Being a yoga teacher sounds like a low-stress, high-vibe life. You get to hang out in an airy studio all day, wear yoga pants year-round (without even having to worry about shoes), and, of course, enjoy the reward of teaching yogis how to bend their bodies while getting a serious mind-body refresh. Namaste to that.
There’s a lot that goes into becoming a certified yoga instructor, though. Yogis actually have to know a lot about the body, learn Sanskrit names for poses, and explore the history of the practice. To get a better idea of what it’s really like, I spoke with the two founders of Los Angeles’ Love Yoga.
“Yoga teacher training is an experience,” says Kyle Miller, yogi and co-founder of the space. “It’s an investment in yourself, it’s a step forward on the path of self inquiry, it’s a leap of faith. It’s a multi-faceted, communal introduction into the theory, history, practicum, and technique of yoga.”
“It’s an investment in yourself, it’s a step forward on the path of self inquiry, it’s a leap of faith.” —Kyle Miller
A certain amount of hours are required in order to get certified, so it won’t just be a couple of classes and then bam, you’re a yoga teacher. “Yoga Alliance deems 200 hours for the most basic training, but of course this is arbitrary and really depends on the individual,” says Sian Gordon, co-founder and yogi at Love Yoga. “Some people feel ready to teach sooner than others—all teachers should always be students. The training doesn’t stop after the certification, really, it’s just getting started.”
While every studio has their own flair when it comes to training, you can expect a relatively basic formula. “In our 200-hour training at Love Yoga [which is Yoga Alliance-certified], a lot goes into it,” says Miller. “Our trainees go through it! We cover everything from yoga sutras, alignment, anatomy, the subtle body, Sanskrit, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Bhagavad Gita, Chinese Medicine, hands-on adjustments, sacred geometry, Kundalini, and Katonah yoga. They learn to articulate, to formulate, and to embody.”
When shopping around for where you want to do your training, be sure that you truly like the studio and the teacher that’s facilitating the training. “If you have the time, visit the studio, talk to the lead trainers, and make sure the method is captivating to you,” says Gordon. “There’s so much disparity and variety, so do your homework to find the best fit.” To help, keep scrolling for yoga teacher training studios in both New York and LA.
Where to get yoga teacher certification in New York and Los Angeles
Yoga Vida, New York City: Here you’ll find an all-encompassing yoga training program, that not only includes a Yoga Alliance-certified yoga teacher training but also a mentorship program, Reiki certification training, and even kids yoga teacher training (yes, really). There are 200- and 300-hour options, and training will touch on everything from sequencing to chakras. 666 Broadway, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10012; (212) 845-9973
Sky Ting, New York City: The minimalistic, airy studio that started in Chinatown offers a 200-hour yoga training (certified by Yoga Alliance) led by founders Krissy Jones and Chloe Kernaghan that features lectures from special guests, in-class practice teaching, and assigned readings to expand your practice. When completed, you’re also eligible for future advanced Sky Ting training plus mentorships. 17 Allen St., 7th floor, New York, NY 10002; (212) 203-5786
Pure Yoga, New York City: Equinox-owned Pure Yoga is another 200-hour, Yoga Alliance-certified program, taught by yogis who will serve up a deep dive into all aspects of the practice—including the full spectrum of yoga specialties, like Vinyasa and Ashtanga. You’ll also learn handy wisdom such as how to offer encouragement to your yoga students. 203 East 86th St., New York, NY 10028; (212) 360-1888
Love Yoga, Los Angeles: LA’s laid-back studio offers a comprehensive program taught by cofounders Kyle Miller and Sian Gordon, who teach you how to lead yoga classes from a very eloquent and informed position. Class subjects include everything from western and eastern perspectives on physiology, Pranayama, and how to teach for different levels and populations. 835 Lincoln Blvd., Venice, CA 90291; (310) 905-9997
Yoga Works, Los Angeles: Yoga Works has been teaching yoga teacher training since 1990. Here, you’ll complete a foundational 200-hour program that touches on how to cultivate your voice, the history of yoga, teaching with props, and how to observe bodies. If completed, you’ll receive an ongoing discount at continuing education through Yoga Works (which also has locations across the country). 2215 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405; (310) 272-5641
Shanti Yoga Shala, Los Angeles: Choose from regular 200 or 300-hour yoga teacher training, or opt to do it in private—which offers the program in a more customizable, personalized format. Students will learn to deepen their practice through lessons on how to apply the yoga philosophy into their lives, how to teach prenatal yoga, how to break down yoga poses, and plenty more. 3528 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115; (310) 435-6098
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