Teaching hot yoga can be rewarding, fun, and satisfying on many levels. It can also be very physically and mentally demanding. If you've been practicing hot yoga regularly for a while now, you might be considering training to be a teacher. Read through this guide and be honest with yourself about why you want to teach — then get ready to change the world, one student at a time!
Some people choose to undertake a hot yoga teacher training simply to deepen their practice, not to teach. That is completely normal. However, you shouldn't be surprised if you find yourself longing to teach by the end of your training!
Choose Your Style
"Hot yoga" is an umbrella term that includes the styles Bikram, Moksha, and heated Vinyasa classes like the Barkan Method of Hot Yoga and Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga. In hot yoga, the practice room temperatures can range from 90 degrees Fahrenheit to 105 degrees with 40 percent humidity (as in Bikram).
No matter which style of hot yoga you choose to teach, it's vital that you practice in that style for at least six months beforehand. Your hot yoga teacher training program might also require a daily or six-days-a-week practice in that particular style, as well.
Research Your Options
Once you've determined the style you want to teach, research the dates for upcoming trainings. You can find this information online, usually on the website of the style you'll train in. A few things to consider when researching and applying:
- Requirements: Some trainings (such as Bikram) require six months of continuous instruction in that particular style, a teacher recommendation, and you must be at least 21 years old. Other styles may have different requirements and it's important that you adhere to them.
- Length: Hot yoga teacher trainings can last anywhere from a week to over two months . You may be required to be on-site full-time for the duration of the training, so make sure you're able to carve out the time required.
- Cost: Teacher training programs can cost upwards of $3,000 — not including travel and other fees. Be honest about what you can afford and how you'll be able to pay for it.
- Location: The training you're interested in might take place at your local studio — or in a "destination" locale, such as Hawaii, San Diego, or Las Vegas. If you're immersed in the training, though, you might not have a chance to explore. Be sure to schedule some buffer time on either end of the training if you'd like to be a tourist!
- Teachers: The hot teacher of your choice might not actually teach the entire time. They may have senior teachers, student teachers, or other assistants lead certain sequences. Be sure the training you'd like to attend will be taught by the teacher whose wisdom you'd like to acquire.
If you're completely sure you're ready for the training, get your application in as soon as you can. Hot yoga is very popular these days, and trainings fill up fast. Also know that you may be required to write an essay or two, or to obtain a teacher's recommendation. The earlier you can take care of these tasks, the better.
Having trouble writing your essay? While the required topics may vary, it never hurts to brainstorm some reasons behind your motivation to teach. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- What first brought you to hot yoga?
- When did you first realize you loved it?
- Who were you before you started hot yoga? Who are you now?
- What has been your best hot yoga experience yet?
- Why do you keep coming back to hot yoga?
- When did you realize you wanted to become a hot yoga teacher?
Taking these ideas into account can also help to clarify any lingering questions you might be having about applying to the training. If you look within for the answers, your motivation may become crystal clear.
Go for It!
Once you've gotten into the program of your choice, prepare to engage yourself fully in the training. Hot yoga teacher training demands a lot of energy, effort, and attention. Whether you're training locally on the weekends or doing a nine-week total immersion in a different city, get ready to commit. Below are some tips to help keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
When you're presented with a ton of new information, sequences, anatomy, philosophy, and alignment — while sweating in a heated room — it can be tempting to let your mind wander. One of the main challenges of hot yoga is the attention and concentration it inherently demands. Remember that focusing on the present moment can help clear your mind of everyday worries. Accept the way things are in the moment and you will get much more out of the training than you may have expected.
Treat Yourself Gently
Nobody is perfect, especially teachers in training! You will forget pose names, sequences, and anatomy parts. Your own body may feel stiff or sore. Remember that you're all learning together. Your teacher training is not a competition; it's a way for you to learn and grow. Be sure not to judge yourself and to use kind words. Get enough rest, water, and showers. Take care of yourself, and the training will open up for you.
Allow Uncomfortable Feelings to Emerge
Immersing yourself in a hot room with many other people for a week or longer can bring some pretty awkward feelings to the surface. Yoga might make you feel great most of the time, but it's not often that we push our bodies and minds to such an extreme. Know that it's completely normal to feel whatever you're feeling. Whether you're exhausted, annoyed, homesick, lonely, or grumpy about your last break-up, you won't be alone. The training can provide you with a great opportunity to work through these feelings and let them go.
Find a Buddy & Check in with Each Other
It might be your roommate or the person on the mat next to you on Day One. Whoever your buddy is, be sure to check in with them at least once a day. They'll appreciate the compassion, and perhaps equally important, so will you!
It probably goes without saying, but if you're undergoing a hot yoga teacher training, it is vital for you to stay hydrated. Perk up your plain water with electrolyte powder or sea salt. Make sure you sip consistently throughout the day and evening.
After the Training
Once you've completed the training (congratulations, by the way), you're ready to take your teaching skills into the world. Here are a few tips to help ease the transition:
- Register with Yoga Alliance: If you've completed 200 hours at a Yoga Alliance certified school, make sure you sign up and make your registration official.
- Complete any certification requirements: These will vary depending on the style you've trained in. You may have to complete additional trainings to become certified in that method.
- Begin working with a mentor teacher: To gain experience, work as an apprentice, or get on the substitute list at your favorite studio.
- Get certified in CPR and First Aid: Some studios may require this, but it's beneficial to have these certifications, anyway.
- Get liability insurance: Same thing with insurance. Even if you're covered by your studio, it never hurts to have your own personal liability insurance.
- Set up an iSport account: Post your information; find studios, jobs, and students in your area.
- Never stop learning: Take workshops with visiting teachers. Watch DVDs and online videos. Read yoga books, blogs, and magazines. Continue to evolve, and you will always be valuable.
Take Time for Yourself
Your hot yoga training will teach you much about yoga, anatomy, philosophy, and sequencing. But more important is what you'll learn about yourself during the training. Being deeply involved in the training can be life-changing. With the energy and commitment required, it can be easy to forget to give back to yourself. Beware of burnout and make sure to take time to relax and renew. Remember, the more time and energy you can give to yourself, the more you'll be able to give your students. Stay balanced and enjoy your wonderful new path!