What Are Yoga Instructors Called

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What are yoga instructors called: Explore a comprehensive guide on how to address them

Yoga has become a popular form of exercise and relaxation in recent years, with millions of people around the world participating in classes and workshops. However, many people are unsure of what are yoga instructors called and how to address them in a respectful and appropriate manner. In this article, we will help you in  understanding the proper etiquette for addressing yoga instructors is essential for creating a positive and productive learning environment. So without any delay let’s move forward and find out!

Who is a Yoga Instructor? 

A yoga instructor is a person who teaches asanas to students, which they have learned from their yoga instructor course. Meanwhile, yoga teachers adjust their teaching approach to match each student’s needs and abilities. Even though the classes offered by yoga instructors vary day-to-day, you don’t have to worry about missing a class, as you can attend another one the following day. Please remember that yoga instructors can only share the knowledge they have acquired from their yoga teacher.

Who Can Become a Yoga Instructor?

Becoming a yoga teacher is for more than just those who have practised for many years and can easily do challenging arm balance poses. The central aspect of being a yoga instructor is guiding others through a series of postures, giving clear instructions on how to do each pose and transition smoothly from one to another. High levels of experience and expertise are more crucial than proper guidance. Teaching yoga may take time to come, so you must learn a lot during your yoga teacher training to become a skilled instructor.

What are yoga instructors called

Within the realm of yoga, it is typical to refer to your instructor by their first name since there is no designated title for them. Although the terms yoga teacher and yoga instructor are often used interchangeably, they hold slightly different meanings. Both titles are equally acceptable as no one title is more correct. A yoga teacher may also be referred to as a yogi. However, this term is not exclusively limited to teachers. The main differences between the two titles are in the verbs “teach” and “instruct.” When encountering a yoga teacher, they might also be recognized as a Guru, which means teacher or master in the context of Indian religions. Additionally, some might call a yoga teacher Gurudev, which means goddess teacher or Divine Teacher. To eliminate any confusion, asking them how to refer to them is best. You can use their first name if you don’t know their title and they don’t object to it.

What if I need to find their first name?

If you need help addressing your instructor, don’t worry! There are numerous ways to make things more comfortable when interacting with your instructor. You can begin by addressing them with their preferred name or title, then stating your question or request. Feel free to ask them for their preferred name or title if you need help with how to address them. If you need to remember their name, feel free to ask them to remind you politely. It is crucial to have confidence and remember that these are common questions to inquire about.

6 Tips to avoid being rude

You can implement these helpful tips to avoid being impolite towards your yoga instructor.

  1. Avoid calling them “coach”: Unless your instructor explicitly requests it, referring to them as “coach” may seem a bit awkward. It’s not a significant issue, but it may not be appropriate for the yoga class.
  2. Check the yoga studio’s website or the teacher’s social media page for more information: Before attending your yoga class, look at the studio’s or instructor’s social media pages. You can learn about the courses offered and the instructor’s teaching style. Getting familiar with the language and terminology used in class is another benefit.
  3. Ask before class starts: It’s an excellent idea to ask for preferred names or titles to avoid confusion. It’s a simple question and can be asked without feeling awkward.
  4. Treating yoga instructors respectfully is essential: addressing them using their appropriate titles, such as Instructor or Teacher. They have undergone extensive training and have a wealth of knowledge, so they should be respected for their expertise.
  5. Use the person’s first name if you need clarification on how to address them: To avoid awkward situations, it is best to use the person’s first name if you need clarification on how to address them. Your yoga instructor is unlikely to be offended or frustrated, especially if it is your first session with them. This issue can quickly be resolved after a few sessions.
  6. It’s always good to remember that yoga instructors want to help you out: They are some of the most caring and approachable individuals who genuinely want your experience in their class to be great. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions or raise concerns about your practice. 

How to become a yoga instructor?

To become a yoga instructor, obtaining a certification alone may not suffice. However, instructor training may not be required if you only wish to broaden your knowledge of poses and philosophy.

  • Aspiring instructors should deeply understand Asana and have a passion for yoga.
  • When selecting a teacher training program, choosing one that matches your interests is essential. 
  • There are many renowned programs available, including Hatha Yoga, Yin Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, and Kids Yoga. Spend adequate time researching each option to ensure you find the best fit for yourself.
  • To help your students improve their poses, you’ll need to be able to guide and explain how to enter and exit an asana. 
  • Patience and the ability to anticipate and adjust to varying student abilities are essential qualities that instructor training teaches. 
  • Learning this skill may not be easy for everyone, so investing time in the process is essential.
  • To become a certified yoga instructor, complete a minimum course of 200-hour  teacher training program. 
  • This certification shows that you have the educational qualifications and are eligible to conduct yoga classes in fitness studios.
  • It is essential to perfect your yoga poses and gain the skill to guide your students in perfecting their poses. 
  • Being a patient instructor is crucial, and so is detailing the asana and helping pupils of different proficiency levels to get out of it. 
  • While this skill may not come naturally, it can be imparted during teacher training sessions.

How to find a good Yoga Instructor?

Finding the right yoga instructor can be made more accessible by following specific tips. We have offered suggestions to assist you in selecting the best choice for your requirements. These recommendations will steer you towards the appropriate direction.

  • Attend a few lessons with the instructor before committing to an entire course to determine if their teaching style works for you. 
  • To find the best yoga instruction in your area, it’s recommended to research various yoga schools or studios and read reviews from their previous clients. This will assist you in comprehending the quality of the instructions you received.
  • Ask your friends, family, or other yoga practitioners for a recommendation of a great instructor they’ve had a positive experience with. 
  • Think about what kind of yoga you plan on doing and find a teacher who is experienced in that particular kind. 
  • Do some digging into the instructor’s training, experience, and philosophy to gain an understanding of their background and approach to teaching yoga. 

Types of Yoga Instructors 

  • Hatha Yoga Instructor – specialises in teaching the classic poses of yoga
  • Vinyasa Yoga Instructor – the focus is on flowing movements and synchronised breathing
  • Bikram Yoga Instructor – specialises in teaching in a heated room with 26 poses
  • Ashtanga Yoga Instructor – emphasises consistent movements and progressive poses
  • Restorative Yoga Instructor – the focus is on relaxation and restoration through gentle poses and props
  • Iyengar Yoga Instructor – focuses on precise alignment and steady hold of poses
  • Kundalini Yoga Instructor – includes dynamic movements, breathing exercises, and meditation techniques 
  • Anusara Yoga Instructor – combines the physical and spiritual aspects of yoga 
  • Yin Yoga Instructor – emphasises holding poses for longer durations to reach deeper connective tissues and joints 
  • Power Yoga Instructor – a faster-paced style with strength-building and cardio exercises. 

The Benefits of Finding a Good Yoga Instructor 

Your yoga practice can significantly benefit from finding the right teacher. A good yoga teacher is qualified and experienced and can guide you through the yoga journey. Discover the advantages of having an excellent yoga instructor:

  • Better understanding of ancient wisdom and philosophy: By seeking guidance from a knowledgeable yoga instructor, you can better understand the ancient wisdom and philosophy underlying yoga. This can significantly enhance your overall yoga practice.
  • Improved posture and alignment: A good yoga teacher can help you correct your posture and align your body correctly. Following these tips can prevent injuries and optimise your yoga experience.
  • Personalised instruction: A competent yoga instructor will dedicate time to comprehend your requirements and offer tailored guidance and adaptations to ensure your safe advancement.
  • Increased self-awareness: By consistently practising yoga under the guidance of a skilled teacher, you can develop a greater awareness of your thoughts, emotions, and behavioural tendencies. This can help you grow and progress in your yoga practice.
  • Provides a sense of community: Practising yoga with a good teacher and other students can provide a sense of community and strengthen connections. This can be a positive and enjoyable experience that helps alleviate feelings of isolation.

Qualities of a Yoga Instructor 

  1. Yoga teaching is a very flexible job, with some teaching full-time and some only doing it as a hobby or for extra money. Depending on where the instruction takes place, a teacher’s experience can vary greatly. Private clients and in-home or studio sessions offer the opportunity to do more personal yoga. 
  2. Being a yoga instructor involves teaching poses, preparing the room, plotting the class flow, playing music, and adapting poses to suit individual students. It’s essential to make adjustments in a kind and inclusive way, recognizing that each student has different experience levels. 
  3. Some forms of yoga require the use of props like blankets, bolsters, straps, and blocks. Yoga teachers need to be able to make use of props correctly and when to introduce them. Props make a huge difference, helping students to feel more included, soothed, and successful as they practise. 
  4. For classes with a group of people, verbal cueing is vital. Physical adjustments may be tricky due to the group setting. Group yoga teachers must pay attention to the class’s progress and make adjustments on a case-by-case basis. 

Challenges of Being a Yoga Instructor

As a yoga instructor, many challenges come with the profession. Here are ten common obstacles:

Physical Demands: 

Yoga instructors must be able to perform challenging poses and sequences, which can be physically demanding.

Time Management: 

Balancing teaching with personal practice, administrative duties, and self-care is challenging for many yoga instructors.

Client Retention: 

Building a loyal following of students and keeping them engaged can be difficult in a competitive industry with high turnover rates.

Financial Stability: 

It is common for yoga instructors to face financial challenges as they may not earn sufficient income solely from teaching yoga and may require additional employment.


The emotional and physical demands of teaching yoga can lead to burnout if not appropriately managed.

Diversity & Inclusivity: 

Establishing a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere that accommodates students from diverse backgrounds and identities can be challenging.

Continuing Education: 

Keeping up with new developments in yoga and related fields requires ongoing education and professional development.

Marketing and self-promotion: 

Marketing one’s classes, workshops, and retreats can be a challenge for those who are more introverted or need more business experience.

Finding Work-Life Balance: 

Achieving a balance between teaching, personal life, and other responsibilities can be difficult for yoga instructors.

Ethical Considerations: 

Maintaining ethical and professional standards can be challenging, particularly in today’s social media-driven culture.

Yogic Titles

There are several yogic titles used in various practices and traditions. Some standard titles include: 

  1. Yogi/Yogini: This title is often used to refer to someone who is dedicated to the practice of yoga. 
  2. Swami: This title is usually given to someone who has completed a certain level of spiritual training in Hinduism. It indicates that the person has reached a state of self-realisation and is considered a master or guru.
  3. Guru/Gurudevi: This title often refers to a teacher or mentor in spiritual practices. It can also indicate someone who has attained a high level of knowledge and wisdom in a particular field.
  4. Sadhu/Sadhvi/Satguru: These titles are used to refer to renunciates or ascetics who have given up worldly pursuits for spiritual pursuits. They are often associated with the Hindu tradition.
  5. Mahatma: This term is commonly used to refer to individuals who have attained a high level of spiritual realisation or enlightenment. It is often associated with the Indian independence leader Mohandas Gandhi.
  6. Yogaratna: The title Yogaratna means the “jewel of yoga” or a “yoga gem.” To truly radiate one’s inner being out into the world requires a cultivated depth of character. Their commitment to teaching, their excellence as a teacher of Yoga/Meditation, and their support of the Ashram are some of the ways they show their light. 
  7. Brahmacharin: The title Brahmacharin acknowledges someone who has taken vows of celibacy and is dedicated to the yogic path of inward mystical development. Their practice is done amid life, with genuine relationships and responsibilities, providing a field of training and inquiry that moves them through their process quickly. Some of our brahmacharis are teachers, while some are not. All are sort of “junior swamis” in their practice and understanding of life.

Roles of a yoga instructor 

  • Yoga instructors work to ensure that the environment they train their students in is safe and nurturing. Also, the training space should be clean, warm, and inviting to make the students feel relaxed. This will give both the instructor and the students peace of mind for the class to run smoothly. 
  • As a yoga instructor, you must ensure students practise the different poses safely and efficiently. You should assist when needed and suggest therapeutic alternatives to aid in healing any injuries. As the practice begins, you can recite a poem or light a candle, representing tranquillity, harmony, and intention.
  • As a yoga instructor, it’s important to tailor training sessions to the level of your students. Being able to modify, demonstrate, and explain yoga practices in an approachable and understandable way. A good instructor must also be flexible, certified, and have a strong foundation in physiology and anatomy to ensure proper posture alignment. This allows for quick adjustments under challenging poses, creating a sense of trust and safety in students and making it easier for everyone to relax during class.


Is it beneficial to become a yoga instructor?

Becoming a yoga instructor can be a beneficial career choice, both personally and professionally. It enables you to deepen your practice and understanding of yoga and provides opportunities for self-growth, helping others, and positively impacting the community. However, keep in mind that becoming a successful yoga instructor takes time, commitment, and effort. It requires a strong knowledge of yoga asana, philosophy, history, effective communication and teaching skills, business acumen, and a willingness to learn and grow continuously. Becoming a yoga instructor can indeed be a rewarding career path if you are willing to put in the work.   

Are all yoga instructors called yogis?

Not all yoga instructors are called yogis. The term yogi often refers to a male yoga practitioner who has attained a certain level of expertise in a particular branch of yoga. The female counterpart to a yogi is called a yogini. However, many yoga instructors today use the term yogi or yogini as a self-descriptive title regardless of their level of expertise. Ultimately, the title one uses is a personal choice and does not necessarily reflect their level of experience or training in yoga practice. 

Does a yoga teacher and instructor have the same meaning?

A yoga teacher and instructor generally have the same job responsibilities, including teaching and demonstrating yoga poses, providing modifications for different skill levels, and guiding students through meditation or relaxation techniques. Some may use the titles interchangeably, while others may prefer one over the other. Ultimately, the essential qualifications for both roles are adequate training and experience in yoga and a passion for teaching and helping others find physical and mental wellness through the practice.

Why should you become a certified yoga instructor?

Becoming a certified yoga instructor opens up a world of opportunities. Not only will it allow you to deepen your own personal practice, but it will also allow you to share the gift of yoga with others. A certification in yoga gives you the skills and knowledge needed to teach others safely and effectively, helping them to cultivate strength, flexibility, and a sense of peace and well-being. Additionally, yoga certification can lead to career opportunities, whether you choose to teach full-time or integrate yoga into your existing career. Becoming a certified yoga instructor is a valuable investment in both your personal growth and professional development. 

What are the criteria for becoming a certified yoga instructor? 

To become a certified yoga instructor, one must have to complete a 200-hour yoga teacher training program accredited by a recognized organisation such as Yoga Alliance. Additionally, you must have at least two years of consistent yoga practice and be at least 18. Some teacher training programs may require additional prerequisites such as essays, interviews, or assessments. After completing the training program, you pass a written exam and a teaching demo to become certified. Continuing education and professional development to maintain certification is also recommended.

What are male yoga instructors called?

Male yoga instructors are commonly called yoga masters or yoga gurus. In some traditions, they may also be referred to as yogi or yogini. However, it is important to note that the practice of yoga is non-gender specific and male yoga instructors may also simply be referred to as yoga instructors or teachers.


To sum up, when communicating with a yoga instructor, always show respect and courtesy. Use the correct title to show you understand their qualifications. Establish a positive and friendly atmosphere in the yoga class and clearly communicate your needs and concerns. This will enable you to create a healthy teacher-student relationship and a pleasant yoga class experience for everyone.