200-Hour Standards for Yoga Teacher Trainings

These standards describe Yoga Alliance’s requirements for a Registered Yoga School that offers a 200-hour program. Topics for registered teacher trainings must be relevant to the five educational categories below. Registered schools must provide a minimum number of hours of study for each category, and must also provide additional hours of study relevant to these categories, which may be distributed according to the school’s chosen emphasis.


Before applying to register your school as a RYS 200, it is helpful to carefully consider what a successful student in your course should know and be able to do (learning objectives), and then to develop your topics and description of topics based on the learning objectives of your program. 


A RYS with a 200-hour program (RYS 200) must incorporate training hours in the following educational categories: 

1. Techniques, Training and Practice: 100 hours

Minimum contact hours: 75 hours
Minimum contact hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 50 hours

Topics in this category could include, but would not be limited to: asanas, pranayamas, kriyas, chanting, mantra, meditation and other traditional yoga techniques. These hours must be a mix between: 1) analytical training in how to teach and practice the techniques, and 2) guided practice of the techniques themselves. Both areas must receive substantial emphasis. 

2. Teaching Methodology: 25 hours

Minimum contact hours: 15 hours
Minimum contact hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 10  hours

Special Requirements: A maximum of five of the above hours can be counted on the subject of  business aspects of teaching yoga


Topics in this category could include, but may not be limited to:  


  • Communication skills such as group dynamics, time management, and the establishment of priorities and boundaries
  • How to address the specific needs of individuals and special populations, to the degree possible in a group setting
  • Principles of demonstration, observation, assisting and correcting
  • Teaching styles
  • Qualities of a teacher
  • The student learning process 
  • Business aspects of teaching yoga

The Teaching Methodology category covers a broad overview and analysis of teaching methods, rather than how to practice or teach specific techniques. See the example topics below to help clarify the differences between the Techniques, Training and Practice category and the Teaching Methodology category:

Example Techniques, Training and Practice Topics   Example Teaching Methodology Topics  
The Five Categories of Asana: The trainee will practice and learn the key poses in each category of asana (standing poses, forward bends, backbends, twists, and inversions) and will begin to develop a relationship to both the form and the function of these different categories.

Maps of Alignment: Trainees will achieve comprehension of the alignment maps for each of the five categories of asanas through observation and experience of how the poses in each category share a common foundation, and how to build upon this foundation.
Principles of Demonstrating Asanas: Discuss how effective demonstrations in class can help emphasize an alignment or other focus for the specific pose or sequence of poses. 

Learning Modalities: identifying your  dominant style, and learning how to teach based on others’ learning styles

Use of Language and Voice: Lecture and discussion on active vs. passive language and the effective use of each; positive and conscious communication, and habitual speech and communication patterns

3. Anatomy and Physiology: 20 hours

Minimum contact hours: 10 hours
Minimum contact hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 0 hours

Special Requirements: A minimum of five of the above hours must be spent applying anatomy and physiology principles to yoga

Topics in this category could include, but would not be limited to: human physical anatomy and physiology (bodily systems, organs, etc.) and may also include energy anatomy and physiology (chakras, nadis, etc.). Includes both the study of anatomy and physiology along with its application to yoga practice (benefits, contraindications, healthy movement patterns, etc.). 

4. Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle and Ethics for Yoga Teachers: 30 hours

Minimum contact hours: 20 hours
Minimum contact hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 0 hours

Special Requirements: A minimum of 2 of the above contact hours must be spent on ethics for yoga teachers


Topics in this category could include, but would not be limited to:


  • The study of yoga philosophies and traditional texts, such as the Yoga Sutras and Hatha Yoga Pradipika
  • Yoga lifestyle, such as the precept of non-violence (ahimsa), and the concepts of dharma and karma
  • Ethics for yoga teachers, such as those involving teacher – student relationships and community
  • Understanding the value of teaching yoga as a service and being of service to others (seva)

5. Practicum: 10 hours

Minimum  contact hours: 5 hours
Minimum contact hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 5 hours

Special Requirements: Each trainee must spend a minimum of 5 contact hours of practice teaching as the lead instructor. Practice teaching does not include assisting, observing or giving feedback.


Topics in this category could include, but would not be limited to:


  • Practice teaching
  • Receiving and giving feedback
  • Observing others teaching
  • Assisting students while someone else is teaching

Remaining Contact Hours and Elective Hours 

The requirements detailed above ensure that all trainees of a RYS receive training and instruction in five educational categories for a minimum number of designated hours. The remaining contact hours (55 hours) and elective hours (15 hours, either contact or non-contact) are to be distributed among the five educational categories, but the hours may be allocated at the discretion of each RYS based on their program’s focus.

TOTAL HOURS: 200 hours

Total minimum contact hours: 180 hours
Total minimum contact hours with Lead Trainer(s): 65 hours

Copyright 2014 by Yoga Alliance