RYS 500 Standards

Last Updated: July 19, 2023

Please note: Yoga Alliance intended to launch Elevated RYS 500 Standards in 2020, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, we have revisited and revised our standards to ensure they continue to meet the current and evolving needs of the broader yoga community.

As such, previously stated dates and deadlines are currently under review. Members will be informed of all relevant changes as they develop.

Following are Yoga Alliance’s Standards for a Registered Yoga School 500-hour training. Topics for a RYS teacher training training must be relevant to Yoga Alliance’s five Educational Categories as defined below. A RYS 500 must provide a minimum number of hours of study in each educational category, and to make up the required 500 hours, must also provide additional hours of study relevant to these Educational Categories, which may be distributed according to the school’s chosen emphasis.

A RYS 500 training (RYS 500) must incorporate training hours in the following Educational Categories:

  1. Techniques, Training and Practice: 150 Hours

    Minimum Contact Hours: 100 hours
    Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 100 hours

    Topics in this category could include, but are not 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: 30 Hours

    Minimum Contact Hours: 20 hours*
    Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 20 hours

    Topics in this category could include, but are not 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 (including marketing and legal).

    *Special Requirement: A maximum of five hours related to the business aspects of teaching yoga may be counted towards the Yoga Alliance Contact Hours requirements for this category.

    The Teaching Methodology category covers a broad overview and analysis of teaching methods, rather than how to practice 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: 35 Hours*

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

    Topics in this category could include, but are not 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.).

    *Special Requirement: A minimum of fifteen of the above hours must be spent applying anatomy and physiology principles to yoga.

  4. Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle and Ethics for Yoga Teachers: 60 Hours

    Minimum Contact Hours: 45 hours*
    Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 0 hours

    Topics in this category could include, but are not limited to:
    • The study of yoga philosophies and traditional texts (such as the Yoga Sutras, Hatha Yoga Pradipika or Bhagavad Gita).
    • 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 through yoga (seva).

    *Special Requirement: A minimum of 4 of the above Contact Hours must be spent on ethics for yoga teachers.

  5. Practicum: 40 Hours

    Minimum Contact Hours: 20 hours*
    Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 10 hours

    Topics in this category include:
    • Practice teaching as the lead instructor (does not include assisting, observing or giving feedback).
    • Receiving and giving feedback.
    • Observing others teaching.**
    • Assisting students while someone else is teaching.

    *Special Requirement: Each trainee must spend a minimum of 10 Contact Hours actively practice teaching as the lead instructor. Time spent assisting, observing others teaching, or giving feedback to others is excluded from these hours.
    **Evaluation or observation of yoga classes outside of the RYS Teacher Training constitutes Non-Contact Hours.

  6. Remaining Contact Hours and Elective Hours

    All 500 hour teacher trainings must include 500 hours of training hours.

    1. Of the 500 hours, 450 hours must be Contact Hours. (Information on Contact Hours and Non-Contact Hours are found in section 7.)
    2. 205 of the 450 Contact Hours are assigned to specific Educational Categories.
    3. The remaining 245 Contact Hours are distributed amongst the Educational Categories based on your training’s focus.
    4. The last remaining 50 Hours may be allocated as Contact Hours or Non-Contact Hours.

  7. Contact Hours and Non-Contact Hours

    Contact Hours

    A Contact Hour must take place in the physical, online real-time, or online pre-recorded presence of a faculty member. Content of Contact Hours must be intended for teacher trainees rather than the general public, specifically:

    • The content of these hours advances the education of trainees as demonstrates explicitly through the course syllabus and its Learning Objectives.
    • These hours fall into the normal content flow of the overall training entailing discussion, reports submitted by trainees on their experiences, related homework, projects, or the like. 
    • Faculty for these hours meet Yoga Alliance's faculty qualifications and are designated in the syllabus as training faculty.

    Non-Contact Hours

    Non-Contact Hours are the number of hours of learning that occur without a faculty member present. All Non-Contact Hours must be relevant to the five Educational Categories. These outside resources should be thoughtfully chosen to support the training.  Non-Contact Hours must be an assigned part of the curriculum and examples of allowable Non-Contact Hours may include:

    • Reading, audio/video or Internet resources that are integrated into the curriculum via reports, class discussions, presentations, tests, or the like;
    • Webinars on yoga-related topics;
    • Written assignments on yoga-related topics that may be counted for all categories except Practicum;
    • Group activities including directed discussion, technique practice or teaching practice;
    • Attending yoga classes outside of the program with the following stipulations:
    • Each class must be evaluated via a written or oral exercise, and
    • These hours may count toward the Techniques, Training and Practice, Teaching Methodology or Practicum categories.

  8. Distance Learning

    RYS 500 programs can offer training programs in multiple formats, including 100% in-person, 100% distance learning, or a mix of both.

    RYSs utilizing 100% distance learning are required to deliver a minimum of 15% of the program hours in a synchronous format (teachers and students gather online at the same to interact in real-time). For the RYS 500 training, this means a minimum of 75 hours.

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