Over 36 million Americans practice yoga and at least 28% of Americans aged 18 and above have participated in a yoga class at some point in time. The popularity of this activity can be attributed to the wide variety of physical, mental, physiological health benefits that it provides. These include inner peace, pain and stress relief, increased strength, weight management, better breathing, improved circulation, and cardiovascular health. However, enjoying the benefits of yoga is heavily dependent on finding a good yoga instructor near you who is not only passionate about helping you improve your practice of yoga but also properly trained to do this.
When you are considering hiring a yoga instructor near you, it is always a good idea to find out if they have obtained adequate training on how to teach yoga. Before you hire a yoga instructor near you, you should ask the following questions:
Unlike many other professions in the United States, there are no federal or state licensing regulations for yoga instructors. As such, yoga instructors do not have to be licensed or registered to provide their services to clients. While an occupational license is not needed to teach yoga to interested persons, yoga instructors may be required to obtain a business license to operate a yoga studio in certain localities. It is always a good idea to find out what is obtainable in your locality by contacting the consumer protection office that oversees your state of residence.
Because yoga instructors do not need a license to provide their service, determining which instructor near you has the right credentials may seem a bit difficult. However, you can weed out potentially unqualified yoga instructors by asking them if they are certified. Completing a yoga instructor's certification is not only proof that the individual is a trained yoga instructor, it also means that they will provide yoga instructions in a highly professional manner. Always ask the instructor you want to hire for proof of certification and verify this information by contacting the organization or association that issued the certification. There are several professional certification programs for yoga instructors in the United States and these include the Registered Yoga Teacher Program, Integral Yoga Therapist Certification, and International Sports Science Association Yoga Instructor Certificate.
In addition to getting certified, yoga instructors may also be members of professional bodies. These include Yoga Alliance, United States Yoga Federation, and International Association of Yoga Therapists. Though membership in a professional association is not compulsory, it is always best if you hire a yoga instructor that belongs to one. These professional associations have established rules and regulations guiding members' behavior. As such, yoga instructors that are members of a professional association tend to be more disciplined compared to instructors that do not belong to a professional association.
The cost of hiring a yoga instructor is dependent on factors like your location, the yoga instructor's reputation and billing structure, and the type of yoga instructions you want. The average estimated cost of hiring a yoga instructor is $11 - $150 per hour. However, not all yoga classes last up to an hour so you may want to inquire about the prices of specific classes before making any payment arrangements with the yoga instructor you want to hire. For instance, an anti-gravity power yoga class may take up to 45 minutes and cost $25 - $70, while a native class that lasts for 30 to 60 minutes costs anywhere between $50 -$150.
When you are contemplating hiring a yoga instructor near you, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that you do not exceed your budget for it. These include:
- Consider taking yoga instructions in a fitness center: If you love to work out often, your fitness center might be the surest place to find qualified yoga teachers with no additional costs. It is very common to see a yoga instructor working in a fitness center and many of these centers offer yoga lessons at cheaper rates than most typical yoga studios do.
- Consider online offers: Unlike many other activities, yoga does not always require the instructor to be physically present. You can take advantage of online classes to minimize the cost of going to a yoga studio often.
- Take advantage of introductory offers: Most yoga studios offer introductory rates for first-time students. This means that you can hire an instructor or take yoga lessons at the studio at a discount. You should also lookout for new studios in your area as many new studios offer discounted rates for the first few months in business.
Hiring a yoga instructor is usually not the only cost that is involved in taking yoga lessons. Besides the fees that will be charged by the yoga instructor, you may also incur additional expenses. These include:
- Transportation expenses: When you are hiring a yoga instructor, there is always the possibility that you have to pay extra if the instructor is leaving their immediate location to come to you. This is usually the case for most private lessons. Whatever expenses the instructor makes while trying to get to your location are typically not included in the instructor's lesson fees.
- Yoga accessories: Yoga lessons typically require certain accessories such as, knee pads, yoga bricks, straps, bolsters and pillows, blankets, yoga mats, and other objects that aid the practice of yoga. It is always a good idea to discuss which accessories are going to be necessary with your instructor before making a purchase. While some yoga studios provide most of the accessories that you may need, others will expect you to bring these accessories to class.
- Miscellaneous expenses: Besides what your yoga instructor will charge, you may also incur extra expenses for yoga retreats, massages, and other activities that this instructor may recommend to you. Note that even though these activities are generally voluntary and you can skip yoga retreats or getting massages, it is always in your interest to follow any yoga-related recommendations made by your instructor.
Always discuss the possibility of incurring additional expenses when you want to hire a yoga instructor near you. Find out whether they are billed separately and when you are expected to pay for them. Finally, ensure that both you and the yoga instructor agree on a suitable payment plan before you start taking yoga lessons.
It is common for yoga instructors to identify with a particular style, tradition, and method of teaching yoga. It is also very common for yoga instructors to specialize in different types of yoga. Therefore, when you hire a yoga instructor, it is important to make sure that this individual is capable of teaching you your preferred style of yoga. If you intend to get your yoga lessons from a yoga studio, it is always a good idea to ask who will take the classes. Make sure that the yoga instructor that is assigned to teach you is an expert in the type of yoga you want to learn. You should always ask about their level of experience and whether they have any certifications. Speak with other students in the yoga studio to find out more about the yoga instructor assigned to you. You should also speak to the yoga instructor about your expectations for the class and make sure that the instructor has a clear understanding of what you expect to achieve at the end of the class.
There are no formal education requirements for yoga instructors in the United States. However, yoga instructors are required to have adequate knowledge of the techniques and traditions of different types of yoga including spiritually-oriented yoga, flow yoga, fitness yoga, alignment-oriented yoga, and many more. Work-related skills are cultivated over years of practice and training at the hands of yoga gurus or more experienced instructors. In addition to this, yoga instructors may voluntarily enroll in certification programs to improve their skills and proficiency in communicating yoga to their students. Common certification programs for yoga instructors include the Registered Yoga Teacher Program, Integral Yoga Therapist Certification, and International Sports Science Association Yoga Instructor Certificate.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are currently more than 248,000 exercise trainers and fitness instructors, including yoga instructors and therapists. Some yoga instructors also belong to professional associations like Yoga Alliance, the United States Yoga Federation, and the International Association of Yoga Therapists. These professional associations regulate the conduct of members in teaching and practicing yoga. For instance, Yoga Alliance requires member instructors to always respect student-teacher relationships, and practice consent-based touch and honesty in communications.
Before you hire a yoga instructor, it is always a good idea to ask for references. Most yoga instructors keep records containing information about their previous clients and you could ask the yoga instructor for contact details of past clients. Do not hesitate to contact these references to verify whatever claims the instructor may have made. You can also ask questions concerning the yoga instructor's professionalism and if the yoga class had any noticeable benefits for them. Doing this helps you to determine if the yoga instructor is fit to do your job.
In addition to directly asking the yoga instructor for references, you can get recommendations on experienced yoga instructors from family and friends. You can also take advantage of independent reviews on yoga instructors via Better Business Bureau and other third-party platforms that allow consumers to share unbiased opinions on yoga instructors that they have worked with to find reputable yoga instructors near you.
Quick Facts about Yoga Instructors
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Yoga is a series of physical, mental, and spiritual exercises that typically involves physical poses, concentration, and breathing. This activity started almost 5000 years ago and it emphasizes the importance of mental focus and deep breathing in keeping your mind and body healthy. There are six major branches of yoga and these are hatha yoga, raja yoga, karma yoga, bhakti yoga, tantra yoga, and jnana yoga.
Yoga offers a variety of physical and mental health benefits. These include:
- Improved strength, balance, and flexibility
- Improved respiration, energy, and vitality
- Weight reduction
- Improved cardiovascular and circulatory health
- Better stress management
- Mental clarity and calmness
- Self-awareness and improved concentration
When going to a yoga class, there is a list of things you should always bring with you and they include:
- Yoga shorts
- Full-length leggings
- Seamless and wire-free bras
- Small towels
- Yoga mats
- Yoga mat bag and name tags
- Water bottle
- Self-massage balls
- Comfortable footwear, preferably sandals or slip-ons
While most yoga instructors agree that what you wear can affect your confidence during a yoga class, there are certain types of clothing and items that are not generally allowed in yoga classes as they can affect your functionality and also cause distractions to other students. These include:
- Loose shirts and shorts
- Revealing and light-colored leggings
- Lose tops or tanks
- Regular bras
- Cotton or lacy underwear
- Heavy fragrances and perfumes
The number of times you should do yoga in a week is dependent on factors like your personal goals, preferences, and the recommendations made by your instructor. Many yoga instructors recommend yoga two to three times a week for beginners and three to five times a week for advanced yoga students.
Many yoga instructors recommend 15 to 35 minutes of yoga daily depending on what you want to achieve. For instance, 10 to 15 minutes of yoga can improve your bones, while 15 to 20 minutes of yoga helps memory and concentration.
Yoga etiquettes include the mode of conduct and mannerisms that are specific to yoga classes and studios. These modes of conduct cover what you should do before, and during yoga classes. When you sign up for a yoga class, always bear in mind that there are certain rules you must observe. These include:
- Always arrive on time
- Do not go in with your shoes
- Drop your shoes and belongings in the designated area
- Turn off cell phones before the class
- Avoid heavy fragrance, perfume, or cologne
- Observe basic personal hygiene habits such as bathing, washing your hands, and trimming your nails before class.
- Be mindful of how you open the studio door
- Be mindful of where you do your yoga pose. Most instructors recommend that you do each yoga pose on your mat.
Yes, yoga helps reduce stress. Yoga is instrumental in calming the nervous system and releasing muscular tension from the mind and body. Many yoga instructors emphasize meditation and deep breathing as healthy exercises to relieve stress.
Yes, you can practice yoga while pregnant. Many yoga instructors recommend prenatal yoga, hatha yoga, and restorative yoga for pregnant women. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to speak with your instructor before starting any yoga class if you are pregnant. This will help the instructor decide what types of yoga you should avoid.