Over the past couple of decades, yoga has skyrocketed in popularity. With more gyms and health clubs offering yoga, a system to ensure the quality of yoga teachers has also risen. Certified yoga teachers, which were once unheard of, are now the normal and preferred selection for many organizations, but being certified is not the end of the learning journey for yoga teachers.
Does a yoga teacher certification expire? Yes, a yoga teacher certification can expire. Most yoga teacher certification programs, especially those affiliated with the Yoga Alliance, require a certification renewal through documentation of continuing education and teaching hours. The renewal process ensures that teachers always offer a quality and safe experience.
Whether you are a yoga instructor yourself, looking to hire one, or just trying to find a great teacher, understanding why and how a yoga teacher renews their certification can help you. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the expiration and renewal of a yoga teacher certification and what it says about an instructor.
Getting Certified and Registered as a Yoga Teacher
Traditionally those interested in mastering yoga studied for years under a guru. When they left they could teach yoga, although they lacked any official diploma or certification. As yoga has become more widespread in popular culture, the increasing demand and interest has led to faster learning programs.
Now instead of years, you can learn to teach yoga in a matter of weeks, but this shorter time frame led to questions of quality and safety. This is why many programs which instruct yoga teachers offer a certification. A yoga teacher certification is an award from a program that teaches yoga instructors that says an individual has completed that program and is qualified to teach.
Not all yoga programs end in a certification. Most schools offer varying levels of intensity and depth with their training programs. To receive the title of Certified Yoga Instructor most schools require you to complete a more intensive course.
Registered Yoga Teachers and the Yoga Alliance
The introduction of obtaining a certification fixed one problem but created another. With so many different schools and programs offering certifications, there was a lack of standard quality across the industry. Registration with the Yoga Alliance is the answer to a lack of system-wide standards in the US.
The Yoga Alliance is an organization designed to uphold certain standards in yoga instruction within the United States. The Yoga Alliance sets minimum requirements that if a school meets they may present themselves as Yoga Alliance approved. Earning a certification from a Yoga Alliance-approved teaching program will make you a RYT (registered yoga teacher).
Certifications come from a specific training program while registration indicates that a teacher belongs to the national association.
Most quality yoga teacher training schools/programs meet the Yoga Alliance’s standards easily. If a teacher got their certification from a recognized school then they should be an RYT as well. Generally, a certification refers to the diploma you get from completing a training program while registration refers to being a part of the Yoga Alliance’s approved standards.
How to Renew Your Certification/Registration
When we talk about a yoga teacher renewing their certification, most of the time this refers specifically to their status as an RYT with the Yoga Alliance. It might more accurately be termed renewing your registration.
Renewing Your Registration with the Yoga Alliance
Renewing registration as a RYT with the Yoga Alliance requires 5 different things:
- A teacher must follow the Yoga Alliance’s code of conduct.
- The instructor must comply with the Alliance’s policy on The Use of Yoga Therapy Terms.
- Give feedback to your RYS (registered yoga school).
- Every three years a teacher must have completed 45 hours of teaching and 30 hours of continuing education.
- A teacher must pay their annual Yoga Alliance fee.
Of these five, completing the teaching and training hour requirements is the most involved. The Yoga Alliance’s goal is to ensure that all Registered Yoga Teachers are the best teachers they can be.
Source: Yoga Alliance
Renewing Your Certification from Your Training School
There are a lot of different schools and programs that produce yoga teachers, and they all have their own requirements. Some schools require a renewal of their certification along with the Yoga Alliance registration and others do not.
The best course of action is to look into how long a school’s certification lasts before choosing that program. In some cases, the Yoga Alliance’s renewal requirements may allow you to easily renew your school’s certification as well. At this time there are no legal requirements for Certified Yoga Instructors, and so it is up to each program’s discretion.
Do You Have to Have an Updated Certification to Teach Yoga?
With all of this talk of renewal and certification, you may be thinking that a yoga teacher has to have an updated certification to teach. However, to teach yoga you are not required to have an updated certification. You are not required to be certified at all.
There are currently no laws governing the licensing and requirements for yoga instructors. This means that if you have found someone to hire you then you can teach yoga. Certifications are proof of quality and experience rather than a legal necessity.
Why Should You Renew Your Yoga Certification?
Although it may not be necessary, having an updated yoga certification is still the best practice in the yoga world for a couple of reasons.
An updated certification is a sign that you take yoga seriously. The Yoga Alliance requires hours of teaching and training for renewal for this very reason. A Certified and Registered Yoga instructor has dedicated time to improving their yoga and teaching. This makes the teacher a much more attractive job candidate for individual students and especially gyms or other organizations.
Some wonder if maintaining your registration with the Yoga Alliance is really worth it. After all, most students do not check into a yoga teacher’s RYT status when picking their class. However, joining the Yoga Alliance has many benefits including access to resources, more credibility, a place in their directory, and more.
Renewal is also important because it forces yoga teachers to keep learning. With yoga still skyrocketing in popularity, it is important that yoga teachers be required to continue learning. Otherwise, the high demand could result in a lack of overall quality in the industry. Renewal of registration displays a commitment to quality that will bolster the entire yoga industry.
It may not be required, but maintaining your registration with the Yoga Alliance and your certification from your particular school is a good idea if you want to teach yoga. These things are a stamp of approval that can make your road as an instructor smoother and keep you at the top of your game.
Possible Importance in the Future
While currently yoga certification is not legally required in the United States, the ever-increasing popularity of yoga may change that in the future. If the yoga industry continues to expand then the government may be inclined to put regulations in place.
If that does happen, a certification will likely play a role in legal licensing to teach yoga. As such, for many yoga instructors, it is probably best to maintain their certification/registration in anticipation of a day in which that may be required.
Your certification and registration as a yoga teacher can expire if steps are not taken to renew it periodically. However, renewal and even a certification are not legally required to teach yoga. Despite the lack of legal requirements, maintaining an updated yoga teacher certification is a sign of quality and dedication that will ultimately benefit teachers and students.