Teach Yoga While Attending College

Yoga is a path to find your true self and to honor that journey in your life. As you know, yoga teacher trainings can help you strengthen and deepen your yoga practice, delve into your bliss and discover your true nature. Perhaps your daily practice and yoga teacher trainings have guided you to return to a more conventional educational journey.

Teaching yoga while you attend college can serve you well in many different ways. It can help you reduce stress and maintain your focus, while earning money to support your goals.

Whether you’re undertaking a stringent medical school itinerary or paving your way into the arts through a four-year degree, your yoga teacher trainings and a yoga lifestyle will help you to:

  • Maintain focus during lectures
  • Improve your memory
  • Relieve stress
  • Help you sleep soundly
  • Remember your purpose in life
  • Pay the bills

Continue Yoga Teacher Trainings

If you’re a registered yoga teacher (RYT) attending college, you can pursue additional yoga training to both boost your credentials and enhance your class offerings without cutting into your academic schedule. Yoga schools such as the Asheville Yoga Center offer classes on weekends, in the evenings and for brief periods of time.

  • During spring break, take a weeklong children’s or senior’s certification course
  • Immerse yourself in a 3-week intensive program during summer vacation
  • Earn advanced credentials on weekends
  • Sign up for flexible weekday and evening courses

Moreover, as a yoga teacher, you can create your own schedule. Whether you offer classes though your own business or work at an established yoga studio, you have the flexibility to teach when your school and study schedules allow, a benefit not always available with other part-time jobs.

Yoga Teacher Trainings to Enhance Curriculum

Yoga is a practice that aligns very well with a number of other career paths. Another benefit of teaching while you attend college is that you can apply much of what you’ve learned to your studies.

Fields of study that are enhanced by your yoga teacher trainings include:

  • Chiropractor
  • Doctor/PA
  • Nurse/Medical Practitioner
  • Psychologist/Counselor
  • Schoolteacher/Academic
  • Nutritionist/Chef
  • Business owner/Manager

Doctors and other medical care providers turn to alternative medicine on a regular basis, particularly when they run out of options in their traditional healing methods. By entering into the healthcare field with a deep understanding of how stress affects the body — and how much relief patients can achieve through yoga, you will become a well-rounded physician.

Working in the mental health field, you can enhance your coaching and guidance skills by relying on the discipline you achieved through your own yoga teacher trainings, as well as through the daily practice you enjoy. During and after your college coursework, you’ll possess a wealth of information to share with clients seeking relief in a stressful world.

Caveats to Consider

While going to school and teaching yoga can provide a meaningful and prosperous way to fulfill your dreams, there are challenges and consequences to consider. Remember Buddha’s Five Remembrances that refer to the nature of being human and the frailty that is our reality. Prepare yourself for setbacks, failures, loss and change.

Like many people who wear many hats and take on significant responsibilities, you may find:

  • You have trouble concentrating on your studies when you are immersed in yoga practices
  • You may be too tired to stick with your yoga routines
  • It may take you longer than expected to study
  • You may question your resolve
  • You could get burnt out

While these all are common challenges that can strike any yoga teacher, students pursuing other paths may encounter contradictions and complications more than others. The call of the secular world may create an inner struggle that becomes difficult to overcome. The challenges may wear you out.

Yoga is a practice that aligns very well with a number of other career paths.

Coping for Students

Fortunately, because of the skills you gained from a registered program like those offered at the Asheville Yoga Center, you know how to cope. When pressure mounts, stop and breathe. Remember why you chose the path you’re on and what you hope to achieve.

Before you burn out, try these tips:

  • Carve out time for mini-yoga sessions
  • Practice chair yoga while you’re in long lectures
  • Reduce the number of classes you teach
  • Ask another yoga teacher to take an occasional class when you have a big test
  • Wake up 30 minutes earlier each day to meditate
  • Reduce or avoid caffeine, nicotine and other stimulating substances
  • Go to bed earlier
  • Eat warm, healthy meals
  • Carve out time to be with supportive friends

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide 


The Components of Yoga Teacher Certification

When you begin your path toward becoming a yoga teacher, you may find that a variety of the requirements test your body, mind and spirit. Yoga teacher training will push you to the edge of your abilities. It’s necessary to bring out the best yogi or yogini in you. A yoga teacher certification program presents a number of yoga styles, practices and philosophies for you to learn and embody. Before you can even begin your training, however, you must be ready to embrace the most basic components of the practice.

Get Your Head Together

Author Joseph Campbell inspired readers to “follow your bliss.” Is your bliss to become a yoga teacher? Once you feel moved to follow this path, you will know it and be able to give yourself fully to the task. After you make the decision to do whatever’s necessary to earn a yoga teacher certification, then all the pieces will fall together to enable you to make the dream a reality. Certified programs like those offered at the Asheville Yoga Center provide the classroom environment and qualified teachers. They give you opportunities to learn. They evaluate you every step of the way. Only you, though, can truthfully assess your desire and temperament to follow your training through to the end. Only you can determine your dedication to yoga as a lifestyle. Only you can appreciate your devotion to continue and succeed.

Learn the Fundamentals

If you want to work toward yoga teacher certification through a certified yoga teacher training program like Asheville Yoga Center’s, you must start with a 200-hour program. This basic course teaches the essential components that you will need to become a yoga teacher. This level of instruction will improve how you approach your own daily practice, but it also will help you learn important skills:

• The ability to communicate clearly

• How to teach basic alignment

• The connectedness of the musculoskeletal structure

• How to touch your students

• The importance of a stable meditation practice

• How yoga philosophies can impact your practice

Study Basic Anatomy

In a class you are leading, you must protect your students’ health. It’s up to you to know their health concerns and how your instruction may put them at risk. Therefore, you have to have a deep understanding of human anatomy, including how the body moves. Throughout your yoga teacher certification coursework, you’ll become familiar with your own anatomy through your daily yoga practice and from participating in classes. Working with a yoga class partner, you’ll quickly learn to set appropriate boundaries and sense the limitations of another’s body. You’ll come to recognize fundamental musculoskeletal anatomy. You’ll develop a vocabulary to teach yoga poses using language that takes its cues from your anatomy. You’ll study some basic nutrition to better understand why diet is important in your daily life.

Learn How to Teach Basic Alignment

Proper alignment is the key to a safe yoga practice. As a teacher, it’s up to you to assist your students so they can find the posture that best serves their abilities and potential. By positioning their bodies properly, your students will be able to move their practice into a comfort zone. If they can safely move their practice forward, you will gain devoted students. Yoga teacher certification involves learning a vocabulary to help your students find the alignment and stability they need to accomplish difficult poses. The certification program will teach you the techniques to help students figure out their comfort zones within each posture.

Understand When and How to Touch Your Students

As a yoga teacher, you have to become comfortable enough with the human body to be able to touch your students. If you can gain their trust by touching them in non-threatening ways to help them improve their practice, they will appreciate your technique and learn to trust you. During your training program, you’ll have to adjust your class partner in specific poses. You’ll have to make hands-on adjustments. Your yoga teacher certification coursework will provide you with practical expertise so that when you lead your first class, you can approach it with experience and confidence.

Enliven Your Meditations

In addition to having a daily yoga practice, you must already be meditating regularly when you start your yoga teacher certification classes. During the program, you’ll enliven both practices. You’ll be expected to participate in class discussions about the role of meditation in a yoga practice. As you learn to appreciate what meditation can do for you, you’ll naturally strengthen your devotion to your meditation practice. You’ll also be more willing to share your experiences with your students. Throughout the length of your program, you may have to keep a daily meditation journal, a practice that may give you the words to encourage your students to start meditating.

Learn How to Communicate Effectively

The training you’ll receive will cover the most effective ways to communicate yoga pose nuances. You have to be able to explain how to do the poses; otherwise, you won’t be able to communicate the importance of mindfulness in yoga or the relevance of a good diet and a healthy lifestyle. As a yoga teacher certification student, you must learn to communicate with confidence and clarity. Yoga teachers who do this inspire their students to challenge themselves. Skillful communication is one of the most important lessons you’ll learn because it’s one of the most apparent. You can know all there is to know about yoga, but if you can’t communicate it, you won’t keep students.

Learn Yoga History and Philosophies

Well-rounded yoga teacher training programs, like those the Asheville Yoga Center offers, often require you to learn the history and the philosophies of yoga. Reading yoga philosophies will help you understand the traditions and practices that you previously hadn’t even considered. That’s why yoga teacher certification courses require it. Some programs include chanting, mantras and chakras into the coursework. All can deepen your spiritual appreciation of your yoga practice while strengthening your mind-body connection during your daily practice. Your yoga teacher certification program may encourage you to read from the rich and varied history of yoga, including the Bhagavad Gita and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. These books may spur you to read more to better comprehend yoga’s role in a balanced lifestyle.

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide 

Focus & Communication —

Two Skills a Yoga Teacher Needs

In the universe of skills you need to develop during your yoga instructor training, two of the most vital are: learning how to focus and learning how to communicate effectively. Your training will teach you both skills, but first you must learn to listen. While you will learn to focus outside yourself, you also may find freedom as you focus within.

When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.

—Peace Pilgrim

Maintain Drishti

Drishti is a valuable technique for keeping your focus on reality. During yoga instructor training, you will practice developing the concentration you will need when you assume the role of teacher. In the meanwhile, maintain drishti while performing your own daily yoga routine. Your attention follows your eyes, so you must learn how to overcome the distractions of the world. In a classroom, you may have students who giggle, dress inappropriately or come to class unwashed. When you begin teaching, whether for yourself or for another, you will accrue bills and responsibilities that may lead to worry and stress. At all times, the world presses in to distract you. Even while you are immersed in yoga instructor training, you will be tempted to judge your instructors, your fellow students and the center itself. Never is it more important to develop the yoga technique called drishti.

Practice Seeing Truth

To still your racing mind, strive to eliminate distractions and see the world as it is. While training to become a yoga teacher, learn to see the world through a soft gaze that guides your focus to the inner essence of a thing. Students often struggle to force their gazes away from a thing that pulls on their attention. Instead, maintain a non-judgmental, detached gaze. When your inner peace becomes disrupted and the distractions around you scream for attention, that’s when you must find stability and balance. If you cannot tame your thoughts, focus on people and things outside yourself; when the environment beckons your attention, focus on the peace within. In the Yoga Sutra, Patanjali explains that too often you don’t see the world as it truly is. Instead, you become deluded with false premises and wrong perceptions. As part of yoga instructor training, you will discover how to end the confusion wrought by false illusions. Then you will see the world correctly.

Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at that moment. It is part of the isness of the Now. You can’t argue with what is. Well, you can, but if you do, you suffer.

—Eckhart Tolle

Share the Focus

The relationships you form during your yoga instructor training serve as the basis upon which you will build your own yoga following. The relationship that exists between the student and the teacher goes beyond the physical, but this inner connection requires focus to survive in the outer world. The link that exists between the compassionate teacher and the devoted student can endure with conscious attention. In your yoga instructor training, you are but a student. When experienced teachers, such as those you’ll encounter at the Asheville Yoga Center, show you kindness and inspiration, you will naturally develop deep respect for them. Your bond will grow as you endure the challenges of an immersion learning process. The experience will leave you with a longing to lead your own classes and develop a similar bond with your students. To achieve this level of focus, listen and hear how your teachers communicate that reality.

Listen and Become Ready

In yoga instructor training, you must be able to listen to the lessons and hear the truth. Communication is a two-way street, but during your training, you must sit squarely in the receiver’s seat. If your goal is to become like your teacher, learn how to give the compassion and wisdom that you so richly receive in your program. Your role is to listen and inherit the blessings communicated to you during training. Once you have perfected the ability to focus on the kindness of your teachers, once you can intuit how they communicate with love the principles embodied in your yoga instructor training, then the relationship of teacher and student is ready to turn around. And you will inherit the role of teacher.

A person experiences life as something separated from the rest — Our task must be to free ourselves from this self-imposed prison, and through compassion, to find the reality of Oneness.

—Albert Einstein

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide 

How Do You Become a Yoga Instructor When You’re Over 50?

The easiest answer is to practice every day, increase your knowledge of yoga, challenge yourself to go deeper into your practice and take the required courses to earn your certification. Your age doesn’t matter.

Benefits of Aging

As a matter of fact, you may even be better suited to the role of instructor than some of your younger counterparts. After all, you’ve most likely been practicing longer and have a regular practice routine. You know your abilities and your limitations, and you’ve embraced your maturity. You know that your mind is sharper; you are more flexible and you have stronger bones than seniors who have not yet experienced the benefits of a daily yoga practice. You are more centered and confident in your skills. You have the resources and the time. When others ask, “How do you become a yoga instructor?” — you can tell them exactly how and why you’ve made the choice.

Define Your Reasons

Your reason may vary from others over the age of 50 who embark on this journey, but your reasons must be solid and sure. You will have to become a student as you prepare to become the teacher. So no matter what your personal reasons — whether you just want to expand your own horizons or create a new business opportunity — your purpose should be well-defined and completely yours. As you finalize your decision to teach yoga, your own practice will become more focused. Your curiosity about all things yoga will expand. Your understanding of the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of yoga will deepen. You move from asking how do you become a yoga instructor to actually finding out.

Study and Grow

Begin to challenge yourself before your classes even start. Deepen your personal practice to prepare yourself for the physical and emotional rigors of an immersive training experience, such as you’ll experience in a program at the Asheville Yoga Center. Read everything you can get your hands on about the various yoga philosophies and how they might affect your own practice. Remain aware of your limitations and your need to learn more. No matter how old you are, you must become childlike in your desire to study and learn.

Embrace Your Motivations

Oftentimes, when seniors are asked how do you become a yoga instructor at your age, they aren’t always sure why they are exploring the path or how they can explain their motivations to others. It really doesn’t matter if others understand your intentions, only that you are committed. You are the critic to whom you must answer. Anyone can do yoga, but not everyone can properly teach yoga. When you come from a place of love and acceptance of your own age and wisdom and embrace the values that drive your commitment to become a yogi or yogini who shares that passion with others, your motivation is clear. Your commitment will not wane as the challenges appear.

How do You Become a Yoga Instructor After 50?

You do it with the zest and excitement of a child, balanced by the knowledge that you have reached midlife and you have made a decision to change. You tackle the challenge with eagerness, knowing that you’ve reared your children, taken care of a family, had a successful career or enjoyed personal success in other arenas. Becoming a yoga teacher later in life may actually be better for you because you won’t enter into the field with doubts or regrets of what other path you may have followed. You’ll know. You become a yoga teacher after the age of 50 with grace and style. You become the person you were meant to be and by following your bliss, the finances, the physical stamina and emotional strength will follow.

You Prefer the Challenges of Life

You should not underestimate the challenges of yoga instructor training. You prepare by stepping up your physical readiness, you maintain a healthy, balanced diet and you increase your mindful meditation. Then you can move forward into training mode, excited about the possibilities, not fearful of the limitations your age may place upon you. The most critical limitations are those you place upon yourself. Do not let others try to discourage your intention or water your motivation with doubt. This, in fact, may actually be the perfect time to become a yoga instructor.

When asked how do you become a yoga instructor at your age, respond with zeal: “Watch me!”

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide 


10 Tips for Leading a Yoga Class

Yoga teacher training can take you only so far. You still have to actually lead a yoga class by yourself. If you’ve trained at Asheville Yoga Center, you’ve had some experience that gave you the foundation for success. Like life, yoga requires continual learning and a curious approach. Incorporate new ideas, such as the 10 tips below, continue with your formal training and learn through trial and error, and you’ll discover the techniques to lead a yoga class successfully.

1. Teach Consciously

When you lead a class, draw from your yoga teachers training and your personal yoga practice. Remember how difficult certain poses were for you. Expect similar difficulties from your students, and help them before they even realize they need help. Your students will think you’re reading their minds, when in reality you’re really reading their bodies.

When you model poses with the class, explain the intricacies of the asana. Highlight the common areas your students may be holding instead of letting go. Emphasize where they need to focus their attention. Point out where their alignments may slip.

2. Model Behavior

When you know your postures and sequences intimately, you can model them to your class. Show them what the asana should look like when done right. Use your yoga teachers training to find the right words to convey the important details of the pose. The class will mimic you and pay attention to what you emphasize.

When you’re in front of a class, you have to be perfect in your poses. You have to know where you are in the lesson and what’s coming next, so you can transition the class from one pose to the next. Modeling the transitions is as important as the postures themselves, especially to keep your students from getting hurt.

3. Get Off Your Mat

It’s fine to model the poses for your class. It’s important to show visually what exactly you mean with your verbal cues when teaching an asana. People really do learn that way, with the auditory messages reinforcing what they see.

But in order to really lead a class, you have to get off your mat and engage your students. You have to get hands-on and make those minor adjustments that result in a major difference. Modeling only reveals so much about a pose. Students will not be able to mirror you exactly, so bring yoga teachers training to them.

4. Attain Balance

Some yoga asanas, such as Downward Facing Dog, work both sides of the body at the same time. Others, like Triangle Pose, work on one side at a time. When you’re teaching a class, it’s easy to say everything you know about the posture while the class is still in the first part of the pose.

One of the skills yoga teachers training teaches you is to balance your instruction so you have meaningful comments for both sides of an asana. One way to do this is to explain the basics of the pose on one side and the details on the other. However you do it, make absolutely sure that you hold the pose equally long on both sides.

5. Let Your Students Breathe

You don’t have to fill every moment with chatter, even if it’s instructive chatter. You can make their experience memorable merely by getting out of the way. Keep your attention on your students so you can give them what they need. Sometimes, that means silent time to let them focus on their bodies and their minds.

As you learned in your yoga teachers training, the class isn’t about you. It’s all about your students. Teach with authority, but guide with humility. When you don’t feel the need to fill every silence, your students will listen more carefully when you do speak.

6. Be Prepared for Anything

Surrender to whatever happens in your classroom. Your yoga teachers training at the Asheville Yoga Center taught you that you are not really in control. Embrace your lessons, but accept that the unexpected will happen.

Only with this attitude can you lead a class. You may learn as much from your students as they learn from you. If you’re too rigid in your approach to teaching, you will not be flexible enough to deal with whatever happens. Yoga advocates flexibility in body and mind, so take that attitude to your classroom.

7. Keep a Flexible Plan

Just as you need to keep a flexible attitude, you will learn to adapt to the classroom environment. One pose may be more challenging for your class than you anticipated. You may have to answer a question with a lengthy explanation.

Whatever the reason, sometimes your class won’t go according to plan. Yoga teachers training required flexibility. Your class plan also should reflect a certain amount of flexibility. Go with the flow, so your students get what they need from your class.

8. Know Your Students’ Levels

If you have a roomful of seniors, you should know how to explain the asanas, based on your yoga teachers training. You know what to look for in your students and where they will likely need help.

But if you have a class of mixed-level students, remember you need to challenge the more advanced students while providing easier options for the beginners. Sometimes, you may have to use aids or blocks. That’s all right, because the point is to keep your students safe while advancing their individual yoga practices.

9. Teach, Don’t Lead

The difference has to do with goals. If your goal is to show your students a new sequence that you came up with, then you’re leading a class, even if you spend time explaining and demonstrating each asana.

But if your goal is to move your students forward in their yoga practice and knowledge, then the sequence becomes secondary to helping your students evolve. You have to spend time with them, getting them not only aligned properly, but also to understand why it matters. You have to teach them.

10. Mention Your Name

One tip rarely mentioned in yoga teachers training is the line between self-promotion and ego-stroking. If your students enjoy your class and benefit from it, they’ll want to return. Make sure they know your name! This isn’t about the ego; it’s about helping students find you. It’s about earning a living from doing what you love. And that’s as important as anything else you do in the classroom.

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide 


Yoga & Emotions — On Becoming A Yoga Teacher

Yoga, when done regularly and with intention, is known as a way to integrate your mind, body and spirit. Through a mindful yoga practice, you can learn to better control your emotions and bring peace and harmony to your outer and inner lives.

This is but one reason yoga teacher training programs, like the ones offered by the Asheville Yoga Center, want their students to have a daily yoga practice before starting. When you’re thinking of becoming a yoga teacher, you need to be prepared to share the bliss with others. You need to teach from a centered, grounded place.

So what happens when you’re up in front of a class, and a student in the back row continually interrupts you? What do you do if you find your anger rising and your muscles tensing? Or what would happen if you find yourself attracted to one of your students to the point of distraction? What can you do? Call for a recess?

You Can Control Your Emotions

You can stay calm in the midst of chaos and learn how to control your emotions. Yoga helps drive your thoughts inward, to explore the rich, fertile soil there. Meditation, in fact, is an integral part of a yoga practice. It’s a technique used to learn more about yourself, including your emotional state. This is why most yoga teacher training programs require you to meditate when you’re in the process of becoming a yoga teacher. Meditation clears and calms the mind. It helps you integrate your many facets — the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual — into one cohesive whole. It also helps you stay grounded and in control. Being in control of yourself is like the difference between swimming and canoeing. If you’re struggling with a situation, you’re swimming in it. If you can remain calm in the midst of a situation, you’re paddling through it. You’re in it, but it\’s not in you.

Becoming a Yoga Teacher Has Responsibilities

When you take on the responsibilities of leading a yoga class, it’s up to you to ensure the physical and emotional safety of your students. Furthermore, you have to use your position to move their practices forward, whether through alignment or instruction. You must, therefore, remain in control of your emotions at all times. You must be able to work with all kinds of people and stay focused. Becoming a yoga teacher is a serious endeavor. To master the skills, you have to learn not only the yoga poses and philosophies, but human anatomy and human psychology as well. When you lead a class, you must remain in control. Everyone is looking to you for guidance and expertise. Students want personal attention. Many will vie to be your favorite. You cannot afford to show favoritism or shower too much attention on any one student. You have to stay objective and detached — something you can’t do if your emotions get in the way.

What to Do If You Lose Control

Whenever you begin to feel yourself losing control, one trick is to focus on your breath. Your breath always follows your emotional state. When you’re angry, for example, your breath gets short and quick. On the other hand, when you’re calm, your breath is deep and slow. If you can slow your breath, you can abate your anger. You may learn other techniques when you’re becoming a yoga teacher. For example, pay particular attention to your emotions at the beginning of the class. Since yoga lowers your blood pressure during the course of a class, it will be highest at the start of class. If you enter a class collected and together, you’re more likely to remain in that state.

More Tips for Quieting Your Mind

Whether or not you’re becoming a yoga teacher, a regular meditation and yoga practice will go a long way to provide you with inner peace and harmony. Still, it’s not often easy to stay calm when you re-enter life off your mat. Things happen over which you have no control. So here are a few more tips to help you maintain that serenity no matter where you go:

• Eat healthy. For best results, try a vegetarian diet.

• Avoid garlic, onion and heavy spices, which can rile up the mind.

• Do breathing exercises (pranayama).

• Practice mindfulness all the time.

• Give of yourself. Selfless service can do wonders for your frame of mind.

When you are becoming a yoga teacher, your instructors may encourage you to “be yourself” when you lead a class while acting within respected boundaries. That means keeping your emotions in check.

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide 

Becoming a Yoga Teacher in Demand

While yoga continues to grow in popularity across the country, the number of certified yoga teachers also grows. But you are not too late to jump on the bandwagon, as the 20-plus million Americans practicing yoga will attest. There is always room for someone who is in the process of becoming a yoga teacher in demand.

Being a successful yoga instructor means you are fostering respect, enthusiasm, and loyalty. If you’re in demand, students are waiting to get into your classes, and you are supporting yourself financially by sharing the practice you love.

There may be as many as 70,000 certified yoga teachers in the country, according to one study, but that includes all levels of experience and success. There are more on their way to becoming a yoga teacher. Still, the yoga instructors making a living solely from their teaching are far fewer. With the right training — such as what you’ll receive at the Asheville Yoga Center — and the right mix of talent and marketing, you can join them.

Start on the Right Path

When you first consider becoming a yoga teacher, do your homework. Find the programs near you (or near where you want to be) or the programs that offer the best mix of instruction and hands-on exercises. Find out all you can about the programs before you contact them. Get the curriculum and the required reading list. Look into the backgrounds of their instructors. Asheville Yoga Center, for example, offers multiple programs to fit the needs of its students. It also features excellent instructors for a range of topics from different yoga traditions. And they explore the philosophies behind the asanas. You can get a well-rounded education there.

More Tips

To get to be successful as a yoga instructor, though, you need more than training and experience. Here are some tips to help you move from a yoga teacher to a yoga teacher in demand:

• Consider why people take yoga classes. As yoga goes mainstream, Americans are using the practice to find inner strength, inner balance, and harmony in their lives. If you can deliver on all these fronts, you will build a devoted following.

• Befriend other yoga teachers. You can learn a lot even after you become a certified yoga instructor. Find out what other teachers are doing and emulate them if it resonates with you. Teaching yoga isn’t a cutthroat business. While you may find a rotten apple in the bunch, most are sweet and nurturing.

• Keep up your own practice. When you thought about becoming a yoga teacher, you practiced often, exploring the asanas and your own body reactions. Don’t stop now; in fact, you should intensify your own practice if you want to achieve success as a yoga instructor.

• Have a plan for each class, but be prepared to change it if necessary. Students know if you’re not prepared, but they also respect a teacher who can deviate from the prepared plan to delve into a specific pose in more detail. You can do this with a solid foundation.

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide 

8 Ways to a Peaceful Class

When you first asked how do you become a yoga instructor, you probably weren’t thinking of becoming a peacemaker, negotiator or disciplinarian. The focus of your answer to How do you become a yoga instructor was more likely on the poses, the marketing and the yoga philosophies that drew you to the teaching path. Fear not, you will learn asanas and philosophies, along with deep breathing and quiet meditation techniques.

Become the arbiter of good and respectful behavior. It’s inevitable. Yoga students come to you from a wide range of backgrounds with varying sets of baggage. But how do you become a yoga instructor in the midst of chaos? The most successful teachers learn through training and practice. Even when it seems as if the negative will destroy your bliss, you will learn how to handle it with grace. Here are eight tips to help you on your journey.

1. Spell Out Your Conditions

When asked, how do you become a yoga instructor when you have to deal with so many differing opinions and states of mind, you answer with a clear set of rules. Write down your class guidelines that include such behaviors as tardiness, cell phone usage and talking during meditation. Leave no room for interpretation when it comes to certain behaviors that will disrupt the class.

Require each student to sign your list of policies upon registration. When a student breaks one of your rules, simply point to the agreement. It will serve as an unbiased arbiter and relieve you from the accusation of singling out any one student. The rules apply equally to all.

2. Control Your Emotions

But how do you become a yoga instructor peacefully when you are feeling angry and resentful? The answer is — you don’t. You must first control your own emotions before you can create a peaceful space in which to teach yoga. It is when you are being challenged that your meditation training and practice will become most vital.

Take a moment to gauge your feelings. Breathe and bring your thoughts to the power that guides your practice. Think about the positive energy you exude and the confidence with which you speak. Look at your anger and understand that its origin most likely lies in fear. Put that fear to rest so that you can take appropriate action as a leader.

3. Become the Listener

So how do you become a yoga instructor with compassion while you’re dealing with disruptions? By taking the time to listen. Very often, your students act out from a place of fear or internal pain. Your willingness to listen to a student’s problems may be all that it takes to diffuse a situation and prevent it from escalating.

A compassionate yoga teacher doesn’t immediately discount any student before hearing her out. Kindness and patience often reward you with respect in return. You’ve learned in your training how to read students — apply it when they are less than forthcoming as well.

4. Believe in Yourself

Disruptive students may challenge your authority and ask you point blank: “How do you become a yoga instructor when you know so little about the practice?” It’s times like these that demand your complete confidence in your training and experience.

Draw on your own truth and the fact that you mastered the training. Bring a wealth of experience to the class. Do not focus on the challenge; instead turn your attention to those students who appreciate your style and methods of teaching, who respect the training you bring and who want to follow your lead.

5. Bring a Sense of Humor

Bring a healthy sense of humor to class along with your mat. While meditation and yoga practice is serious, it’s best served lightly and with the understanding that sometimes laughter is the best prescription for a difficult situation.

After all, it was Einstein who told us: “Before God we are all equally wise — and equally foolish.” A healthy sense of humor can neutralize a negative outburst or disruptive events. Be prepared to laugh at yourself and your sense of self-importance when students challenge your authority. Create a sacred space filled with joy when you react with light humor and decide to laugh instead of cry.

6. Maintain Order

Above all else, students expect you to maintain peace in the studio. You have a sacred duty to stop disruptive behavior immediately and return the class to its sense of emotional and physical safety. How do you become a yoga instructor who promises peace when you can’t maintain order?

You quickly address the problem. Whether you revert to humor or turn to your rules of conduct, you do it immediately. You must stop poor behavior right away if you are to earn the respect of your students and ensure their comfort with your leadership. Just as quickly as the class was interrupted, you can resume your instruction with blissful order.

7. Turn It Over

When studying human nature, you learned that you can’t be all things to all people. There will meet those students with whom you can’t build a connection — those students who, no matter how hard you try, will not be a good fit for your style of teaching.

When you asked how do you become a yoga instructor, you may not have expected to learn how not to become someone’s yoga teacher, but that day may very well come. There are those students who do better practicing yoga alone or who will thrive under another’s tutelage. You’ve sometimes got to let them go. While you may not want to give up on anyone, the fact is that you may have to — for the greater good.

8. So How Do You Become a Yoga Instructor?

By preparing yourself. BY grounding yourself. By relying on your training and the confidence you earned when practicing your art. By creating peace in your classes through self-awareness, humor, compassion and urgency.

A serene environment does not always occur naturally just because you are teaching one of the most peaceful practices on earth. Negative events will occur. Be prepared, practice patience and know that you are ready for any challenge because you are following your bliss.

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide 

5 Tips to Prepare for the Training of Your Life

Once you’ve developed a strong desire to move from the role of student to become the teacher, you may wonder: How do you become a yoga instructor with the tools you have now? You may feel that you are ready, but there are several steps to take before you immerse yourself in the process.

You’ll be competing with a slew of potential teachers as the yoga movement continues to grow, so step back a moment and follow these five tips before beginning your journey. Through the process, your own yoga practice will deepen, as will your understanding of yourself and how it all fits together.

1. Approach Experienced Teachers

Seek guidance from those who have gone before you. Ask the question: “How do you become a yoga instructor?” Your own teacher, other instructors at your studio and elders with blog posts and advice columns can provide you with a wealth of information. After all, they’ve been where you are and can share their experience about certified programs like the courses you’ll find at the Asheville Yoga Center. Your personal teacher can give you feedback about your own readiness and provide insight on how do you become a yoga instructor with the level of skills you currently possess.

2. Boost Your Own Practice

Yoga teacher certification programs expect students to already have a strong daily yoga practice in place. When asked how do you become a yoga instructor, many teachers answer rhetorically, “How did you become a yoga student?” You purposely chose the practice and have worked hard to become stronger and more focused with your daily program. You must bring the same resolve you had when first you were introduced to the physical, emotional and spiritual demands of yoga. Prepare to go even further once you start the work to become a teacher.

3. Prepare by Reading

Just as you prepare physically by hitting the mat more often and more intensely, so you can prepare your mind by immersing yourself in the yoga classics, many of which you’ll be required to read during your training in a certified program. By absorbing many of the texts before you even start, you’ll come to class with a fresh perspective, well-thought-out questions and intelligent additions to the daily discussions.

4. Take the Plunge

To become a successful yoga instructor, you must make a commitment to stick with your training over the long haul. Yoga teacher training isn’t something that can be accomplished over a weekend workshop, but requires a deep level of commitment and a considerable chunk of time and money. Once you make the commitment, set a pace that you’re comfortable with because training should never cease. The teachers who keep learning are those that attract a devoted following of students who share the same commitment.

5. Check Out the Program

Now that you’ve steeled yourself for the journey, upped your daily practice and taken the leap to commit to growth, you are ready to start researching the various schools that train yoga teachers. How do you become a yoga teacher now? It becomes a practical question that demands clear and honest answers. Your gut will guide you through the research as you learn about the facilities, the teachers and their backgrounds, the costs involved and the focus of the courses. Look for the kind of challenge that resonates with your needs and enjoy the journey.

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide