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Samahita Retreat, Koh Samui Thailand

How to Become a Yoga Teacher

by Centered Yoga Team

In this guide, we will walk through the steps involved in becoming a fully qualified yoga teacher. Although there are many paths to yoga teacher certification, they tend to follow similar steps. Here, we will focus on the yoga teacher training programs offered by Centered Yoga.


Lamsor Temple

First Be Clear

Before you attend a teacher training course, it is important you do your research on different schools/options. It is a big investment of time and resources, and it is, therefore, important to make sure the program you choose is best suited for you.

Also know that going through a teacher training does not mean you will be able to find a job and start supporting yourself teaching right away. In fact, we encourage you not to put the pressure of earning money on yourself when you are just starting to teach.

Come and do a training for yourself first, with the desire to learn and grow. Your own personal practice is paramount, as it will always inform your teaching. It will support you, and it will allow you to continue to grow and give as a teacher.

The Application Process

At Centered Yoga, our application process requires some thought and effort. We want to ensure that you are fully prepared for what is to come. Yet, we are not seeking specific students with specific credentials. Your level of interest and commitment is assessed over a wide range of factors. We ask only that you write from the truth that is within your heart.

The application focuses primarily on the ways in which you live your current practice, from taking classes to attending retreats to sharing your experiences with others. Before you begin, take a few moments to gather your thoughts and write down a basic chronology of your yoga journey. As you work through the application, do not be afraid to close your eyes and let the answers come to you. Remember your practice and let its lessons light the way.

You will be judged individually, based on your own merits, rather than in comparison to others. We give each application our undivided attention, and take the process very seriously. Therefore, you should expect to hear a response from us approximately 7 days after we receive your completed application.

If you are accepted, you will receive a reading list. As class time draws nearer, we will send you assignments that may include readings, practices, and reports. We ask that you begin preparation immediately and arrive in Thailand with your assignments complete. However, we understand that everyone is busy. If for some reason you are behind on the assignments, simply check in with us and let us know.

What to Expect From Your 200 Hour Training Course

We generally choose students two to five months before the training course begins, although we do accept applications after that time on a space available basis. While those months are spent in study and preparation for the course, if you are accepted late, you will be given the opportunity to catch up.
Your time in Thailand consists of a one-month intensive, hands-on course. We cap our 200 hour programs at 37 students, creating a senior teacher to student ratio of just 1 to 10. Our inclusive teaching staff to student ratio is 1 to 6. This ensures that every student receives personalized training from our dedicated and passionate leaders.
The curriculum is divided into Primary Elements, Secondary Elements, and Minor Elements. Each plays an important role in molding you into a competent and caring teacher. However, as you might expect, the Primary Elements form the foundation of your teaching practice, while the others function as a sort of overlay to those lessons.

The Primary Elements include:

  • Asana: Both Alignment Theory and Vinyasa Flow are highlighted. Regardless of the yoga style you currently practice, these lessons will teach you to optimize both your own Asana and that of your students.
  • Pranayama: The fourth limb of the Ashtanga system, Pranayama is often misunderstood. Our training is grounded in the teachings of leading authority Sri O.P. Tiwari. By the end of the course, you will understand the mechanics of breath, proper performance of each Pranayama.
  • Physical Anatomy: We delve into the anatomy and physiology of the human body as it relates to the practice of yoga.
  • Yoga Philosophy: In these lessons, we explore the classic texts of yoga as well as related philosophical systems.
  • Your Practice: Your own individual approach informs everything you do with your practice, from daily living to teaching others. Throughout your training, you will be challenged to define, deepen, clean up, and enhance your practice. You will be expected to incorporate the things you learn throughout training, while maintaining your unique personality and approach.

The Secondary Elements are advanced skills that enhance and expand the Primary Elements. They include:

  • Yogic/Subtle Anatomy: Learn about Cakras, Vayus, Granthis, Gunas, Nadis, etc., in a practical and understandable way. We help you understand these terms in a real sense without getting carried away.
  • Chanting: Chants are an important aspect of the Yoga system. We use chanting as a way to open/close a class, as a concentration tool, as a study tool, and more. You will learn a variety of Vedic and non-Vedic mantras and ways to incorporate them into your practice.
  • Diet: Our relationship with food is complicated and highly individualized. In this course, we discuss the effects of various foods on the body and mind. We challenge you to make your own food decisions, based on a deeper understanding of these complex relationships.
  • Shatkarma  Kriyas: These cleansing and purification rituals help prepare the body and mind for deeper practice. Nothing is mandatory, but we introduce all 6, and we recommend you practice at least 5 of those 6.
  • Concentration and Meditation:Throughout the month we will work with different techniques to help us channel the mind/thoughts and eventually lead us to the higher limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga.
  • Teaching: This course focuses on the practicalities of becoming a yoga teacher, from where and how to teach.

The Minor Elements are the finishing touches that make you a more well-rounded yoga practitioner and teacher. They include:

  • Teaching Special Cases:This class explores the unique needs of children, overweight students, and those with disabilities. In a combination of theory and practice, you will learn to accommodate the individualized needs of your students.
  • Sanskrit: We cover some basic Sanskrit, introducing the Devanagari alphabet and transliteration marks. This is to help students with proper pronunciation of Sanskrit words and help them to start to recognize the different sounds.
  • Ayurveda: We may have an introductory session or two on Ayurveda, the sister science of Yoga.
  • Karma Yoga:Selfless service to others is an important part of our practice at the retreat. You will participate in special projects that have a very real benefit to our neighbors and friends in Thailand.

Life at the Samahita Retreat

Although your training is intensive, we also recognize the importance of rest, relaxation, and fun. The facility is located on the beach on the beautiful island of Koh Samui. During your off time, you are welcome to hit the beach or explore the natural wonders of the island. If you prefer to stay in and relax, you have a staff of 75 at your disposal, including a team of dedicated chefs and cooks who provide two healthy and delicious meals per day.  Brunch is served from 9:30am – 1pm and dinner 6-8 pm daily.
Visitors from many nations, including the United States, Australia, and most of Europe, do not need visas for stays of up to 30 days. If you want to extend your time in Thailand, however, it is easy to obtain a 60 day tourist visa for a total stay of 90 days.
We encourage you to spend some extra time in Thailand if your schedule permits, as we believe that connecting with the country’s many natural wonders will help you relax, recharge, and learn to live your practice every day. From ancient temples and Buddha statues to rock climbing and dive sites, we are happy to help you plan a post-retreat sightseeing expedition that meets your interests and budget while reinforcing the lessons you learned during your training program.

Becoming a Yoga Teacher

Centered Yoga’s training program is fully accredited by the Yoga Alliance. Upon completing your 200 hour yoga teacher training, you will be eligible for the RYT 200 (Registered Yoga Teacher, 200 hours) designation. This allows you to officially begin your teaching career. Note that to retain your designation, however, you must take 30 hours of continuing education courses every three years.
The life of a yoga teacher is not always glamorous, especially at the beginning of your career. Look for teaching opportunities wherever you can find them, whether as a substitute at a local community center or teaching your friends for free. Every new teacher’s goal should be deepening your own practice while gaining experience. And again, we recommend that you do not put pressure on yourself to support yourself teaching at first.
After two years and 1000 hours of teaching, you can receive the E-RYT 200 designation for experienced teachers. This opens up further opportunities, including the ability to teach other teachers.
Many people never move beyond the E-RYT 200 designation. This is a full certification, and provides many pathways for serving your calling. However, some people seek further knowledge and training.

Eligibility For the 300 Hour Training Course

Centered Yoga’s 300 hour training course is an advanced program that prepares students for the RYT 500 designation through the Yoga Alliance. To earn credits toward certification, you must go through the application process again. The classes are also open to all sincere students. If you do not desire certification, you need only reserve your spot online for your desired classes.

The 300 Hour Training Course Experience

Unlike the 200 hour intensive course, the 300 hour course is divided into modules of 50 to 100 hours each, which are taught during one or two week periods throughout the year. To gain credit for the 300 hour training course, you must complete 100 hours in advanced anatomy and 100 hours in Pranayama, along with a 100 hour elective in Pranayama, advanced Asana, or philosophy. You can accumulate training hours at your leisure, spreading your classes over time if desired.

RYT 500 Designation

The Yoga Alliance’s RYT 500 designation requires your 300 hour training certification along with proof of 100 teaching hours since earning your RYT 200 designation. This designation allows you to conduct workshops and continuing education courses for other teachers. If you have completed two years and 1000 hours of teaching since earning RYT 200 designation, you are immediately eligible for the E-RYT 200, RYT 500 designation, which also permits you to serve as Lead Trainer for a 200 hour teacher training course.

When you reach a total of four years and 2000 hours of teaching experience since earning your RYT 200, with at least 500 of those hours since you earned your RYT 500, you are eligible for the E-RYT 500 designation. This allows you to serve as Lead Trainer for any 200, 300, or 500 hour teacher training course.

Next Steps in Your Career

Some find positions in existing schools, while others combine their love for yoga with a strong business acumen and open their own studios. Still others decide that yoga teaching is a part-time calling, and teach classes in the evenings or on weekends while pursuing a different full-time career.

Whatever your path turns out to be, Centered Yoga will stand behind you. Graduates of our 200 hour program receive a lifetime discount on continuing education courses, and are welcome to bring their own students or private groups to Samahita Retreat. We also maintain an active and vibrant global network, including a private Facebook group, for our graduates to network and share job opportunities, ideas, and inspiration.

Distinguished Advanced Level Teacher

If you want to move even more deeply into your yoga practice, we offer a training program that goes beyond even the designations provided by the Yoga Alliance.
Our 1100 hour Distinguished Advanced Level Teacher program takes you as deeply as you can go into coursework-based yoga teacher training. Like the 300 hour training program, it consists of 50 to 100 hour, one to two week advanced training courses. The process generally takes five to seven years to complete, although there is no time limit by which you must finish the program.
Available courses run the gamut from Prenatal Yoga to a Yoga Sutras Intensive. You must be accepted into the program, and we will help you design a course track that best meets your unique needs, skills, and desires. Please email Centered Yoga at for more details about this program.

Established in 1999 by Paul Dallaghan, Centered Yoga is fully affiliated with the prestigious Kaivalyadhama, a research institute in India dedicated to studying yoga from both classical and scientific viewpoints. Paul is one of  the three senior students of Sri O.P. Tiwari, key disciple of Swami Kuvalayananda, who founded the institute and taught both Gandhi and Nehru. When you feel ready, we invite you to submit an online application request and begin your journey.

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