If you've been attending yoga classes for several years and are interested in teaching yogic philosophy and techniques to others, consider learning how to become a yoga instructor. Yoga teachers take specialized and advanced courses in yoga to deepen their knowledge of yoga techniques, philosophy and the yogic way of life. Yoga instructors and teachers also learn fundamental teaching skills to share their knowledge with others, and guide students through each stage of yogic development.

Most yoga instructor training programs require a commitment of at least 200 hours, and some are approved by the Yoga Alliance, a national organization that sets the standards for yoga teacher training. Certified yoga instructors may need to take continuing education courses throughout their career, and also attend workshops and training seminars to learn new techniques and develop more skills.

Here is how to become a yoga instructor or yoga teacher:

1. Choose the right yoga instructor training program. The Yoga Alliance has approved dozens of yoga instructor training programs that are available at yoga training center and schools around the United States. These programs are either 200 or 500 hours in length, and may include intensive weekend workshops, weeklong programs or multi-day programs. Yoga instructor training programs are also available in an online format.

2. Develop your own yoga skills. Unlike other fitness teacher training programs, students aren't required to complete any type of formal testing or have their yoga techniques approved by an instructor They must simply log in a certain number of training hours, pass a certification exam and develop the necessary skills and techniques to be able to share their knowledge with others. Practicing yoga on a daily basis and exploring different styles of yoga can put you on the path to becoming a yoga instructor. You can educate yourself on the yogic way of life by reading books, watching educational DVDs, and completing activities in a training CD-ROM.

3. Decide if you want to become a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). If you do decide to become a Registered Yoga Teacher, you will need to complete a formal certification program that has been approved by the Yoga Alliance. Look for schools in your area that specifically offer RYT programs. These are registered yoga schools and the curriculum here may differ from those offered by independent organizations, yoga studios and online schools.

4. Select a specialization. In addition to completing the core courses of your yoga instructor training program, you may have the option to take specialized courses to develop skills in a particular type of yoga. Completing specialized courses, such as Yoga Therapy, Spiritual Yoga, or Yoga for Seniors can make you more marketable when offering training as an independent yoga instructor. These courses can also help you build skills in different areas.

5. Obtain your certificate. You will need to complete a final examination to obtain your yoga instructor certification. Most yoga teacher training programs include all necessary materials to prepare for this exam, including instructional DVDs, interactive CD-ROMs, posters, charts and books. You can also purchase training materials separately online.

6. Take continuing education credits. If you want to explore other styles of yoga or offer different types of yoga training courses as a yoga instructor, you will need to take continuing education courses. Check with yoga schools and training centers in your area to find out how to become a yoga instructor for other styles of yoga.