I recently received my yoga teacher training certificate from a 200-hr hatha yoga program that I completed in San Francisco at The Yoga Loft. The program ended in February, but it took me a few months to finish up the apprenticeship because of my move to Los Angeles. We were required to begin an apprenticeship with a teacher from the faculty, which involves attending 15 of their public classes and then observing them for 10 hours. Long story short, it took me a few extra months to finish the observation but I finally did it! Now here we are, ‘diploma’ in hand and I’m really not sure what to do next. Originally there was no doubt in my mind what I was going to do – begin an Iyengar program following the end of the current training and register with the Yoga Alliance as a 200-hour certified teacher in the mean time. That way I’d be legit, right? I assumed that most studios and gyms would expect a 200-hour certification at the very least and having my Yoga Alliance registration would mean I had some legitimacy in the field. Deep down I realize that there are plenty of amazing teachers that probably have never bothered to register with Yoga Alliance and on the flip side there are probably plenty of registered teachers that aren’t qualified to teach. Nevertheless, it seemed like the right thing to do. Yoga Alliance is supposed to give me some kind of benefit, right? At least that is the impression I’m given when I go onto their website and wind through the laundry list of things I have to do to actually become registered with them. Ok, it’s not horrific, but there are a few things that have to be done: fill out an application form, photocopy the completed certificate from the training program attended, pay a $25 application fee, and then a $55 registration fee. The registration is only good for one year, so subsequently you have to renew your membership each year, for another $55. There’s another kicker, to keep in good standing with your registration you have to complete a certain number of hours of Continuing Education credits over a three-year period. 75 hours to be exact – 45 hours of teaching in a classroom setting and 30 hours of continuing education units, 10 of which have to be ‘contact’ hours. I think it’s pretty much a given that I will continue my education in yoga far beyond the hours I spend in my current program, but it’s kind of a pain to have to make sure I document them all and turn them in to the YA.
I guess my big question is IS IT WORTH IT? What do I get in return? Will I really not get hired by a studio because I can’t hand over proof of my YA registration? Seeing as how being registered with the YA means absolutely nothing to the Iyengar community and my certification as an Iyengar teacher is this whole discussion totally moot? I imagined that I would begin to teach in some kind of casual setting between now and the time I actually reach certification as an Iyengar teacher. So that being said, I thought it might be handy to have the YA back-up plan. Especially since I would most likely end up teaching at a gym or some kind of similar setting.
There is so much debate happening right now in the yoga world over the YA and what they are and are not doing for their members. As many of you have probably heard, states are beginning to target yoga studios for regulation and licensing. There is a huge debate over this subject on the web, in blogs and forums. Some are saying that the YA is completely useless and is simply an empty institution taking our money for zero returns. I’ve even read from some that the current belief is the YA might cease to exist in the coming years because of their missteps in the whole state licensing debate. Many yogis are outraged that the YA has done nothing to step up and defend studios from being bullied by state legislators that want to charge them outrageous fees to become licensed. It wasn’t until this current debate that I began to ask myself what’s the point? If the YA may not even exist in the next few years should I just save my $55 and hope that I can find places to teach that will base their decisions on something more concrete than whether or not I have that piece of paper?
I’d love to hear what others think of this and if they are having the same issue.
I too have pondered the question – is it worth it? I’ve spoken about getting my yoga certification for years. I’ve also taught yoga for years. I’ve decided that I’m going to get certified this year, not necessarily for the certificate but for the knowledge gained through the intense study and disciplined yoga technique and methodology.
I’ve researched many YA certified schools as well as home courses. I’ve struggled with cost and distance (the nearest school is 2 hours from my home.) I’ve also struggled with do I get a certification that is YA compliant or do I register with YA after the fact, etc.
I’ve also researched Yoga Alliance and thus far I’ve I’ve come to NO conclusion that Yoga Alliance is the definitive way to go. I firmly believe in continued education and growth but I don’t believe it should be dictated insofar as if I don’t pay a fee I lose a 200 hour certification. That knowledge didn’t get lost on the wind!
Continued Education – Yes!
Dictated by an entity asking for a fee – No!
Yearly Registration Fee to stay certified -No!
Personally, I’ve been teaching full time since 1996 and have never been interested in joining YA. Do Gyms and studios ask you for a YA certification? I’ve never been asked. Let your body of work speak for itself. Practice, learn, go deeper, share. Don’t let the illusion of YA and certification stop you.
I agree. I’ve been teaching since 2003. Not registered with YA. I have over 10,000 of documented teaching.
thanks for this Richard, i just became a teacher and i have been discouraged since i do not have the money right now to cover all cost to be registered . so i feel inspired !
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Absolutely, the knowledge didn’t get lost in the wind. I completed my Y-200 HR in May 2010 and was amazed to find that I had to pay 80 dollars US (I am Canadian) to be registered, and then follow it up every year with another 55 dollars. Moreover, I quickly discovered that YA doesn’t bother to check whether or not the studios they also endorse (for a substantial fee) even follow their “standards.” Worse, if you want to appeal to them about such matters, they have no protocol for dealing with it: they never even bothered to set one up.
Perhaps most surprising is that many YA certified studios here in Windsor, Canada, don’t hire exclusively YA certified instructors, even those that paid them thousands of dollars to do their training there. One would have thought this was a basic element of any certification, but alas tis not the case.
All one can do I guess, is keep practicing and hope that eventually people will discover that the point of yoga is love, breath and compassion, rather than money, money, money!
In 14 years of teaching, I have never been asked to present YA cert for a yoga teaching job. It may be worth it for new teachers lacking other credentials – I am not sure. Personally, my teacher training programs (I’ve done two big ones), ongoing studies, and teaching experience have gotten me plenty of work. And if you continue on to get full Iyengar certification, that will certainly be enough street cred, IMO.
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Thank you for posting, I am just two months from completing my 200 hr yoga teacher training and this is important to know.
Thank you very much for this discussion! I work full-time and have just completed a 30-hour teaching internship after 200++ hours of a 9-month-long training for certification (and after having had many, many years of rigorous practice). My teacher training program was excellent and held to a very high standard. On the other hand, I know of a YA registered, certified instructor who zipped through a very “soft” program in a matter of days. What does it signify? I too question the usefulness of an alliance with YA.
I attended a training program with a studio owner who would get visibly drunk during our sessions. Like, falling down, N Bomb dropping drunk. It was insane. A couple of other times, she cancelled because she was too hung over to teach. In our group of about seven or eight teachers in training she only gave two their certificate, but she never rescheduled her cancelled training classes! After her N Bomb night I told her I was done with her studio, which forfeited me receiving my certificate. I wrote a detailed letter to the Alliance, and met with them when they came to Arkansas. They flat out told me that they were an “online directory” and would not get involved with disputes concerning studio owners and members.
So to answer your question, ABSOLUTELY NOT
I still teach just fine without it; the Yoga Alliance is nothing but a scam.
I have been Certified since 2001. Never “bought” into the Yoga Alliance thing. Already paid a lot in training fees. Never stopped me from working. All my work has come from word of mouth. Prefer it that way.
There’s supposed to be enough space for us ALL.
*recently relocated, am looking for my space here in Tampa, FL
Any preferred studios?
All the best to you on your pathway!
Your comments helped me as my renewal time arrived. Thanks guys!
I completed the YogaWorks 200 hour course this past July and I was very pleased with the training and our instructor. We received a certificate of completion PLUS a letter stating that we were now eligible for registration with YA. I have since been teaching regularly at a health club and at two different yoga studios. At all three of these I was only asked about my training and experience – never a question about YA registration. I purchased my own liability insurance policy through Philadelphia Insurance and their underwriting questions were also about training and experience with no requirement for YA registration.
I am also a Level 3 Certified Alpine ski instructor with the Professional Ski Instructors of America. PSIA defines itself as an educational organization and it provides a wide range of outstanding classes and workshops. PSIA also requires extensive testing for members to achieve the various levels of certification. PSIA and its regional divisions are a nationally-recognized organization within the snowsports industry. Certification requirements are rigorous and standardized, unlike Yoga Alliance, which seems to only require payment of dues.
I think the comparison between the two organizations might be useful for this discussion.
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