The Yoga Alliance: Why Is It Important?

Danielle Tergis of the Yoga Alliance.

A standard of excellence within the yoga community is registration with the Yoga Alliance. Since 1999, the vision of this non-profit organization has been to "support yoga teachers and the diversity and integrity of yoga."

LoveToKnow Yoga talked with Danielle Tergis, director of marketing and communications for the Yoga Alliance, about the organization's purpose and how it impacts yoga practitioners throughout the U.S.

Yoga Alliance Interview

What prompted the formation of the Yoga Alliance?

Ten years ago, leaders in the yoga community foresaw a need to help practitioners and potential yoga teachers and schools understand what qualified someone to be a yoga teacher. Yoga is quite diverse, with many different traditions and philosophies, so it was important for these visionaries to come together and honor these differences, but to also create a training framework that encompassed the important foundations of a yoga practice.

Our 200- and 500-hour standards were born out of a need to ensure the health and safety of society. Ahisma, or doing no harm, was important to the creators of the standards. Everyone agreed that it was important to create a minimum standard of education and training that would ensure a student would not get hurt.

Why is an organization like this important to the yoga community?

Yoga Alliance is the one unifying body that can bring all the different lineages and traditions in the yoga community together. Our internationally-recognized standards ensure a consistent level of training, education and ongoing professional development by yoga teachers throughout the U.S. Teachers and schools registered with us hold themselves to a higher benchmark- representing the global yoga community with integrity and credibility.

The Meaning Behind the Initials

What does a yoga instructor have to complete in order to become a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) or Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT)?

Our 200- and 500-hour designations encompass the many aspects of yoga, including anatomy and physiology, yoga philosophy, yoga lifestyle and ethics, teaching methodology, and techniques training. These elements provide teachers with an important foundation to understand and teach yoga. Client contact and non-contact hours for each category are required.

Additionally, all teachers registered with Yoga Alliance are required to meet continuing education requirements, ensuring they are up to date on best practices and latest trends.

There are two E-RYT designations: 200- and 500-hours. E-RYTs are able to conduct continuing education workshops and also direct teacher training programs or be on the primary faculty of a registered yoga school (RYS).

To become an E-RYT 200, one must have a minimum of two years and 1,000 hours of yoga teaching experience since becoming certified at the 200-hour level. To become an E-RYT 500, one must have a minimum of four years and 2,000 hours of yoga teaching experience.

How is this designation different from certification in a particular yoga style or discipline?

Registration with Yoga Alliance is not a certification. Teachers are certified through their schools. Being registered with Yoga Alliance is a commitment on the part of a yoga teacher or school to a level of professionalism. The RYT or RYS designation is different in that it is voluntary and is open to everyone who can show they meet our 200-and 500-hour standards.

Yoga Alliance Registration: Why It Matters

Why should a yoga enthusiast look for a RYT?

By going to a RYT, a yoga practitioner knows that they going to a yoga teacher who is a committed professional with a certain level of training, experience and education. They also know that their teacher is up to date with the latest on teaching and other trends in the yoga industry.

What other factors are important when choosing a yoga instructor?

There are a number of questions one should ask when looking for a yoga teacher. Yoga Alliance has created a helpful and informative guide that can aid in this process.

If someone is considering becoming a yoga instructor, why should they choose a school registered with the Yoga Alliance?

By choosing a RYS, a student knows that their school is committed to a certain level of training, education and experience. We've also created a helpful tool to help you locate a school.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Thank you for the opportunity to reach out and connect with the yoga community.

More on the Yoga Alliance

If you're looking for a yoga instructor, visit the Yoga Alliance's Registered Teacher page to search by city and style.

~Tracey L. Kelley

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The Yoga Alliance: Why Is It Important?