In tips for teachers

When you graduate from a 200-hour teacher training that has been approved by Yoga Alliance (YA), you have the opportunity to join the Alliance and become a “registered yoga teacher” or “RYT.” Should you?

Well, until very recently, my answer to this would have been, “No.” Don’t waste your money. Aside from getting to put the letters “RYT” after your name, there wasn’t much benefit to paying your dues. However, Yoga Alliance has been trying to step up their game the last few years, and now it may be more of a toss up.

The History

Yoga Alliance formed in 1997, when a group of yogis came together at the San Francisco Yoga Journal Conference. Seeing the growing popularity of yoga in the United States, they took on the responsibility of creating the yoga teacher training standards, which are now the benchmark for trainings over the world. Since 2013, Yoga Alliance has been focused on offering more tangible member benefits, such as discounts on products and services and online workshops.

Pro’s of Joining

  • Discounts with a wide variety of partners for products (like clothing and props) and services (like legal advice and liability insurance). Partners include companies like Manduka, Half Moon, Gaiam, Jade, YogaU, and MINDBODY). So if you want a discount on your new mat, this could be a good deal.
  • Free Online Workshops (about 90 and counting) on a wide variety of yoga and business subjects. The quality of these workshops isn’t technically high, but it’s content rich.
  • Scholarships (20 scholarships were given out in 2016).
  • You get to add “RYT” after your name, which looks fancy.
  • You get listed on their site as a registered yoga teacher (in case anyone is looking).
  • If you have long terms goals of participating as faculty in registered teacher trainings or offering yoga continuing educational credits, you will have to become a registered teacher eventually.

Con’s of Joining

  • Cost: $115 to join up front, then $65/ year thereafter.
  • People who hire yoga teachers generally don’t care if you are a member (though they may care that your program was registered as a school, they won’t care if you are a current member. I’ve been hiring teachers for about ten years now and never asked if someone was registered).
  • If you want to be faculty or a CEC provider, you don’t have to join now. You can join later when you want to actually start offering course credits. (I didn’t join YA until after I’d been teaching for six years and was creating a teacher training program.)


  • Check out Yoga Alliance’s list of discounts and workshops. If you feel like you will get $115 of value from these offerings, then join now. If you think you can get the same information and value through other channels, then save your money.
  • Whether you join or not, keep an accurate and thorough log of the classes that you have been teaching. If you want to eventually register or upgrade to a 500 hour or E-RYT status, then you will have to provide an accounting for your teaching. Better to proactively track now than to try to backtrack later.
  • If you aren’t a teacher yet, but are looking at teacher trainings, do choose a training that is registered with Yoga Alliance (unless you plan on doing another 200 hour or unless you are focused exclusively on a niche style like Iyengar or Ashtanga). While hiring managers won’t necessarily care if you yourself are a member of YA, we often care that your School is registered.

Questions or comments?

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