When you first start looking into becoming a yoga teacher, it can be a little confusing to figure out what to do. The most important thing to know about teaching yoga in Washington D.C. is that there is absolutely no regulation on yoga teachers. This means that you do not need to be certified, registered, or licensed in order to hang a sign and start leading sun salutations. In fact, some of the most experienced and well-known teachers in the country have never been certified, registered, or licensed. That is because all of these are relatively recent concepts, especially in regards to teaching yoga. When many of these teachers started teaching, there were no formal yoga teacher training programs. Your teacher might “certify” you to teach, but that was an arbitrary designation that did not imply a specific amount of training.
Certification in Washington D.C. refers to the completion of a certain program of training according to the standards of that particular school. There are no universal standards for certification, so two certified teachers from different schools can have completely different skill sets. Most gyms and yoga studios require that you have a certification in order to teach there. For some gyms and studios, a certification is all the credentials you need. Others require you to be registered with the Yoga Alliance or have graduated from a Yoga Alliance approved training. And some places require you to teach an “audition” class in addition to your credentials in order to more clearly see your skills in action.
Most studios will require you to have insurance, the only reason they wouldn’t is that the studio has their own and it covers the teachers as well. Many will ask you to have it and make you an independent contractor. Although the threat of a liability lawsuit stemming from an injury in a yoga class may be relatively small, it is nonetheless real. Some of the common injuries reported by claimants include back injuries, joint or bone damage (i.e. bruises or fractures), strained or torn muscles, etc. Looking for insurance that works best for you? Comment below and we can update you on the best deals and fit for your teaching needs!
In order to bring some consistency to the market of teacher training programs, The Yoga Alliance was formed in 1997. The Yoga Alliance sets minimum standards for teacher training programs. Programs that meet these standards and pay a fee can market their trainings as “Yoga Alliance Approved”. Graduates of these trainings can then register with the Yoga Alliance and then promote themselves as RYT – Registered Yoga Teachers. Registration is available at 4 different levels: RYT 200, E-RYT 200, RYT 500, and E-RYT 500. The E stands for experienced and indicates a certain number of hours teaching since the completion of teacher training.
Some employers require Yoga Alliance Registration and some do not. There is a a lively controversy regarding the value of the Yoga Alliance. Some argue that their standards are too weak and unenforced. Others argue that yoga is a spiritual practice that should not be regulated at all. This faction believes that regulation misses and stifles the best parts of yoga while subtly endorsing the commercialization of yoga. Some people support the Yoga Alliance, stating that if we do not regulate ourselves, then the states will step in with regulation.
As it stands, registration is optional and the benefits of doing so are hotly debated. However, most reputable teacher trainings are registered with the Yoga Alliance so it is likely that your training will qualify you to register. You can go ahead and register right away if you feel that an extra credential will help your chances of getting a job, or you can wait and see if anyone asks for it.
Link to average salary according to Indeed website HERE
Hope this was a helpful. If any of this information is incorrect or out of date, please comment below, and if you have any additional questions regarding teaching yoga in Washington D.C., leave a comment about that too. Also would love to hear how much you actually get paid to teach in Washington D.C. so people who are looking to teach here have an idea of what they are supposed to be paid. Thanks!
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