is yoga alliance right for you

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How Important is Yoga Alliance for Teachers?

One of the most common questions I receive during yoga teacher training is about registering with the Yoga Alliance after graduation.

The decision to register with the Yoga Alliance is a personal one. Whichever direction you choose to go, make sure it’s the right one for you.

what is yoga alliance

Yoga Alliance is a private, non-profit organization created in 1999/2000 to provide a standard of education for yoga teachers.

👉 However, they are NOT a certifying body like ACE or AFAA, and they state this clearly on their website. They do not issue certificates of any kind. No local, state, or federal government sanctions the organization in order to hold any RYT or RYS accountable.

Becoming an RYT is completely voluntary.

what is a registered yoga teacher

What does it mean to be a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT)?

It means:

1. Completing a Yoga Alliance approved teacher training program like Purple Lotus Yoga.
2. Obtaining a certificate of completion from that program.
3. Sending a copy of that certificate to the YA.
4. Paying an annual fee to YA which allows you to use the designation of RYT.
5. Being added to their registry {database} of teachers.

Voila! You are now an RYT.

downside of yoga alliance

In one blog post, the author states, “A Yoga Alliance certificate does not denote the credibility it claims.”

First, Yoga Alliance (YA) is not a certifying body and doesn’t issue certificates. The certificate you earn during teacher training allows to register with YA and use the designation of RYT.

Another downside is the standards are designed mostly for posture-based yoga practices. It doesn’t take into account the many forms of yoga.

They have tried to address this issue by making the categories broad enough to encompass the many ways yoga can be taught.

This means not all teacher training programs are created equally and leads to disparately different programs. Many teachers participate in a second training program because the first one, even ones approved by YA, fell short of their expectations and needs.

Finally, most places outside of the yoga community like fitness centers, corporations, and school districts, have never heard of Yoga Alliance.

upside of yoga alliance

The expanded standards have helped to weed out people completing a 200-hour level training then jumping into teaching instructors.

For many yoga industry professionals, registering with the Yoga Alliance is an important step. Its a badge of honor, and additional accomplishment their proud to display.

Over the last couple of years, more therapists and counselors are adding yoga training to their practices, and they want both the certificate and the designation.

experience above all else

In my twenty years of practicing, I’ve learned that book knowledge can only get you so far.

Practice teaching on other training participants is good. However, in order for teachers to truly learn and grow they must actually be teaching to real live students.

Think about your own practice.

Was your main concern when selecting a class (besides fitting into your schedule) about whether or not the teacher was registered with Yoga Alliance?

Probably not.

An RYT designation after someone’s name does not guarantee they are a great teacher.

My own knowledge came through a mentorship. Yoga Alliance was not yet formed and formal teacher training programs were a distant idea. The fact that both my mentor and I never went through an organized/formalized 200-hour yoga teacher training program does nothing to lessen our experience and ability.

Time and experience made us better teachers.

to register (or not) with yoga alliance

Ultimately each teacher must decide how important being an RYT is to them. Do your research. Only you can know if it’s a step you want to take after graduating from teacher training.

Talk to your favorite teachers and find out whether they registered with the Yoga Alliance. You’ll probably find the score similarly split.

Check out the additional blog posts on the controversy surrounding Yoga Alliance:

  1. https://fourelementsyoga.wordpress.com/2010/09/26/yoga-alliance-registration-is-it-worth-it/
  2. http://www.jbrownyoga.com/blog/2011/11/yoga-alliance-approved-my-ass

final thoughts on yoga alliance

I’ve been involved with YA since 2002 both as a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) and a Registered Yoga School (RYS).

Purple Lotus Yoga has been an RYS since 2003. I continue to renew my membership because for many individuals being able to register with YA is important factor in their decision to enroll in my training.

Since I’ve been teaching yoga longer than YA has been an organization AND was one of the first individuals to teach yoga in my area, maintaining my RYT wasn’t important to me.

However with some of their recent standards updates, I renewed my RYT in 2021 in order to also become a YACEP. Now clients can take certain training courses for continuing education credit.

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Shannon with Purple Lotus Yoga
hi! I'm Shannon

For 20 years, I’ve helped women of all ages and sizes to realize their dreams of becoming inspiring yoga teachers. 

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