Why Top Most Trainers should have 500-Hour Yoga Teacher Coaching

There was once a time when 500-hour yoga teacher training was not necessary to become a lead yoga trainer. You could be just a Yoga Alliance RYT 200 to be one. Of course, you could only give 200-hour Yoga Alliance teacher training. To be a lead trainer for 500-hour Yoga Alliance teacher training, you still had to be a 500 RYT. More specifically, in both cases, you had to be an E-RYT or experienced registered yoga teacher. This means that besides completing 500 hours of training from Yoga Alliance schools, you also had to have teaching experience. For E-RYT 200, this meant a minimum of 1000 hours over 2 years or more. For E-RYT 500, it was 2000 hours minimum over 4 years or more.

However, some time back, the Yoga Alliance changed its stand on this subject. It modified the rules so that only those with 500-hour yoga teacher training and the relevant experience could become lead trainers. The organization has laid down the criteria and rules for existing and new registered yoga schools, RYT-200 lead trainers, and aspiring trainers on its website. The details of what each must do to update themselves are provided along with application procedures and deadlines.

Why The Yoga Alliance Teacher Training Standards Are Being Updated

For a lot of people, these changes will be unwelcome. Someone may not be financially capable of obtaining the full 500 hours of training. For some, their life circumstances might hinder the dedication of so much time. For RYT-200 lead trainers who are already teaching, this change will require taking a break from their job. That might not be feasible for everyone. The Yoga Alliance is not insensitive to these issues. However, it has two main reasons for which it wants to push through these changes. These are:

  1. The two different levels of qualifications for lead trainers meant that different students were getting different qualities of training. This often became an issue when these aspiring trainers pursued further training or became teachers themselves. As a result, an ever-widening gap was being created among yoga students. To even the playing field, Yoga Alliance decided to have a uniform and single qualification for all lead yoga teacher trainers. This would guarantee a reliable degree of value and well-being of educating all through the community network.
  2. The 500-hour yoga teacher training delves into much greater depth than the Yoga Alliance 200-hour YTTC. This meant that the 200-RYTs did not have as extensive and comprehensive knowledge of yoga as 500-RYTs. Naturally, they could not teach as well as their higher-trained counterparts. Their knowledge was limited, which meant their students’ understanding of yoga remained limited too. The new changes would eliminate this deficiency in the training of new yoga students.

What Are The Changes Being Made

The current standards allow up-to-two lead yoga trainers. They can be both E-RYT TWO HUNDRED or E-RYT FIVE HUNDRED. Of the preliminary 200 hours of Yoga Alliance teacher training, 65 must have been taught by a lead trainer. However, the new standards will allow only up-to-five lead trainers. This means that one must be an E-RYT 500 to be a lead trainer. In that case, of the 200 hours, a lead trainer must have imparted 150 hours of the training. 

These changes would come into universal effect from February 2022. The extra time will help schools and trainers make sustainable plans to effect these changes and prepare the necessary designs and resources to implement the changes. The Yoga Alliance has already put in place an enhanced application process for the same. They have also sketched out a suitable timeline for all RYSs to follow to transition seamlessly to the new standards.

How Can One Become A Lead Yoga Trainer From Now

The Yoga Alliance has also put up the correct path for aspiring trainers to attain their 500-hour yoga teacher training. There are two different methods, by which you will be able to finish your “Yoga Alliance Teacher training”. They are:

  1. You have to first get your 200-hour YTTC from a RYS 200 yoga school. Apply to Yoga Alliance and agree to the shared Ethical Commitment to get your RYT 200 Yoga Alliance certification. Teach a minimum of 1000 hours over 2 or more years to become an E-RYT 200. Then, complete the remaining 300 hours of your 500-hour yoga teacher training from a RYS 300 or RYS 500. To become an E-RYT 500, they must complete a minimum of 2000 hours of training over at least 4 years since their RYS 200 or 500 graduation. Of these, the student must have gained at least 500 hours of their teaching experience after becoming a RYT-500.
  2. A person can also complete their 500-hour yoga teacher training from a RYS 500 at once. Then, the student will have to gain the entirety of the 2000 hours of experience after their RYS 500 graduation.

Many existing E-RYT 200 lead mentors will be unable to fulfill the current time constraints. They will get a period of one year from the summer of 2020 to apply for an intermediary status. However, they must meet certain requirements, including three years of teaching experience. This status will be valid for life. However, Yoga Alliance still encourages them to go ahead and get their E-RYT 500 training and experience if possible.


With the pandemic still raging in full force, these changes can cause panic among some. However, with access to the right support and resources, they can overcome this hurdle too. BookYogaTraining is also doing its part in the yoga community. It is providing you with a directory of all reliable RYSs to complete your Yoga Alliance teacher training.


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