Teachers of yoga in the United States are not required to be certified. Many professional teachers do complete a 200-hour training course, and some pursue a general yoga certification.
Iyengar yoga certification is considered the “gold standard” because it is the most rigorous teacher certification program in the world. Candidates for Iyengar yoga certification must study for a minimum of three years, complete a 500-hour training or equivalent program, complete an apprenticeship and pass two levels of intense testing and evaluation.
Nearly all of our teachers are CIYT (Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher) and many are continuing with their certification at a variety of levels between Introductory, Intermediate Junior and Senior levels. Best of luck to everyone!
For Iyengar yoga certification, teachers are evaluated on more than 45 different criteria, including the clarity of their instruction, their ability to teach poses to a wide range of students, and their skill in observing and correcting students. Assessment includes demonstrated practice, pranayama, and a comprehensive written test that includes knowledge of anatomy, physiology, yoga philosophy, Sanskrit, and teaching concepts. For each examination, candidates are evaluated in-person by a panel of three CIYT assessors over a 2-day period. It does happen for candidates to have to test more than once to pass a level.
Six levels of proficiency are tested in the United States. Each level is progressive, building on knowledge developed in the previous level. It takes decades to advance to the highest levels, and regular trips to India are required. Standards and syllabi are designed by BKS Iyengar for each level. Assessment is administered through our national organization and held each year at yoga centers around the United States.
You can support the certification process by serving as a student in a mock assessment. Its free! During the assessment preparation season (usually March – December) we have several mock assessments each month. Click here to view the calender and register.
The mock assessment are teaching tools. They are free for students to participate. These mock assessments strengthen our teaching, build community and prepare us for successful certification. We hope you will join us!
If you want to become a certified teacher yourself, you can begin the path by taking regular classes with a CIYT who is certified at Junior Intermediate I or above. They can mentor you through the process, or you can take a teacher education program like Sadhana Studies. Sadhana Studies is great option for those who want to explore teaching – and those who have been teaching for many years but are now ready to pursue the gold-standard CIYT designation. Contact us and we will be happy to provide you with a list of Sadhana Studies participants and graduates so you can learn more.
Adeline Yoga Studio offers the highest concentration of certified Iyengar teachers in the East Bay. Most of our teachers are certified at the Introductory II level or higher. When you study with a certified teacher, you can be sure that your teacher has received thousands of hours of training. Iyengar yoga teachers use their deep knowledge of the asanas to individualize corrections for each student. Students receive clear demonstrations of the postures, and know that they are being observed by someone with a well-developed eye. These are the marks of an Iyengar yoga teacher.
Other teachers have continued with toward higher Iyengar certification. For example, Michael Lucey is certified at the Senior Intermediate level (6th level) and Heather Haxo Phillips is certified as a Junior Intermediate 3 teacher (the 5th level). Few, even among Iyengar teachers, choose to pursue this level of certification because it is so rigorous. At this level, Heather and Michael are able to offer particular expertise on many topics including pregnancy and prenatal yoga. Heather also actively serves as a mentor for new teachers and others engaged in the Iyengar Yoga certification process.
While not all teachers at Adeline Yoga are certified, we all teach with Iyengar’s teachings as our primary influence.