Yoga Alliance Certification – Everything you need to know

What is Yoga-Alliance?

Yoga Alliance (YA) is a US – based nonprofit organization for setting international yoga-certification standards. The registry provides voluntary credentials to yoga-schools and yoga-teachers worldwide. In order to be accredited, a school or teacher needs to comply with standards (e.g. teaching experience), that are provided by them. According to the organization, they currently have an international network of over 90,000 Yoga-Teachers and 6,000 yoga-schools that makes them a popular credentialing system worldwide.

What does Yoga-Alliance offer?

YA is a directory that offers credentials for yoga-teachers and yoga-schools offering yoga-teacher-trainings (YTT). The organization submits internationally recognized trademarks, which are ‘Registered-Yoga-Teacher’ (RYT®), ‘Registered-Yoga-School’ (RYS®) and Yoga-Alliance Continuing Education Providers (YACEP ®). The designations show that teachers and schools meet Yoga Alliances’ requirements. As stated on their website:

  • provides education about safe and high quality of yoga.
  • gives guidelines of appropriate activities for professional instructors.
  • spreads integrity and diversity of teaching yoga.
  • organizes online workshops and publications.
  • builds a worldwide community.
  • educates about yoga history, standards, lineages and traditions.


Referring to YAs’ About Page, the idea of building an organization that provides national standards for yoga-teachers and yoga-schools was made in the US back in 1997. First run as a more voluntary registry to certify schools and teachers, it soon became popular having more and more people requiring standardized certification with the implementation of online registration in 2010.

Since 2016, Yoga Alliance also certificates practitioners who have done continuing education: Yoga-Alliance Continuing Education Provider (YACEP ®).

Which accreditation programs does YA have?

A broad variety of credentials are offered depending on the experience and amount of time that a school or teacher has spent with their training, teaching and business. However, YA does not offer a direct certification of a teacher, but an internationally accessible listing in their registry.

Yoga Certification Course

1. Registered-Yoga-Teacher (RYT) Certifications

The RYT-certifications require that teachers need to comply with the following prerequisites in order to be certified as a Registered-Yoga-Teacher (RYT). Yoga Alliance does not hand out direct certifications with teachers. They need to complete their trainings with a registered yoga-school to then register with them. Find more infos about certification for teachers here.

RYT-200: A teacher has completed a 200-hr training with a Registered-Yoga-School (RYS) and signed up with YA.

RYT-500: A teacher has completed a 500-hr training with a Registered-Yoga-School (RYS) and signed up with YA.

E-RYT 200: A teacher has completed a 200-hr training with a Registered-Yoga-School (RYS), has signed up with YA and has completed 1,000 hours and two years of teaching.

E-RYT 500:A teacher has completed a 500-hr training with a Registered-Yoga-School (RYS), has signed up with YA and has completed 2,000 hours and four years of teaching.

2. Registered-Yoga-School (RYS)

The RYS (Registered-Yoga-School) credentials are dedicated to yoga-schools that offer Yoga-Teacher-Trainings (YTT). The schools’ curriculum needs to comply with certain standards provided by YA in order to be eligible to apply for a registration. Find out more about certification for schools here.

Subjects of training need to contain the ‘five Educational Categories’ that are provided to the school by Yoga Alliance. Those categories are 1. techniques, training and practice, 2. teaching methodology, 3. anatomy and physiology, 4. yoga-philosophy, lifestyle and ethics, 5. practicum. Content of the training also needs to be taught in a previously defined amount of hours in order to meet the organizations’ requirements.

RYS 200: Lead trainers can be either E-RYT 200 or E-RYT 500 and need to have 65 contact hours. The school has to offer a minimum number of 200 hours covering above categories.

RYS 300: The school has to offer the foundational RYS 200 training as well in order to offer their advanced 300 hour trainings. The school also has to offer a minimum number of 300 hours covering above categories. Lead trainers need to be E-RYT 500 certified and have 135 contact hours.

RYS 500: Lead trainers need to be E-RYT 500 certified and have 200 contact hours. The required 500 hours of training need to cover the five educational categories mentioned above. The schools may offer their 500 hour training in two segments (200 hours and 300 hours).

Yoga Certification Bali

Yoga Alliance

Where should you get your certification?

What often leads to confusion is a widespread uncertainty about the naming itself. As there are a few organizations out there with their name Yoga-Alliance in it, a lot of ongoing students feel very uncertain about this topic and start asking themselves which is the ‘original accreditation’ that a school or teacher would need to have. For example, when you Google ‘Yoga Alliance’, there are several organizations showing up in the first search results. Besides the official website itself, there is Yoga Alliance International from Australia, Yoga-Alliance-International from India (YAI), and Yoga-Alliance-Professionals (YAP) from the UK, just to name a few.

  • Whereas Yoga Alliance only accredits international yoga-teachers who have been certified by a RYS, Yoga Alliance Professionals has a different set of  standards and everyone can apply to be listed on their registry – if they have passed a course that meets their standards.
  • At first sight, Yoga Alliance International from Australia looks very similar to YA. Teachers and schools must comply to their guidelines and requirements in order to be credited as Registered-Yoga-Teacher (RYT) or  Registered-Yoga-School (RYS). This system on the same hand hardly differ from the credentialing system that is offered by YA.
  • Yoga Alliance International from India (YAI) claims to be an international network of yoga-teachers and school that every school or teacher can register with. With a set of different standards and Code of Practices, YAI offers of ethical and behavioral guidelines that registered yoga-schools and teachers need to comply with.

On their website, Yoga Alliance aims to making very clear that it is not associated with one of those organizations.

Pros and Cons of Yoga-Alliance-Certifications

With the growing popularity of yoga-teacher-trainings and yoga-education programs all around the world, request for standardized certification has dramatically increased in recent years.

To make your own decision on whether you want to register with YA as a yoga-teacher, it might help to know about the benefits and drawbacks of joining a yoga-certification program with them.

The benefits of Yoga Alliance Certification

  • YA currently is the main and most popular yoga-certification program worldwide.
  • There is an international recognition of YA credentials. This shows that you have met certain standards of yoga-training with a registered yoga-school.
  • As a result, you will gain trust from other students as a certified yoga-teacher or yoga-school.
  • You might also receive a higher amount of requests as a registered yoga-schools or yoga-teacher.
  • The online RYT and RYS directory will list you as a yoga-teacher or yoga-school so you will get your name out there.
  • There are some good membership discounts with partnered yoga-brands.
  • Nowadays, a 200 or  500-RYT certification often is a prerequisite to teach at other yoga-studios or schools.

The downside of Yoga Alliance Certification

  • To receive a certification with YA, there is a registration fee and a yearly membership fee to pay. Current prices for teachers are listed here.
  • Some critical voices say that being certified with any kind of yoga-registration or organization does not necessarily improve quality of teaching or training by the school, and that examination on following the guidelines could be improved by YA.
  • Some people also chose not to become certified with YA as registration is not compulsory. Consequently, this means you can still teach yoga as a school or teacher without being certified with them.

Read on our FAQs to learn more about accreditation with yoga alliance.

Your choice – being accredited or not being accredited with Yoga-Alliance

Yoga-Alliance-certification certainly adds on value for a few reasons, but if you are listed in their directory, you are getting your name out there as a teacher or school. This will lead to increased numbers of requests. Having a certification as a RYT or RYS means you are following their guidelines and comply with certain standards. Having an accreditation with such a popular and well-known organization like YA will certainly also lead to increased trust and recognition from others.

Nevertheless, membership is mandatory and having to pay their registration fee and yearly membership fees might also scare some people off to register with YA. If you are good in what you’re doing, have the expertise and offer a high-level of teaching, it will be absolutely possible to become a well-recognized teacher or school without being accredited with THEM.

Ready to take the plunge and start a yoga-teacher-training? We are a RYS 200 Registered-Yoga-School offering 200-hr Vinyasa & Yin Yoga-Teacher-Trainings in beautiful Bali. See our upcoming courses.

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