four teachers are demonstrating the breathing ball at the kids yoga booth at the Toronto Yoga Show

21,566 people. That was the official count of visitors at the Yoga Show in Toronto this April and I feel like I talked to half of them at our kids yoga booth! There was keen interest, and our area was a buzz with all things related to yoga and children.

By far, the most popular question was, “What do I need to teach kids yoga?”  Not a surprise, since kids yoga standards are fairly new.

What did surprise me was the growing concern about “proper” certification.  There were more people doubting whether their current training was enough.

As one woman said, “I just don’t feel legit, with only a weekend of training, to put Kids Yoga Teacher on my business card.”

It is a legitimate concern.

Today, let’s look at training requirements and the feelings of legitimacy that may arise when you consider different training.  Then later on, you’ll see some pictures from our Kids Mandala workshop and how Mandalas are great for Self Assessment.  It’s a fun activity for a kids yoga camp too.

All of this will help anyone considering Kids Yoga Training balance the risks and the rewards.

Risks and Rewards of Kids Yoga Teacher Certification

Risk: Your Certification Doesn’t Count

When people asked what they needed to teach kids yoga, I explain the various levels of “Certification” as follows:

  • Technical Regulations:  In most areas Yoga is an unregulated vocation.  Technically, you don’t need any training to hang your “Kids Yoga Class Here” sign.  Yoga teacher training is becoming regulated in some States in the USA. So if you are wondering about certification, the first risk to assess: Is yoga regulated where you live?  You don’t want to break any laws.
    a group of children in a line doing the warrior yoga pose with their yoga teacher

    That’s me (Aruna) teaching a yoga workshop at the Yoga Garden at the Yoga Conference

  • The Ability to Deliver:  The next consideration to teach kids yoga is whether you can deliver a good, safe, kids yoga class. One kids yoga employer told me:  “I don’t care about “certification,” I want to see you teach a great class.”  So if you don’t know whether you can deliver, get experience actually teaching kids yoga.  Some training programs give you this experience and some don’t. Can you risk completing a program where you don’t teach real kids?  Because you’re going to need teaching experience for your resume.
  • Yoga Industry Standards:  In terms of certification, many people set their sights on the Yoga Industry Standards because they want the industry recognition. Yoga Alliance (YA) sets the bar for Registered Children’s Yoga Teachers (RCYT) at:
    • 95 hrs Training with a Registered Children’s Yoga School (RCYS)
    • AND 200 hrs Training with a Registered Yoga School (RYS) – The good news is you can take your 95 or 200 hr training in any order.

Here’s the rub, many people already have 20 or 30 hours of training under their belt.  The problem is Yoga Alliance won’t count those hours towards the totals. YA requires you take all the  hours of Training with the same school, a school registered at the time of your training.  Otherwise YA won’t count it, even if it is enough hours.  This chart helps show why:

Pie Chart of hours for Yoga Alliance Registered Childrens Yoga School Training

If you take 95 hours from different schools, how do you know if the different categories have been fulfilled?

The risk here is you may invest in a training that doesn’t count.  I’ve heard positive things about most kids yoga trainings, but only those taken with a YA Registered School will count towards your Yoga Alliance registration.

Risk:  You Can’t Get Insurance as a Kids Yoga Teacher

To assess this risk, find out if you have enough training to get Insurance coverage. You hopefully will never need your insurance, but I recommend you get it anyway. Each state, province, or country will have different standards.  It’s definitely worth getting if teaching kids yoga is going to be part of your career.

Risk: You Take a Training But Still Don’t Feel Legitimate

This risk may rear its ugly head when you least expect it, like one woman described happened to her when making her business cards. She started to wonder:  Am I legit?

Do you feel confident to call yourself a kids yoga teacher?  If you don’t, it may be holding you back.  Is it time to commit and get legit with Yoga Alliance?  Or does it indicate a need for another change?  You’ll find a powerful meditation in the Rewards part to help you assess this risk and the others.

a group of kids yoga teachers holding their certificates

If you want to become a kids yoga teacher trainer, some students will want a Yoga Alliance Registered Training

Risk: Problems Becoming a Kids Yoga Teacher Trainer

The final risk will only affect those who see themselves becoming Kids Yoga Teacher Trainers (which I hope are many, because we’ve got to keep spreading the love).

The reason why I registered our school with Yoga Alliance was because people were asking for it.  It was a lot of work to write all the manuals, organize the kids camps, and meet all the requirements.  But people wanted it and it began to feel right to get it.  It was getting really difficult trying to cover everything in one weekend of training!

If you see yourself eventually teaching a teacher training, you may one day want to register with Yoga Alliance too.  If you don’t, you will be cutting off a bunch of students who only want a registered school training.  This may not be relevant now, but something to think about in the long term.

Rewards: You Make an Educated Decision And Get Clear on Your Goals

Indeed there are quite a few risks to consider when choosing a Kids Yoga Teacher Training.

So what are the rewards?

Beyond the obvious, you get to teach kids yoga, here are some pictures and tips from our Kids Mandala Workshop that are equally relevant to assessing the risks and rewards. Here’s why:

Kids Mandala Workshop Meditation and Yoga Presentation, kids hold up the mandalas they created with coloured ink and stampers

Making a Mandala helps us get clear on the answers to life’s questions because there is a trick to making a beautiful Mandala.

The way you do it, is to start in the centre and work your way from the inside out.

If you try to create your Mandala from the outside in, it often turns into a wonky sight.  But starting in the centre and working your way out will help you find balance and produce a Mandala that is very pleasing to the eye.

Try the same technique in your self-assessment and risk assessment. Start in the centre.

Start by understanding your heart’s desire and set your course from there.  Take some time to still your mind and recognize the external pressures.  Then turn your focus inward.

Take the knowledge, assess the risks, use them to get clear on what you want, then set your goals.  Set a course for yourself based on your passion and vision of your future, not what you feel pressured to do.  This is one of the biggest rewards life can offer.

kids mandala workshop - yoga Reward:  Setting Your Goals from the Inside Out

When you look inside you will eventually discover the answer that is right for you.

  • A recent graduate of our training is clear she won’t be teaching adults. She asked about more kids yoga training programs even though she’s completed the 95 hour requirements. She’s teaching 18 kids yoga classes a week!  More kids yoga training experiences will help her stay fresh and this is what she enjoys.
  • Another person I met has set short term and long term goals to go the Yoga Alliance route. She’s taking our 95 Hour Kids Yoga Training first so she can start with her passion, teaching kids. Then she’s going to get her 200 hour after.
  • Discover what is right for you using both knowledge and intuition.

Reward:  You Feel Truly Legitimate and Free

My meditation teacher used to say the goal of life is to understand who we are in this dream of existence and to be brave enough to wake up from the dream.

When you stand in front of a class of children, your training and experience will serve you, but ultimately it is you who will claim the title of Kids Yoga Teacher if you want it.

There are risks and rewards in all we do. When we look back on our life, we may have a few regrets, but we will mostly remember the times when we took a chance and truly felt alive.

If there is any way I can help you with your decision on taking Kids Yoga Teacher Training, come see me at the next Yoga Show or feel free to contact me directly:

416-944-2888 or [email protected]

It can help to have mentors on the way, to assess the situation using their expertise, and clarify some of your options.

If you want to take a Kids Yoga Teacher Training, I invite you to consider Young Yoga Masters, a YA Registered Children’s Yoga School. Each weekend you take counts towards your 95 hr training.

Get Your Kids Yoga Teacher Training

Now Online!

Train during the temporary online provision from Yoga Alliance

*Yoga Alliance’s Online Training Provision allows for both self-paced (watching recorded training) and/or Live Zoom Training. You can choose a combination of these that works for you.

You’ll be glad you did it!