How to become a yoga instructor

Authored by Hiscox Experts.
6 min read
woman sitting on mat in yoga pose
Considering a career as a yoga instructor? You’re not alone. More than 15,000 yoga teachers currently operate in the UK and the industry is worth £825m. Discover how to become a yoga teacher with our guide.

We’ll cover yoga teacher training and qualifications, as well as what to expect in your day-to-day of double pigeons and downward dogs.

What qualifications do I need to become a yoga instructor?

To become a qualified yoga instructor, you can choose to either gain your qualifications through a college course or via a professional yoga organisation.

Keep in mind that all college courses will have different entry requirements, so it’s usually best to do your research through the institutions you’re thinking of applying to.

If you choose to go through college, your options are:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Teaching Yoga
  • Level 4 Diploma in Teaching Yoga
  • Level 3 Diploma in Teaching Yoga to Children Aged 5 to 16

Yoga schools and organisations, such as The British Wheel of Yoga (external link) and Yoga Alliance Professionals (external link), will train and help you on your way to becoming a qualified teacher. These organisations provide different levels of qualifications, from basic yoga teacher training to more specialised yoga certifications.

Source: National Careers Service (external link)


How long does it take to train as a yoga instructor?

This depends on the path you take when you start training – you will need a combination of qualifications and practical experience.

For example, a Level 3 college course will take around three months [1], and a Level 4, three to four months [2]. So, altogether, you might expect to spend around seven or eight months studying. This may fluctuate depending on whether you choose in-person or online courses.

If you choose to get your qualification at a professional yoga organisation or school, each course may take a different amount of time, depending on the expertise required. It’s best to do your research before you sign up for any schools or independent courses – so you know exactly what’s expected of you.

You will also often need at least two years’ experience learning and teaching under a qualified instructor. How you choose to implement this into your training can also affect the time it takes to become qualified.


What do yoga instructors do?

Your day as a yoga instructor won’t just include teaching yoga – though that would be great if it did. You’ll need to plan your lessons, communicate with students and, if you’re self-employed, market your business to prospective clients.

Here’s what an average day might include [3]:

  • Admin tasks. This might include designing lesson plans and keeping on top of calendars and paperwork.
  • Teaching classes. You’ll need to be able to teach a wide range of positions, from beginner’s yoga, focusing on basic poses and breathing exercises, to complex and specialised exercises.
  • Social media and marketing tasks. If you’re a freelance teacher who hires a workspace, you’ll need to make sure your online presence is consistent and up-to-date.
  • Assessing students. As everyone will have different needs, you’ll need to take some time to assess your clients to make sure the poses and exercises you teach are tailored to them.


What makes a successful yoga instructor? 

Besides an obvious passion for yoga, there are a variety of skills and qualities that will serve you well as a yoga instructor. According to experts at the National Careers Service (external link) [4] these can include:

  • Empathy and patience – You’ll be meeting a lot of different people, from all walks of life, so you’ll need to be able to empathise with individual experiences.
  • Observational skills – As the leader of a class, you’ll be overseeing how each of your students performs moves and exercises and will need to be on hand to help and correct them.
  • Leadership skills – Yoga teachers should be good at yoga, of course, but they should also enjoy it. Passing knowledge to your students should be a passion of yours, besides a love for the craft.


What is an average yoga instructor salary?

As with most careers, a yoga instructor’s salary can vary depending on location, experience, and other factors. For example, the recruitment site Indeed (external link) suggests the average hourly rate for a yoga teacher is £30 in London [5]. Whereas the National Careers Service (external link) suggests the annual salary can range from £18,000 to £25,000 [6].


How to get started as a yoga instructor


Get your DBS checks

As you may be working with vulnerable adults and children it is required, by law, that you are fully DBS checked. You can apply for a DBS check via the government website (external link) – just make sure you have the following info to hand:

  • Your National insurance Number
  • Your passport or driving licence
  • Proof of all your addresses in the last five years.


Seek work experience 

To start teaching classes on your own, you’ll need at least two years’ work experience under the guidance of a qualified teacher. You can do this while completing the first two steps, or take things at your own pace.


Begin to freelance alongside work

Don’t be disappointed if, as soon as you qualify, you don’t get your dream yoga instructor job. Building a reputation in the industry takes time, as with any new career. So, you may want to think about teaching classes part-time on a freelance basis alongside your existing job.

This may help you get started while also maintaining a reliable income. It also gives you time to work out your teaching style and brand while your career isn’t fully reliant on you being a business owner or teacher.


Set up your own business  

This might not be for everyone, but setting up your own business helps to give you independence as a yoga instructor and allows you to structure your brand, classes and image however you like. There are many ways to register your own business – here are a few options you might consider as a yoga instructor:

  • Self-employed – as a self-employed business owner, you don’t have to register your business with HMRC. However, you do have to fill out a Self Assessment tax return form (external link) every year.
  • Limited company – limited companies are usually an ideal business format for smaller companies who hire one-or-more employees – for example, if you wanted to open your own yoga studio. Unlike being self-employed, you would have to register your limited company (external link) with the HMRC.


Promote your service online

When you first get started teaching, you’ll need to create marketing campaigns in the build-up to your first classes, to generate interest in your business. Think about any events you could hold and offers you could put on, all the while creating a consistent brand presence both online and in person.

Other considerations for yoga instructors

Something that you may want to consider, when the time is right for you, is looking into protecting yourself and your yoga business with certain insurance policies. Depending on which cover type best fits your circumstances, insurance can protect you against accidents and client claims.

For example, Hiscox professional treatment and public liability insurance is one option. It could help to protect you against claims made by clients who believe your professional advice or actions have caused injury or harm.


    At Hiscox, we want to help your small business thrive. Our blog has many articles you may find relevant and useful as your business grows. But these articles aren’t professional advice. So, to find out more on a subject we cover here, please seek professional assistance.

    Hiscox Experts

    The Hiscox Experts are leaders valued for their experience within the insurance industry. Their specialisms include areas such as professional indemnity and public liability, across industries including media, technology, and broader professional services. All content authored by the Hiscox Experts is in line with our editorial guidelines.