How Effective Really is Membership with the Yoga Alliance?

Written by: Nandini Trivedi

Many times when prospective students are searching for yoga teacher training programs (YTT) they often will think they need to go with a school that is Yoga Alliance Certified. While it is effective to have a formal education on the teachings of yoga, this is actually a huge misconception because you are not even legally required to have a certification to teach the practice. In ancient India, the practice was passed down from Guru to student by word of mouth. There was no such thing as “a certified yoga school.” 

The Yoga Alliance is a U.S. based nonprofit membership trade and professional organization for yoga teachers. To register, you must be at least 200 hour certified by a school that is associated with the Yoga Alliance and pay a yearly membership fee around $115 which includes registration. At this time, online yoga schools are not certified through the organization. You can think of it as the Linkedin of the yoga world. To keep your membership with the Yoga Alliance in good standing, you are also required to teach at least 45 hours of yoga every three years in addition to taking 30 hours of yoga related training related to one of their Educational Categories with at least 10 training hours being Contact Hours.

I am personally not registered with the Yoga Alliance, however it does offer some benefits such as job postings and the opportunity to network with other teachers. From what I have seen and heard while teaching yoga full-time for the past few years, nobody that I personally know of has gotten jobs or referrals through the organization. Although everyone’s experience is different, I can only speak from my perspective. 

When searching for the right YTT program for you, I recommended looking at the quality and experience of the teachers leading the program vs looking for the seal of approval through the Yoga Alliance as it’s simply just a sticker. Authentic programs in India never had any of these requirements but as we move towards a world of commercialized yoga these practices have become more common.