In this Article:Getting the Required Education, Teaching Yoga, Earning a Living, Sample Yoga Teacher Action Plan
Hatha yoga is a discipline of yoga focusing on the physical movement of the body. It is practiced to obtain balance and harmony between mind, body, and soul. Practicing Hatha yoga is a good way to get exercise and work on peace of mind and a healthy body. You may want to become an instructor to deepen your personal practice, to pass on knowledge to aspiring hatha yoga students, or in order to work full-time as a yoga instructor. Either way, taking yoga training can be an enlightening experience.
Decide what type of hatha yoga you would like to teach. Hatha yoga is a broad term that describes most of what is considered yoga in the U.S. In other words, hatha yoga refers to the type of physical yoga that involves moving from pose to pose. Within hatha yoga, you’ll find a wide range of sub-sects that you can specialize in.
Hatha also sometimes refers to the most basic type of yoga, if a class is advertised as “”hatha.”” You can focus on that type of yoga, but most schools will want to take you through other types of yoga, too.
To figure out what type of yoga you want to specialize in, consider taking classes in different styles. For instance, Bikram yoga is done in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, where you go through a set series of 26 poses, while Iyengar focuses on finding the right alignment when doing poses.
Vinyasa, on the other hand, focuses on the flow from one movement to the next, while restorative yoga helps students find poses through more passive means, such as props. These types are just a few of the ones you can study.
Specializing can help you find a niche in the market that isn’t filled. With so many people turning to yoga instruction, it’s important to be doing something a little different to draw people in, whether you select a different type of yoga or simply teach yoga with a different perspective or style.
Research different schools. Most cities have places where you can get certification to teach, but you can also journey to the U.S. headquarters for the type of yoga you’ve chosen, which are located throughout the U.S. For example, the main school for Ishta yoga, which integrates hatha, tantra, and ayurveda yoga, is headquartered in Manhattan.
Once you’ve chosen the type of yoga you want to do, try to find the headquarters or a local training center for that type of yoga.
If you can’t travel to one of the main schools, you can take classes with a local teacher.
Find a local teacher. If you live in a major city, you should have a number of options available to you for being trained as an instructor, as many yoga instructors also teach other people wanting to become instructors. However, don’t be afraid to shop around. The main objective is finding a teacher you connect with, so you can get as much out of your yoga training as possible.
Try taking classes at a few different places to find someone you really like. Look for people that teach both regular classes and instructor classes, so you can find someone who can teach you.
Most teachers and studios advertise yoga training programs. However, if you find a teacher you like, you can just ask if he or she teaches training programs. You could say, “”I really connect with your teaching style. I’d also like to become a yoga instructor. Do you teach instructor classes?””
Complete a program. Whichever type you choose, you need to complete a program and become certified. Usually programs range from 200 to 500 hours that you must complete. You start with the 200 hour program, which enables you to teach at most studios. Once you’ve taught for awhile, you may want to continue your training with a 500-hour program.
Most programs cost about $3,000 or more.
You can complete your time in an intensive training program, over the course of a couple of months, or choose one that spreads it out over half a year or longer.
For the sake of legitimacy, make sure the place you do your program is a Registered Yoga School (RYS), which is a certification through the Yoga Alliance, the main yoga certification agency in the U.S. This means you are paying to have your name placed on a teachers registry and the name of the school is also on that registry. There are many other yoga teacher registries in the U.S.; Yoga Alliance is not the only one.
Get certified. The main certification in the U.S. is through the Yoga Alliance. Basically, once you complete your program at a RYS, you can apply to be nationally certified as a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). The certification can be important if you want to teach at a yoga studio. Remembering Yoga Alliance is a registry of certified yoga teachers. This also means they were taught in person and not online.
Mainly, you present the Yoga Alliance with your certificate of completion from your school.
You also must pay a fee to be certified.
If you’re completing the 500-hour program, you’ll need to also complete a review of your school to receive your certification.
Apply at a studio or gym. Most gyms and studios are always looking for new instructors. All you need to do is go in, talk to the manager, and drop off your resume. However, in some areas, there’s an overabundance of teachers, so you’ll need to get more creative. This means finding a studio, and becoming a serious student. Most studios will also have you do karma yoga, where you put the time in teaching for no payment. There is an equal exchange in this as you donate your time to gain experience and this often allows the studio to offer discounted community classes. 
Before you apply, get yoga teacher insurance. This will help you protect yourself if there’s a worst-case scenario, whether you’re working at a studio or somewhere else.
Check what different studios offer as far as pay. Some pay a flat rate, while others pay per student. Others may offer a combo of the two options. New teachers may be asked to put in karma teaching. 
Be ready for an odd schedule. You’ll likely teach a number of early morning classes, as well as quite a few after-work hours classes. You may even end up working at more than one studio.
Figure out other places to teach. You don’t need to be connected to a studio to teach classes. You can teach a wide variety of other places with the blessing of the organization. For instance, art museums, churches, parks, retreat centers, homes, and offices all make perfectly acceptable places to teach. You just need to put yourself out there.
When it comes to some place like a park, you may need to reserve space, depending on the park.
As far as places like churches and art museums, you need to approach the person in charge of events for the organization. Have a prepared speech about what you’re willing to offer, such as a discounted rate to attendees, in exchange for use of the space.
You may need to pay for some spaces, but other places, such as offices, may let you use the space for free because you’re providing a benefit for the employees. You could even offer a flat rate for the office, and pitch it as a benefit the boss could pay for. Come prepared with statistics about how yoga can improve focus in the office.
Start your own studio. Another option is to start your own studio. However, the initial costs can be fairly prohibitive, since you’ll need to rent or buy a space to use. On the other hand, you can hire other people in the area to work there, and you’ll be in control of how it’s run.
If you decide to run your own studio, understand that it may take you quite a while to get back the money you invested. If you don’t have the money upfront, consider applying for a business loan to get the financing you need.
A good in-between option is setting up a studio in your home. You might need to make some slight renovations or at the very least, move stuff around, but it can be much more cost effective.
Make a budget. It’s important to know how much exactly you need to survive. Start by sitting down and figuring out what you need to live. Gather all your bills, and add them up. Make sure to add in gas and food, as you also need those to live.
Once you have a total, add 30% on top of it account for emergencies and yearly expenses you may have forgotten about.
Don’t forget to add in money for things like clothes and house or car maintenance.
Once you have your budget, figure out what you need to do to make that budget. See how many classes you’ll need to teach or what other opportunities you’ll need to create for yourself.
Don’t quit your day job yet. You won’t be instantly making the money you need to make to be a yoga instructor full-time, so it’s best to keep your day job going while you can. You can still start teaching classes in the evening or before work, but you won’t be completely dependent on your new source of income, which will help you cut down on stress.
It takes patience to build up classes. Even if you’re with a studio, people have to find you and figure out they like you. It may take you a year or more to build up to classes that are sold out.
Expand beyond group classes. Many yoga instructors do not make enough to live on off of group classes. Therefore, you can expand to other types of related instruction, such as private classes. Another option is teaching others for certification purposes, which can also be lucrative.
Other options include offering things like retreats and workshops to your community, which can help boost your income.
You may also consider writing a book, which you can self-publish for a bit of side income (or even try to get published in a more traditional manner).
Find your niche market. Part of being successful as a yoga instructor is finding an area that no one else is filling in your community. For instance, you could offer yoga classes for moms and kids or for pregnant women. Maybe your niche market is yoga for elderly people, or a particular type of yoga that no else is doing. Figure out what’s not being done in your area, and make a class that fills that need.
Find out how you like to teach, and see how that can fit into the community. You may find you have a personal teaching style that appeals to certain clients.
Look at which people are not being served. For instance, see which age groups don’t have yoga specifically for them. Maybe certain parts of the city don’t have an easily accessible yoga class.
Also consider what types of yoga aren’t being done. If you can specialize, you may draw a bigger crowd.
Take some business and marketing classes. Once you have your certification, you can’t just expect people to flock to you. You’re going to need to draw them in, especially if you want to have your own studio or work out of your home. It’s important to have the business and marketing skills to make your business work, and taking a few classes can help you in that area.
Check with your local community college for business and marketing classes. Most of them will have basic classes for relatively cheap.
If you can’t commit to semester-long classes, look to see if there are seminars or workshops in your area for marketing, which may only be a day or two.
You can also try taking free online courses. Many websites offer free courses taught by actual professors, such as Coursera or Princeton.
Market yourself. You’re also going to need to figure out how to market yourself, even if you are teaching at a studio. You can’t just open a class and expect people to find you, especially if you’re in a nontraditional space, such as a church. You have to let people know that you’re there.
You can use social media to your advantage by setting up accounts focused on your yoga practice. Start building relationships by interacting with other people, reblogging other content, and posting your own (useful) content before you start plugging your business. Keep plugging your business to about 10% of your posts.
You can also start a blog where you talk about yoga and the ways it can help people. If you’re giving people useful content, they will eventually notice you.
Try advertising in newspapers, putting up flyers on community boards, and even buying booths at large events like craft fairs to get your name out there. At a craft fair, you could have a small yoga demonstration or just a place for people to come and relax and talk about yoga and meditation with you