to one. That will be helpful for you to determine which course is the best for you.

A lot of times, teacher trainings are broken out by the specific amount of hours it takes to complete the course, or they’re focused on a specific genre, or type of yoga. Here are some examples of teacher trainings and they all are completely separate (you don’t need to complete one before advancing to the others except for the 300 + 500 Hour (it is recommended you start with your 200 and the 300 + 500 build upon that).

Can I complete a yoga teacher training online?

Girl researching how to become a yoga instructor on a laptop, sitting on a yoga mat

The first step towards becoming a yoga instructor through an online program is doing your research!

Yes, you can! Even before COVID-19, schools like YogaRenew had conducted yoga teacher trainings online. 200 hours is a large commitment. Most people can’t realistically complete such a large commitment unless it’s self-paced and online. This allows students to work at their own pace in between work, children, and other responsibilities. Many people also live in remote locations that make attending an in-person training difficult, so online training has made it more accessible than ever. Especially for those without a local studio who are unable to travel to attend a studio in-person.

What’s the difference between an in-person yoga teacher training and an online yoga teacher training?

There’s going to be quite a few differences between attending a training in-person and online. Each will have pros and cons also. Every studio will have their own format and structure but we can provide some general insight based on the format of online vs in-person training.

An online training will typically provide much more flexibility because you will often have recorded material that you can review at your convenience in addition to any live or in-person sessions. Sometimes, you’ll even have lifetime access to all the recorded material. Many schools will have a limit on how long their students can access the content, so double check with the school first.

An in-person training is going to have a much different interaction than an online course, however. You can imagine that the way you’d interact with somebody in person is going to be different than the way you’d interact with them online. The same applies for a yoga teacher training. Both an online training and an in-person training should have live interaction with the trainers so that you can gain feedback from the instructors and ask questions through-out the course. If a training does not offer interactive elements and feedback from the instructors, it’s a red flag.

Online and in-person trainings can have a social element, but, as we’ve discussed, each is handled a little differently. Online trainings might have social elements during live sessions as well as through online groups, study buddies, and social media. In-person trainings will not typically offer online groups, or social media interaction since all of the interaction is handled on-site. It can certainly be helpful to have the online resources so that you can come back to them after completing your training, (again, double check whether the studio provides lifetime access to the material).

7 things to look for in an online yoga teacher training

There is a multitude of aspects to consider when selecting which online program to sign up for. Hopefully the considerations below can help prevent some headaches for you so that you know what to look for with an online yoga teacher training.

Here are a few items you’ll want to evaluate before enrolling in an online course:

  1. A proven program: Most schools should have some feedback or testimonials from their students. This gives you a good sense of whether it’s a good program for you. If the school is registered with Yoga Alliance, students will provide a review on the YA site when they register their certificate. The yoga instructors should have years of experience teaching as well. Take a look at the background of your instructors before enrolling. Each studio will have different trainers and styles of yoga. Find a studio with instructors that align with your interests.
  2. Teacher feedback & interaction: Whether the school is online or in-person, you’ll want to join a course that has some feedback and interaction between the students and teachers.
  3. Live calls: In addition to feedback, you’ll also want the opportunity to join live calls with the instructors. Some online schools will have calls that you can attend at different times so that you have flexibility to work at your own pace but the availability of live sessions. We offer a bunch of live calls at different times so that students can attend them in their time, but we also have recordings that students can watch if they miss a live call as well. Some studios will have ‘office hours’ which is nice, but different from live training where you can actually ask questions on the spot as the training is being conducted.
  4. Community: One thing that’s important for me is to drive the sense of community in our training programs. Live calls definitely help with this, but our groups are where people really connect with each other. Either way, becoming a yoga instructor is an exciting journey and a big commitment. You’ll want to experience it with other people in a community setting. Find a course that offers an active community that you can stay with even after the training is completed.
  5. Accountability: With more online training programs becoming available, accountability has become more important than ever before. You need to know that you’re on the right track, and that you’re actually learning. I’ve seen students come into my studio quite confused after attending a training that didn’t have any accountability. Testing and feedback are important ways to stay accountable. Testing isn’t just about memorizing information and passing a quiz. You have to also make sure to give each student feedback on how they cue and run their classes.
  6. Resourceful information: One of the major benefits of attending an online training is that you can gain access to a TON of resources. I’d suggest finding a course that gives you lifetime access to the resources, but you also want to make sure that you have some good material that you can take with you into your training.
  7. Support: This one is obvious, but it’s a good idea to test out support with a school before enrolling. It might be as simple as sending over an email to see how quickly you get a response. Email support is really the bare minimum you’ll want to look for though. For example, we offer our live calls for students to interact in real time, and our community provides a place for students to connect locally or online. We provide a place for students to connect with each other to form ‘study groups’ as well. Feedback is provided to each individual as well. General feedback in a group setting is nice, but individualized feedback is even better.

Research the company online

A great online teacher training will be continually adding new resources into their training programs, so even if you graduated a couple years ago you might still find some helpful sequences or resources that you can bring into the classroom as an instructor.

Here’s a short video we created for when it does come time to start teaching your own classes:

For additional information, you can check out this article: What To Look for in a Yoga Teacher Training

Be sure to also check out articles that help you weigh different online yoga teacher training prices and options: Best Online Yoga Teacher Training Programs

How long is a yoga teacher training (YTT)?

Well, a 200 hour yoga teacher training should take 200 hours and a 500 hour program should take 500 hours. In-person training courses will typically have a start date and end date. Online programs will usually allow students to work at their own pace but some might have a start date and end date. Self-paced schools sometimes have an expiration date as well. Students enrolled in our courses have lifetime access to all of the material, and we don’t charge anything if it takes a little bit longer for somebody to finish a course. Some students might take 40 days and others might take 400 days to go through a 200 hour program online. It really depends on how much availability you have and how quickly you’re able to work through the material.

Does a yoga teacher training certificate expire?

A yoga teacher training certificate will not typically expire. While we can’t speak for every school out there, it’s rare to see certificates that expire. Once you complete a 200 hour course, you have a 200 hour certificate. It is like a college degree – you’ve earned it and it is yours to keep.

Once you complete a 500 hour course, you have a 500 hour certificate. While your certificate probably won’t expire, there are options for continuing education. Yoga Alliance and certain registration bodies have some continuing education requirements to encourage ongoing learning. They’ll ask you to take continuing ed classes to stay registered with them but you don’t technically need to register with Yoga Alliance in order to teach. Most studios will be okay with hiring you if you’ve already completed a 200 or 500 hour training.

Do I need insurance to teach yoga?

beYogi insurance logo

beYogi is the most well-known yoga insurance program

Yes, insurance is critical for any yoga instructor. First of all, you’ll need insurance to teach at any physical location. At a yoga studio, the teacher will be the one who purchases the insurance. A yoga studio will have their own insurance, but typically they’ll require teachers to bring their own insurance as well. This puts responsibility on the teacher to ensure that the class is conducted in a safe manner. Even if you want to rent your own room, the building will typically ask to see some insurance in order to use the space. This is to protect themselves from lawsuit and is standard.

We have a partnership with BeYogi insurance for our students to gain insurance at a discount. Studios will often have some insurance that they offer to their students or graduates that makes it easy to find a provider.

Is it possible to complete a 200 hour yoga teacher training for under $500?

Yes. Online training has enabled students to become a certified yoga instructor for decent prices and there are some incredible courses at great prices now. I’ve seen plenty of students spend thousands of dollars and attend a training they were unhappy with, so price is not always an indication of quality.

A yoga teacher training is incredibly important, so you don’t want to sacrifice quality – and you don’t need to either. Make sure that there are regular zoom or live sessions that you can attend to interact with instructors. You should be able to ask questions, get feedback, and have trainers available to interact with.

Good schools will have some reviews and testimonials on trusted sites, like TrustPilot, that you can check out before you enroll also.

In conclusion (and don’t forget your FREE guide!)

Do. Your. Research. The more you know before jumping into any yoga teacher training, the better prepared you’ll be. The yoga sphere is constantly shifting as well, so staying up-to-date with resources and information will be extremely helpful on your journey towards potentially becoming an instructor.

Download the Guide!

Ardha Chandrasana Sequence Sheet

Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)

By Yoga Asana, Yoga Teachers

Ardha Chandrasana, translated as Half Moon Pose, has continuously been one of my favorite yoga poses to practice and teach over the last 20 years. It’s a great pose for beginner level students because it’s big and spacious, yet poses a challenge balancing on one leg. It also comes with the option of practicing with your back against a wall for additional stability or using a block under your bottom hand for support. For the more experienced practitioners, this pose can still offer nuances and insights as a foundational standing pose that you will probably practice thousands of times throughout your yogi journey. From straightening the legs fully or finding the backbending/heart-opening quality across the chest, this pose is a classic, and one that I revisit quite often.

For this sequence, focus on the outer hip of the standing leg firming inward to provide stability to the front leg. This alignment principle can be carried through many of the poses that show up in this sequence before Half Moon Pose, for example: Triangle pose, Extended Side Angle Pose, Warrior 2 Pose, and Tree Pose. In fact, classically this pose is entered via Triangle pose due to the many similarities of alignment.

One thing to think about when teaching Half Moon Pose is to build the pose from the ground up. Students are often too quick to lift their top arm or turn their gaze upward before the foundation of the pose is settled. After all, Half Moon is a standing pose. The foundation is the standing leg and bottom arm; the front leg needs to be fully straightened with the support of the outer hip and the bottom hand should be placed on the floor or block directly under the shoulder about a foot forward of the little toe. Getting the foundation situated first is one key to finding stability and spaciousness in this pose.

Here’s the sequence:

Puttering/Warm-Up

  • Supta Padangusthasana A + B
  • Downward Facing Dog
  • Prasarita Padottanasana
  • Side Plank prep w/ knee down

Standing Poses

  • Triangle Pose
  • Warrior 2
  • Extended Side Angle

*Side Plank, which is not technically a standing pose, but is supportive of the arms and chest spreading.

Balance Pose

  • Tree Pose
  • Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana A + B

Peak Pose

  • Ardha Chandrasana

Wind Down Poses

  • Bharadvajasana 1
  • Bridge Pose

Savasana

Give it a try and let us know how it goes! To catch a few video clips of this sequence in action follow @patrickfrancojr and @yogarenewteachertraining on Instagram.

And, if you want more in-depth vinyasa sequences like this along with teaching notes + tips on how to cue them, enter your email below to grab our FREE guide 👇