One of the most common questions I receive from yoga beginners is whether they can teach yoga without certification. This question is relevant because most professions require certifications to identify the level of expertise of the practitioner. However, the case with teaching yoga is different.
You can teach yoga without certification. Teaching yoga does not require you to be certified or registered. However, the yoga industry has trade and professional organizations for yoga teachers, such as the Yoga Alliance, that provide accreditations and registrations, but such certifications are optional.
An experienced yogi who teaches yoga without any formal certifications is known as a “yoga instructor.” I have written about the differences between a yoga teacher, a yoga instructor, and a yoga therapist previously. Review my article to get an understanding of the differences among them.
In this article, I will cover your options for teaching yoga without certifications or without registering with the Yoga Alliance. I will also explore how you can get started teaching yoga without accreditation.
Why Teach Yoga Without Certification
Before we get into how you can succeed as a yoga instructor without certifications, it’s essential to understand how to become a certified yoga teacher.
Certified yoga teachers can typically have two levels of certification:
- RYT-200 yoga teacher certification
- RYT-500 yoga teacher certification
The “RYT” acronym stands for “registered yoga teacher.” The RYT-200 and the RYT-500 represent the 200 hours and the 500 hours of yoga teacher training certifications.
The certifications can take anywhere between 2 months to 5 months and cost anywhere between $500 for the RYT-200 to $5000 for the RYT-500. You can get an in-depth insight into the process and the costs involved in my detailed guide on starting your own yoga studio.
Based on the above, the main reasons why someone would prefer to teach yoga without certifications could be:
- Lack of funds to pay for yoga teacher training
- Inability to spend 2-5 months studying to become a certified yoga teacher
- Have sufficient experience that a yoga teacher certification does not lead to any advantages
- To test if teaching yoga is the right calling for them before getting yoga teacher certified
Often you don’t have to be an expert in a field to start teaching. Some people are excellent teachers, whereas some experts are horrible teachers.
If you have the unique skill to teach others, teaching based on your experience is undoubtedly valid, especially in an industry like yoga where there are no formal certifications required. You don’t even need to be registered with the Yoga Alliance to teach yoga.
However, if you don’t have any constraints and can get certified, I recommend that you get accredited. Certifications do add significant credibility to you. They also ensure that you know the fundamentals of teaching yoga and maintain a certain level of quality in your teaching.
Disadvantages of Teaching Yoga Without Certification
We know that you can teach yoga without certification. So, why do yoga teachers get certified to teach and also register with industry bodies such as the Yoga Alliance? Having a yoga teacher certification in place does offer several advantages. Due to this yoga teacher training courses are in demand.
The main disadvantage of teaching yoga without certification is the limited demand in the job market. Top-rated yoga and fitness studios prefer to hire only certified and registered yoga teachers.
You will also find that experienced yogis who are well versed in the industry avoid your services. A significant subset of yoga students tends to be yoga teachers themselves. Such teachers are looking to add to their skills and look for teachers with certifications and accomplishments.
Apart from the above, yoga instructors without certifications do not have other significant disadvantages. Several small gyms and fitness centers do employe yoga teachers without certifications.
Additionally, most yoga students are not aware of certifications, such as RYT-200 or RYT-500. For ordinary consumers, certifications play a small role when it comes to selecting a yoga instructor. Your brand has a more significant impact on attracting yoga students than certifications from industry bodies.
If you are a yoga entrepreneur looking to work for yourself, then the disadvantages of not having yoga teaching certifications are limited.
3 Ways To Successfully Teach Yoga Without Certification
As a yoga instructor without certifications to add credibility, you must work smart to succeed as a yoga instructor in the highly competitive world of teaching yoga. Follow the four strategies outlined below to establish a successful yoga teaching career without formal teaching certifications.
Work For Yourself
The most significant disadvantage you have as a yoga instructor without formal certifications is that you have limited value in the job market. So, if you plan to work for yoga and fitness studios, you are doing yourself a disservice by not getting a teaching certification.
However, if you work for yourself, then not having a teaching certification is irrelevant. You should have a desire to build your brand and following.
You can work for yourself teaching yoga doing the following:
- Teach yoga online (Instagram, Zoom, Yoga Marketplaces)
- Start your own yoga studio
- Sell yoga courses
There is a growing trend among consumers to learn yoga from their favorite influencers. If you have a following on social media, it will be reasonably easy to establish a loyal student base.
Working for yourself is much more complicated than just teaching yoga. You will be responsible for attracting and retaining students, offering customer support, and doing administrative tasks such as billing, invoicing, etc. The success or the failure of your yoga business will solely rest on your shoulders.
If you wish to teach yoga without certifications, then reflect on whether you are an entrepreneur. If you are not an entrepreneur who can run a small business, your odds of success are significantly higher.
Get The Right Tools To Run Your Yoga Teaching Business
Without certifications, the ideal option for you is to run your own yoga business. To succeed, you will need to have the right tools in place to manage your yoga business.
I have written an in-depth guide on what you should look for in a group activity scheduling tool. Review the article before purchasing any software to manage your yoga business. Below I will outline the main tools you will need to run your yoga business.
Member Management Software
You will need a way to manage and track your students. Initially, you can run your entire business on excel. However, once you get more than a handful of students, you will need a central database to manage all activity.
The member management software should allow you to capture your student’s information and the history of their activity with your business. You should be able to see the classes they attended, the class packs they purchased, and their memberships’ status.
Most member management software solutions tend to have a monthly pricing structure and cost anywhere between $20 to $500 per month.
Having an online presence for your business is essential in today’s world. If you have a significant social media following, then you can get away with just using Instagram as your online presence.
However, if you do not have a big social media following, you will need a marketing page/website where students can learn more about you and your services. They should also be able to purchase memberships and class packs to attend your classes.
If you sell yoga courses (videos, books, etc.), your web tool should also have a learning management module.
There are several website builders available that you can use. You also have free options to build your web presence using WordPress.
If you plan to teach virtual classes, you will need a reliable way to conduct your classes. You do have free options available such as Instagram and YouTube. However, Zoom has become a popular way to conduct online yoga classes.
If you are on a budget, then stick to Instagram and YouTube classes. However, if you want to offer a differentiated and quality experience, use Zoom to conduct your live online classes.
I highly recommend StudioGrowth as the software you use to run your yoga business. StudioGrowthis the plug-and-play option for your yoga business. It has everything you will need to start and grow your yoga business. From member management to Zoom integration to providing a branded website – it offers everything you will need.
Try out the StudioGrowth free 14-day trial. If you have not started your yoga business yet, often setting up your primary software will give you sufficient momentum to begin your journey.
Establish A Brand
One of the critical advantages yoga teaches with certifications have is that the certifications from and memberships to industry bodies give them significant credibility. All else being equal, a yoga teacher with RYT-200 or RYT-500 yoga certification will have more credibility than you.
The primary way you can establish credibility without certification is to build a winning brand. I have written an in-depth guide on how to build a brand. Review the guide and apply the strategies to differentiate and position your offering on the market.
Once you build a loyal following, and word of mouth begins to spread, not having a formal yoga teaching certification will no longer be an issue.
Alongside building and positioning your brand, work on establishing credibility. Some ways you can establish credibility:
- Collaborate with other influential yoga teachers
- Work on creating a professional following on social media or YouTube
- Write and speak on topics that attract the attention of other yoga teachers
To summarize, if you can work for yourself, use the right tools to run and grow your business, and build a differentiated brand, you can not only teach yoga without certification but also be immensely successful in doing so.
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About the author
Naz Ahm is the founder of StudioGrowth and has spent a decade growing start-ups and venture-backed companies. He writes about sales, marketing, and growth, especially in the yoga, fitness and wellness industry.
Naz has an MBA from IESE Business School and started his journey in the wellness industry when he set-up an on-demand wellness business. Naz currently resides in London, U.K.