Yoga Alliance Requirements for Online Learning
Online Yoga School is a Registered Yoga School (RYS) with Yoga Alliance. We are registered as RYS-200, RYS-300, RPYS, and RCYS. We get a lot of questions about Yoga Alliance's policies and the process for registering as a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with Yoga Alliance. We will do our best to answer all of your questions here, but we do recommend you contact Yoga Alliance if you have questions we haven't answered.
History of Yoga Teacher Training
Before we get into the current requirements, I think it's important to explain a bit about the history of yoga teacher training. Traditionally, yoga students would study with their gurus for long periods of time. This was known as the guru-shishya tradition.
Yoga traces its origins back to ancient India, where it has been practiced for over 5,000 years. Its early mentions can be found in the Rigveda, an ancient Hindu sacred text. However, it was during the Classical period of yoga, spanning from 500 BCE to 800 CE, that a structured system of teacher-student relationships began to develop. In this era, the esteemed sage Patanjali composed the Yoga Sutras, a compilation of 196 concise statements that form the cornerstone of classical yoga.
During ancient times in India, yoga was passed down from guru to student, and there was a deep bond formed based on trust, respect, and devotion. Students would reside with their gurus, immersing themselves in the teachings and practices for extended periods, sometimes spanning years or even decades, in order to acquire spiritual wisdom and master the yogic path. This immersive training typically took place in ashrams or secluded settings, fostering a sense of community and facilitating profound connections with the spiritual dimensions of yoga. Learn More About the History of Yoga Teacher Training
Yoga Comes West
As the practice of yoga expanded beyond the borders of India, it began to evolve, adapting to the cultural and societal contexts of the Western world. The arrival of Indian gurus in the West, particularly Swami Vivekananda’s visit to the United States in 1893, sparked interest in yoga as both a spiritual and physical practice. The 20th century saw a rise in popularity of yoga in the West, with several influential teachers, such as B.K.S. Iyengar and K. Pattabhi Jois, introducing their unique styles of yoga to the Western audience.
The first Western-style yoga teacher training programs began to emerge in the mid-20th century. Unlike the traditional guru-shishya model, these programs followed a more structured curriculum, focusing on anatomy, alignment, and teaching methodologies, as well as the spiritual and philosophical aspects of yoga. The standardized 200-hour and 500-hour training certifications, established by the Yoga Alliance in 1999, further formalized yoga teacher training in the West.
Who is Yoga Alliance?
Yoga is an unregulated industry. Per their website, "Yoga Alliance is the largest nonprofit association representing the yoga community, with over 7,000 Registered Yoga Schools (RYS) and more than 100,000 Registered Yoga Teachers (RYT) as of April 2020. We foster and support the high quality, safe, accessible, and equitable teaching of yoga."
It is totally optional to register with Yoga Alliance. I've only been registered with Yoga Alliance a total of 9 years out of the 25+ years I've been teaching yoga. I registered many moons ago, and then I didn't renew my registration. I registered again in 2016 because I had many students of my teacher training programs who wanted to register, so I needed to establish my school as a Registered Yoga School.
None of the students who have come to my yoga classes over the years ever asked if I was registered with Yoga Alliance. And I never worked anywhere that worried about Yoga Alliance registration, although I've met some yoga teachers who have run into this.
Benefits of Registering With Yoga Alliance
Having said all that, I'm certainly not saying registering with Yoga Alliance is a bad thing. Yoga Alliance does a lot of important things for the yoga community as a whole, and it's a great organization to support and be plugged into. There are many benefits to registering, and you can read about them on the Yoga Alliance site.
Personally, I enjoy the discounts that I've gotten from their partners. These are emailed out monthly. They also email out webinars and provide free educational support for yoga teachers which is nice. They push for inclusivity, equity and accessibility within the industry, obviously very important.
Requirements for Registering With Yoga Alliance
The requirements may change from time to time, and to get the most recent information, you can always check with Yoga Alliance directly.
For the longest time, Yoga Alliance only accepted trainings that took place 100% in person, face-to-face interaction. In March of 2020 when the covid pandemic swept the universe, that all changed. Yoga Alliance began accepting online trainings, with certain caveats. There were deadlines for completion of the online training that were in place.
Synchronous Learning Requirements to Register With Yoga Alliance
On July 19, 2023, Yoga Alliance announced that they will be permanently accepting online trainings with a blended format. They said that in order for yoga teachers to register with them, there must be 15% synchronous learning. Yoga Alliance defines synchronous learning as real time interaction with students and teachers. In other words, when it comes to online training, students can take self-paced, on demand training but must be online at the same time as the teacher for 15% of the training time.
Here's what that means for yoga teacher trainees who want to register with Yoga Alliance:
- 200 Hour (RYS-200) - 30 Hours Live Interaction
- 300 Hour (RYS-300) - 45 Hours Live Interaction
- 500 Hour (RYS-500) - 75 Hours Live Interaction
- 95-Hour Childrens (RCYS) - 14 Hours Live Interaction
- 85-Hour Prenatal (RPYS) - 13 Hours Live Interaction
When Does Synchronous Learning Requirement Take Effect?
Synchronous learning requirements take effect January 1, 2024. Schools like Online Yoga School who were already approved for the 2023 Online Learning Exemption can continue as we have been through 12/31/2023. The only thing that changes is that our students no longer have to complete the training by 12/31/2023, they can complete it any time. This is great because it allows everyone to proceed without worrying about deadlines.
However, it is our understanding that students who complete the training after 1/1/2024 will be required to have completed 15% of their training hours synchronously.
What is Online Yoga School Doing to Provide Options for Live Elements?
Online Study Groups
Online Yoga School provides live study groups weekly for our 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, 500 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training and Children's Yoga Teacher Training. Once you are enrolled in the training, you can visit your dashboard at any time to get current dates, times and links to log on to our live study groups on zoom. The study groups last 1 hour and are held weekly.
Practice Teaching Sessions
Online Yoga School provides one hour a week of practice teaching sessions for each of our core trainings. You can log on to practice teaching what you're learning or to observe others as they practice teaching. One of us from our training team will be hosting the meeting and providing feedback.
Virtual Yoga Studio Classes
With your enrollment in one of our core trainings, you get a FREE 3-month membership to our virtual yoga studio. We offer live yoga classes across a variety of yoga styles and with different instructors. This is a great way for you to get the live hours that you need.
As a side note, the virtual yoga studio comes with an on demand library of yoga classes and workshops that you can also enjoy. When your free 3-month membership ends, we won't auto-bill you. It just disappears from your dashboard. If you'd like to continue the membership, you can enroll in our virtual yoga studio online for just $9.99 a month.
We have a book club and you're invited to attend meetings for live interaction hours. Current times, dates and links will be on your dashboard.
Melissa hosts office hours to answer any questions you have. Current times, date and links will be on your dashboard. This is another way you can get synchronous learning hours.
What Live Elements Does Online Yoga School Require for Certification?
We are here to support all of you! Many of our students do not plan to register with Yoga Alliance, so we will continue issuing our certificates for all students who want to complete the training in a self-paced format with no live interaction.
However, if you do plan to register with Yoga Alliance, we've got you covered! We will offer the live elements you need to get your 15% synchronous learning requirement covered. We are going to provide you with a log that you can use to document your live hours for your training
Do I have to register with Yoga Alliance to teach yoga?
No. Registering with Yoga Alliance is optional and not required to teach yoga.
If I don't register with Yoga Alliance, do I have to adhere to Yoga Alliance requirements to earn my certificate?
No. If you aren't planning to register with Yoga Alliance, you can complete the training at your own pace and do not need to attend any live elements.
Does Yoga Alliance have live element requirements or in person requirements?
Effective 2024, Yoga Alliance requires that you complete 15% of your training with us synchronously. Yoga Alliance defines synchronous learning as that which takes place with both student and teacher online together, in real time. For the 200 hour yoga teacher training, this means you would be required to spend 30 hours with us live.
If I finish the 200 hour training prior to 2024, do I have to complete 15% of the training via live sessions?
No. We offer optional live zoom sessions, but if you complete the training by December 31, 2023, you are not required to complete any of your training on zoom.
What live elements are available for me to take advantage of so that I can get my 15% synchronous learning requirement fulfilled?
Online Study Groups, Online Practice Teaching Sessions, Online Live Yoga Classes, Book Club, Live Office Hours (Please note that you can take advantage of all of these options, or any combination of these options. How you fulfill your 15% synchronous learning requirement is totally up to you. )
How do I log my 15% synchronous learning required hours?
Logging your hours is something you want to do if you plan to register with Yoga Alliance. Many of our students don't register with Yoga Alliance, therefore live elements are not a required part of our training and we do not require live hours to issue certificates. We are providing a log to support those of you who do wish to register with Yoga Alliance. If you don't plan to register, you can ignore the log.
Do I have to complete the log of synchronous hours if I do not plan to register with Yoga Alliance?
Do I have to have my camera on?
No. If your camera is off, please send your name and email address to us on chat.
What if the available times for live elements don't work with my schedule?
We offer a wide variety of times for the various live elements in an effort to accommodate all schedules.