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What is the Best Yoga Certification to Be a Yoga Instructor?

What is the Best Yoga Certification to Be a Yoga Instructor?

If you have a passion for yoga, whether or not you already work as a personal trainer, you may have dreamed of making a career out of it. So, what’s holding you back? Is it the worry that you need some extensive education and expensive credentials? 

We can assure you that certification for yoga can be simple, easy, and quick while still providing you with the fundamentals needed to instruct others. There are no actual legal requirements for calling yourself a yoga instructor and working as one, but certification is a must for a serious career. 

The best yoga certification is the one that meets your needs, provides the fundamental knowledge you need as a teacher to lead others, and will help you land a job or start a successful, independent business. 

Yoga is not just for meditation and mindfulness. It can also be a great workout. Check out this article to see how certification and teacher training will help you implement yoga into your personal training practice. 

Why Get Certified as a Yoga Teacher?

First of all, there are many good reasons to become a yoga instructor: a great job helping people meet fitness and other health goals; doing work that you love; doing a job that allows you to be active; job security as the industry grows; and, of course, your own personal reasons. 

But the truth is that you don’t technically have to be certified to call yourself a yoga instructor. So, why should you? 

  1. Teaching yoga is so much more than knowing how to do it yourself. You may be an experienced practitioner, but being able to lead others, to help them position their bodies and do poses with proper form is something you must be taught.  
  2. Other instructors are certified, and you’ll be competing with them for clients. Who would you hire as an instructor, someone certified or a teacher with no training? 
  3. Many gyms and studios require certification when they hire instructors. 
  4. An actual course that leads to certification will deepen your knowledge of the fundamentals of yoga and the history and philosophy behind this ancient practice. It’s a great opportunity for both personal and professional growth. 
  5. Even if you can find work as an untrained, uncertified yoga teacher, you will be able to earn more when you can show credentials and an education. 

If you’re already a personal trainer, can you teach yoga? Sure, but it’s still important to get yoga-specific training. This ISSA piece breaks it down for you

Yoga Retreat vs. Yoga Certification

If you’re serious about teaching yoga, it’s important to go through some sort of teacher training. Even if you are an avid practitioner with a lot of experience, you still need training in how to safely and effectively lead others. Does that mean a weekend or week-long yoga teacher training retreat led by an expert yogi is adequate? 

Probably not. Beware of these very short programs that offer to teach you how to be an instructor through the course of a brief retreat. The yogi may be great and the experience enlightening, but it is probably not going to provide you enough practical training to be a successful instructor. 

These programs are often tempting because they are short and seem like vacations. The truth is that they are more vacation than training. It can be a wonderful experience to attend, and you may deepen your practice, but a retreat is not enough time to learn what you need to be a professional. Be especially cautious of those that claim to teach you everything you now and to get you certified in just a weekend. 

Choose the Best from Among Real Yoga Instructor Certification Courses

If you really want to make a career out of instructing others in yoga, you need a more focused and robust program for your yoga training. The right yoga teacher training course will teach you all the skills needed to lead others, to draw clients, and to land a job at a gym or yoga studio. There are many factors to consider when choosing the best yoga certification: 

Check out the Course List

A comprehensive certification course should cover a range of topics related to yoga and instruction to prepare you for the industry. Don’t settle for a program until you have seen what it has to offer. Look for courses and instruction in: 

  • The physical and mental health benefits of regular yoga practice
  • Basics of yoga anatomy and physiology and how the body moves
  • Yoga asanas, and how to perform them with correct form and breathing
  • The elements of the yoga philosophy and lifestyle
  • Teaching methodology and skills, guidance on developing your own teaching style
  • Creating unique yoga programs and sequences of asanas
  • Instructing a diverse range of clients and adapting yoga poses to meet their needs, limitations, and ability levels
  • Business fundamentals to help you start your career, land a job, or open a small business

Look for Educational and Business Support

That last item on the course list is something you won’t find in every yoga certification program, but it is so important. If you hope to make a successful, full time career of yoga instruction, you need to understand the basics of running a business, which includes budgeting and basic accounting, marketing, networking, and maintaining client records. 

A great program for teaching you to be a yoga instructor will be well-rounded, combining yoga fundamentals with practical skills for your career. Look for things like a business class, educational support and online tools, job placement assistant, and even a free website or guidance on building a site for starting your new business. 

What is the Best Yoga Certification Style to Learn? 

Choose a program that at least touches on the different styles of yoga, of which there are many. The most useful program for becoming an instructor, though, will focus on Vinyasa yoga. According to surveys, this is the most common, widely practiced yoga style (1). It’s what most clients will expect when working with an instructor. 

A lot of trending types of yoga workouts fall into the Vinyasa category, which is characterized by a series of yoga postures, known as asanas, that flow smoothly from one to the next. Variations of Vinyasa include Power yoga and Ashtanga. Vinyasa works for so many and is a perfect foundation for an instructor because you can do so much with it, including adapting those essential yoga techniques to various ability levels or for people with injuries, limitations, or special needs. 

Once you have your initial certification, other areas you may want to specialize in could include the following: 

  • Hatha yoga
  • Yoga nidra
  • Yoga therapy
  • Prenatal yoga
  • Restorative yoga

Consider Practical Factors

You want the best possible training for your future career, but you also have practical limitations. Maybe you can’t take time from work to train for a new career. Perhaps your funds for tuition are limited or you cannot travel to learn. 

Look at things like cost, location, whether the classes are at specific times or more flexible, and choose an option that works for you. For many working adults, an online yoga teacher training program makes the most sense. You can learn everything you need to know to be a certified yoga instructor through a self-paced, online yoga course. 

Avoid the Pressure Sell from Popular Schools

In the world of yoga there are some clear forerunners in terms of the numbers of people they get through the door and certify. A common misconception is that becoming a certified yoga teacher from one of these programs is necessary to work in the industry. 

There is no specific yoga school, certification, or program required for becoming a yoga instructor. Some of these top schools are very good, but they may not work for you. They may be too expensive or take too long to complete. Or, you may not be able to find a location near you. Avoid the pressure sell from these programs and know that you do not have to choose them for your yoga teacher certification. 

So, What is the Best Yoga Certification Then?

Ultimately, the answer to this question is highly individualized. The best yoga certification or teacher training program is the one that best meets your needs. Go through all the considerations we have outlined here and choose a school or certification course you feel comfortable with. 

It should provide you with foundational knowledge in the history and practice of yoga, an understanding of the benefits, guidance on teaching a yoga class to individuals and groups, tips on working with people of various ability levels, and help getting your business off the ground. 

The right program should also meet your practical needs in terms of timing, cost, and location. Once you’ve chosen a good yoga certification program, you will be on your way to a great new career helping people use yoga for its numerous health benefits. 

Yes, the ISSA now offers a Certified Yoga Instructor course! Learn how to break down the moves, lead students, and develop easy-flowing yoga programs for all ability levels. Check out the convenient online courses to start your new career as a yoga instructor.



  1. Hunsberger, M. (n.d.). These Are the Most Popular Yoga Styles in the World. DOYOUYOGA. Retrieved from