yoga teacher training

Yoga Alliance Certification: What is it? The Complete 2023 Guide to YA

Yoga has gained immense popularity worldwide for its physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. As the demand for qualified yoga teachers has grown, the need for a standardized system for yoga instructor certification has also emerged. The Yoga Alliance is the current most popular yoga alliance certification credential system.

What is Yoga Alliance certification?

The Yoga Alliance is a prominent organization that has established itself as a leading authority in the yoga community, providing certifications and designations for yoga teachers and teacher training programs.

In this article, we will explore the Yoga Alliance and its various designations, providing a comprehensive explanation of each.
    Keys Takeaways
  • Purpose: Yoga Alliance is a nonprofit that promotes high-quality yoga education, serving as a professional membership and accreditation body for yoga schools and teachers.
  • Registration: The organization offers various designations for Registered Yoga Teachers (RYTs) and Registered Yoga Schools (RYSs), demonstrating the level of training and expertise.
  • Education and Community: Yoga Alliance encourages ongoing learning through its Continuing Education (CE) program and fosters a supportive community for members to connect and share resources.

History and Background of Yoga Alliance certification

The Yoga Alliance was established in 1999 as a non-profit organization with the mission of promoting and supporting the integrity and diversity of the yoga profession. It was founded by a group of yoga teachers and enthusiasts who recognized the need for a unified system of standards and accreditation for yoga teachers and teacher training programs.

Since its inception, the YA has grown to become the largest international registry of yoga teachers and schools, setting standards for yoga teacher training and promoting ethical and professional practices in the yoga community.

Yoga Alliance Designations and Their Meanings

The Yoga Alliance offers several designations for yoga teachers and teacher training programs. These designations serve as markers of credibility and expertise, providing recognition and validation to yoga professionals. Let’s explore some of the key designations offered by the Yoga Alliance.

RYT: Registered Yoga Teacher

The RYT designation stands for Registered Yoga Teacher and is a widely recognized certification for yoga teachers. The RYT designation is available in three levels: RYT 200 ,RYT300 and RYT 500, which represent the number of training hours completed by the teacher.

ryt 200

RYT 200

The RYT 200 designation is awarded to yoga teachers who have completed a minimum of 200 hours of yoga teacher training from a YA registered school. The training covers various aspects of yoga, including asanas (physical postures), pranayama (breathwork), meditation, anatomy, philosophy, and teaching methodology. RYT 200 is considered the foundational level for becoming a certified yoga teacher, providing the skills and knowledge necessary to teach basic yoga classes.

ryt 300

RYT 300

The RYT 300 designation is for yoga teachers who have completed a minimum of 300 hours of advanced training from a Yoga Alliance registered school. This designation builds upon the RYT 200 training and delves deeper into yoga philosophy, advanced teaching methodology, and personal practice. After completing the training, yoga teachers can register with the Yoga Alliance and use the RYT 300 designation.

ryt 500

RYT 500

The RYT 500 designation is awarded to yoga teachers who have completed a minimum of 500 hours of advanced yoga teacher training from a Yoga Alliance registered school. The training builds upon the foundational knowledge of RYT 200 and delves deeper into advanced asanas, sequencing, adjustments, and other specialized areas of yoga, such as prenatal yoga, trauma-informed yoga, or yoga therapy. RYT 500 is considered an advanced level certification, indicating a higher level of expertise and experience in the field of yoga teaching.

E-RYT (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher)

Key Point
The E-RYT designation indicates a higher level of experience and expertise, signifying that the teacher has honed their teaching skills through extensive practical experience.


The E-RYT designation is awarded to yoga teachers who have accumulated a certain amount of teaching experience after obtaining their RYT designation. To qualify for E-RYT200, a yoga teacher must have taught a minimum of 1,000 hours of yoga classes and completed at least two years of teaching since obtaining their RYT 200 certification, For ERYT 500 certification, it is a min. of 2000 teaching hours and 4 years teaching experience.

RYS: Registered Yoga School

Apart from designations for individual yoga teachers, YA also offers designations for yoga school offering yoga teacher training programs , known as YTT ..

rys 200

RYS 200

The RYS 200 designation is for yoga schools that offer a 200-hour teacher training program that meets the standards set by the Yoga Alliance. These schools are registered with the Yoga Alliance and can provide training to aspiring yoga teachers who wish to obtain the RYT 200 designation. The curriculum of RYS 200 programs includes yoga philosophy, anatomy, teaching methodology, and practicum.

rys 200

RYS 300

The RYS 300 designation is for yoga schools that offer a 300-hour advanced teacher training program that meets the standards set by the Yoga Alliance. These schools are registered with the Yoga Alliance and can provide further training to RYT 200 or RYT 500 yoga teachers who wish to deepen their knowledge and skills. The curriculum of RYS 300 programs focuses on advanced topics such as advanced yoga philosophy, meditation, pranayama, and advanced teaching techniques.

rys 200

RYS 500 (Registered Yoga School 500 hours)

The RYS 500 designation is for yoga schools that offer a comprehensive 500-hour teacher training program that meets the standards set by the Yoga Alliance. These schools are registered with the Yoga Alliance and can provide training to aspiring yoga teachers who wish to obtain the RYT 500 designation. The curriculum of RYS 500 programs includes advanced topics such as yoga philosophy, anatomy, advanced teaching methodology, practicum, and specialized areas of yoga.


YACEP (Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider)

The YACEP designation is awarded to established yoga teachers and teacher training programs that offer continuing education for yoga teachers. YACEP providers offer specialized workshops, trainings, or courses that allow yoga teachers to expand their knowledge and skills in specific areas of yoga. YACEP courses can cover a wide range of topics, such as advanced asanas, meditation techniques, yoga for specific populations, or yoga business and ethics.

Special Designation

Yoga Alliance offers specialized designations for yoga teachers who focus on specific groups, such as pregnant women and children. These designations, RPYT (Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher) and RCYT (Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher), recognize the additional training and skills required to safely and effectively teach yoga to these particular populations.


RPYT (Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher)

The RPYT designation is for yoga teachers who have completed specialized training in prenatal yoga. This training equips them with the knowledge and skills to support pregnant women through the various stages of pregnancy, labor, and postpartum recovery.

    To become an RPYT, you must meet the following requirements:
  • Hold a current Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) designation with Yoga Alliance.
  • Complete a minimum of 85 hours of prenatal yoga teacher training at a Registered Prenatal Yoga School (RPYS).
  • Teach at least 30 hours of prenatal yoga classes after completing the prenatal yoga teacher training.

As an RPYT, you’ll be able to guide pregnant women through safe and beneficial yoga practices tailored to their needs. This includes understanding the anatomy and physiology of pregnancy, creating lesson plans with appropriate modifications and contraindications, and fostering a supportive and nurturing environment for expectant mothers.


RCYT (Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher)

The RCYT designation is for yoga teachers who have completed specialized training in children’s yoga. This training provides the necessary tools to teach yoga to children in a fun, engaging, and age-appropriate manner.

    To become an RCYT, you must meet the following requirements:
  • Hold a current Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) designation with Yoga Alliance.
  • Complete a minimum of 95 hours of children’s yoga teacher training at a Registered Children’s Yoga School (RCYS).
  • Teach at least 30 hours of children’s yoga classes after completing the children’s yoga teacher training.

As an RCYT, you’ll be able to design and deliver children’s yoga classes that cater to various age groups and developmental stages. This includes understanding child development, creating imaginative and interactive lesson plans, and integrating elements like storytelling, games, and partner/group activities to engage children in their yoga practice.

The RPYT and RCYT designations reflect a yoga teacher’s commitment to specialized training in prenatal and children’s yoga, respectively. These designations not only validate a teacher’s expertise but also help students and parents feel confident that they are receiving safe and appropriate instruction tailored to their unique needs.

Requirements for Yoga Alliance Designations

To obtain the various YA designations, yoga teachers and schools must meet specific requirements set by the Yoga Alliance. These requirements typically include completing a minimum number of training hours from a registered school, adhering to the Yoga Alliance’s ethical guidelines, and maintaining continuing education hours to stay updated with the latest developments in the field of yoga.

Benefits of Yoga Alliance Designations

Obtaining a YA designation can offer several benefits to yoga teachers and schools. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Credibility and recognition: Yoga Alliance designations are globally recognized and respected, which can enhance the credibility of yoga teachers and schools in the industry.
  • Career opportunities: Yoga Alliance designations can open up various career opportunities, such as teaching at registered yoga schools, leading teacher training programs, offering continuing education courses, and mentoring other yoga teachers.
  • Access to resources: Yoga Alliance provides access to a wide range of resources, including educational materials, networking opportunities, and professional development resources, which can support the growth and development of yoga teachers and schools.
  • Exposure and marketing: Yoga Alliance maintains a directory of registered teachers and schools on their website, which can provide exposure and marketing opportunities for yoga teachers and schools.

Price Details for Yoga Alliance Designations

yoga alliance price

Criticisms and Controversies Surrounding the Yoga Alliance

While YA has been around for quite some time, they’ve also faced their fair share of criticisms and controversies. So, let’s dive into the main issues people have been talking about and try to understand what’s going on.

Lack of Standardization

One of the biggest gripes about Yoga Alliance is the lack of standardization in their teacher training programs. Sure, they have certain guidelines and requirements for their Registered Yoga Schools (RYS), but let’s be honest, the quality of the courses can still vary a lot. Some programs might be super thorough and rigorous, while others might not offer the same level of depth. This inconsistency makes it tough for aspiring yoga teachers to pick the right program and can also impact their credibility as a certified teacher in the long run.

Expensive Fees

Another issue that comes up quite often is the cost associated with Yoga Alliance certifications. While joining Yoga Alliance as a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) or opening an RYS is voluntary, the fees involved can be quite steep, especially for teachers who are just starting out or schools on a tight budget. There’s an initial application fee, and then you’ve got the yearly renewal fee as well, which some people find hard to swallow.

Lack of Regulation

Finally, there’s the whole lack of regulation surrounding Yoga Alliance. As the organization has grown, some critics argue that it’s become more of a marketing machine rather than a true regulatory body for the yoga community. This means that even though you might see the “Registered” label on a yoga school or teacher, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee quality. In fact, it’s not uncommon to hear stories of teachers with limited experience or poorly-designed training programs using the Yoga Alliance logo to appear more credible. This, of course, can be misleading for students and prospective teachers alike.

So there you have it, folks! While YA has definitely played a role in shaping the yoga community over the years, it’s essential to be aware of these criticisms and controversies when deciding on your own yoga education journey. It’s always a good idea to do your research, talk to fellow yoga practitioners, and ask plenty of questions to ensure you’re getting the most out of your time and money. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s all about finding what works best for you and your practice.


In conclusion, the Yoga Alliance is a reputable organization that offers certifications and designations for yoga teachers and teacher training programs. These designations, such as RYT 200, RYT 500, E-RYT, and YACEP, indicate the level of training, experience, and expertise of yoga teachers. Obtaining a YA designation can provide credibility and recognition in the yoga community, and can be beneficial for those looking to establish themselves as professional yoga instructors. If you’re interested in becoming a certified yoga teacher or advancing your yoga career, consider exploring the various designations offered by the Yoga Alliance and choosing the one that aligns with your goals and aspirations.


How to register with the Yoga Alliance?

Once you’ve completed a 200hr yoga teacher training program, you’re eligible to register with Yoga Alliance as a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT200). To begin the registration process, visit the Yoga Alliance website and create an account. Then, submit your application and pay the registration fee. You’ll need to provide proof of your completed teacher training, as well as information on your teaching experience, education, and other relevant qualifications. Once your application is approved, you’ll receive your RYT certificate and be listed on the Yoga Alliance directory, where potential students can find and verify your credentials. Remember that registration with Yoga Alliance is not mandatory, but it can help you establish credibility and connect with a wider network of yoga professionals.

Can I teach yoga without a Yoga Alliance designation?

Yes, you can teach yoga without a Yoga Alliance designation. Yoga is an unregulated industry, and there are no legal requirements to obtain a Yoga Alliance designation to teach yoga. However, obtaining a Yoga Alliance designation can provide credibility and recognition in the yoga community, especially if you are looking to teach at a professional level or in certain settings.

How long does it take to complete a Yoga Alliance registered teacher training program?

The duration of a Yoga Alliance registered teacher training program can vary depending on the school and program. A typical RYT 200 program may take around 1-2 months, while a RYT 500 program may take several months to a year or more.

Can I use the Yoga Alliance logo once I obtain a designation?

Yes, once you obtain a Yoga Alliance designation, you are allowed to use the corresponding logo in your marketing materials, website, or other promotional materials, as per the Yoga Alliance’s guidelines for logo usage. However, it’s important to note that the logo usage is subject to certain terms and conditions set by the Yoga Alliance.

How to Find Yoga Alliance Registered Schools and Teacher Training Programs

Yoga Alliance maintains a directory on their website where you can search for registered yoga schools and teacher training programs. You can search by location, style of yoga, or specific designations to find registered schools or programs that meet your requirements.

Transferring Yoga Alliance Designations to Another Country

If you plan to teach yoga in a different country, it’s essential to check the local regulations and requirements for teaching yoga. While Yoga Alliance designations are recognized globally, some countries may have their own regulations and standards for yoga teachers. It’s recommended to research and comply with the local requirements to ensure smooth transferability of your Yoga Alliance designation to another country

What is a 200 hour Yoga Alliance Yoga Teacher Training?

A 200hr Yoga Alliance yoga teacher training program is a transformative journey that will equip you with the tools and knowledge to share the gift of yoga with others. This immersive program will deepen your understanding of yoga philosophy, anatomy, sequencing, and teaching methodology, while also challenging you to explore your own practice on a deeper level. Through expert guidance and hands-on experience, you’ll develop the skills to lead safe, effective, and inspiring yoga classes that will help your students discover their own inner strength and peace. A 200hr yoga teacher training is not like other certifications courses , it’s an opportunity to discover your own potential as a teacher, and to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

About Annie Au

E-RYT 500, Writer

Annie is the lead trainer of the Yin Yang Yoga Teacher Training at All Yoga. She is also the creator of the Soulful Yin Yoga Method, the only Yin Yoga teacher training that specializes in the emotional side of yin yoga and Chinese meridians. Annie embarked on her spiritual journey over 10 years ago. Struggled with anxiety most of her adult life, Annie was tired of living life in chronic fear & despair, she searched for ways to reclaim her happiness. In the last decade, Annie traveled around the world leading yoga teacher trainings while exploring her own spiritual path.

From studying Taoism and Chinese meridians, Anne recognizes the intrinsic connection between our body and emotions. If our physical health declines, it directly affects our mood and therefore affects how we make choices in life. This finding has propelled Annie to create a course that helps others to connect with their emotions so that they can cultivate balances in life.

Applying the decade of experiences and knowledge Annie has acquired, her signature Soulful Yin Yoga Method is designed to help others become a master of their own emotions so that they can be in tune with their truest selves.

Annie holds a Bachelor Degree in Human Kinetics from the University of British Columbia. She is trained in Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) and specializes in yoga anatomy. Annie’s approachable teaching method helps students understand their body and practice more intelligently.

Currently, Annie lives in Sri Lanka with her husband and travels to Thailand several times per year leading 200hr Yin Yang Yoga Teacher Trainings.

For free yin yoga, Chinese meridians, and emotional healing tips, follow her on Instagram here.

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