A bit about certification terminology and what the training numbers mean:
A 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training is a foundations-level course for students who want to deepen their practice and, perhaps, learn to teach yoga. Yoga Alliance requires that Registered Yoga Schools (RYS) who have juried membership with YA write detailed curriculums that specify how the school covers its modules of study, and that all 200 hours of a foundations training are “contact” hours.
Once a student completes all of the hours, follow up projects, exams, and practicums for the RYS, a graduate has the option to register with Yoga Alliance or not. There is no governing body for Yoga teachers. Yoga Alliance is a voluntary registry that upholds a minimum of 200 hours in a foundations training and requires its member schools to document their course curriculums and update training materials on a regular basis.
The 300 Hour YTT offers 200-Hour graduates an opportunity to advance their studies. Some schools offer both 200 and 300-Hour trainings in a continuum, which could result in a student earning a 500-Hour certificate from a single school. Other RYS’s and students offer separate 200 and 300-Hour programs. Once a student has completed both a 200 and a 300 Hour program, s/he is a 500 Hour Yoga Teacher and has the opportunity to register with Yoga Alliance as an RYT, or Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500 Hour level.
What about the “E” in front of some Yoga Teacher titles? The “E” stands for Experienced, and it means that after a 200 Hour teacher has taught at least 1,000 hours of yoga classes, s/he can register to use the term “experienced” in front of his or her RYT designation. For teachers who are at the 500 Hour designation, the “E” is granted only after a teacher has taught a minimum of 2,000 hours post certification at the 500 Hour level. It takes approximately 4 years for a 500 level RYT to teach 2,000 hours (if s/he is teaching 10 hours minimum per week). That’s a lot of hours!
If you are curious about your yoga teacher’s credentials, where s/he trained, how many years your teacher has actually been teaching, just ask 🙂