The Yoga Teacher Central teacher certification program provides a structured educational path and recognition for your commitment and advancement.
It’s ethically advisable to meet a minimum standard of knowledge and to integrate that learning before teaching others. If the training you received did not fully prepare you to meet the Minimum Knowledge Standards, you can benefit from a methodical approach to your continuing education.
Indeed, most teachers have gaps in their education, and they lack a structured path for growth. To address this issue, we’ve developed the Pre-Certification Study Program, a framework that can guide you in efficiently completing your education in the foundations.
The study program includes the Knowledge Standards Learning Guide, a complete and structured resource for systematically increasing your teaching knowledge. The guide is crystal clear on the minimum knowledge required for effective teaching and how to ensure that your foundation is rock solid.
Study Program – In a Nutshell
The Pre-Certification Study Program is open to members and non-members. Members receive current membership benefits plus these additional ones.
For a one-time fee of $25, you get:
- A downloadable 150-page Knowledge Standards Lesson Guide that you can consult for years to come.
- Five Downloadable Lessons of your choice for lifetime use.
- If you’re not currently a member, you receive 10 days of online access to Yoga Teacher Central for downloading your lessons. If you are a current teacher or trainer member, you have until your expiration to download the lessons.
- Recognition as a YTC Teacher (for life; no expiration), including a marketing kit for displaying your status.
Study Program – More Details
You may recall the story of the woodcutter who is exhausted from sawing away at a tree but when it’s suggested that he pause to sharpen his saw, he replies, “I don’t have time to sharpen the saw. Don’t you see I’m too busy?”
Teachers can easily get caught up sawing away (teaching whenever and wherever they have the opportunity) with a dull blade (without having a consistently deep well of wisdom they can turn to for efficiently guiding their personal evolution).
There are many dedicated teachers who recognize a need to sharpen their saw (develop knowledge and skill in an efficient way that leads to greater and greater wisdom). But they usually find that they’re piecemealing their education, and lack access to a guide that can tell them where they are on their path and how to move forward most efficiently and effectively.
The Pre-Certification Study Program includes the 150-page Knowledge Standards Lesson Guide — a comprehensive and structured view of the foundational knowledge that yoga teachers need. The guide also includes practical considerations and study tips for advancing your teaching knowledge and capability.
- The guide features a “mind map” for improving knowledge retention, plus one page dedicated to each of the 116 teaching standards, making this something you can consult for years to come.
- You get a clear understanding of the significance of each knowledge standard and — importantly — become aware of gaps in your education in order to prioritize your learning objectives.
- With your personal learning objectives in mind, you can take immediate action to fill those priority knowledge gaps: you have 10 days of online access to review as many online lessons as you wish, plus download five lessons you can keep for life.
Study Program – Free Samples
The Knowledge Standards Guide provides you a valuable structured mind-map. This is followed by a page devoted to each of the Minimum Knowledge Standards. For each standard, you’ll see a self-assessment to help you get a quick sense for your familiarity with the subject.
For example, if you are looking at Core Anatomy, you’ll see knowledge standards related to these topics: 1) Core Form & Function 2) Core Fundamental Teachings and 3) TA & Engaging Deeper Abs.
Let’s say you are curious about the scope of this standard so you take a look:
Perhaps you think, “No problem, I’m fully educated on this subject.” Then there’s no need to review this lesson.
But perhaps you then look at Spine and Back Anatomy & Posture standards and see that it includes these topics: 1) Spinal Regions & Vertebrae 2) Back Muscles 3) Spinal Functions 4) Spinal Movements 5) Healthy Posture 6) Postural Issues & Conditions and 7) Spine & Back Teaching Considerations.
If you’re curious about what is encompassed in Healthy Posture, you’ll find this:
Free Downloadable Samples
Perhaps you then choose to download the lesson. You have two choices of how you wish to get the lesson:
- Lesson —This PDF will be, on average, 5 to 10 pages. Lessons are professionally-derived teachings that are edited and organized to support maximum comprehension and retention. For some lessons, the images will support learning. Lessons include references to sources and resources in case you’d like to consult them directly. Download a free sample here: link
- Assessment (Q&A) — This PDF is a brief summary of the lesson in the form of a Q&A. It does not include images or supporting information and rarely includes sources. If you’ve already studied the lesson online or are otherwise familiar with the lesson, the Q&A can serve as a great study review or reference. Download a free sample here: link
Healthy Posture is one of hundreds of lessons you can choose from to get just what you need. Please let us know if you need anything else.
Optional Exams & Badge Recognition
Optional exams will be available for testing your knowledge acquisition.
- You may choose to take up to 12 exams (from your device, at any time, in any order).
- Every exam question is verifiable and transparent. The questions draw from a multi-lineage scope of knowledge that has been methodically developed from expert sources.
- You’ll have 3 chances to pass every exam, which should be plenty because you’ll get your results along with teachings that show you what you got wrong and why.
- Examinations include detailed support for incorrect answers. You get an immediate correction, plus an explanation of the teaching. Additionally, a summary of all incorrect answers and the applicable corrected teachings are provided at the end of the exam.
- Badges are earned for passing exams in each category (Humanities, Anatomy, Safety, Teaching Arts and Yoga Techniques).
- Certification status and “certified” logo earned for passing all exams.
- For preparatory study, use the Knowledge Standards Lesson Guide (included with the Pre-Certification Study Program).
- To take exams, scroll to Exam Links below.
Try This No-Risk Sample Exam Now
Check out the sample exam now so that you can get a feel for it at no cost, and provide feedback during the design phase.
- Future exams will have a fee. This sample exam is free.
- Don’t worry about whether you’re prepared or not. It’s just an opportunity to see how it works and what you think. We will delete the results from this testing phase so that later, if you want to take the certification exams, you can take it again later with a strong intention to pass. ; )
- For context, this is one of two Humanities exams. There will be approximately 12 total exams (to cover all the standards within Humanities, Anatomy, Safety, Teaching Arts and Yoga Techniques).
- This exam is on the Roots of Yoga. (You can review self-assessments here and here.)
- Here’s a super cool feature: You get immediate feedback on whether you answered correctly. If you answer a question incorrectly, you’ll get a full explanation immediately, and again when you complete the exam. Isn’t that so practical and helpful? See sample screenshots below.
- There are 26 questions plus 10 vocab mix and match, so it’s likely to take you 15 to 30 minutes. You have a 45-minute limit.
We welcome your thoughts!
As the exams become available, links will be provided below. You may take any exam in any order.
- ROOTS OF YOGA Exam
- YOGA PHILOSOPHY FOUNDATIONS Exam
- ANATOMY & BIOMECHANICS Exam
- PHYSIOLOGY Exam
Safety & Ethics
- STUDENT SAFETY FOUNDATIONS Exam
- ETHICS & EQUITY Exam
- TEACHING FOUNDATIONS Exam
- ADAPTATION FOUNDATIONS Exam
- PERSONAL & PROFESSIONAL CONCERNS Exam
- BREATH & PRANAYAMA FOUNDATIONS Exam
- ASANA, MANTRA & MEDITATION FOUNDATIONS Exam
- POSE CATEGORIES Exam
Background FYI – How & Why it Works
Avoid Distraction from Disconnected Teachings Until You’ve Set a SOLID Foundation
The evolution of a teacher does NOT come from learning bits of disconnected teachings. It comes from integration and application.
To wisely apply what you’re learning requires an understanding of FOUNDATIONS and of CONTEXT. In other words, a piece of knowledge is only valuable for you if:
- You have a solid foundation and mind-map, enabling you to know how new information “fits.”
- You can answer these questions: What foundational and related knowledge is required to properly understand and apply this teaching? When is this teaching called for… under what circumstances, and with which students?
True & Practical Evolution
Some will tell you that such depth of knowledge comes from “time and experience” implying 1) that it can’t be taught and 2) that experience magically turns into wisdom. But this is demonstrably incorrect. While “time and experience” can be a powerful contributor to advancement in skill and wisdom, this is only true if one is engaged in “deliberate practice” (which specifically builds on strengths and improves weaknesses) vs “naive practice” (a form of repetition).
- Expertise does not come from relying on “essentially just doing something repeatedly, and expecting that the repetition alone will improve one’s performance.” (See more on Anders Ericsson”s research on expertise here.)
- In other words, just “getting out there and teaching” is not an effective way to grow. Rather, your teaching will exponentially improve when you follow a strategic path.
When it comes to knowledge, no matter how many teaching tips, Sanskrit words, anatomy terms and interesting tidbits you learn, you aren’t going to meet your potential unless you understand not only how the knowledge relates to the whole, but how you can optimally apply it.
- The Knowledge Standards Guide is crystal clear on the foundational knowledge required for advancing knowledge.
- The 116 foundational lessons the guide refers to “begin at the beginning” so that your foundation is rock solid. And they provide very real and practical considerations related to application.
- In other words, there are many things that can be learned which will expedite and maximize improvements in your teaching; presuming “time and experience” will take care of your evolution is an ineffective approach.
Knowledge vs. Practice
The YTC program addresses the knowledge component of teaching, but this does not discount the vital importance of practice and mentorship. In fact, there are reasons to believe that when we address knowledge gaps, we naturally help to improve other aspects of teaching and training. For example, an accessible and structured learning pathway can:
- Empower teachers to take charge of their learning and growth.
- Comfort teachers that they are receiving solid support for efficiently building their teaching knowledgebase while also being immersed in any number of complementary areas such as psychotherapy, nutrition, Ayurveda, childbirth, healthy aging or other areas of expertise.
- Free up trainers from some of the tasks related to simply transmitting foundational knowledge, leaving them more energy to customize and optimally support individual teachers.
- Make mentorship, practice and teaching more effective because it’s conducted with a base level of knowledge that leads to better integration and advances understanding.
Here are some additional considerations:
- This program offers a solution that can be implemented individually as desired (eventually resulting in a collective upleveling) as opposed to any sort of authoritarian, regulatory gobbledygook.
- The study program was created with built-in flexibility for each teacher to address his or her own needs as opposed to having to undertake something that wastes your time covering things you already know or don’t need.
- When you can meet the Minimum Knowledge Standards, you’ll have such strong fundamentals in place that you can take maximum advantage of growth opportunities such as studying with elite teachers, moving toward yoga therapy study, or specializing in particular areas of teaching interest.
- With such a solid foundation, you’ll have strong confidence in your ability to put pieces together to meet particular teaching needs. You’ll see how the comprehensive knowledgebase works like building blocks to help you in real-life teaching to apply strategies effectively.
The reason we care so much about supporting teachers and trainers is because we believe yoga teachers are absolutely vital to the healing of our planet. We honor your work so very much.
Teaching Regulations & Standards
Here’s a quick overview of standards and regulation of the yoga teaching field. For more details, see the free Teaching Standards and Self-Assessment Hub, an organized place to get factual information and links.
The Situation as a Whole
- Yoga is a self-regulated field. Details here.
- There has been a widespread misperception that Yoga Alliance contributes to the field’s self-regulation by upholding competency standards. That is not correct. Details here.
- Teachers and trainers have multiple options for recognition, certification and standards. See a list of 11 yoga teaching professional organizations, plus much more info here.
- A set of recommended standards for yoga teaching as a whole has been proposed. Details here.
- Yoga Teacher Central has proposed Minimum Knowledge Standards. Details here.
- Free and private self-assessments are available for quickly identifying gaps in your education. Details here.
Yoga Teacher Central Offerings
- Offer resources to uplift the yoga teaching field as a whole.
- Fill a need for high integrity, transparent field self-regulation options.
- Support individual teachers and trainers in meeting their potential.
- Teaching Resources – Since 2012, Yoga Teacher Central has offered high quality, cross-lineage teaching knowledge and support.
- Training Resources – In 2016, we began meeting the specialized needs of trainers. In 2019, we upped our training support to include world-class, full-service curriculums plus lesson bundling, assessment packs, a training hours allocation tool, PowerPoint presentations for lecture support, and so on.
- Field Up-Leveling Support – In 2021, we began launching a series of new resources to uplift the field as a whole, including Minimum Knowledge Standards and free, private Self-Assessments to help teachers identify gaps in their education.
- Authorized Trainers Program – In April 2021, the Authorized Trainers Program launched. The program recognizes trainers who have demonstrated good faith and investment in upholding high knowledge standards, a significant differentiator among trainers.
- Teacher Certification & Pre-Cert Study Program – The Teacher Certification & Pre-Cert Study Program is expected to launch by May 2021.