Whether you are looking to elevate your yoga game or want to pursue a career in teaching this ancient art to others, undergoing the proper level of training is a critical step along your path toward the mastery of yoga. The most common level of yoga teacher training is the 200-hour certification but what option is available for yogis looking to pursue the highest tier of yoga expertise?
For enthusiasts whose passion for yoga is their true calling in life, completion of a 500-hour teacher training program will certify that not only have you mastered the fundamental teachings of yoga but that you are fully qualified to lead others on their journeys to enlightenment and well-being.
There is more to being a certified yoga teacher than performing poses and sequencing them for a class full of eager students. A properly trained instructor must be well-versed in the cerebral side of this ancient art, including yogic philosophy and meditative practices. Enrolling in a 500-hour yoga teacher training is a serious commitment and can be a life-changing decision. Here’s what you should know.
What Is a 500-Hour YTT Certification?
When it comes to training to become a certified yoga instructor, successfully completing the requirements for a 500-hour yoga teacher training (YTT for short) is viewed by many yoga aficionados as reaching the pinnacle of yoga practice and joining very distinguished company. But what exactly is meant by a 500-hour YTT and what does this recognition signify?
Earning a 500-hour YTT certification is a major accomplishment for a yogi, and it demonstrates a strong commitment to studying the fundamentals and mastering the various facets of the ancient art of yoga. In practical terms, this distinction signifies that the practitioner:
- Has completed rigorous training in the practice of asanas (yoga poses) and how to sequence them in an impactful way for students of all skill levels
- Is well-versed in multiple yoga disciplines, such as hatha, vinyasa flow, and restorative, to name a few
- Has studied the history and philosophy of yoga and can apply those teachings in a modern context
- Can confidently lead a group meditation session and provide guidance to students according to individual needs
- Has mastered yogic breathing techniques and can teach others the subtleties and nuances of this essential discipline
While enrolling in a 500-hour YTT is certainly a surefire way to hone your yoga skills and elevate your personal practice of this centuries-old discipline, the primary objective of pursuing this certification is to teach others. For this reason, another aspect of yoga teacher training at this level is the emphasis on learning the various methods through which the many facets of yoga can be taught to students.
Whether is it leading a group of students at a community recreational center or operating your own yoga school, earning this certification is a badge of distinction that demonstrates your qualifications to assume a leadership role in the practice of yoga.
What Are the Requirements To Become a 500-Hour RYT?
A 500-hour YTT is an intensive program that is designed to prepare you to become a yoga instructor of the highest order. This is not to be confused with achieving RYT (registered yoga teacher) status, which is for many successful 500-hour YTT candidates, the next step toward embarking on a career in yoga.
As the name suggests, the RYT designation entails registration with a governing body after completion of training, which in this case is Yoga Alliance, a 501(c)(3) organization that is the largest nonprofit association in the world, administering and overseeing a community of 7,000 registered yoga schools and over 100,000 registered yoga teachers.
In order to receive the RYT 500 designation, practitioners must satisfy the following requirements:
- First of all, the institution or school through which you receive your 500-hour yoga teacher training must be registered with Yoga Alliance and be an RYS (registered yoga school)
- The RYT 500 designation means that you have successfully completed a 500-hour yoga teacher training course at an RYS
- The 500-hour requirement can be satisfied by completing a standalone 500-hour YTT or by combining a 200-hour YTT with a subsequently completed 300-hour YTT (for a total of 500 hours)
- Yoga Alliance also requires that you have logged a minimum of 100 hours of instruction in a teaching environment following your training
- If you are registering with Yoga Alliance for the first time, you will need to pay an initial fee to go along with your RYT application, and once registered, you will be required to pay annual dues (amounts can be found here) to keep your membership current and active
- As an RYT you will also be required to stay current on your continuing education requirements by fulfilling 75 hours (a breakdown of these hours can be found here) every three years
Earning your 500-hour YTT certification is a major accomplishment. But in order to maximize its value in a professional sense, it may be worth your while to consider applying to Yoga Alliance as an RYT 500 as this certification signifies that you have satisfied strict training standards and comply with rigid teaching criteria.
In other words, this credential provides you with a measure of credibility as you embark on the next level of your yoga journey.
What Does MVP’s 500 YTT Include?
One of the most prominent 500-hour YTTs around is the 100% online program offered by My Vinyasa Practice. MVP’s 500 Hour Yoga Teacher Training & Mindfulness Coaching Certification is a composite of its 200-hour and 300-hour programs which can be taken sequentially or all at once.
MVP’s 500 YTT is a comprehensive program that covers the full spectrum of yogic history, philosophy, and practice. Some of the highlights include:
- On-demand instructional resources including pre-recorded lectures and video lessons
- A full library of written lesson plans, worksheets, and journal prompts
- Personal interaction with program instructors via email, chat, and phone
- Access to a huge catalog of specially curated pose sequences
- Peer activities including group study sessions and zoom meetings
- Personalized mentorship and peer support resources
With lifetime access to course materials and the freedom to learn at your own pace, MVP’s 500 YTT is a unique developmental program that challenges students while emphasizing peer interaction and personalized support.
A 500-hour yoga teacher training is the most complete vocational development that you can undertake to deepen your understanding of the yogic arts and prepare to instruct others in its various disciplines. By registering as an RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance you can further enhance your professional profile and earn the trust of your students and colleagues.