Do You Need A Yoga Alliance Certification?


This is the golden question in the yoga world. Does a piece of paper define your ability to teach? If you’re familiar with the goddess Rachel Brathen, you know she was not certified through Yoga Alliance until recently, even with years and thousands of hours of teaching experience. Yoga Alliance is an American made company that measures your ability to share yoga based on your time, money, and energy exchange, but it was not valued internationally until recently. Although Rachel has more hours than most teachers, she finally has her proof of 200-hr certification under her belt too.

In my experience traveling the world, taking workshops and teacher trainings in several styles of yoga, energy work, and the like, and having studied with some of the most intelligent yoga masters of today who do not have a yoga alliance sticker on their monastic education, I personally don’t believe one needs a piece of paper with a certification to teach this ancient knowledge. I will say, however, that it is important that one truly learns the art before teaching it, hence the initial creation of the Yoga Alliance in the first place. There are people who are born studying with their guru, and others who find them somewhere along the path. I’ve seen people receive their certification and not teach at all because it’s not for them; while I’ve seen others just pick up teaching so naturally without a blink of the eye. I think this is a great question to ask yourself as you experience other teachers and their training because those who have the deepest understanding of yoga have not always been officially certified by Yoga Alliance.

I do feel that the required education is vital. The people who are natural born teachers usually carry that quality within them to teach, but you also do need to understand alignment, safe adjustments, benefits of the poses, yoga with injuries, and a lot more. The last thing you want to do is guide someone to hurt themselves! So it’s very important to keep your anatomy and alignment knowledge up to date. That’s why there are additional workshops around the world that offer that for current teachers because it is such a strong foundation for teaching. The energy behind education is so powerful so enjoy being back in school!

However, I feel that in this day in age, the requirement of a certification has canceled out a lot of amazing people from teaching opportunities, which isn’t fair. I met someone from Chile that had documentation of over 3000 hours, but unfortunately, it wasn’t through Yoga Alliance so, it was almost counted as “nothing” since most studios and trainings look for people with registered hours. I firmly believe that if you’re a serious business owner or teacher trainer, you should attend people’s classes, no matter where or what the circumstances are, and make a decision from there. People can flock into your studio or presence with proof of hours upon hours of training and workshops but lack the special ingredient of love and passion. 

So, Should You Do It?

Sure, if you want to! This is totally up to you. Does registering your hours give you more of a voice? Yes, it does, but also never stop being a hunter for personal growth just because you have proof you received training! Remember, you are becoming a teacher to guide people through a deep journey — make sure you know what your truth is!

Lexi Faith