Yoga Alliance

Spirit of the Standards - RCYS

July 2016

Standards Guidelines (all RYS)

  1. Spirit of the Standards

The spirit of the Yoga Alliance Standards is to include a school in the RYS® (Registered Yoga School) Directory only when its YTT (Yoga Teacher Training):

  • Has a definite, pre-defined curriculum that meets the Yoga Alliance Standards.
  • Is taught by yoga teacher trainers who are qualified to train teachers.
  • Offers a consistent approach that is conducive to depth, rather than a survey of different approaches.

All standards for a RYS are intended to be clear, implementable reflections of the above criteria.


  1. Educational Categories of Study & Practice

The RYS Educational Categories are:

  • Techniques, Training and Practice
  • Teaching Methodology
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Yoga Philosophy/Ethics/Lifestyle
  • Practicum

Please see each standard’s detailed description for the definition of each educational category as it relates to that specific designation.

Training hours may go into ‘N/A - Supplemental Training’ when they include content that does not fit in the Educational Categories. Examples of such content include instruction in Reiki, Thai yoga massage, CPR, Doula training, “Yoga Therapy”, etc. These hours are not counted in determining whether or not the syllabus meets Yoga Alliance Standards.


  1. Faculty Qualifications – E-RYT®

Definition of an E-RYT® (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher)

  • E-RYT 200 - This is a RYT 200 who has been teaching yoga for at least two years since completion of training with a RYS 200, and has taught at least 1000 hours of yoga classes since that time. This person must have accumulated the 1,000 hours of yoga teaching experience after having met the RYT 200 Requirements (whether registered as an RYT 200 or not).
  • E-RYT 500 - This is a RYT 500 who has been teaching yoga for at least four years, and has taught at least 2000 hours of yoga classes. This person must have accumulated this much yoga teaching experience after having met the RYT 200 Requirements (whether registered as an RYT 200 or not), with at least 500 of those hours having been accumulated after having completed the advanced training.


  1. Trainer Requirements

Trainers are those who teach trainees in a teacher training for a RYS. Trainers may be E-RYTs as per the Faculty Qualifications (section I.3 above) or must be documented as having either.

  • RYT® registration, or
  • Satisfy the following : have a relevant degree, certification or substantial education in the subject that he or she will teach, which must be related to a Yoga Alliance® Educational Category, plus a minimum of 500 hours of teaching experience in that subject and/or the equivalent of two years of relevant experience in that subject area, as demonstrated by either documentation or an attestation by a RYS Owner or Syllabus Manager.


  1. Lead Trainers and Contact Hours with Lead Trainers

Lead Trainer(s) are E-RYT’s at the appropriate level for the relevant RYS designation (see table below) who teach Contact Hours in a RYS training. Lead Trainers must be actively registered with Yoga Alliance.

 In order to meet the general principle “Offers a consistent approach that is conducive to depth, rather than a survey of different approaches” (see Spirit of the Standards section I.1), there must be minimum numbers of Contact Hours in three of the five Educational Categories with a maximum number of pre-designated E-RYTs for each training offered. The minimum number of Contact Hours by subject category are defined in the individual Standards for each RYS designation. The maximum number of E-RYTs allowed for a training within each RYS designation is shown in the following table:

RYS Designation Lead Trainer Eligibility by Designation Maximum Number of Lead Trainers per Training Lead Trainer Contact Hours Requirements by Designation
RYS 200 E-RYT 200 or E-RYT 500 2 65
RYS 300 E-RYT 500 5 135
RYS 500 E-RYT 500 5 200



  1. Standards Definitions

  • Hours - One hour equals 60 minutes. Time allocated for meals, or for breaks longer than 10 minutes, does not count as training hours. No Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga School training hour may be credited to more than one RYS training or designation.
  • Contact Hour - A Contact Hour must take place in the physical presence of a faculty member. Contact Hours’ instructional content must be intended for teacher trainees rather than the general public, specifically:
    • The content of these hours advances the education of trainees as demonstrated 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 formally designated as training faculty.
  • E-RYT 500 - See section I.3 (Faculty Requirements)
  • E-RYT 200 - See section I.3 (Faculty Requirements)
  • E-RYT 200, RYT 500 - See section I.3 (Faculty Requirements re. E-RYT 200s)
  • Lead Trainer < – See Section I.5 (Lead Trainers and Contact Hours With Lead Trainers)
  • Non-Contact Hours - Non-Contact Hours are the number of hours of learning that occur without a faculty member present. All Non-Contact Hours should be relevant to one of the five Educational Categories. 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 or 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 training, with the following stipulations:
      • Each class must be evaluated via a written or oral exercise.
      • These hours may count toward the Techniques, Training and Practice, Teaching Methodology or Practicum categories.
  • Examples of Unallowable Non-Contact Hours include:
    • Personal private practice.
    • Attending classes intended for the general public without entailing discussion, reports submitted by trainees on their experiences, related homework, and the like.


  1. Subjects of Study

Although Yoga Alliance honors and respects related disciplines and traditions, both Contact and Non-Contact Hours are limited to areas that fall within the scope of traditional yoga studies.


  1. CPR and First Aid Training

CPR and first aid training hours cannot be counted toward satisfying the minimum YTT curriculum hours or Continuing Education Contact Hours. Yoga Alliance suggests CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and first aid training for all RYT’s


Children’s Yoga Standards


RCYS logoThe following are Yoga Alliance’s Standards for a Registered Yoga School that offers a Children’s Yoga training. Topics for RCYS’s teaching teacher trainings must be relevant to Yoga Alliance’s five Educational Categories as defined below. Additionally RCYS curriculum includes Requirements related to ‘General Background in the Specialty Area’.


  1. General Background in the Specialty Area: 12 Hours

Minimum Contact Hours:12 hours
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 0 hours


Includes the study and understanding of all childhood developmental stages from age 2-15 and how the issues of each stage impact what is appropriate for teaching them. The school may split ages 2-15 into age groupings as it sees fit (e.g., ages 2-4, 5-8, etc.; or pre-school, elementary school, middle school). All five of Yoga Alliance’s Educational Categories are to address the specifics of appropriate developmental application for each age group. Also includes the understanding of the yoga teacher’s relationships with parents/guardians and developmental specialists and basic communication skills for conducting those relationships.


  1. Techniques, Training and Practice: 20 Hours

Minimum Contact Hours: 20 hours
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 15 hours


Includes yoga-based practices appropriate for child development, such as asanas, asana-based movement, yoga-based games and activities, breathing techniques and chanting.


  1. Teaching Methodology: 15 Hours

Minimum Contact Hours: 15 hours
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 12 hours


Includes knowledge of classroom techniques, lesson plans and group processing for children’s activities. Age-appropriate teaching skills for yoga class techniques (including how to phrase age-appropriate questions to a child) and effective communication skills (such as songs and stories) for working with children.


  1. Anatomy and Physiology: 10 Hours

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


Anatomy and physiology related specifically to changes during child development and their application to yoga techniques (see Techniques category above). Includes both the study of the subject and application of its principles to yoga practice (benefits, contraindications, healthy movement patterns, etc). Includes both human physical anatomy and physiology (bodily systems, organs, etc.) and energy anatomy and physiology (chakras, nadis, etc.).


  1. Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle and Ethics for Yoga Teachers: 12 Hours

Minimum Contact Hours: 12 hours
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 0 hours


Includes basic yoga precepts as they relate to children and to teaching Yoga to children (e.g., the Yamas and Niyamas). Awareness of ethical behavior and state and local legal requirements as related to behavior with and supervision of children. Specific training in parameters and techniques of ethical touch with regard to teaching children. Basics of ethical language and behavior, both when parents or guardians are present and when they are not.


  1. Practicum: 18 Hours

Minimum Contact Hours: 18 hours
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 10 hours


Practicum hours are divided between hours spent observing a specialty class and hours spent teaching a specialty class. A portion of each type of hours need to be with the Lead Trainer(s).

Observing, Contact Hours: 6 hours (4 hours of these must be with Lead Trainer(s))

These hours must be spent observing another teacher lead a children’s yoga class. As indicated above, a portion of these hours must be spent with Lead Trainers.

Teaching, Contact Hours: 12 hours (6 hours of these must be with Lead Trainer(s) and 4 of these 6 hours must as the lead teacher).

These hours must be spent teaching a children’s yoga class. As indicated above, a portion of these hours must be spent with Lead Trainers and as lead teacher of the class.


  1. Elective Hours: 8 Hours

Elective hours (8 hours) to be distributed among Educational Categories according to the school’s chosen emphasis (may be Contact or Non-Contact Hours).


  1. Total Hours: 95 Hours

Total minimum Contact Hours: 87 hours
Total minimum Contact Hours with Lead Trainer(s): 37 hours


Yoga Alliance is a nonprofit 501(c)(6). Yoga Alliance Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3). This website refers to the two organizations as "Yoga Alliance." Copyright 2018 Yoga Alliance. Yoga Alliance, the Yoga Alliance logo, RYS, RYT, and YACEP are registered marks with the USPTO and other jurisdictions.
Copyright 2018 by Yoga Alliance