Yoga Alliance – Anatomy & Physiology Requirements

Yoga Alliance – 200, 300, and 500 hour Requirements

200-Hour Standards

RYSs must provide a minimum number of hours of study in each educational category, and to make up the total 200 required hours, must also provide additional hours of study relevant to these categories, which may be distributed according to the school’s chosen emphasis.

  1. Techniques, Training and Practice: 100 Hours

Minimum Contact Hours: 75 hours
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 50 hours

Topics in this category could include, but are not limited to: asanas, pranayamas, kriyas, chanting, mantra, meditation and other traditional yoga techniques. These hours must be a mix between: 1) analytical training in how to teach and practice the techniques, and 2) guided practice of the techniques themselves. Both areas must receive substantial emphasis.

  1. Teaching Methodology: 25 Hours

Minimum Contact Hours: 15 hours*
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 10 hours

Topics in this category could include, but are not limited to:

  • Communication skills such as group dynamics, time management, and the establishment of priorities and boundaries.
  • How to address the specific needs of individuals and special populations, to the degree possible in a group setting.
  • Principles of demonstration, observation, assisting and correcting.
  • Teaching styles.
  • Qualities of a teacher.
  • The student learning process.
  • Business aspects of teaching yoga* (including marketing and legal).

*Special Requirement: A maximum of five hours related to the business aspects of teaching yoga may be counted towards the Yoga Alliance Contact Hours requirements for this category.

The Teaching Methodology category covers a broad overview and analysis of teaching methods, rather than how to practice or teach specific techniques. See the example topics below to help clarify the differences between the Techniques, Training and Practice category and the Teaching Methodology category:

  1. Anatomy and Physiology: 20 Hours*

Minimum Contact Hours: 10 hours
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 0 hours

Topics in this category could include, but are not limited to: human physical anatomy and physiology (bodily systems, organs, etc.) and may also include energy anatomy and physiology (chakras, nadis, etc.). Includes both the study of anatomy and physiology along with its application to yoga practice (benefits, contraindications, healthy movement patterns, etc.).

*Special Requirements: A minimum of five of the above hours must be spent applying anatomy and physiology principles to yoga.

  1. Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle and Ethics for Yoga Teachers: 30 hours

Minimum Contact Hours: 20 hours*
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 0 hours

Topics in this category could include, but are not limited to:

  • The study of yoga philosophies and traditional texts (such as the Yoga Sutras, Hatha Yoga Pradipika or Bhagavad Gita)
  • Yoga lifestyle, such as the precept of non-violence (ahimsa), and the concepts of dharma and karma
  • Ethics for yoga teachers, such as those involving teacher – student relationships and community
  • Understanding the value of teaching yoga as a service and being of service to others (seva)

*Special Requirements: A minimum of 2 of the above Contact Hours must be spent on ethics for yoga teachers.

  1. Practicum: 10 Hours

Minimum Contact Hours: 5 hours*
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 5 hours

Topics in this category include:

  • Practice teaching as the lead instructor (does not include assisting, observing or giving feedback).*
  • Receiving and giving feedback.
  • Observing others teaching.**
  • Assisting students while someone else is teaching.

*Special Requirement: Each trainee must spend a minimum of 5 Contact Hours actively practice teaching as the lead instructor. Time spent assisting, observing others teaching, or giving feedback to others is excluded from these hours.

**Evaluation or observation of yoga classes outside of the RYS Teacher Training constitutes Non-Contact Hours.

  1. Remaining Contact Hours and Elective Hours

All 200-hour teacher trainings must include 200 hours of training hours.

  1. Of the 200 total required hours, 180 hours must be Contact hours. (Information on Contact hours and Non-Contact hours are found in section 7.
  2. Of the 180 Contact hours, 125 hours are assigned to specific Educational categories.
  3. 55 required Contact hours are distributed amongst the Educational Categories as Electives.
  4. The last remaining 20 hours may be allocated as Contact Hours or Non-Contact Hours.
  1. Contact Hours and Non-Contact Hours

Contact Hours

A Contact Hour must take place in the physical presence of a faculty member. Content of Contact Hours must be intended for teacher trainees rather than the general public, specifically:

  • The content of these hours advances the education of trainees as demonstrates explicitly through the course syllabus and its Learning Objectives.
  • These hours fall into the normal content flow of the overall training entailing discussion, reports submitted by trainees on their experiences, related homework, projects, or the like.
  • Faculty for these hours meet Yoga Alliance’s faculty qualifications and are designated in the syllabus as training faculty.

Non-Contact Hours

Non-Contact Hours are the number of hours of learning that occur without a faculty member present. All Non-Contact Hours must be relevant to the five Educational Categories. These outside resources should be thoughtfully chosen to support the training.  Non-Contact Hours must be an assigned part of the curriculum and examples of allowable Non-Contact Hours may include:

  • Reading, audio/video or Internet resources that are integrated into the curriculum via reports, class discussions, presentations, tests, or the like;
  • Webinars on yoga-related topics;
  • Written assignments on yoga-related topics that may be counted for all categories except Practicum;
  • Group activities including directed discussion, technique practice or teaching practice;
  • Attending yoga classes outside of the program with the following stipulations:
  • Each class must be evaluated via a written or oral exercise, and
  • These hours may count toward the Techniques, Training and Practice, Teaching Methodology or Practicum categories.

300-Hour Standards

3.      Anatomy and Physiology: 15 Hours*

Minimum Contact Hours: 10 hours
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 0 hours

Topics in this category could include, but are not limited to: human physical anatomy and physiology (bodily systems, organs, etc.) and may also include energy anatomy and physiology (chakras, nadis, etc.). Includes both the study of anatomy and physiology along with its application to yoga practice (benefits, contraindications, healthy movement patterns, etc.).

*Special Requirement: A minimum of ten of the above hours must be spent applying anatomy and physiology principles to yoga.

  1. Remaining Contact Hours and Elective Hours

All 300 hour teacher trainings must include 300 hours of training hours.

  1. Of the 300 hours, 270 hours must be Contact Hours. (Information on Contact Hours Non-Contact Hours are found in section 7.)
  2. 80 of the 270 Contact Hours are assigned to specific Educational Categories.
  3. The remaining 190 Contact Hours are distributed amongst the Educational Categories based on your training’s focus.

500 Hours

3.      Anatomy and Physiology: 35 Hours*

Minimum Contact Hours: 20 hours
Minimum Contact Hours w/ Lead Trainer(s): 0 hours

Topics in this category could include, but are not limited to: human physical anatomy and physiology (bodily systems, organs, etc.) and may also include energy anatomy and physiology (chakras, nadis, etc.). Includes both the study of anatomy and physiology along with its application to yoga practice (benefits, contraindications, healthy movement patterns, etc.).

*Special Requirement: A minimum of fifteen of the above hours must be spent applying anatomy and physiology principles to yoga.

4.      Remaining Contact Hours and Elective Hours

All 500 hour teacher trainings must include 500 hours of training hours.

  1. Of the 500 hours, 450 hours must be Contact Hours. (Information on Contact Hours and Non-Contact Hours are found in section 7.)
  2. 205 of the 450 Contact Hours are assigned to specific Educational Categories.
  3. The remaining 245 Contact Hours are distributed amongst the Educational Categories based on your training’s focus.
  4. The last remaining 50 Hours may be allocated as Contact Hours or Non-Contact Hours.