How to Become a

Yoga Instructor

The complete career guide to be a Yoga Instructor: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $40,970
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 8.4%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute

Yoga instructors promote physical fitness, emotional well-being, and healing by leading yoga courses of many different styles, including Hatha, Bikram, Ashtanga, and Vinyasa, among others. They encourage students to engage in stretching exercises that improve flexibility, tone bodies, and eliminate waste.


What is a Yoga Instructor?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in yoga instructor roles:

  • Lead classes of students in yogic exercises of different types
  • Teach classes that cater to multiple skill levels
  • Teach hot yoga classes in rooms with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Instruct students individually on how to stretch properly to avoid injury
  • Recite a formal dialogue to go along with routines

A Day in the Life

Yoga instructors lead classes in a variety of different styles. Some of the more common types of yoga courses taught in the U.S. include Hatha, Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Sivananda, but there are many other styles offered and taught as well. Some of the styles—such as Bikram—demand a specific routine, time length, and dialogue that instructors aren’t allowed to alter. Other styles allow for more flexibility in instruction, allowing teachers to develop their own routines and dialogues using style postures.

Yoga instructors may work in a variety of venues. Some work in yoga studios, some work for health and fitness centers like gyms or the YMCA, and some may teach classes outdoors. One of the more popular modern methods is hot yoga—primarily, but not always, associated with the Bikram style—where students perform stretching routines in classrooms of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Teachers may perform the routines with students, or they may simply guide and oversee the class and its students.

For most yoga instructors, teaching the practice means you’re teaching more than just fitness. The practice of yoga is said to provide many benefits beyond physical fitness. Practitioners enjoy increased flexibility, less stress, and more stable emotional and physical health because part of practicing yoga is clearing your mind of thoughts and cleaning toxins out of your system. For this reason, many yoga instructors incorporate spiritual themes and life coaching messages into their routines.

Typical Work Schedule

Yoga instructors may work part-time or full-time. They may teach classes during the day, in the evening, or on weekends in order to offer classes outside of normal business hours. Some yoga instructors own and operate their own studios where they teach, and they also hire other teachers to lead classes on a freelance basis. Many yoga teachers are self-employed.

Projected Job Growth

The practice of yoga has been growing in popularity in the U.S. in recent years, leading to an increased demand for yoga instructors to teach classes at fitness centers, gyms, and studios.

Typical Employers

Yoga instructors may work for gyms, fitness centers like the YMCA, and yoga studios. Some may also teach yoga classes at elementary or secondary schools or nursing homes. Many yoga instructors are self-employed and teach classes on a freelance basis, or own and operate their own yoga studios.


How To Become a Yoga Instructor

The first step in becoming a yoga instructor is deciding what style(s) of yoga you want to be able to teach. Each style has its own training program, and instructors must pursue certification in each style they want to teach. The courses are lengthy and pricey, so it’s important that you’re fully committed to teaching a specific style before enrolling in a certification program. Take yoga classes in different styles before seeking certification, and find the style that is most suited to your tastes before moving forward.

Next, you’ll need to enroll in an instructor training program to pursue certification in that style. Training programs all have different requirements for certification. For example, to teach Bikram yoga, you must have practiced the style continuously for at least 6 months and must be 21 years old. The training lasts nine weeks, and students must take two yoga classes each day, as well as attend lectures, engage in self-practice, and complete a final exam. Students stay in a hotel for the duration of the 9 weeks of training.

Once certified, students must find venues to teach in. If you were a regular class attendee at a studio before you enrolled in a certification program, your studio of practice is a good place to start inquiring about picking up classes. Studio owners may want to have you teach a couple of trail classes before bringing you on as a full-time or regular instructor to see if your style is a good fit. After earning professional experience, you may branch out to teach at additional studios, or you may want to consider opening your own studio.


Yoga Instructor Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range

$23,280

Average

$40,970

High Range

$70,180

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

$11/hr

Average

$20/hr

High Range

$34/hr

How do Yoga Instructor salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Yoga Instructor's can make an average annual salary of $40,970, or $20 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $23,280 or $11 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #511 Nationally for All Careers


Highest Education Among Yoga Instructors

  • 1.2%   Doctorate
  • 9.7%   Masters
  • 36.4%   Bachelors
  • 9.1%   Associates
  • 25%   College
  • 16.2%   High School
  • 2.4%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

279,100

2024 Est. Jobs

302,500

Job Growth Rate

8.4%

Est. New Jobs

23,400

How does Yoga Instructor job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 23,400 jobs for a total of 302,500 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 8.4% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #264 Nationally for All Careers


What Companies Employ The Most Yoga Instructors

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Fitness and recreational sports centers 161,800 14,300 14%
Civic and social organizations 34,000 400 0%
Self-employed workers 29,500 2,100 2%

Want To Be a Yoga Instructor? Get Started!

Generate your free SmartPlan™ to identify colleges you like, and potential ways to save on a degree or certification program toward your career with courses, offers, and much more!

Enroll Now and Get Started

or Learn More →