There are many recognized certifications for teaching yoga, each with a different emphasis and methodology, like Hatha for beginners, Vinyasa for flowing sequences, and Iyengar for precise alignment. You may also consider the traditional Ashtanga, Jivamukti, and Yin yoga. Whichever you choose, the standard for comprehensive training is the 200-hour Yoga Alliance certification.
|Type of Yoga
|Slower pace, focus on alignment, basic poses
|200-hour YA certification
|Flowing sequences, breath-synchronized movement
|200-hour YA certification
|Precise alignment, use of props, therapeutic
|200-hour Iyengar certification
|Set sequences, power & flexibility, vinyasa style
|200-hour Ashtanga certification
|Spiritual, chanting, rigorous flowing sequences
|300-hour Jivamukti certification
|Long-held, passive floor poses, meditation
|100-hour Yin certification
Regardless of the outcome, experiencing yoga teacher training and flourishing as a teacher is one of the best feelings you will experience. Growing into your own teaching style and having the self-awareness to support yourself through teaching are two of the most important things to consider, regardless of the outcome.
Being one of the most in-demand yoga certifications, Hatha yoga is a general term for any physical yoga practice rather than a specific style. While not as fast-paced as more athletic styles, Hatha classes still build strength and stability.
I trained in Hatha yoga because I wanted to learn how to hold poses longer to promote mindfulness. Hatha incorporates basic asanas, breathing exercises, and meditation for a gentle yet well-rounded physical practice.
Vinyasa yoga focuses on smooth, flowing sequences of poses synchronized with breath. Often called flow yoga, vinyasa seamlessly transitions between asanas with dance-like fluidity.
The steady development of intensity allows for creative expression. While following a structured sequence, teachers can adapt it to students’ needs. I find vinyasa popular among my students because it builds strength while providing some freedom.
Iyengar yoga emphasizes precision and alignment in each pose. Founded by B.K.S. Iyengar, this meticulous style uses yoga props like blocks and straps to achieve anatomical perfection.
While this teacher training course has a slower pace, Iyengar builds strength and flexibility by holding poses longer. The emphasis on anatomical purposes and props makes Iyengar therapeutic in addition to physically demanding.
K. Pattabhi Jois established Ashtanga in the 1970s and remains one of the most physically intense forms of yoga. True to its name, which means “eight limbs” in Sanskrit, Ashtanga rigorously follows the eight limbs of yoga laid out by Patanjali. This includes poses, breathwork, concentration, meditation, and ethical disciplines.
The yoga practice is very structured, with every class following the same sequence of poses. The primary series focuses on detoxification and opening energy channels. Meanwhile, the advanced levels require immense strength, flexibility, and determination to complete long, rapidly flowing vinyasa sequences.
Jivamukti yoga is an intense hybrid style created by David Life and Sharon Gannon, combining hatha, vinyasa, and ashtanga sequences with spiritual aspects like chanting, yoga philosophy, and meditation.
The five core principles are scripture, devotion, compassion, music, and meditation. Jivamukti aims to be a vigorous yet holistic practice for self-growth on physical, ethical, and spiritual levels.
Yin yoga, developed by Paulie Zink, blends long-held Chinese Taoist yoga poses to target deeper connective tissues versus a flowing style. Poses are held for two to 20 minutes to find your body’s edge without overexertion.
With just 30 main poses focused on ligaments, fascia, and other tissues, yin is meditative. The passive approach and a few poses allow practitioners to master key movements while developing physical and mental stillness.
We connected with Wenlin Tan, a women’s Qigong & Yoga Specialist who has over 15 years of experience in the field, because she’s also holds multiple certifications in the areas we shared above. When asked on her recommendations for what to get certified in and some caveats that instructors should know, here’s what she said:
Despite the cultural and social backgrounds of yoga teachers around the world, they share the common denominator of spirituality, healing, personal, and physical development through asanas (yoga poses). While there are similarities between them, many yoga teachers also share the same biased nature in their teaching styles and identities.
What kind of teacher do you want to become when you graduate from your 200-hour yoga teacher training course? There’s a recurrent thread of different styles, approaches, and trends that are as different and quirky as the next.
All Yoga teachers are confident, playful, and creative in their teaching, as they have the freedom to sequence in a style that is authentic to them while drawing on a strong foundation of the modified primary series.
The 200-hour Yoga Alliance certification is widely considered the benchmark for comprehensive, high-quality teacher training globally. It provides a strong foundation across all aspects of teaching yoga.
The highest credential is the Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) certification, requiring over 10,000 hours of teaching experience beyond the standard 200-hour training. It denotes deep wisdom and mastery of yoga.
Hatha yoga training tends to be the most accessible certification, with a slower pace and a focus on foundational poses and alignment principles. The requirements are achievable for beginners.
Being informed about the various types of yoga teaching certifications will ensure you select the right program to suit your goals and teaching style. Consider factors like lineage, physical demands, and teaching methodology when choosing the best yoga certification.
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