12 Reasons Yoga Teacher Trainings Are So Expensive


There are so many yoga teachers training to choose from nowadays. Some can be completed in one month, others take several months to complete. Some focus on one type of yoga while others may mix several styles. And yet one thing is a constant.

The high price.

Typical 200-hour yoga teacher training can range from $2,000 to $7,000, depending on what they offer.

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So why is yoga teacher training so expensive? In this article, I will outline the 12 reasons yoga teacher training is expensive.

First, let’s have a look at some commonly asked questions about yoga teacher training.

Is becoming a yoga instructor worth it?

Yoga teacher training courses can be rather expensive. If you have deiced that you want a career change and you now want to teach yoga, then it is worth it, and actually, rather necessary to go on to teach yoga. If you just want to deepen your practice, then perhaps try a yoga intensive instead.

Yoga teacher training is a gateway to becoming a yoga teacher. And so given the fact that they are rather expensive, see it as an investment if this is the path you have chosen to follow.

Why do you want to do yoga teacher training?

Yoga teacher training can be seen as a crash course into aspects of yoga. You will learn a lot about anatomy, yoga philosophy, how to make physical adjustments and you may explore a variety of types of yoga. It is an investment so it is ideal for someone who wants to be a yoga teacher.

Some people join teacher training in order to deepen their yoga practice. I remember when I did my teacher training I had already been practicing yoga for 5 years and there was someone on my course who had only attended one yoga class prior to her teacher training.

Whether I agree or not with that is for another blog post. However, the point of yoga teacher training is to prepare someone to be ready to teach a yoga class. Is one 200 hour training enough?

In my opinion, it isn’t. If I could design an ideal yoga teacher training it would be something similar to what one of my teachers has done.

  • Participants must have practiced yoga for at least 5 years.
  • Participants must practice for at least one month full time with me in an intensive format (or 1 year in a studio setting)
  • One year before the teacher training commences, participants are given homework and assignments.
  • Alternatively, as a friend of mine once mentioned, yoga teacher training should become a Univerity course.

However this version is far from reality and as you can imagine, can be rather costly.

Can I make a living as a yoga instructor?

Yoga instructors can earn a decent living. However, you may need to build up your audience and experience first. Additionally, you may have to teach many classes each day at first. It is advisable to teach yoga part-time till you gain more experience as then you will be able to charge more per class.

There was a national study carried out in the US in 2016 titled: ‘Yoga in America‘. This study was conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance.

Here are some of their key findings that may help you see the reality of yoga teaching:

  • Only 29% of yoga teachers report yoga as their primary income.
  • For 30% of yoga teachers, yoga teaching is a part-time job that provides spending money.
  • For 33% of yoga teachers, yoga teaching is a hobby that makes them feel good.

So from this, you may be surprised to find out that yoga is a main source of income only for a third of yoga teachers in the US.

Now that we know a little more about yoga teacher training, let’s look into the 11 reasons why they are considered to be expensive.

1. Yoga studios need an extra income

Yoga studios have ever-increasing rent to pay and so it comes as no surprise that they would have income from sources other than yoga classes to pay their rent and bills.

According to the ‘Yoga in America‘ study, 56% of yoga studios in the US have income from sources other than yoga classes. When asked what these additional sources of income are, here were the answers:

  • 35% have other fitness or exercise classes
  • 72% have other wellness or health services
  • 66% sell yoga apparel, equipment, or accessories
  • 52% rent their space to other organizations

And so even though teacher training was not specifically listed in this study, we can at least see that yoga classes seem to not be enough to cover all the yoga studio costs. And so yoga teacher training can really offer a good income to yoga studios.

If an average teacher training costs $3500, then an estimate would be that at least $2000 goes to the main teacher and the studio. If there are 20 students, then that is a very generous $40000!

Incredible if we were to think that 1/4 of studios earn less than $25000 a year from yoga classes according to the ‘Yoga in America‘ study.

2. The price per hour is not that high

The standard teacher training is the 200-hour course. Using the $3500 as an average price for a teacher training, then it works out as $17,5 per hour.

Looking at it this way, $17,5 per hour does not seem like an incredible amount, especially if we are learning from a very experienced and knowledgeable teacher.

And I should point out that the total cost of the teacher training goes to cover many other things, so realistically, if the main teacher is to earn $2000 from each student, then it works out as $10 per hour. Not that much I turn out!

3. You are paying for the experitse

Most yoga teacher trainings are taught by a selection of yoga teachers. Each teacher is there to teach their expertise. The general topics covered in a yoga teacher training are:

  • Asana practice (sequencing)
  • Adjustments
  • Anatomy
  • Philosophy

Some may offer more, some may offer less. Some may even offer additional courses on nutrition, Ayurveda or even a business crash course on how to run a yoga studio.

The above-listed topics is the general average. And so under normal circumstances, there will be at least 2 teachers (maybe more) teacher teaching one part of the curriculum.

And so this level of expertise is covered in the costs, especially if the other teachers have to travel or if they are very well known.

4. It is an investment

Yoga teacher trainings are an investment, espcially if you have decided that you want to be a yoga teacher. The reason being that in most places it is a requirement to start teaching yoga.

Whether yoga teacher training is worth the money depends on whether you want to become a yoga teacher. As it is necessary to do a yoga teacher training, you then need to look into the different options and find a course that has a teacher you respect and is within your budget.

5. You will learn a lot

The most common type of yoga teacher training is a 200-hour training. This is either done full time in one month or it is spread over several weekends in a year.

The full month versions are generally held in specific retreat center settings. Whereas the courses that are spread out throughout the year are generally held in yoga studios around the world. Both have their advantages and disadvantages so it really up to you which one you choose.

The general schedule involves morning asana practice, followed by philosophy and anatomy in the afternoons.

Each yoga teacher training is different and so it is worth checking with the course you are interested in and finding out how they have organized the course.

Throughout the course of your teacher training, you will learn a lot. I remember I really enjoyed the adjustment section of my teacher training as this is something you need hands-on experience to find out about.

Of course, your path towards learning does not end with the 200-hour training. That is just the beginning of all the things you will go on to learn throughout your yoga teaching journey.

And the importance of ongoing training can be seen in the ‘Yoga in America‘ study, as: “99% of Yoga studio owners believe that it is very important for teachers to continue learning through more training.”

6. You will gain a title

Most yoga studios require potential yoga teachers to at least have a 200-hour training. And so you may have noticed that some yoga teachers have ‘RYT 200’ after their name.

A 200-hour teacher training can be seen as a stepping stone. If you want to go even further, you can add another 300 hours and resulting in a 500 hours training. This can help enrich your knowledge and experiences and help develop and deepen your understanding of the practice.

The Yoga Alliance of the US and the Yoga Alliance from the UK are private companies that set standards for yoga teacher training programmes and recognise courses which comply with their standards.

By joining either of them you can write RYT 200 or RYT 500 after your name, to signify the level of training you have.

Of course it must be pointed out that you can be a teacher without joining either of them.

7. Quality costs

There are a wide variety of yoga teacher trainings out there nowadays. Some are better than others. And so if you want to make your training worth while, it is worth spending that much more on it.

For example, speak with the teacher you know who would recommend a training they went to. Or if there is a teacher you respect, then see if they offer teacher training.

I learned this the hard way. I did my 200-hour course with a teacher I didn’t know and came to find out he was not actually a good teacher. I had specific dates in mind and looked for a retreat center that offered teacher training on those dates.

Let’s just say that since then I have tried to evolve and have now found respected teachers I want to learn from and do their courses. And this is the general advice I give to most people looking for teacher training. Find an experienced and well-respected teacher and train with them.

8. Marketing costs

Marketing costs are also part of the equations. Your yoga teacher, studio, or retreat center has to advertise to let people know what they offer. Most times this comes in the form of paid advertisements or flyers or posters and so this is also a cost that also needs to be taken into consideration.

9. Accommodation and meals

A mentioned above, some yoga teacher trainings are done full time in one month or they may be spread over several weekends in a year. The courses that are full time are generally held in a retreat setting.

And so these courses will generally offer the option of accommodations and meals. You could always try to rent your own apartment and cook your own meals, however even just for the group feeling, it is nice to stay with your fellow course buddies and share meals together.

At the end of the day, spending time with the people of your course is actually one of the most valuable parts of the teacher training experience.

10. Taxes

One part of the cost not to be forgotten!

11. Books and equipment

Most yoga teacher training courses offer books and equipment as part of the cost. If you think about it if you are asking for $3500 for the course, why not offer a $15 book for free?

Some courses may ask their attendees to buy their own books and equipment, this really does depend.

I was given Ashtanga Yoga: Practice & Philosophy on my teacher training course.

This first half of the book focuses on asana and each asana is displayed in picture form and in some cases, a sketch showing the muscles at use is shown. This book was a perfect guide for me on my course as it also contains the detailed vinyasa count as well as detailed instructions to enter and safely execute each pose.

12. They take time

Even if you do your teacher training in one month, well, one month can seem like a long time. Until you finish your course. Then that once month will feel like it just zoomed by!

Embrace the process and all that you will learn and experience. And here is a little interesting information to end this article:

According to the ‘Yoga in America‘ study: The top qualities of yoga teachers center around personality and knowledge. More specifically, for the question “What are the characteristics of a great yoga teacher?” here are the answers:

  • 66% said warm and friendly
  • 64% said easily understood or clear with instruction
  • 61% said knowledgeable about the poses

And so having a warm and friendly demeanor with clear instructions, and knowledge about the poses are seen as qualities of a great teacher. And all these qualities take time to develop and explore.

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Alexia Koletsou

Alexia Koletsou is a Level 1 Authorized Ashtanga Yoga Teacher with a Ph.D. in Science Communication. She received her blessing to teach Ashtanga Yoga in 2019, from the Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore, India, where she has had the honor of practicing with R. Sharath Jois multiple times over the years. She is the owner of her own Shala in Greece and now shares her knowledge on yogamyoldfriend.com and her YouTube channel Alexia K Yoga.

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